Troubled Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (IPI) will soon owe more than US$100 million to the CNMI government as it awaits a long-promised capital injection from an investor.
The Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) broke down IPI’s outstanding obligations during a meeting late last week, according to Marianas Variety, with the company having failed to pay its license and regulatory fees in both 2020 and 2021. Another US$15.5 million in annual license fees will fall due in mid-August and various regulatory fees on 1 October, meaning the company will owe a total of US$103 million in just two months from now.
It was these debts that saw the CCC originally call a hearing with the intention of revoking IPI’s casino license earlier this year – a hearing that was put on hold after the company was granted a temporary restraining order.
IPI and the CCC have since engaged in settlement talks, with IPI having touted an impending US$150 million cash injection from South Korean investor the IH Group, although to this point no cash has been forthcoming and no agreement has been reached.
IH Group is planning to take over the operations of the casino and luxury villas of IPI’s Saipan casino, Imperial Palace · Saipan, and has promised to resume construction of the hotel tower with Chairman Kyunam Kim touring the property in recent days.
“This project … will soon proceed smoothly and will contribute greatly to the economic recovery of the CNMI,” Kim told local media during his tour.
However, the CCC said during last week’s meeting that revocation of IPI’s casino license remains on the table.
“IPI’s failure to meet these obligations is the reason [we have] cut back from close to 50 employees to [only nine],” said CCC chair Edward C. Deleon Guerrero
“That’s why the revocation is in front of us.”