Inside Asian Gaming

INSIDE ASIAN GAMING AUGUST 2018 24 FEATURE IN FOCUS WAITING FOR GARAPAN Imperial Pacific says it will miss another deadline for completing its Saipan casino hotel, and there’s no consensus on a completion date. Meanwhile, VIP roll and trade receivable numbers soar. By Muhammad Cohen Muhammad Cohen also blogs for Forbes on gaming throughout Asia and wrote Hong Kong On Air , a novel set during the 1997 handover about TV news, love, betrayal, high finance and cheap lingerie. I MPERIAL Pacific International continues to excel at many things. Its monopoly casino on the US Pacific island of Saipan keeps posting extraordinary VIP numbers, more than three times the roll at Wynn Macau on a speck in the ocean, four hours from anywhere but Guam. Created to ease a government money crunch, the casino paid taxes and fees of US$127 million last year, equivalent to 54% of the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands fiscal 2018 budget. The opening of the casino, starting in a shopping mall in July 2015, helped visitor arrivals grow by 40% over the past three years, topping 600,000 last year for the first time since 1997, and IPI has promised total investment of US$7.1 billion, including a world class integrated resort. What Imperial Pacific hasn’t proven very good at is collecting debts from its players and completing its casino hotel