Marianas Variety

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    Sunday, December 8, 2019-11:50:49P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Lottery commission ratifies 8th amendment to casino license agreement

THE CNMI Lottery Commission on Monday ratified Amendment No. 8 to the casino license agreement, granting Imperial Pacific International’s request to get credit for guestrooms that will be built by its partner-investors, and reducing from 51 to 10 percent the required majority shareholder controlling interest of the company.

No IPI representative attended the lottery commission’s meeting that started at 9 a.m. in the governor’s conference room.

By a voice vote, the commission approved the amendment. Commerce Secretary Mark Rabauliman chairs the commission whose two other members are Finance Secretary David Atalig and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Roberto Guerrero.

Prior to the vote, Atalig made it clear that the rooms that will be credited to IPI have to be within the integrated resort project of the casino investor.

Rabauliman noted that the lottery commission has not received an official request to credit IPI with the 1,700 rooms that Imperial Casha is building in Tanapag. Without an official request, he said the commission cannot make a decision or comment on the matter.

Commonwealth Casino Commission Executive Director Edward Deleon Guerrero asked the lottery commission to demand that IPI honor the license agreement and the existing amendments before requesting new ones in the future.

Amendment No. 1, which was approved on Nov. 19, 2014, pertains to any proposed license transfer. (See http://cnmicasinocommission.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/CLA-Amendment-1.pdf)

Amendment No. 2 allowed IPI to put up a temporary live training facility inside T-Galleria in Garapan; Amendment No. 3 allowed IPI to extend to Aug. 31, 2018 the operation of its temporary training facility; Amendment No. 4 allowed IPI to open its gaming facility in its unfinished building in Garapan; Amendment No. 5 gave IPI until Aug. 13, 2023 to complete Phase 1 of the project; Amendment No. 6 extended to Feb. 28, 2021 from Aug. 31, 2018 the completion of casino in Garapan; and Amendment No. 7 authorized IPI to operate a less than four- to five-star existing facility, namely the former Mariana Resort & Spa in Marpi.

Deleon Guerrero said they have “tried to understand and assist the government in the enforcement of your agreed upon amendments.”

He requested the lottery commission to notify IPI that the $500,000 worth of medical equipment it donated to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. should have been “new money” and not from the $20 million Community Benefit Fund donated by IPI to the CNMI government.

As required by Amendment No. 6 of the license agreement, IPI provided $500,000 worth of medical equipment to CHCC.

But Deleon Guerrero said IPI took the amount from the Community Benefit Fund.

“We need clarification on that. Maybe they are confused or maybe they did not know that it has to be ‘new money’ and not to be taken from the existing Community Benefit Fund,” he added.