Gaming regulators in no mood to allow Imperial Pacific to walk away from financial obligations
Imperial Pacific International Holdings Limited has repeatedly proclaimed that it is not in a position to fulfill its financial obligations, but the gaming regulators for the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) are in no mood to allow the Chinese investment holding company to walk away from its pending license fee and other obligations.
In June this year, the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) asked Imperial Pacific ultimatums with a set timeframe within which the company had to fulfill its financial obligations. The CCC issued the ultimatums following the integrated resort casino operator’s repeated attempts to skirt laws. One of the various requirements that Imperial Pacific is required to fulfill is its outstanding more than $15 million license fee. On 11th of August, the casino operator once again declared that it did not have the funds to cover the license fee, but the CCC wants the company to pay the fee at any cost.
When the CCC asked Imperial Pacific to pay its outstanding license fee in June, it had given the casino operator two week’s time to clear its dues, with a warning that its license could be revoked in case it failed to comply with its order. That cut-off date came and went, and the commission had to draw a new deadline in order to provide Imperial Pacific with more time to clear the dues. Extending the deadline, the regulator gave the company until August 12th to pay the $15.5 million license fee but the latest deadline also came and went, but neither the company paid the license fee not the regulator took any strict action.
Instead the company is now planning to ask the commission to abate its license fee. Chairman Edward DeLeon Guerrero said in a statement that the commission was deeply disappointed at Imperial Pacific’s decision to request an abatement of their license fee.
Speaking on the topic, DeLeon said, “IPI needs to fulfill its obligations, not only to the people of the CNMI, but also to their employees, vendors and other parties who are contracted to work with their organization. We are deeply disappointed in IPI’s decision to request an abatement of their annual license fee and casino regulatory fee.”
Of all the various requirements, the Imperial Pacific has been able to fulfill only one. Last month, the company announced the selection of a new chief executive, Donald Browne, who will take place of former CEO Mark Brown. However, it remains to be seen how long Mr. Browne will remain with the casino operator, which is known for changing chiefs as frequently as some people change their clothes.
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