Pacific Islands

 

Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, prime minister of Samoa, played down reports of the detention in China of Deng Hong, the chairman of Exhibition and Travel Group, the Chinese group which earlier this year was awarded a casino license and said it would build a 500-room resort. “ETG will still have a new chairman and so as far as we are concerned, nothing has changed," he said.

US government agents temporarily shut down the Tinian Dynasty casino, arrested its VIP services manager and charged him, another executive and the casino with conspiring to avoid filing reports to the government on large cash transactions. US casinos, among other companies, are required to file reports on transactions of more than $10,000 but the casino allegedly stopped filing reports in September 2009.

 

 

Elliott A. Sattler, legal counsel to the Tinian Casino Gaming Commission, reached an undisclosed settlement over his lawsuit against the Tinian mayor's office over attempts to cut his benefits and his annual salary from $110,000 to $70,000. The suit revolved around Tinian's attempts to encroach on the gaming commission's budgetary autonomy.

 

 

The government of the Northern Marianas islands, a US Pacific territory, is revisiting a proposal to legalize casino gambling on Saipan, which has the largest population and international transport links in the group.  The smaller islands of Tinian and Rota are already home to casinos and Saipan voters and the territory's legislature have previously rejected legalization but the government is struggling to balance its finances. Governor Eloy Inos discussed the casinos idea with local lawmakers and the island's US congressman this week.

 

Many staff at the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino have not been paid since January. "As soon as we catch up on our cash flow, we will also catch up on payroll,” the casino told reporters. The casino was sold last year to Taiwan's Howarm Construction Co. by Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investments Ltd., which also fell behind on wages, for a reported $46.5 million and faces competition from another casino resort under development on the island.

 

 

The mayor of Mulivaitoa Safata said that no one from Exhibition Tourism Group, the Chinese company proposing to build a casino and resort in his village, has yet approached him about their plans.  Tafa Aukisitino expressed surprise that plans appeared to be so well advanced as he had not been approached and no negotiations had taken place. He and other villagers learned about the project from a television report.  However, he was supportive of and excited by the proposed project and the jobs it would bring to families in the area.

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