CCC defers decision on IPI opening to next week

The decision to allow the opening of Saipan’s newest casino operated by Imperial Pacific International will be deferred to next week after the Commonwealth Casino Commission raised concerns of safety, local media reports.

According to the Saipan Tribune, the CCC board met with IPI representatives on Tuesday to talk  about whether to allow the operator to open its gaming facility.

“Our concerns right now—on issues on safety, barriers, or the drainage situation outside the perimeter—is to look at the totality of the scenario before we could approve for them to go live with their operations,” said CCC executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero.

“So that even if casino gaming is operational inside, we want to make sure the workers, patrons, guests or anyone that enters or exits the facility are safe. So today, the commission decided that there is not enough evidence and information to grant the approval to let them open on Friday.”

IPI said the safety of their guests and employees has always been their highest priority.

“We fully complied with all the requirements of the Department of Public Works and [Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services] and have therefore been granted conditional occupancy permits by both departments.”

“The requirements of the Commonwealth Casino Commission are much higher, so our company will continue to work closely with CCC. Hopefully we receive the approval from CCC soon so we can open the casino and further contribute to the CNMI economy,” the statement said.

Some of the issues raised at the meeting included safety concerns as well as parking spaces.

Guerrero said the casino floor however was “relatively ready” to go live.

“The specific area from the casino is relatively ready to go live. But because this would be an issue where there would be a large concentration of people in one location, we’re very concerned with safety—whether safety in reference to traffic movement, parking lots, access [under the] Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, fire safety, building safety, and even the debris issues on the unfinished construction of the hotel.”

Guerrero said the commission aims to discuss IPI’s request to open the casino in another meeting on May 31.

“The information that we got from other agencies is that they did not disapprove [IPI’s request] it but they just deferred the decision until Tuesday,” he said.

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