Guam needs to approve casinos to remain competitive: academic

The Pacific Island of Guam needs to approve casinos to avoid losing its tourists to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, where gambling is permitted on Saipan, Tinian and Rota, a leading academic warned.

“We need to use a special request for proposal (RFP) process to get the best deal possible from a single vendor for at least 15 years,” University of Guam Associate Professor Ron McNinch wrote in a local newspaper.

“We should contract with a major international casino with the proceeds going to education and health care. Get over it. Otherwise, we will default many of our tourists to the CNMI. Don’t get me wrong, I love the CNMI, but this is a disruptive change issue,” he wrote.

“Unless Guam wants its airline seats to dry up and go north, see what I am saying with an objective view. Go casino big or not. But at some point this will have to be an important public discussion.”

CNMI awarded a single casino license for Saipan to Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International in 2015, while the defunct Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino is seeking new investors. Two other licenses have been granted for Tinian - Alter City Group and Bridge Investment Group LLC.

Tourism numbers to the CNMI recorded a new high in last year, rising by 24.3 percent to 659,741. Korea was the number one source market with a 50.4 percent market share and strong growth of 65.81 percent for the year. In second place was Mainland China with growth at just over 11 percent.


More news from this jurisdiction

Pacific IslandsWednesday, Apr 04, 2018

An effort to save a program that allows the Northern Mariana Islands to import labor is likely to fail due to recent cases of abuse and visa fraud, the AP reports.

Pacific IslandsThursday, Mar 15, 2018

Imperial Pacific’s Saipan office was allegedly raided by U.S. federal agents last week, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Pacific IslandsTuesday, Mar 06, 2018

The U.S. government has ordered four China-based construction contractors behind IPI’s new casino resort on Garapan to pay a collective $13.9 million in back wages and damages to employees who came from China to work on the casino’s construction site.

Pacific IslandsTuesday, Feb 27, 2018

A lawyer representing Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC told the Commonwealth Casino Commission last week that they are planning to propose an extension to resort completion deadline.

Pacific IslandsTuesday, Feb 20, 2018

Imperial Pacific International said it “repudiates all allegations of wrongdoing” published in an investigative article by Bloomberg looking into its operations on Saipan.

Pacific IslandsMonday, Feb 12, 2018

Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International said it is working on recruiting more U.S. workers for its hotel-casino in Garapan.

Pacific IslandsWednesday, Jan 31, 2018

Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific has appointed Marco Teng as its new chairman, replacing former chairman Mark Brown, local media reports.