Bill seeks to allow second casino on Saipan as confidence in IPI wanes

CNMI senators Paul A. Manglona and Edith E. DeLeon Guerrero have introduced a bill that would authorize the Commonwealth Casino Commission to issue a second casino license in Saipan, according to a report from Saipan Tribune.

Under the bill, the CCC would be allowed to re-issue IPI’s revoked casino license to another operator under new terms. The Senate Bill 22-23 was filed at the Thursday Senate session on Tinian. 

Manglona and Guerrero said it is more than likely that the IPI would not complete the construction of its gaming facility on Saipan and overcome all of its legal and financial problems. 

This includes, more recently, an order by the court for IPI to pay its former law firm over $133,333 for nonpayment of legal fees. 

The company has also been battling with a group of former Turkish construction workers, who claim their wages have not been paid as promised and have allegedly created difficulties in their repatriation process, including the tampering of their plane tickets to push back their departure dates. 

Another six Malaysian workers are refusing to leave, demanding their paid time off and to be paid their 75% guarantee, while another two Italian workers are refusing to leave due to a pending lawsuit against IPI. 

As of last week, a total of 29 IPI employees have been repatriated, while another 128 remain on the island. IPI said this has been due to the unavailability of flights to leave the island. 

“The number of casino license should be increased to two licenses to give another qualified operator the opportunity to establish a new casino [on] Saipan, stimulate the economy with new investments and employment for the CNMI workforce, and compete with the other casino operator to offer the best options and benefits to its patrons and the public,” the senators said.

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