Saipan business leaders call for “right size” casinos

Alexander Sablan, head of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, said the organization has officially asked the government to play a more active role in ensuring a planned casino development for the island is the correct size.

Speaking at a Guam Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday, Sablan expressed concern that a resort that was too large for Saipan to support would fail.

Legislators also need to ensure the project is part of a more integrated development that includes meeting, convention and expo visitors, he was cited as saying by local media.

He added Saipan must also balance its visitor market. Saipan saw 170,121 tourist arrivals from China last year, and this year through May, Chinese tourists made up 37 percent of its overall arrivals.

Saipan, in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, last year awarded the license for the first casino to Best Sunshine International, a unit of Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific.