IPI claims CNMI government breached casino license

Perhaps figuring that a good offense is the best defense, Imperial Pacific International has taken the remarkable step of accusing the CNMI government of breaching its casino license in an attempt to divert blame from its inability to pay its US$15.5 million annual licensing fee.

IPI Chief Executive Officer Donald Browne addressed a letter to Governor Ralph Torres and other senior officials that argued that CNMI had failed to deliver to the promised “exclusive rights” to gaming on Saipan by allowing electronic gaming and poker arcade operations to operate without hindrance.

“The CNMI has not only allowed casino games to operate outside of the exclusive license holder,” Brown argued in the letter, “but has allowed casino gambling to proliferate, causing irreparable harm to the exclusive licensee through loss of revenue. There is no exclusion anywhere in the CLA that allows for other parties to operate casino games. IPI did not expect the exclusive rights to casino gaming activity to be so easily breached.”

He added. “Allowing poker machines and e-gaming to operate outside of the casino is a violation of the exclusive license IPI holds. Not only has IPI never received an exclusive license to casino gaming on Saipan as was promised, IPI has suffered through multiple catastrophes.”

On August 12, 2014, IPI was granted exclusive rights to “operate casino gaming activity on the island of Saipan” by the Lottery Commission. It does not appear the IPI had ever complained about the island’s electronic gaming and poker arcade operations until this time.

The CNMI authorities have recently declared that IPI’s gaming license is in jeopardy over its failure to meet its financial obligations.