The director of a Macau-based company, which had signed an agreement for a land lease on the Northern Mariana Island of Tinian, says the group’s casino resort plan was wholly reliant on Chinese gamblers – making the project unviable after China introduced strict regulations on outgoing punters.
According to the Saipan Tribune, Alter City Group (ACG) director Johnny Leong told officials at the Department of Public Lands that China had prohibited its citizens from going abroad to gamble, that casino operators couldn’t market to Chinese citizens or facilitate their travel.
The letter to the DPL is dated July 7th of this year, a month before the DPL informed the Macau-based company that it had terminated its lease agreement on the island.
ACG in 2014 had acquired a lease on a 152-hectare property, all public land, for a proposed $360 million casino resort.
The lease had an initial 25-year period, with an option to extend a further 15 years.
Attempts to look elsewhere failed
The ACG director claims that the group attempted to look elsewhere for punters, stating the it was “establishing strategic partnerships with groups in other countries in the region”, the publication notes.
Leong stated that due to the backdrop of uncertainty regarding Chinese punters, the group could not receive commitments from the groups, stating everyone was “stuck in a holding pattern”.
The justification was evidently not accepted by the DPL, which also canceled ACG’s right to use the premises.
In order to abide by the corrective actions needed to fulfill the lease agreement, ACG would have had to complete construction of the 500-room Plumeria Golf & Casino Resort, including 150 corporate villas, an 18-hole international golf course, a clubhouse with driving range facility, a medical center, farmer’s market, training center, retail services, conservatory, and staff dormitories.