The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ Supreme Court has confirmed the suspension of Imperial Pacific International (IPI)’s exclusive casino license, aiming to hold further proceedings to set new deadlines for missed payments by the Saipan casino operator.
According to the Saipan Tribune, the casino agreement between IPI and the Commonwealth means that IPI must still pay its annual license fees but the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) has to give IPI more time to make the payments.
But the group upheld the suspension of IPIs exclusive license and associated fines and its failure to maintain sufficient cash or cash equivalents as stipulated by its license.
The publication notes that the violations carry penalties totaling up to $5 million, while IPI’s license continues suspended until full compliance with the Casino Commission’s order.
In addition, the publication also noted that an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association (ADR) has ordered a stay on all arbitration between IPI and the Commonwealth Casino Commission, over concerns the result could contravene a previous court decision that the dispute is not arbitrable.
The US court had previously ordered Imperial Pacific International and the CCC into arbitration in September of 2022, something the CCC appealed in October of the same year.
The arbitration was then held in May of this year but before an outcome was announced, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court ruling and stopped the CCC from proceeding with revocation of its license, instead mandating arbitration.
The CCC in July sought to dismiss or stay the arbitration due to the Ninth Circuit’s decision, a move opposed by IPI, while in August the Ninth Circuit denied IPI’s appeal for a rehearing.