Yet again Hong Kong’s Imperial Pacific International (IPI) miraculously managed to keep its casino monopoly license for its operations at the Imperial Palace Casino in Saipan. This time with the help of the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, which issued an injunction in connection with IPI’s ongoing dispute with the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Casino Commission (CCC).
IPI Still Manages to Keep its Saipan License
IPI has been barely holding on to its exclusive Saipan license for years but it turns out the company still has some unused ammunition in its bag of tricks. This time it has referred to its right to arbitration regarding the continuing dispute between the company and the CCC, which has been struggling to revoke the Hong Kong-based firm’s Saipan casino license.
Judge Ramona Manglona has granted permission for arbitration so the next step is for the American Arbitration Association (AAA) to help IPI and CCC resolve their ongoing dispute.
The Hong Kong-based casino operator and the regulator are yet to determine together with AAA the exact dates for the arbitration proceedings.
IPI Has Been Piling Debts Since 2020
The regulator suspended IPI’s license back in May 2021 on the grounds of mounting debts. The Hong Kong company had not paid its license and regulatory fees for 2020 amounting to $18.6 million, it failed to adhere to the minimum capital requirements, and it did not make any of its compulsory contributions to the fund benefiting local communities for the period 2018-2020.
Consequently, more debts piled up with the company failing to cover its license and regulatory fees for 2021. It does not seem likely that IPI is going to pay what it owes to the CCC for 2022. This brings the company debt to somewhere around $103 million.
Additionally, IPI has also failed to pay a number of vendors for renovation work performed on the luxury Imperial Palace Casino that the company operates in Saipan.
No Sign of the Promised Financing of $150 Million
Back in June this year IPI managed to postpone court proceedings in connection with the revocation of its exclusive Saipan casino license by convincing the US District Court judge that it has secured financing of $150 million from South Korea-based IH Group.
The financing was expected by the end of June and was supposed to cover the major debts of the casino operator. However, IPI received only a little fraction of the promised funds and has still been unable to pay its dues to the CCC and numerous vendors.