Senate wants report on casino-advisory committee

THE Senate Committee on Gaming has asked the Commonwealth Casino Commission to submit a report on the progress of the Development Proposed Advisory Committee, which was to be set up under the Casino License Agreement or CLA.

It was Sen. Paul A. Manglona who raised the issue during the casino commission’s presentation on Tuesday.

Under the CLA, the advisory committee was have two members — one appointed by the governor while the other was to be appointed by Imperial Pacific International, the casino licensee.

Paul A. Manglona

The advisory committee is tasked to monitor the scheduling and implementation of the Initial Gaming Facility and the Phase Two project in Marpi.

Manglona’s concern was echoed by Sen. Sixto Igisomar, vice chair of the gaming committee, who asked the casino commission to provide an update regarding IPI’s Phase One project.

In an interview, Manglona said the advisory committee will help the government monitor the progress of the casino development project.

“The commission said there is [an advisory committee] but why didn’t we get a report? … We want that report to understand what we are giving up in exchange for changes in the license agreement.”

He added, “Maybe the commission has the report, but it’s not complete, and that’s why Senator Igisomar asked them to provide us with the complete report. This is important as it will help us, the government and the Legislature and the casino commission in deliberations on changes to the Casino License Agreement. The changes there involve scheduling and the number of rooms to be constructed. We need to understand what we are giving up based on what we can also ask from them.”

The Senate Committee on Gaming’s meeting with the casino commission lasted for almost four hours.

“It’s a good beginning,” Manglona said. “I was happy with the meeting. They [the commission] presented a good report on the progress of the commission in regulating the casino industry. I commend [Gaming Committee] chairman Justo Quitugua for holding this meeting because it will help our industry. The casino is here to help our retirees so we have to make it work, but we have to do it the right way. Yes, I agree, we have to be flexible, but if we don’t know what we are giving up, then we don’t know what we are bargaining for either.”

On Monday, the Lottery Commission amended the Casino License Agreement to extend the deadline for the completion of IPI’s Phase One project, a fully functional integrated resort. The Garapan property, the Imperial Pacific Resort Hotel-Saipan, is the Initial Gaming Facility and not Phase 1 as earlier reported.

The deadline for Phase 1, whose location has yet to be determined, was extended to Aug. 13, 2023, while Phase Two’s deadline is now Aug. 13, 2028.

IPI, moreover, will make an annual contribution of $20 million to the Community Benefit Fund.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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