Northern Marianas casino developer gets $US500m loan

3:54 pm on 16 May 2019

A troubled casino developer in the Northern Marianas has received a loan of $US500 million.

The 200 room hotel and casino Imperial Pacific Resort under construction in Saipan, CNMI

Photo: RNZ/Mark Rabago

Imperial Pacific International's casino in Saipan is a key part of the island's economy, but delays have hampered a connecting resort.

Hong Kong-based Imperial Pacific has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into its casino-resort development.

But in recent months the company missed government deadlines and had to pay out millions over wage violations.

On Wednesday, Imperial Pacific said Japanese venture capital firm Global Capital Management will invest the $US500 million.

The funds will go toward the first phase of the resort project, which is due to be completed by September, the company said in a statement posted to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, the Northern Marianas government has given the company the green light to build 2,000 hotel rooms.

The number of rooms is down from the original 4,200 hotel rooms Imperial Pacific promised when it signed an exclusive casino license with the CNMI government back in 2014.

The original $US7.1 billion integrated resort development plan also included 300 villas, a 600-seat theatre, a 10,000 square-meter casino, retail space, and the world's largest water park all within the span of five years.

Five years after the 2014 agreement, Imperial Pacific just recently secured an agreement to operate and manage the defunct Mariana Resort & Spa, which will be partly used as land for the mammoth integrated resort project.

In April, the US Department of Labour ordered Imperial Pacific to pay out more than $US3 million in unpaid overtime and minimum wages to contractors working on the resort.

The Northern Marianas Lottery Commission has given it until February 2021 to finish the three-phase development, after initial deadlines were missed due to labour shortages.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs