CNMI set for a big boost with Saipan casino licence fee

5:14 am on 12 August 2019

The Northern Marianas government is expecting a huge windfall this week as the company building a mammoth casino and hotel complex on Saipan is due to pay its $US15 million dollar annual licence fee.

Imperial Pacific International's pending payment of its annual exclusive licence for the Grand Mariana complex comes when the Hong Kong-based company has been facing financial issues.

So far this year, Imperial Pacific has reportedly only paid $US41,000 in casino business tax, after paying $US44 million the previous year.

It has also sued the Commonwealth Casino Commission over the release of financial documents requested under the islands' Open Government Act.

Grand Mariana Hotel and Casino under construction on Saipan

Grand Mariana Hotel and Casino under construction on Saipan Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Mark Rabago

Aside from the $15 million annual casino licence fee, Imperial Pacific is also bound by law to donate $US20 million a year to what is called the Community Benefit Fund - money that can go to education, infrastructure, public safety, and other local community programmes.

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