Best Sunshine Live, the sole casino operating on the Pacific island of Saipan has posted a remarkable growth of 147 percent in its unaudited VIP gambling rolling chip volume for the month of January. The Best Sunshine Live casino is owned by Hong Kong based firm Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd
According to a filing made with the Hong Kong Stock exchange, the value of this volume in January 2017 was $5.59 billion. The casino’s rolling chip volume for January 2016 was $2.26 billion while for the whole calendar year of 2016, the unaudited turnover was $32.37 billion.
A major casino like the Venetian Macao, which is Sands China Ltd’s flagship property in Macau recorded $6.89 billion in rolling chip turnover for the fourth quarter, while another well-established casino Wynn Macau, a property of Wynn Macau Ltd, registered $10.80 billion in the last quarter of 2016.
Imperial Pacific Resort
The U.S-administered island of Saipan, part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), has reportedly seen over 200,000 Chinese visitors in the past year alone. The casino which is currently operating out of temporary premises has been witnessing impressive growth since its opening in July 2015.
According to a Bloomberg report, the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN has started investigating the casino’s operating company Best Sunshine International Ltd. a subsidiary of Imperial Pacific for money laundering. A senior executive from Imperial Pacific has denied the allegations stating that the casino operator was following all relevant U.S. laws and regulations.
The casino’s permanent quarters will be the $3 billion Imperial Pacific Resort Hotel in Saipan which is expected to open in the first quarter of 2017 according to an earlier filing made by the company. The operator had previously said that the complex would open on Jan 28, which was the start of the Chinese New Year. The 14-story casino resort will offer nearly 200 to 300 gaming tables and 300 to 400 slot machines along with a 350-room luxury hotel.
Recently, credit ratings firms Moody’s and Fitch Ratings Inc both downgraded Imperial Pacific’s rating citing the presence of substantial credit risk. The company is said to be facing difficulties in financing and also has pending lawsuits from vendors and a former employee.
Local media have also reported that the lawmakers of the island are proposing a bill under which casino revenue will be taxed at 5 percent. The casino currently pays $15 million as an annual fee, tax on total gross revenue as well as $20 million as annual contributions to a Community Chest Fund.