Tinian Gaming Commission Hopes Dynasty Casino Remains Open

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Threats by other regulatory agency a ‘significant challenge’

By Alexie Villegas Zotomayor

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 6, 2015) – Recognizing the crucial role Tinian Dynasty plays in the island’s economy, the casino commission will try to keep the casino-hotel operational, according to Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission executive director Lucia Blanco-Maratita.

"We do not anticipate the closure of the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino," she added.

"The commission has for many months now been working diligently with its new ownership toward regularizing its licensing status without resort to suspension or revocation of the casino gaming license," she said.

It has been reported that the Dynasty has been transitioning to the control of Mega Stars Overseas Limited.

Its management has been working closely with the commission to fulfill all the necessary requirements.

Dynasty is currently going through the suitability investigation.

The commission’s consultant, Gaming Integrity Services, is undertaking a review of the casino’s operations.

As Dynasty continues to cooperate with the TCGCC relating to its licensing status, Blanco-Maratita said "the recent USCIS denials and the prospect of the casino being closed by regulatory authorities outside the influence or control of the Gaming Commission presents a new and significant challenge."

On Dec. 8, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a decision denying 197 I-129CW petitions involving 693 beneficiaries.

In denying these petitions, USCIS stated in its Dec. 8 decision that it considered Dynasty’s eligibility as an employer to file CW petitions.

USCIS said it exercised its discretionary authority in denying CW-1 status.

The agency cited a pattern of serious misconduct —"significant abuse of employees, the integrity of the financial system, and last, but not least, of the CW program itself."

For USCIS, such "flagrant use" by Dynasty of the program to facilitate "a pattern of law-breaking" supports their denial decision.

According to California Service Center Director Kathy A. Baran, who signed the Dec. 8 USCIS decision, USCIS considered the following issues: eligibility of the employer, eligibility of the alien, and eligibility of the alien to stay.

USCIS noted that the employer has to be a legitimate business to be eligible to file CW petitions.

USCIS said that a business will not be considered legitimate if it engages directly or indirectly in prostitution, trafficking in minors, or any other activity that is illegal under Federal or CNMI law.

USCIS said it looked at the extent and effect of the company’s compliance with all applicable laws.

The Dec. 8 decision issued by USCIS pointed out as evidence the Sept. 22, 2014 superseding indictment filed against Dynasty by the U.S. government relating to alleged multiple violations of the Bank Secretary Act.

USCIS cited an attestation by one of the casino managers who consented to a $5,000 civil monetary penalty for his conduct in violating the BSA while serving in his official capacity.

The immigration agency said his testimony reflects a pattern of illegal activity at the casino-hotel over a period of at least one year.

Notwithstanding this criticism, the Tinian Casino Gaming Commission would very much like the Dynasty to remain in business.

Blanco-Maratita said, "The Gaming Commission remains committed to taking every action within its authority to keep the Tinian Dynasty operational and ensure the integrity of the gaming conducted therein."

She said TCGCC is in constant communication with its casino licensee and its legal representatives and is assisting where it can to support their efforts.

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