First Quarter Revenue From Saipan Casino Projected At $8.5 Million

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Best Sunshine reports ‘rolling chip volume’ over $6 billion

By Dennis B. Chan

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 14, 2016) – The Best Sunshine International, Ltd.’s temporary casino at T Galleria has posted a rolling chip volume of $6,100,785,760 for the first quarter of 2016, according Commonwealth Casino Commission data obtained yesterday.

This rolling chip volume is not the amount of money earned but indicates the amount of activity played, as each chip played has a value when converted into cash or a loss equivalent.

According to commission data, Best Sunshine posted a rolling chip turnover of $2,264,537,440 for January.

The February figure was at $1,949,003,420 and for March, it was $1,887,244,900.

Together, these figures amount to $6,100,785,760 and corroborates a GGRASIA report Tuesday that Imperial Pacific LLC had achieved a VIP rolling chip turnover of $6.1 billion for the first quarter of 2016.

As for the amount of taxes paid out by the casino from gross gaming revenue, commission executive director Edward C. Deleon Guerrero could not share this data when asked, calling this "currently confidential information."

However, Guerrero added that he sent a letter to the Department of Finance and its Division of Tax and Revenue, copying the CNMI attorney general and the public auditor, "seeking guidance if this information could be released."

He said he is still waiting response.

"We are clarifying with the attorney general and the public auditor whether we could release this to you, because if we could, we would release" the regular BGRT.

"I think people should know," Guerrero told Saipan Tribune.

Applying an industry formula, though, to project gross gaming revenue tax paid out, the casino is projected to pay out some $8.54 million in gross gaming revenue tax.

That industry standard formula takes this rolling chip volume times the "house share" average of .028 times the 5 percent, or the maximum amount of business gross revenue tax, and would project a tax pay out of $8,541,100.064 for the first quarter of 2016 to the CNMI Treasury.

The average of this, or this amount divided by three, multiplied by 12, projects an annual tax payout of some $34.164 million to the CNMI Treasury.

Expenses

Imperial Pacific—the parent company overseeing Best Sunshine and the real estate company Colour Palace, among others—has also expended a total $69.85 million for purchases of goods and services, in the first quarter 2016.

For January, this figure was at $17,182,698.33.

For February, the grand total was $15,988,124.29.

And for March, this jumped to $36,679,434.88, for a total first quarter total of $69,850,257.50.

The commission has split these expenses into six categories: administration, operations, marketing, food and beverage, building, improvements, and design, and others.

The "others" category includes taxes paid out, like the CNMI’s developer’s tax.

It also includes others expenses titled "donation, education funding, and purchases and other fees."

The others category amounted to 21 percent of total expenses, or some $14.822 million for the first quarter.

The largest share of expenses went to "building, improvement’s and design" category at 58 percent, or some $40.264 million for the first quarter.

The jump in expenses in March appears be largely contributed to the $16.46 million paid in equipment purchases and steel construction paid out to a local construction company under the "building, improvement, and design" category.

Imperial Pacific is constructing a hotel casino in the heart of Garapan right now, called the Grand Mariana Casino Resort.

Under operations, or the costs for general supplies and maintenance, utilities and telecommunications, consulting and insurance services, Imperial Pacific spent some $10.499 million, or 15 percent, of total expenses for the first quarter.

Under administration costs, covering its legal, permit, licensing and registration, and payroll, Imperial Pacific spent some $2.278 million, or 3 percent of expenses overall, for the first quarter.

Under marketing, Imperial Pacific spent some $1.34 million, or 2 percent.

Under food and beverage, they spent $643,694, or about 1 percent overall.

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