Saipan's Imperial Pacific Casino Targets End Of March For 'Soft Opening'

Currently houses in old DFS Galleria building, construction of new facility nears 50% completion

By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 17, 2017) – Imperial Pacific International’s casino will have a “soft opening” on March 31, but Commonwealth Casino Commission vice chairman Joseph C. Reyes says IPI should consider extending its contract with T-Galleria in case the opening is delayed.

IPI’s Best Sunshine Live casino is currently located in the Duty Free/T-Galleria building.

On Thursday, IPI representatives updated the casino commission and members of the House Committee on Gaming about the progress of the hotel-casino project.

According to the contractor’s report to the commission, the construction of the ground floor of the building where the casino will be located is now 47 percent complete.

The contractor said they are planning a soft opening for the casino on March 31 while the construction of the hotel should be completed before August which is the deadline.

Commissioner Reyes advised IPI officials to consider the possibility of extending their contract with T-Galleria that will expire in April.

But IPI senior vice president for operations Donnie Browne in an interview said their casino will open on March 31 so there will be no extension of the agreement with T-Galleria.

Reyes said his concern is that “there are a lot of factors that can cause delays like the bad weather, for example. So my point is that IPI should start looking into the possibility because that possibility exists. They should start addressing it now because everything takes time, especially when it involves dealing with the government. They said they will be moving into the casino by late March, but I don’t know if that will happen. We just have to make sure that we are on top of everything as this casino industry is important for the CNMI economically.”

Rep. Ivan Blanco, a member of the House Committee on Gaming, said the meeting on Thursday was helpful.

“I think we are on the right track. Of course with the new industry, there are always areas where we are unsure. We will encounter some barriers, but this meeting is important because it helped us resolve some of the issues. We are seeing progress and they are moving forward, and we are hopeful that things will move according to plan.”

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