New Saipan casino to have 48 baccarat tables: Imp Pac

11 Apr 2017

An executive for a unit of Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd has given information on the gaming facilities that will be in the group’s new permanent casino on the Pacific island of Saipan.

The Saipan Tribune newspaper reported David Largent, marketing and public affairs director for Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, as saying the new casino (pictured in an artist’s rendering) would have an aggregate of more than 300 gaming tables and gaming machines.

Other comments attributed to management indicated the permanent casino would feature 48 baccarat tables; most of them for VIP clients. There would be two VIP rooms, each with four tables and a transaction cage. The comments were said to have been made at a monthly meeting of Saipan Chamber of Commerce.

Management was also cited as saying the VIP rooms could be accessed by customers belonging to what it has branded the “Imperial VIP Club”.

The firm is currently operating a temporary casino facility, known as Best Sunshine Live, and catering particularly to credit-based VIP play.

Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc said on Thursday that Imperial Pacific International is at “very high” risk of defaulting on its debts. Moody’s cut its rating on the Hong Kong-listed firm to “Caa1″ and said it still had a negative outlook on the company, indicating it sees a significant chance of another downgrade in the medium term.

Moody’s additionally said it is concerned about Imperial Pacific International’s liquidity position and the sustainability of its business model, “given its high levels of accounts receivables”.

“The downgrade of Imperial Pacific’s corporate family rating reflects our concern over the company’s trend of weak operating cash flow,” said Kaven Tsang, a Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer.

“The downgrade also reflects our consideration that the high collection risk on the company’s accounts receivables will unlikely improve further over the next 12-18 months,” added Mr Tsang.

According to Imperial Pacific’s 2016 results – released in late March – the group achieved gross revenue of HKD7.49 billion (US$964.2 million) in full-year 2016. Its trade receivables for the period amounted to just over HKD5.33 billion, including nearly HKD2.17-billion of such receivables that were more than six-months old but under one-year old. The annual report said that – as of end-2016 – 18 gaming promoters had applied for junket licences with the relevant local gaming regulator in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. jurisdiction.

March’s unaudited VIP gambling rolling chip volume at Best Sunshine Live was up 57.1 percent year-on-year, Imperial Pacific said in a recent filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The company told GGRAsia in an email last week that it is now inviting local media to visit the permanent casino facility, expecting to announce soon an “exact date” for the venue to be opened to the public.

Bloomberg News reported on Monday – citing criminal complaints filed in a U.S. federal court following a search by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – that scores of workers used to build the new casino were unlawfully employed.

Imperial Pacific had said in an earlier statement that the FBI search had targeted contractors and sub-contractors; that none of its own employees had been arrested; and that it would “continue to implement measures and consider additional measures to ensure compliance with federal and local laws”.

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