IPI seeks 50% cut in annual license fee, deadline extensions 

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IMPERIAL Pacific International is proposing amendments to the casino license agreement that include a 50% reduction in license fee, a smaller contribution to the community benefit fund and an extension of deadlines in completing the casino resort project.

Lottery Commission Chairman Mark Rabauliman on Tuesday said he had received a formal request from IPI senior vice president for public affairs Tao Xing, along with documents supporting the request.

He said the request and the documents have been forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General for review.

During the Commonwealth Casino Commission meeting on June 25, Xing shared with the commissioners the intention of IPI to submit the proposed amendments.

Under the casino license agreement, IPI must pay a $15 million annual license fee.

IPI is also asking the Lottery Commission to allow the casino investor to contribute 10% of its net profit or “up to a maximum amount of $20 million” to community benefit programs including education, scholarships, infrastructure, healthcare, employee retirement benefits “as may be determined in consultation with the governor.”

IPI currently is required to contribute $20 million a year to the community benefit fund.

IPI likewise requested a one-year extension to complete its initial gaming facility, which includes a five-star luxury hotel in Garapan. IPI is asking the CNMI government to extend the deadline from Feb. 28, 2021 to Feb. 28, 2022.

In addition, IPI asked for an extension of the deadline — from Aug. 13, 2023 to Aug. 13, 2025 —  to complete Phase 1 of the entire resort project that involves an 800-room luxury hotel resort and other amenities in Marpi.

For Phase 2, which includes another 875-room luxury hotel resort and more amenities, IPI is asking for an extension of the deadline from Aug. 13, 2028 to Aug. 13, 2030.

Rabauliman, who is also the secretary of the Department of Commerce, said amending the casino license agreement has to undergo a process.

If approved, these would be the ninth amendment to the license agreement.

In related news, Commonwealth Casino Commission Executive Director Charlie Atalig said IPI has until July 24 to comply with the order to appoint a new chief executive officer.

He said IPI  has until Aug. 9 to comply with the order to maintain sufficient funds for three months’ payroll, and to meet its obligations to private vendors and the government, including required IPI contributions to the community benefit fund.

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