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IPI seeks 50% cut in regulatory fee

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IMPERIAL Pacific International’s proposal to amend the casino license fee includes a 50% reduction in the annual regulatory fee.

Public Law 19-24 imposes a $3 million annual regulatory fee to be collected by the Commonwealth Casino Commission, with 5% increase every five years for the following 20 years,

Enacted in December 2015, the law appropriates the regulatory fee for the casino commission personnel and operation expenses.

In his follow-up letter to the CNMI Lottery Commission pertaining to the proposed Amendment No. 9, IPI Chief Executive Officer Donald Browne is asking that the regulatory fee be reduced to $1.5 million.

Browne also reminded Lottery Commission Chairman Mark Rabauliman that the casino commission supervises IPI’s gaming operations, saying that nowhere in the casino license agreement does it mention that the casino commission has jurisdiction over hotel operations or construction.

He said Public Law 18-56, which legalized casino gaming on Saipan, authorizes the casino commission to have jurisdiction over gaming operations only.

In addition, Browne is asking the CNMI government to make P.L. 20-85 retroactive to July 2015 “so that IPI has the ability to sue patrons over debts starting from 2015.”

P.L. 20-85 was enacted in January 2019 “to strengthen the protections against fraudulent misuse of financial instruments in casino gaming and other transactions in the Commonwealth.”

Browne said 15% of bad debts that will be recovered through IPI’s legal action “will be paid to the CNMI as a tax contribution.”

IPI  earlier asked the CNMI government to allow the casino investor pay the 2021 casino license fee by installments — $7.75 million on Feb. 12, 2021 and $7.75 million on Aug. 12, 2021.


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