IPI temporarily shuts casino amidst island tourism slump

Imperial Pacific International will be temporarily shutting down its casino operations “until further notice” in the wake of Super Typhoon Yutu, local media reports.

Super Typhoon Yutu, known as Typhoon Rosita in the Philippines was an extremely powerful tropical cyclone, rampaging the islands of Tinian, Saipan and the Northern Mariana Islands in late October.

The typhoon caused a significant slump in tourism on the island in its wake.

“This just shows how fragile our economy and the tourism industry is —  one event like Super Typhoon Yutu can affect our future,” commented Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres.

In a statement on Thursday, IPI said it is hoping the tourism industry “rebounds immediately… so the company can resume normal casino operations.”

“Super Typhoon Yutu left a trail of destruction on Saipan and Tinian,” said the company on Thursday. “The natural disaster has been heart-wrenching because the storm left our beautiful islands looking like a war zone. The island-wide destruction affected personal property, our infrastructure and the business community. Like so many others, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), LLC was included in this trail of destruction.”

“Imperial Pacific also suffered millions of dollars in unexpected damage, forcing the company to make adjustments to ensure typhoon cleanup and repairs are done safely so employees and development continue to be protected.”

For the last two weeks, IPI has been operating with limited casino operation hours, with essential employees working limited operation hour shifts and non-essential employees allowed to take paid time off, or to voluntarily participate in the company initiated Community Service Program with stipend allocation, to help in the community’s recovery efforts.

IPI said that in order to make the necessary post-typhoon repairs, it did not want to continue to keep the casino open and has decided to temporarily shut down casino operations effective Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 until further notice.