No limit to junket operators in Saipan: Regulator

The Commonwealth Casino Commission says there will be no-limit on the number of junket operators allowed to do business in Saipan once the Imperial Pacific Resort and Hotel opens next year.

“No number [limit] for the junket operators. The live training facility that currently operates only has five VIP rooms, but when the Grand Mariana opens, it will have a bigger number of VIP rooms to accommodate those who come here to play,” said Commonwealth Casino Commission executive director Edward Deleon Guerrero, quoted by the Saipan Tribune.

“The junket operators are a necessary part of the gaming industry and we are competing in a regional area and you have the likes of Macau and Singapore. Right now Saipan is the fifth most favorite destination by Chinese tourists and we are also fifth in the casino gaming world behind Macau, Las Vegas, Singapore, and the Philippines. Now we are on the world map,” he added.

Last week, the gaming regulator issued a provisional license to Korea-based junket operator, Big Bang Entertainment, local media reports.

The provisional license was issued by the Commonwealth Casino Commission on August 11, 2016 to Du Young Jang who owns Big Bang Entertainment LLC, and will expire on August 31, 2017.

Around 17 more applicants are currently being screened, said Guerrero.

“All the applicants are still under review. We have implemented additional review process, where are working with the casino operator to have them vet the junket operators too, beginning from the financial perspective. Currently IPI goes through a vetting process before they issue a credit to their VIPs,” he said.

Junket operator applicants will go through a number of checks including credit, role, wealth and delegation.

“Once IPI approves the issuance of the credit process, then they will issue a letter of intent to transact with this company as a junket operator. They would then submit that to the CCC, including their findings along with the letter of intent that they would do business with that operator,” Guerrero said.

“At that CCC would continue to screen the criminal and association background checks from the time the application was submitted and the fees are paid. Once we get the letter of intent and IPI’s findings, we then assess whether or not the applicant requires further vetting and we will assess a minimum amount for investigation purposes. So, if IPI refuses to issue the letter of intent, then that application stops. We do not entertain it anymore,” he added.