Imperial Pacific seeks amendment to casino license agreement

After Typhoon Soudelor (Hanna) the strongest tropical cyclone of the 2015 Pacific typhoon season took its toll on the early construction of Imperial Pacific’s Phase I casino resort project in Saipan, myriad other minor and major setbacks have kept the company bent into the wind in a race against opening deadlines and the potential of $100,000 per day fines if the Garapan casino resort doesn’t open on time.

For good measure, throw in a fire that ignited in construction debris piled against the burgeoning structure yesterday, and a small but vocal contingent of local naysayers, allegations of AML violations in a civil suit filed by a terminated employee, less than clear accounts receivable on a temporary casino’s world record VIP gaming turnover and the picture of an uphill battle for the company’s multi-billion dollar plans for the tiny CNMI island starts to become more clear.

On March 13, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), LLC submitted a request to amend their casino license agreement in hopes of extending the deadline to complete construction of its hotels and casinos, the first of which is expected to open with gaming by the end of the month in a ‘soft launch’.

Sen. Sixto K. Igisomar, the former CNMI Lottery Commission chairman who signed a 40 year deal with the company, is supporting the extension. He relayed to local media outlet the Saipan Tribune recently that the whole matter has been an exercise in ‘faith’ on both sides from the beginning.  “Without faith, it would not work, this thing would have never been signed. We will be overwhelmed with doubt,” he told the online newspaper.

He noted that monies received so far from the company’s temporary casino and training center, Best Sunshine Live, have helped the government pay down obligations they previously had no way of honoring, and future revenues could “help the government to be able to retire all of these debts and pay off what we owe people.”

Igisomar was clear to state the overriding purpose of Saipan’s relationship with the Hong Kong-listed company, adding, “It is not all about money but for the betterment of our people and for them to be healthier and wealthier. For everything that we do, we should consider that,” Igisomar said.

Independent sources have informed World Casino News of several factors that may be causing delays in Imperial Pacific Resort (formerly Grand Mariana Resort) opening, and some of them have been born out publically. Imperial Pacific has refused requests for clarifications and offered no comments recently.

According to a letter from Mark Brown of IPI to Governor Torres, cited by the Tribune “At the starting phase of construction, [we] had one heavy equipment auger and two pile drive machines. The auger was extensively damaged … during the [typhoon], rendering it inoperable.”

Unpredictable ground conditions, limited cement supply, issues of dewatering, gaining air rights for cranes, foul weather, the lack of available skilled laborers, CW1 and H1 visa issues for imported labor, requirements for U.S. citizen worker participation, land lease of public lands in Garapan, and issues with Phase II and III at the current Mariana Resort & Spa location in Marpi have all contributed to the delay according to published and unpublished reports.

Under the current license agreement, Imperial Pacific has proposed to add over 2,000 hotel rooms, a total of 180,000 square feet of casino floor space, nearly 150,000 sq ft of retail, a 600 seat theater, about 100,000 sq ft of convention space with a ballroom, a wedding chapel, over 30,000 sq ft of spa and fitness space, and a $100 million themed entertainment facility.

The company’s current commitment seems to be somewhere between $2 billion and $3 billion with earlier estimates reaching as high as $7 billion.

 

Imperial Pacific seeks amendment to casino license agreement was last modified: March 14th, 2017 by Lars Jones


Kansas Crossing Casino to begin soft opening last week of March

While keeping with their latest Grand Opening date of April 8, 2017, Kansas Crossing Casino has now announced that special guests will receive ‘sneak peeks’ throughout the last week of March and all of the public will be invited beginning March 31.

Casinos often open with a soft-launch for promotional purposes as well as to make sure all systems are “go” after extensive beta testing. However, the liquidity of the dates has some customers confused, according to reports on social media. Representatives have confirmed the soft and grand opening dates.

The facility near Pittsburg in the southeast corner of the state near the Missouri and Oklahoma borders faced an uphill climb at various times, mostly due to lawsuits from proponents of a competing proposal for the state’s final lottery-owned casino license.

The $80 million casino complex is located near the junction of U.S. Highways 69 and 400 in Crawford County and will feature over 625 slot machines, 16 gaming tables, and a 123-room Hampton Inn and Suites and entertainment complex. The casino is expected to entertain about 500,000 visitors annually, far less than the rejected Castle Rock project would have, but still a massive influx of arrivals for a town with a stable population of just over 20,000 people.

As of Saturday 3-18-2017, the company website still displayed a status of “check back soon for reservations” and travel partner websites were not yet accepting reservations for the week following the grand opening. No comment on when the hotel would open was available from the listed phone number.

Kansas Crossing Casino to begin soft opening last week of March was last modified: March 19th, 2017 by Lars Jones


Genting Group receives initial approval for downtown Miami hotel proposal

In southern Florida, global casino operator Genting Group reportedly won unanimous support from an influential Miami-Dade County committee last week for its plan to build a 300-room hotel on a small plot of land near the site of its long-proposed Resorts World Miami downtown casino resort project.

According to a report from the Miami Herald, Genting Group has been trying to obtain permission to build its Resorts World Miami scheme on the 5.65-acre site of the newspaper’s former headquarters overlooking Biscayne Bay since 2011 but its attempts have been continuously hindered by local opposition, planning regulations and an inability to secure the appropriate casino license.

However, Thursday reportedly saw the transportation committee for the Miami-Dade County Board Of County Commissioners breathe new life into the stalled casino plan after it approved an unaffiliated proposal to give the Malaysian firm a 90-year lease on an adjacent one-acre plot of public land that would be home to the hotel as well as a renovated bus terminal and new-look Metromover station.

Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez told the newspaper that the proposed hotel deal with Genting Group would generate nearly $55 million in rent and revenue-sharing payments for the county while he put the value of the transit improvements at around $22 million.

Although the plan calls for Genting Group to construct a hotel on the site, the Miami Herald reported that the company would be permitted to alter this designation in order to build a residential complex depending on market conditions.

“The Adrienne Arsht Center Metromover Station is a critical mass transportation hub in the center of our prized downtown Miami property and is in desperate need of revitalization,” read a Friday statement from Michael Levoff, Public Affairs Senior Vice-President for Genting Americas. “Assuming approvals are granted, the station will be modernized and improved with private funds from Resorts World [Miami], creating hundreds of construction jobs in the process.”

The newspaper reported that the proposed hotel structure would sit next to Genting Group’s other downtown Miami holdings, which include the site of the former Omni mall along with the historic Boulevard Shops building, while the firm would be required to start construction within four years.

“I don’t think as a commissioner it gets better than a situation like this where we have a commitment and the partnership is there,” Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman told the newspaper. “What you have is a win-win-win for the county that wants to get transit projects going. This is exceptional.”

Gimenez told the Miami Herald that the latest Genting Group project, which must now be approved at the next full meeting of the 13-member Miami-Dade County Board Of County Commissioners in April, would create 1,871 construction jobs with its hotel employing some 171 people.

Genting Group receives initial approval for downtown Miami hotel proposal was last modified: March 20th, 2017 by Adam Morgan


Reno welcomes first non-gaming branded hotel

In Nevada, Wednesday saw the city of Reno reportedly welcome its first non-gaming branded hotel after the owner of the former Siena Hotel finished converting the 214-room property into the new Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel.

According to a report from the Associated Press news service, the venue closed in late-June of 2015 but has now re-opened with its 22,000 sq ft casino replaced by a family-friendly entertainment venue offering games of bocce ball, shuffleboard and skee-ball alongside a restaurant and a pair of 50-foot projections screens.

“Northern Nevada, specifically Reno, is quickly emerging as a premier destination beyond its gaming roots and the opening of the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel will raise the standards for hospitality in the city,” read a statement from Fernando Leal, the man behind the enterprise that bought the property at auction for $3.9 million in 2010.

Opened as the Holiday Hotel in 1956 without a casino, the property added gaming a year later but continually struggled to make a profit. Leal is now hoping the new-look venue, which has joined the 5,700-strong family of properties managed by Maryland hotelier Marriot International Incorporated, will become a success due to its more traditional offering and the addition of a 15-foot outdoor restaurant deck that will allow up to 90 diners to eat while suspended above the Truckee River.

“It’s hard to believe but it is the only property over the actual river with outdoor drinks and dining,” read the statement from Leal. “The number of people that we’re going to be employing here is going to be higher than when it was a casino.”

Leal explained that this deck additionally includes a wrap-around fire pit that creates a wall of fire between visitors and the river while guests at the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel can also enjoy an outdoor pool and hot tub as well as exercise facilities.

As if this wasn’t enough, the property moreover features 38,200 sq ft of meeting and events space while a 10,000 sq ft outdoor recreation area comes complete with a bar and restaurant offering a buffet-style sushi menu alongside an assortment of up to 100 canned beers.

Furthermore, the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel is pet-friendly and offers a facility where guests can have a personalized tag engraved for their animal before being used and subsequently saved for future visits.

“Pets humanize and ground us,” read the statement from Leal. “They are a big part of the experience we are creating here; an environment where people feel welcome and comfortable.”

Mike Kazmierski, President for the Western Nevada Economic Development Authority, welcomed the new hotel and declared that he expects it to draw a different kind of tourist to Reno.

“In the past they’ve come here to game [but] now they are here to experience the entire region,” Kazmierski told the Associated Press.

Reno welcomes first non-gaming branded hotel was last modified: April 9th, 2017 by Adam Morgan


Vote on Genting Group’s downtown Miami hotel proposal postponed to April 18

In southern Florida, a plan from global casino operator Genting Group to build a 300-room hotel on a small plot of land near to the site of its long-proposed Resorts World Miami downtown casino resort project has reportedly been delayed after local commissioners failed to hold a full vote on the scheme.

According to a report from the Miami Today business newspaper, last month saw the multi-million-dollar hotel proposal win the unanimous support of the transportation committee for the Miami-Dade County Board Of County Commissioners but the required full vote before the body was a late addition to the group’s April 4 meeting and was subsequently postponed until its next gathering on April 18.

Genting Group has been trying to obtain permission to build its giant Resorts World Miami scheme on a 5.65-acre site that once housed the offices of the Miami Herald newspaper since 2011 but its attempts have been continuously hindered by local opposition, planning regulations and an inability to secure the appropriate casino license.

However, the stalled casino plan received a boost in March after the proposal for the unaffiliated hotel scheme, which would sit directly across the street from the hoped-for Resorts World Miami development, received the consent of the local transportation committee. This calls for the Malaysian firm to be granted a 90-year lease on a one-acre plot of public land that would be home to the hotel as well as a renovated bus terminal and new-look Metromover station.

Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez told the Miami Herald newspaper last month that the proposed hotel deal with Genting Group would generate nearly $55 million in rent and revenue-sharing payments for the county while he put the value of the transit improvements at around $22 million.

Although the plan calls for Genting Group to construct a hotel on the site within four years of receiving the appropriate approvals, the Miami Herald additionally reported that the company would be permitted to alter this designation in order to build a residential complex depending on market conditions.

Miami-Dade County deputy mayor Alina Hudak told the Miami Today newspaper last week that the hotel project is forecast to create 1,871 jobs during construction followed by approximately 171 full-time positions once completed.

“It will also stimulate the creation of 100 additional indirect jobs and provide significant revenue to the county and the city of Miami in the form of taxes and impact fees,” said Hudak.

Vote on Genting Group’s downtown Miami hotel proposal postponed to April 18 was last modified: April 11th, 2017 by Adam Morgan


Genting Miami-Dade joint development receives unanimous approval

Genting‘s 300 room hotel, planned to be built over the Miami Omni bus terminal with access to the Adrienne Arsht Center Metromover station was unanimously approved by the Miami-Dade County Commission on Tuesday. The transportation committee approved the plan on March 16. During Tuesday’s hearing, a side debate arose focused on the assumption that the gambling giant, through Resorts World Miami LLC, is planning to eventually develop a casino at the site.

The Miami Herald reports that Commissioner Joe Martinez said, “I am willing to live with a casino there because it is coming.”

The ninety-year lease includes air rights over the property where a 36 story hotel is envisioned. The deal includes improvements to other local mass transit and other systems such as a $16 million upgrade for a nearby bus stop that will include an air-conditioned shelter.

Upgrades and redesigns slated for the Metromover station include replacing of stairs, escalators, elevators, surveillance systems, and flooring along with improved pedestrian access and improved views from within.

The infrastructure, including a total of $22 million in improvements will continue to be owned by Miami-Dade. Genting will also turn over a side street it currently controls. Genting will need to make $100,000 per year lease payments while construction is underway and a cash payment to Miami-Dade of $10 million. Ongoing revenues to Miami-Dade include whichever is greater of 50% on gross revenues from retail or $300,000 per year.

The development land includes seven parcels which when counted together equal less than one acre.

The deal allows for significant investment in the transit infrastructure at no cost to Miami-Dade. All revenue will accrue to Transportation and Public Works.

Genting also own about 30 acres of adjacent land including the former Miami Herald building on the waterfront. Genting purchased the property earlier for $236 million as well as the Omni retail and hotel complex which sold for $185 million.

The Malaysian conglomerate originally planned to build a 5,000 hotel-casino on the waterfront but lawmakers have been cold to the idea of expanded gambling in the state. Powerful interests such as the Seminole Tribe, who could provide Florida with up to $7 billion if their compact is renewed have stood in the developer’s way, as have some so-called grass roots organizations flying the Disney flag that say the state will suffer from expanded gambling.

Genting has also proposed bringing machine gambling to the Omni site under current law but those efforts have met with defeat so far.

Some commissioners seemed leery of Genting’s intent and at least one attempted to write more county control into the agreement before coming on board for the unanimous approval.

Genting counsel explained to the commissioners that in order for a casino to be installed above the bus terminal, Genting would need a change in existing state law, local approval for gambling expansion, and permission from the city of Miami to change zoning to allow card games or slots. As Miami-Dade will remain as owner of the property under Genting’s 90-year lease, County approval would be needed as any zoning request submitted to Miami would need to be endorsed by Miami-Dade.

Genting Miami-Dade joint development receives unanimous approval was last modified: April 19th, 2017 by Lars Jones


Jeju Shinhwa World to open hotel accommodations April 25th

Landing International Development Ltd, a real estate firm located in mainland China, is set to debut an accommodation portion of the Jeju Shinhwa World, a resort located in South Korea this month. The resort will offer hotel accommodations starting on April 25th and is also set to have casino gaming in the future, along with other amenities.

The resort is located on Jeju Island and will open Somerset Jeju Shinhwa on the 25th, an accommodation section with 344 guest units, according to a report at GGRasia. This facility will be operated by The Ascott Ltd., which is a wholly-owned unit of CapitaLand Ltd, of Singapore.

In an earlier press release by Landing International, it was revealed that additional facilities of Jeju Shinhwa World would open later on this year. The full development is set to be finished by 2019, based on a company filing from last month.

In the previous press release by Landing, it revealed that from late 2017, the resort would be opening a family theme park, a water park, the YG entertainment center, hotel rooms, the largest retail/food beverage complex in Jeju and casinos. The casinos will be for foreigners only. MICE facilities are also to be opened, which refers to meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.

Previously, it was announced by Landing International that 486 guest rooms would open at what was being called Jeju Shinhwa World Marriott Resort and Spa, later this year and then 144 guest rooms opened in a second phase, with 630 guest rooms offered in total.

The company already operates as well as owns Landing Casino, a gaming venue located on Jeju. This casino is located at the Hyatt Regency Jeju Hotel.

With the Jeju Shinhwa World project, Genting Singapore Plc was set to be involved, the operator behind Resorts World Sentosa of Singapore. In November of last year, the firm announced they were ridding themselves of their rights to take part in the Jeju Shinhwa World project, which previously had the working title of ‘Resorts World Jeju’ or ‘Myths and History Park’. The company stated they would be working on other projects including potentially investing in Japan.

 

Jeju Shinhwa World to open hotel accommodations April 25th was last modified: April 18th, 2017 by Marie Kelley


Water park plans for shuttered Atlantic Club casino fail again

Local media reports that a plan by TJM Properties of Florida to sell the former Atlantic Club casino to local investors who planned to turn the property into an indoor waterpark resort has been taken off the table.

Investors had until Monday to show proof of funding, but the group was reportedly not able to show that financing was secured for the $135 million deal.

Last month, the group of investors, R&R Development Group, a company headed by Philadelphia investor Ronny Young and Robert Reilert, a former casino exec. announced the deal. The Associated Press reports that TJM is none too happy with the development.

“We were a little annoyed they would make an announcement like that without making sure they had their financing,” Dale Schooley, TJM’s director of acquisitions said.

The property is still a hot commodity according to Schooley who said several potential investors have approached them about the former locals casino that closed in January 2014.

“We showed the property four times last week, and we have two more parties interested,” said Schooley. “We’re very excited at the level of interest in this property.”

The Associated Press reports that Young has indicated he would remain in the bidding process to acquire the property.

According to a report yesterday, Young told the AP, “This is not over,” said Young. “I’m meeting all this week and next week to make a deal to go back and get The Atlantic Club. I’m not quitting. I’ll do whatever it takes to make this deal.”

Young also lamented trying to close such a big deal in too short of time, saying he had only given himself 60 days to conclude the purchase.

This is not the first time an effort to convert the former casino hotel property into a family-friendly water park and hotel has been scuttled.

In July 2015 Endeavor Property Group (Endeavor AC) announced plans for a $165 million investment as one of two new waterparks planned for the city. The Atlantic Club Boardwalk waterpark would have covered over 80,000 square feet and the plan included a host of other amenities, but no casino. That deal fell through in January 2016 even though it had the backing of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA).

The Atlantic Club was the first of four casinos to close in 2014 idling about 1,600 workers. In an effort to reduce competition for the remaining casinos in the city Ceasars and Tropicana acquired the building with players database and gaming machines going to Carl Icahn’s Tropicana.

Water park plans for shuttered Atlantic Club casino fail again was last modified: April 28th, 2017 by Lars Jones


Winford Hotel & Casino hosts official grand opening

After a soft opening in January of last year, the Winford Hotel & Casino has hosted their official grand opening ceremony this past Friday. The MJC Investments Corp project cost $160.9 million to build and features casino gaming along with hotel space. Manila Jockey Club Inc. subsidiary, MJC Investments Corp created the hotel and casino in Metro Manila to take advantage of the busy area in the Philippines.

Located in San Lazaro Tourism and Business Park, the casino has two floors dedicated to gaming with options including slot machines, table games and sports betting. On the third floor of the casino, players will find the VIP gaming area. For the poker enthusiast, the second floor is home to a poker room, branded after the Asia Poker Tour.

Overnight guests of the property can book a hotel stay in one of 128 guest rooms on-site. The facility also includes a heated pool and fitness area, food and beverage space, bar that includes a concert stage plus a spa.

Chairman of Pagcor, Andrea D. Domingo, spoke with the BusinessMirror on the project and stated that she is very happy to see the Manila Jockey Club adhering to the new policy of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, which is to encourage integrated resort casinos, rather than focus on gaming or just the casino portion of the venue.

Winford Hotel & Casino hosts official grand opening was last modified: April 26th, 2017 by Marie Kelley


Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians to build nation’s first inter-tribal casino in Salem

The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians announced today that they will be heading up a tribal gaming and entertainment facility on their reservation property in North Salem that will share 25% of its revenue with state and local government, 50% to be shared among the participating tribes, and the remaining proceeds retained by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.

The proposed 140,000 square foot entertainment, gaming, and hotel facility is slated to open in 2021 and is expected to generate about $185.4 million in gross revenue during the first year of operation. A tribal spokesperson related that they expect to employ 1,500 people in the first year.

Readers are welcome to visit the website dedicated to the Inter-Tribal Partnership Project (The Project) here: www.OregonTribes.com.

“We know that when Tribes come together with a shared mission, we achieve more for our community,” said Dee Pigsley, tribal council chairman, The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. “As Tribal leaders we have a unique opportunity to make an unprecedented impact on Oregon’s economy and the lives of our Tribal members.”

According to the tribe, a recent economic study has estimated that the regional gaming market, including all of Oregon and eight southern Washington state counties, will reach $1.6 billion by 2021. The newly opened ilani Resort, a $500 million facility developed by Salishan-Mohegan LLC (Mohegan Sun et al) in collaboration with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, may produce as much as $427 million in revenue with a large portion of that coming from Oregon residents.

“As a Tribal community, we have a responsibility to preserve and grow jobs and revenue in Oregon,” said Dee Pigsley, Chairman of the Siletz Tribal Council. “These funds directly support family wage jobs and healthcare, education, environmental, housing and transportation programs throughout the state.”

The new inter-tribal facility will be built on the Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indian’s reservation property near exit 258 off Interstate 5 in North Salem, Oregon. The tribe is currently endeavoring to expand tribal participation in the project and communicating with  policy leaders about some of the economic benefits the facility will bring to the area, the region, and individual tribes.

The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians is a confederation of all the tribes of western Oregon. In the 1800’s Siletz ancestors were removed from their homelands and moved to the Siletz Reservation on the coast. Its tribal headquarters is located in Siletz, Oregon and the tribe has operated government offices in Salem, Portland, Eugene, Lincoln City and Siletz for over 40 years.

The tribe currently operates the Chinook Winds Casino Resort on the beach in Lincoln City.

 

This is a developing story and may be updated.

Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians to build nation’s first inter-tribal casino in Salem was last modified: May 2nd, 2017 by Lars Jones