Saipan regulator to see staff numbers slashed from 39 to 16

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Saipans Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) will see its workforce fall from 39 to just 16 on 31 July, the date the 60-day termination notices sent to employees last month expire.

The full impact of the regulators dire financial situation was revealed by CCC Chairman Edward C. DeLeon Guerrero last week during its monthly meeting and in a subsequent interview with local media outlet Saipan Tribune.

The loss of staff is a direct result of casino operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLCs own financial woes, which has seen its casino license suspended for failure to comply with certain requirements under its license agreement. Those failures include the non-payment of IPIs annual US$3.1 million regulatory fee in October 2020, which comprises all funding provided to the CCC each year.

According to comments made by Guerrero to the Saipan Tribune, the CCC receives just US$1 from the government each year, leaving it with little choice but to start cutting expenses in the absence of IPIs contribution.

He has also flagged more extraordinary measures in the near future, such as shutting off air-conditioning units and other appliances in the CCC office and conducting meetings via video conferencing.

With Imperial PalaceSaipan closed since 17 March 2020, IPI has filed an administrative request for the Superior Court in Saipan to conduct a judicial review due to differences of opinion between it and the CCC over payment of the annual license fee given the impact of COVID-19 on its operations.