Casinos Looking for Deals on Equipment Can Bid on Imperial Palace Assets
It looks like Imperial Pacific International (IPI) won’t be able to stop an auction of its Imperial Palace assets from moving forward. Casinos that need to complement their gaming floors will soon be able to place bids on equipment going to auction.
Clear Management, which was going to auction the gaming equipment of the shuttered Saipan casino months ago, is finally moving forward. It will hold at least two auctions before the end of the year, with a third if necessary.
The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) appointed Clear Management receiver last year. That set the stage for what were to be six auctions before IPI convinced a court judge to suspend them. As it has continuously failed to demonstrate it is financially sound, IPI is out of options.
Going, Going, Gone
Clear Management founder Tim Shepherd confirmed with Inside Asian Gaming that the auctions are proceeding. He stated that the first will take place On October 7, with a second scheduled for October 9.
There’s going to be a lot of equipment available, but the specifics are still under wraps. Clear Management will post the list at least five days in advance of the auction on www.gamingequipmentauction.com. After reviewing the options, bidders can submit their bids to [email protected]
Shepherd, the co-founder of Silver Heritage Group, has already had access to the inventory and expects to be able to offer a lot of premium equipment. He explained that IPI bought gaming machines from Aristocrat, Light & Wonder and others, adding that some “has never come out of its box.”
However, potential buyers need to be aware of certain risks. Because Imperial Palace has been closed for the past two years, some of the gaming machines could have suffered internal damage. The tropical climate of Saipan may not have been kind to the equipment.
IPI thought it would open the casino this November, but that is looking more unlikely. The company owes the CNMI almost $100 million in outstanding license fees and other payments. It also owes more to settle private lawsuits and to stay current with its financial obligations.
Federal Bailout On the Horizon
The CNMI is a cluster of 14 islands in the Pacific Ocean that is an unincorporated territory of the US. It has historically been able to survive autonomously through tourism and clothing manufacturing. However, both have seen drastic reductions in activity.
The clothing industry started dwindling in 2005, with tourism following soon after. For the next few years, the government struggled to find new ways to improve its economy, ultimately deciding on casinos.
The CNMI approved a deal with IPI just under 10 years ago to give it exclusivity for gaming operations. It received a lot of backlash for the arrangement, as there was nothing to prove a casino would work or that IPI deserved complete control
Things still haven’t improved for the CNMI. In addition to dealing with COVID-19, it counted on the money IPI was to deliver to help it cover expenses. Now, however, the government is short around $11 million for its budget, according to Finance Secretary David Atalig.
As a result, the CNMI may have to turn to the US for help. It might have to request a financial bailout just to stay afloat. With the opening of the Imperial Palace still not visible on the horizon, the situation doesn’t seem to have an easy solution.
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