Saipan, Best Sunshine Seal Casino Agreement

The winning bidder for Saipan’s sole casino license has reached a development deal with the Pacific island’s government for a $3 billion-plus resort to be constructed over several years. Plans call for 800 hotel rooms in the first phase, a 10,000-square-meter casino and other attractions.

Winning Saipan casino bidder Best Sunshine International and the Pacific island’s Lottery Commission have signed a 40-year licensing agreement that calls for Best Sunshine to develop a US.14 billion resort casino.

Hong Kong-based Best Sunshine International is eligible to develop up to three sites pending the establishment of a Development Plan Review Committee to monitor and advise on the resort’s design and initial gaming facility.

The committee will include an architect or engineer representative or company experienced in integrated resort development selected by Best Sunshine and representing its interests and a company with extensive experience in multiple aspects of integrated resort development representing the interests of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, which is the governing jurisdiction. Within 60 days of the license award, Best Sunshine is required to provide to the committee its proposed implementation schedules.

Best Sunshine has eight years or up to 2022 to fully complete the project, although the initial gaming facility has to be built within 24 months of land acquisition. The company also agreed to be responsible for damages in the amount of $100,000 per day for unexcused delays in the development plan schedule, which may be amended from time to time.

Within 36 months, the basic structure of an integrated resort has to be built. Plans are for an 800-room four- or five-star luxury hotel, a $ 100 million themed entertainment facility with amphitheater and 10,000 square meters of gaming areas, among other things. The agreement stipulates that no more than 20 percent of gross floor area may be devoted to gaming.

The commonwealth, under the deal, agrees to actively assist Best Sunshine to secure suitable property for the required land. Under the agreement, Best Sunshine shall build an integrated resort as phase one of the development, inclusive of accommodations, entertainment, retail, service providers, and casino facilities.

The terms also require that Best Sunshine hire at least 65 percent U.S. or local residents of all employees.

Terence Tay, Best Sunshine’s chief operating officer, said it’s time to “get to work.” The development agreement, he said, “merely symbolizes the beginning of another race and in many respects, a race against time.”