Saturday, May 23, 2015Saturday, May 23, 2015

Macau junket investor to build $3.75b Saipan casino

Published on Aug 13, 2014 8:28 PM
A croupier sits in front of a gaming table inside a casino on the opening day of Sheraton Macao hotel at Sands Cotai Central in Macau in this September 20, 2012 file photo. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - An investor in one of Macau's largest junket operators plans to build a US$3 billion (S$3.75 billion) casino resort complex in the western Pacific island of Saipan amid sluggish growth at home, the world's biggest gambling market.

Imperial Pacific International Holdings Limited, which invests in the Hengsheng Group junket, said on Wednesday it was looking for a property in Saipan to build the integrated resort after being granted a 25-year casino licence by the government of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The casino would be the first large scale integrated resort on Saipan, the largest island in the US commonwealth which is located a five-hour flight away from Shanghai.

Like other junket operators, Hengsheng is trying to diversify away from Macau, as growth in the world's biggest gambling market slows this year due to a weaker Chinese economy and a pervasive crackdown on corruption by Beijing.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!