ore Macau money looks to be headed for the Pacific islands following an application by an investment group based in the Chinese casino hub to take control of a plot of land on Tinian in the Northern Marianas for a 1,000-room hotel and casino.
Alter City, which is incorporated in the Northern Marianas, a self-governing US commonwealth in the western Pacific north of Guam, has asked the government there for a lease on 152 hectares that had been earmarked at one time for a similarly sized gaming resort proposed by another developer but never built.
The Tinian government supports the application, the Tribune says, and has petitioned the commonwealth’s legislature for a quick approval of the lease.
Alter City does not have a Tinian gaming license, but STJ is affiliated with a company that did. That company, HW Golden Island Holdings, a subsidiary of Taiwan construction giant Howarm, has proposed a number of resort-related investments on Tinian, and in 2012 was awarded a license by the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission in conjunction with a failed bid to buy the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, the Northern Marianas’ only casino. Tinian Dynasty, which has struggled financially, was taken over last year by Mega Stars Overseas Ltd, a Hong Kong group with Macau junket ties.
Marianas Stars Entertainment, a Mega Stars subsidiary also incorporated in the commonwealth, was the losing bidder for a license to develop a multibillion-dollar casino authorized earlier this year for the main island of Saipan, which to date has only hosted small-scale machine gaming and charitable games. The Saipan license, which has been embroiled in controversy from the start, went instead to a company called Best Sunshine International, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific Holdings, whose portfolio also includes Macau junket investments.
Prior to May, Imperial Pacific was known as First Natural Foods Holdings, a company that made news in 2013 when its founder and former chairman was charged by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission with embezzlement five years after he disappeared from the city, allegedly a fugitive ever since.