THE Commonwealth Casino Commission on Tuesday approved Imperial Pacific International's request to increase the percentage of its rolling-chip program. Imperial Pacific owns Best Sunshine, Saipan's casino investor.

The rolling-chip program was authorized at 1.3 percent late last year and is now 1.8 percent. The approval comes with a six-month trial period that commenced on the day it was approved.

Imperial Pacific/Best Sunshine said it needs to attract more high-end players and high rollers to the CNMI by giving them better incentives than those offered by the casinos in Macau, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Richard Chen, a representative of Imperial Pacific, was elated with the decision of the commission. "We are obviously happy about the approval for increasing the percentage of the rolling-chip program even though it is only on a six-month trial basis. It will allow us to be more competitive."

He added, "VIP players look for the best offer on credit as well as commissions that they can get. So a lot of our competitors offer as much as they can."

He said what they currently offer is a rate of 1.3 percent which is "one of the lowest commissions outside of Macau."

The casino commission also discussed and approved for publication a Minimum Internal Control Standards or MICS for the casino.

Angela Harvesty, vice president of compliance for Imperial Pacific, said: "We're comfortable with MICS. Giving us 60 days to get them in place is very reasonable, and we always try to comply."

She added, "I have worked quite extensively, spent many hours with the commission, reviewing MICS. It seems to be what is standard in the U.S industry."

The commission likewise considered new licensure procedures for corporate officers and investors.

In addition, a thorough review of junket operators' applications and licensing procedures was suggested by the commission's executive director, Edward Deleon Guerrero. He said he wanted to make sure that CNMI regulations and procedures reflect those of a U.S.-based casino industry regulator.

He told the commission that, so far, they have received 12 junket applications - two are locally based, three from China, five from Macau, one from Singapore and one from Korea.

During the public comment portion of the commission's meeting, Liana Hofschneider of the Matua Council for Chamorro Advancement asked the commissioners to support her petition for the construction of the Anaguan Memorial Monument at the Best Sunshine hotel-casino project site in Garapan. She said she is willing to work with Best Sunshine.

Asked how much the memorial would cost, she replied that a locally based reputable firm indicated that the amount would be $400,000.

Source: Mvariety