The tiny island nation of the Northern Marianas is looking to expand its casino industry to attract Chinese gamblers.
The US territory of the Northern Marianas voted to legalize casinos earlier this year as a means of boosting employment and plugging holes in the public budget. The government will issue one license to build a resort casino on the island of Saipan.
The Marianas are located in the Western Pacific and are not subject to American gambling laws. Two companies are bidding for the exclusive license: Mariana Stars Entertainment and Best Sunshine International.
Macau experts asked to weigh in
The government of Eloy Inos has hired consultants from Macau, home of the world’s foremost gambling industry, to analyze the applications of the two candidates. Like Macau, the casino industry in Saipan plans to target gamblers from the Chinese mainland. As both land-based and online casinos in China are prohibited, those with the means travel abroad to gambling in resort casinos.
The Northern Marianas currently have one casino, the Tinian Dynasty. While expanding to add a second will not make it a major player in the Asia-Pacific gambling market, it could provide a major source of revenue for the tiny island nation.