Sunday, October 28, 2007

710- THE GOVERNOR WAKES UP

WE FINALLY HAVE HEARD FROM THE GOVERNOR
Governor you are getting smarter everyday. This is the second time in a week I've had to tip my hat to you.
Here's what he thinks, and quiet rightly so...
Administration: No to Saipan casino. More
THE administration has taken a stand on the Saipan Casino Act. It’s against the proposed law.
“Because of the public land giveaway provision embedded in the popular initiative.” Under the initiative, the cash-strapped government will lease public land for only $1 per year to the casino investors. If ratified on Nov. 3, the initiative would give a monopoly to one company and restrict ownership and control of that company to persons of Northern Marianas Descent, or NMD's. This could eventually lead to a legal challenge. Governor Fitial also disagrees with the Saipan casino initiative’s proposed wholesale giveaway of valuable public land for the benefit of one indigenous group rather than the indigenous population as a whole.
Kudos again Governor!
.....GED.....

23 comments:

lil_hammerhead said...

Hmmm? Are they more worried about the public land or any possible future detriment it might pose to the poker industry? Doesn't Tan Holdings operate the large percentage of poker machines?

glend558 said...

I think Tan gave up the poker business but I'm not sure. Anyone know this?

glend558 said...

www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=1&newsID=63702

Pragmatic Plato said...

John did state and write many letters regarding the Public LAnds concern. I think they just finally got around to actually reading the damn ACT.

"Hmmm... elections in a week maybe we should read up on some of this stuff."

PP

lil_hammerhead said...

I thought I'd heard that. This is why I posed it as a question. The article said they were "bowing out".. still not sure if they did?

If they did.. Kudos to the Governor! The public land issue was bad, I personally think the ability of the NMDIC to draw on government coffers is even worse.

glend558 said...

With this statement by the gov. the SCA is finished. A bullet to the head of a dead horse. If it wasn't dead before, as I predicted, it is now...

bigsoxfan said...

Maybe a simpler guestion on the ballot next time. Right after the big one; "should the Commonwealth constition be ammended to a smaller, less expensive bunch of fools".

Jonas said...

The people who are for the casino initiative... have they done any kind of feasibility study or market analysis somehow proving how and why it would work?? That would be my biggest question... not so much if someone would build it... but would it work. At the end of the day, it's a business.. and if the business doesn't make money, they'll find a way to get out. I just got back from Macau... Las Vegas Sands just built the 3000 room Venetian - insane development, even has it's own stadium. Not fully open yet and already has over 12,000 staff members. That's just the beginning... several thousand rooms being built in Macau. Mid 2009, Marina Bay Sands will open here in Singapore - 2500 rooms, similar facilities to the Venetian. In 2010, 2000 more rooms, a Universal Studios theme park, and a second Casino will open in Singapore. Macau and Singapore... lots of glitz and glamour... and billions of dollars invested... that's with a B. So there is definitley a market for casinos... the question is, with this kind of competition, would enough of the right people go to Saipan to gamble and loose enough money to make such a venture feasible... I don't think so.

glend558 said...

Hello Jonas: You are right on all accounts. There is no study, they can't even explain how it will work except we'll all get rich and the big pie in the sky is about to come down and bless all the NMD's.This is so warped its not even funny, and will not pass. I don't know how much you have read but in two words 'it sucks.' Keep reading we vote Sat. Nov. 3rd.

Pragmatic Plato said...

Jonas,

It is not about whether Casinos are a good thing for the island. I think all of us that have posted on this one topic here on Glen's site have all said that casinos may be a viable industry to look into.

The problem is the Saipan Casino Act itself. The wording and the various provisions contained within the act that are either down right unconstitutional, poorly written, jeopardize our land and taxpayer dollars, etc.

So even if you are a staunch supporter of Casino Gambling in Saipan the Saipan Casino Act is not the way to go about legalizing it.

The scary thing is that so many con people are out there going house to house, posting on blogs, sending out emails, writing letters to the editor, etc. that i am a bit wary anytime people write what jonas just wrote above.

I think I may be losing it. Especially in regards to this ACT. I start thinking his comment is another ploy by the proponents to get the voters to forget about the Act itself and focus on how much money is being made in the gaming industry and how many jobs are being formed.

I do not know if this is the case and I will assume that it is not. But can all people that have a vested interest in the CNMI please read the SCA itself? That is what you are voting for in November not Casino Gambling.

PP

glend558 said...

PP: Jonas works in Singapore for the Bench Compnies, (www.thebench.com) he has no vested interest in the Saipan casino. He is an excellent tourism marketer and very good at what he does. He once ran the MVA which is his cause of reason of interest here. You can thank Rep. Ray Yumul for his leaving...A good friend of mine, I may add.

lil_hammerhead said...

Oh..that Jonas. Mr. Ogren. Hi Jonas!

glend558 said...

You got it right, Lil. I take it you knew him too.

Pragmatic Plato said...

Got it Glen. I did do my best to assume that was the case.

Just sounded so much like something that Demapan had published in a local paper regarding the positives of Casinos across the globe. Something I agree on but not as a reason for passing this terrible Act.

PP

Anonymous said...

I can't help but think that the Governor MAY have purposely timed his announcment so close to the election date to minimize the time the casino proponents would have in implementing damage control.

glend558 said...

PP: You are forgiven...
Anon: All in a political game...

I appreciate all the comments!

lil_hammerhead said...

Yeah, I knew Jonas, Glen. Good guy. Smart guy.

jonas said...

In re-reading my post I see how it could have been taken as support for the Act... not the case... I don't think it would work.

No, Plato... have not read the act... and I suppose that's what's being voted on but knowing how things are done up on the hill... I am not surprised if it's poorly written.

My point is more about the real issue at hand - is gaming a good way out? I think that, regardless of how the act is written, casino gaming is not a viable long term solution for the CNMI economy (and definitely not a viable solution for the community)

I do feasibility studies for a living... supply and demand, profit and loss, occupancy and average rate type stuff. If we look at where things are moving in Asia Pac over the next 3-5 years... where consumers are coming from and where they are going... and where real investments in new hotel/casino supply is going, Saipan doesn't stand a chance going down the gambling route. There is far too much money, effort, and financial muscle going in elsewhere.. 2.4 Billion USD invested in The Ventian, and a whopping 5 billion into Marina Bay Sands in Singapore - and that's just for two hotels!! Is it likely that someone who puts that kind of effort into building a Casino is going to allow some small time casino to lure away the highrollers to some remote tropical paradise like Saipan... if you take a close look at how casinos and casino sales work, not likely!

I used to have this conversation with the previous Rota leadership when they tried to pass a Casino act...

The CNMI needs to take a good look at what it has to offer... what its natural strengths are... and then create a quality destination that builds on those strenghts. Casino gaming is not such a natural strength... In fact, everything about casino gaming, is completly opposite of what the CNMI really is. Going down the 'wrong' track brings the potential/risk that the CNMI will be branded as such, making it harder, and more expensive, to do the right thing later.

jonas said...

Hi Lil Hammerhead! Thanks for the compliment... :) Do you have real name?... or would you have to bite my head off if you told me??

bigsoxfan said...

I wish Jonas had checked in a few weeks ago. For all the going around, he seems to have hit on some salient points, very quickly. However, where does this leave Tinian, why have they been able to do what they have, and do they have a future?

lil_hammerhead said...

Hey Jonas.. If I divulged my name here, I'd probably get my head bitten off by several people. We worked together a few times.

I'll keep it short and just say I agree almost entirely with your take on what the CNMI needs to focus on as a visitor destination. I think down the road and in the entire industry mix, a small casino or two won't be a terrible thing. I don't think laying our hopes on a casino as the industry here is very wise at all.

jonas said...

Good point BigSoxFan... a couple of points to be made about The Tinian Dynasty...

1. How are they actually doing? Which part of their business is making money and how much money is each part making? How much should they be making? Not saying they're not making money but it's one of the questions I'd ask.

2. Over the years there has been considerable speculation as to who the true owners of the Dynasty are... and what the true purpose of it is. Ties to Chinese central government/military and money laundring activity have been rumored... again, not saying that's the case but if it is, the dynasty is a bad benchmark for success.

3. It's been a few years since I was involved but they are fairly well connected in a fairly small part of China and has (apparently) to date been able to pull in enough people from China. I know for a fact that during a number of years, they had to litteraly pay for people to come (buying customers)... so one can argue... is that real demand? Also, I wonder if all their expenses (in China and in the CNMI) are included in their P&L analysis for the Dynasty??

For arguments sake, lets assume that The Dynasty is all legit and have been making enough money to survive, and pay it's owners a healthy return.

The Dynasty was opened in 98... and started forming its sales and marketing relationships 2-3 year before that.

At this time gambling in Asia was still fairly limited. Macau was still a Portugese colony and Chinese could not easily travel (including to Macau). Stanley Ho still had a monopoly on casinos in Macau and ran them the Chinese style - seriuos gambling... without the element of showbiz and the party atmosphere.

That all changed in 2000 when Macau went back to China... and more so a few years later when Stanley Ho lost his monopoly and two of the biggest Vegas operators got licenced and entered the market (Las Vegas Sands and Wynn) bringing the showbiz, conventions, sports marketing, and vegas style gambling to Macau. This change has really only started and is likely to continue for the next few years.

Developers are building thousands and thousands of rooms and getting pretty much every hotel management company in the business to manage them - everything from Four Seasons to Holiday Inn Express.

The Dynasty doesn't compete with the PIC or the Saipan Hyatt... they compete with the hotels in Macau, the Casino hotels in Seoul, and to some extent with Vegas.

So considering all this new supply in the market - (a market now part of China, without the immigration issues of Saipan, brand new luxury hotels etc etc) I would think that it's going to be incresingly difficult for the Dynasty to attract enough of the right kind of people.

glend558 said...

Jonas: Some great food for thought. These idiots here can only droole at thoughts like you talk about. Some very good research for free I may add. Thanks so much for the insight. Doesn't this blogging kinda get under the skin and make you want to answer the next question or comment? its contagious, I'll say... Keep on writing...