GAMBLING

Saipan Casino Auction Includes Rolls-Royce, Swarovski Dragons

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Posted on: March 29, 2024, 05:30h. 

Last updated on: March 29, 2024, 05:30h.

An auction of assets owned by the bankrupt and shuttered Imperial Pacific Resort Hotel in Saipan is underway, and there are currently some deals for the taking.

Saipan casino Rolls-Royce auction
A 2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost sits in front of the failed Imperial Pacific Saipan casino resort. The vehicle is being auctioned, and the high bid is currently $21,000, though the buyer will need to ship it from the Northern Mariana Islands. (Image: Clear Management Group)

Imperial Pacific International (IPI) remains in a legal dispute to part the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands, an overseas commonwealth of the United States, and formally fold on its once-planned $3.9 billion luxury casino resort.

IPI, a Hong Kong-based company, is controlled by Chinese billionaire Cui Lijie. Cui amassed her fortune by being an early investor in Macau junket firm Suncity.

Cui’s resort dreams in Saipan have been a colossal financial disaster. IPI owes the U.S. territory tens of millions of dollars in back licensing fees and regulatory obligations. The company earlier this month pitched the Northern Mariana Islands government a $31 million separation fee to resolve the outstanding debts.

While that process is ongoing, Saipan-based Clear Management Group — a strategy and advisory firm engaged in the entertainment and hospitality industries — has been appointed the resort’s receiver. In that role, Clear Management is handling the auctioning of the failed casino’s assets, most notably its luxury vehicles and its dragon art structure that includes more than 2.5 million Swarovski crystals.

Saipan casino auction
The “Saipan Dragons.” (Image: Clear Management Group)

Saipan Casino Masterpiece

Clear Management reached out to Casino.org this week to tip off the auction commencement of the Imperial Pacific assets. The crystal dragons are the lot’s prized item, as the dazzling art piece was the focal point of the extravagant casino hotel lobby.

The “Saipan Dragons” span about 200 feet long and weigh 40 tons. The gem-studded crystal sculpture flew above the resort atrium.

Two dragons fighting over a flaming pearl are a symbol deeply rooted in Chinese mythology,” the auction site reads. “The pearl is associated with spiritual energy, wisdom, prosperity, power, and immortality.”

The piece was designed by Lasvit, a world-renowned art manufacturer based in Manhattan. The dragons are illuminated and change colors. Lasvit artists said the project combined glassmaking, metalworking, and a “high-tech design process.”

Clear Management says the minimum bid is $100,000 for the piece, but there is a reserve. Bids are being accepted until Aug. 22, 2024.

Rolls’ Roll Onto Lot 

Luxury car enthusiasts might be a bit more interested in the Imperial Pacific’s vehicle auction.

The sale includes two 2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost vehicles, both of which have the extended wheelbase configuration for extra legroom. The current bids for each vehicle are around $21,000. The Rolls’ have less than 6,000 miles.

The 2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost came with a base price of $339,775. A national search for 2017 Rolls-Royce Ghosts on Autotrader shows similar vehicles listed for sale at an average of around $150,000.

Of course, getting the vehicles from the middle of the Pacific Ocean back to the mainland United States won’t be an easy or inexpensive undertaking. The Northern Mariana Islands are nearly 6,000 miles from the California coast and 4,000 miles from Hawaii.

The car auction, which additionally includes a 2017 Cadillac Escalade with less than 42,000 miles that currently has a high bid of $13,000, runs until April 11.

This isn’t the first time a failed casino took a massive hit on Rolls-Royce vehicles.

The bankrupt 13 Hotel in Macau, a similarly failed luxury casino project, had purchased 30 Rolls-Royce Phantoms for $20 million before the property was even open. After the scheme went belly up, the vehicles were sold off for just $125,000 a piece — a more than half-million-dollar loss per car.

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