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HONOLULU, Hawaii (April 22, 1998 - PIDP/CPIS/Hulsen)---The first major casino hotel in the Northern Mariana Islands will open to the public Saturday morning on the island of Tinian.

Officials expect the legal gambling to encourage tourism and contribute significantly to the U.S. commonwealth's economy.

Owned and operated by a Marianas corporation, Hong Kong Entertainment (Overseas) Investment, Ltd., the $US 200 million Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, will offer guests five-star facilities, the Saipan Tribune reports.

Ferry travel between nearby Saipan and Tinian will be provided six times daily, while Guam visitors will be able to fly to the island in about 30 minutes.

The casino will feature a variety of gambling games popular both in the West and in Asia.

It was on Tinian, in 1945, that the Enola Gay airplane took off for Japan and dropped the first atomic bomb used in warfare on Hiroshima.

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