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Tenorio bill would help casinos on Rota, Tinian

By Emmanuel T. Erediano SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, March. 29, 2011) – In the Northern Mariana Islands, regardless of the Senate’s stance on the proposal to legalize casino on Saipan, Rep. Froilan C. Tenorio said he wants to help the casinos on Rota and Tinian.

Tenorio, Covenant-Saipan, told Variety that he is preparing a draft bill that will allow the casinos on Rota and Tinian to offer online gambling.

The online system, he said, involves computer technology that will allow gamblers from anywhere to gamble at the casino of their own choice. This means that casino players on Saipan can also patronize the casinos on Rota or Tinian.

Variety learned that Rota Treasure Island Casino President, Masahiro Watanabe has discussed the matter with Rota Mayor, Melchor A. Mendiola and the island’s legislative delegation.

Mendiola and the delegation support the idea, Variety was told.

Tenorio said his online casino bill will be a separate piece of legislation.

He said he will still support whatever version of the Saipan casino bill that the House Committee on Ways and Means will recommend for passage and it will be up to the Senate to put them all together.

"I would like to see the Saipan casino bill, whatever version it is, passed in the House and then it’s up to the senators if they want to incorporate online gaming in that bill, the former governor said. This online casino bill is primarily to help the casinos on Rota and Tinian. I want to help the casinos on Rota and Tinian whether the senators will approve or not the casino on Saipan," he said.

Tenorio at the same time said he is not representing anybody who may be interested in operating a casino in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

He said he is a Saipan casino advocate because he feels the CNMI needs it to boost the local economy.

"But I don’t know any investor. I don’t know anybody. Any investor is welcome," he added.

Variety learned that two investors have expressed interest in operating a casino here one from China and the other from South Korea.

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