CNMI Governor Approves Temporary Emergency Casino Regulations

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Urgent need for financial resources prompts quick approval

By Joel D. Pinaroc

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, April 2, 2015) – Gov. Eloy S. Inos has signed the casino regulations that the Commonwealth Casino Commission earlier approved.

The signed document was hand-delivered by one of the governor’s staff during a meeting of the casino commission on Wednesday.

Michael Ernest, the legal counsel of the casino commission, said that the regulations, signed on an emergency basis, will be good for 120 days.

He said the document will now be transmitted to the Office of the Attorney General for publication in the Commonwealth Register.

The lawyer earlier said the commission has determined that these regulations be adopted immediately, noting that the commission will again meet to promulgate the regulations, which will open a 30-day window for the general public to submit comments.

The Commonwealth Casino Commission has unanimously voted to adopt draft regulations for Saipan’s fledgling gaming industry.

The commission on Friday adopted "Resolution No. 2015-001" or the "Commonwealth Casino Commission Rules and Regulations," by unanimous vote.

Edward Deleon Guerrero, the commission’s executive director, said the regulations include provisions for the collection of fees, licensing of employees, and provisional licensing for vendors, among others.

A provision for junket operators is still pending, he said, and will be tackled after another round of review by the commission.

The regulations have been subject to an "emergency adoption because of the government’s urgent need for financial resources," the resolution states.

Deleon Guerrero added that the regulations have been fast-tracked to allow the Saipan casino licensee—Best Sunshine International, Ltd.—to hire and train employees and order gaming machines and equipment for its planned temporary "live" training facility at the T Galleria in Garapan.

The resolution states that having no Commonwealth Casino Commission Rules and Regulations hinders the job market for Commonwealth job seekers and jeopardizes the Commonwealth’s ability to collect urgently needed revenues from the casino industry.

Best Sunshine’s temporary "live" facility is expected to open in June or July.

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