Gov Ralph DLG Torres has said he is willing to form a working group in order to revise the new law that doubles the Northern Mariana Islands’ e-gaming licence fee.
Northern Mariana Islands.- Gov Ralph DLG Torres has said he is willing to form a working group to devise a more reasonable increase for e-gaming licence fees. The news comes after Mariana Entertainment and MP Holdings asked the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation to amend the increased fee.
The current law signed by Gov Ralph DLG Torres imposes an additional fee of 15 per cent on all electronic gaming devices on Saipan, including machines located within e-gaming facilities or hotels. He has now said that he hopes a group can look at how to assist the affected e-gaming operators.
Torres said: “I understand that the business entities are struggling with the new fees but I believe that there has also got to be a solution.”
He added: “We do need additional revenue, and I have asked the Legislature to look at additional revenue-generating bills, but I’m not asking the Legislature to impose additional taxes on the community.”
The increased fee was proposed by Rep. Ralph Yumul, the brother of the CEO of Imperial Pacific International, a direct competitor to the slot parlour, which the e-gaming operators say causes a conflict of interest.
MP Holdings says it has had to close its Club 88 venue in Garapan, laying off 30 workers as a result. Companies also warned that if the increased fee is not suspended, 70 of their employees will lose their jobs and the entire electronic gaming industry on Saipan will disappear.