Northern Mariana Islands debate Garapan hotel EGMs bill

The committee has identified three hotels.
The committee has identified three hotels.

Amendments to house Bill 23-85 would allow hotels in Garapan with 30 bedrooms to operate electronic gaming machines.

Northern Mariana Islands.- The House Committee on Gaming has deliberated on amendments to House Bill 23-85, signalling potential changes to electronic gaming regulations. Chaired by Rep. Ralph N. Yumul, the committee proposes revisions that would permit hotels in Garapan within specified geographic boundaries and with at least 30 rooms to operate electronic gaming machines (EGMs).

Under the existing Tourism Entertainment and Destination Enhancement Act, signed in December 2023, hotels on Saipan with a minimum of 100 rooms can host EGMs. Hotels with fewer than 100 rooms can offer electronic gaming if connected to a golf course.

The proposed amendment, H.B. 23-85, would extend this to hotels with over 30 rooms limited by Orchid St. to the south, Beach Road to the east, Micro Beach Road to the north, and Coral Tree Avenue to the west.

According to Mariana’s Variety, the committee identified just three eligible hotels in Garapan: Hanamitsu Hotel at Paseo De Marianas, Micro Beach Hotel at the corner of Coral Avenue and Palm St and Pacific Island Inn on the second floor of Jonny’s Bar on Beach Road.

There will be public hearings to gather input from stakeholders, including the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Association of the NMI, electronic gaming operators, and the community at large. 

Lawmaker urges Commonwealth Casino Commission board to step down

Representative Marissa Renee Flores has called for the immediate resignation of all Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) board members. Flores claimed they had failed to properly regulate casino operator Imperial Pacific International (IPI).

Speaking during public comments after the CCC’s monthly board meeting, Flores asserted the urgency of revoking IPI’s casino licence, citing financial expenditure and time wasted. 

According to Saipan Tribune, Flores expressed concerns about IPI’s casino contributing to the Northern Mariana Islands’ alleged blacklisting. Edwin K. Propst and Vicente Camacho joined the call for immediate licence revocation.

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