Saipan gaming taxes get questioned

A lawmaker questioned the fact that Saipan is not collecting gaming tax revenue from Imperial Pacific.

Saipan.- Rep. Edwin K. Propst said that Saipan should be collecting gaming tax revenue from Imperial Pacific International as there is no section in the Public Law 18-38 that establishes that the government can’t do it.

The lawmaker affirmed that the operator only pays a US$15 million license fee and the required 5 percent business gross revenue tax. “Fifteen million dollars a year is peanuts for what they are raking in when compared to what we would be receiving if we actually had a gross [gaming] revenue tax implementing from the beginning. We have the only casino industry in the world that charges zero on gross gaming revenue taxes,” said the lawmaker.

According to Asia Gaming Brief, Vice Speaker Janet U. Maratita introduced a bill earlier this year with the intention of imposingg a 5 percent tax on all gaming revenues. “The exclusive license fee that is paid currently is arguably a fair price for a legal monopoly, but even an entity that enjoys exclusive gaming rights should be paying their fair share of taxes,” she added.