Saipan poker bill set to resurface

The Saipan Zoning Office has urged lawmakers to reintroduce the poker bill that would remove distance restrictions.

Northern Mariana Islands.- The Saipan Zoning Office requested lawmakers reintroduce a bill favourable for poker machines. The office has urged the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation to reintroduce legislation to remove distance restrictions for gaming venues.

The businesses involved are those that host adult gambling machines, which are required to be away from designated zoning districts. However, Zoning Administrator Therese Ogumoro wants the delegation to reintroduce House Local Bill 20-80. The piece of legislation would have removed restrictions, but Governor Ralph DLG Torres vetoed it in February.

Ms Ogumoro argues that the 200-feet distance between poker arcades would benefit the segment. Furthermore, she assures it wouldn’t have a negative impact on current legislation.

“Once again, the [zoning] board and office believe that your approval of this bill will reduce the burden of poker [arcades] seeking to locate within the designated areas and will greatly assist in centralizing their operations away from the residential villages,” Ogumoro said.

Gov. Torres stated in his veto message that the Office of Planning and Development didn’t take part in the bill’s draft. However, bill’s author, former Rep. Donald Barcinas, said the office supported the bill but the Governor decided to veto it anyway.

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legislation Northern Mariana Islands