The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is making a push for online gambling to be legalized on the Islands. The CNMI is part of the commonwealth of the United States and has turned into a popular destination for VIP gamblers in the last few years who like gambling at the land based casinos on the Island.
Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan) introduced House Bill 21-31 earlier this year to get online gambling legalized which would then allow the three islands (Rota, Tinian and Saipan) to offer iGaming services.
There were many who expected that bill to go through smoothly after the CNMI Gaming Committee approved the House Bill and said that they were in favour of online gambling legalization as long as everything was properly regulated. However, it is very rare that any online gambling legislation gets approved without any opposition.
The House Bill was sent back for further review as there were quite a few questions that remained unanswered and also because legislators believe that some of the key topics needed further discussion and review, so that online gambling regulations could be properly formulated.
One of the concerns was pointed out by the Attorney General’s office who said that there was no indication as to which agency would serve as the gambling watchdog for the iGaming industry.
In a statement, Rep. Tina Sablan said
The Commonwealth Casino Commission, do they have the capacity to do that? When we know that they don’t have the capacity to properly regulate the casino industry right now. The bill nor the committee report address the AG’s concerns on the constitutionality of having Senatorial Districts regulate these matters
Discussions Will Enable Better Regulation
Most CNMI legislators are in favour of online gambling as they realize that the islands will benefit greatly from opening up another revenue stream. However, they don’t want to rush things as they know that online gambling legislation can pose a number of issues to the authorities and the government if not done right.
Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero understands why legislators decided to send back his House Bill for further discussions and he is already with the delay. He said his bill did not outline with agencies or entities will govern the online gaming industry as he only focused on ensuring each island can generate more revenue. He is open to having further discussions and fine tuning his bill so that it can receive full approval going forward.