5 Mar 2014

CNMI Senate finally gives green light to Saipan casino

4:34 pm on 5 March 2014

A bill allowing casino operations on Saipan in the Northern Marianas has finally been passed by the CNMI Senate and heads back to the governor's desk where our correspondent says it is likely to be quickly signed into law.

The bill passed on the thinnest of margins, 5 to 4, and comes at a time when the Commonwealth is seeking new sources of revenue in the midst of 25-percent pension cuts and spikes in health insurance costs, among other costs.

The Senate, on four previous occasions in recent years, has rejected bills aimed at legalising casino gaming on Saipan, so the decision on Tuesday came as a surprise.

The bill requires a minimum investment of 2 billion US dollars in the CNMI, inclusive of the casino itself and the construction of a hotel with at least 2,000 rooms.