House OKs bill giving casinos 24-hour liquor license

Also exempts casinos from alcohol ban on Election Day; allows ABTC staff to carry firearms

The House of Representative passed yesterday a bill that would allow casino and electronic gaming facilities to serve alcohol 24 hours a day. Current rules allow the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants only up to 2am.

House Bill 19-87 HD1 SD1, authored by Rep. Joseph Lee Pan Guerrero (R-Saipan), amends and repeals certain sections of Public Law 18-56 that authorizes, establishes, and regulates an exclusive casino gaming license in the Commonwealth so it can address provisions that sets the hours of sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages within the casino premises. The bill also includes e-gaming facilities.

“The Legislature finds that it is rational to implement a special casino license that allows for the 24 hours (sic) operation of sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages within the designated casino premises within the Commonwealth (Saipan, Tinian, Rota) that caters to our gaming and tourism industries,” the bill reads.

This would be done with the creation of a new Class-8 Special Casino Liquor License.

Aside from giving a special liquor license to casinos and all e-gaming facilities, H.B. 19-87 also exempts casinos and e-gaming facilities from the Election Day ban on the sale of alcohol.

This didn’t sit well with Rep. Edwin Propst (Ind-Saipan), who wrote on his Facebook page, “ While all other bars and restaurants and hotels on island are forbidden to sell alcohol on Election Day, these gambling establishments will be allowed to do so. This is beyond unfair.”

Another provision of the bill is it now allows personnel from the Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco Control Division to carry firearms. Propst said the provision arming ABTC staff should have been a separate bill.

Aside from Propst, lawmakers who voted “no” to H.B. 19-87 were Reps. Ramon Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan), Roman Benavente (Ind-Saipan), Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero, Ralph Yumul (Ind-Saipan), Edmund Villagomez (Ind-Saipan), Blas Jonathan “BJ” Attao (Ind-Saipan), Vinnie Sablan (Ind-Saipan), and George Camacho (R-Saipan).

The bill now heads to the Senate for action. If the Senate passes it without any amendments, it would go to Gov. Eloy S. Inos for his signature.

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Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com

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  • captain

    So now these guys from ABT are to carry fire arms. Why do they need side arms?
    For what reason since the NMI citizens are not allowed to carry guns (yet)
    Establishments are also not allowed to have guns.
    A business owner is not allowed to protect himself and his business against robbers etc using a firearm. (NMI)

    So now a fact, allowing all Govt employees to carry guns is endangering the public, especially these irresponsible ABT employees.
    I have watched these ABC people many times going from establishment to establishment in the past getting free drinks and sing Karaoke, eat and dance while on duty as they also get a “donation” from the business owner especially the ones that are foreign owned. I have also seen them going into poker places while on duty.

    So this will be another argument FOR second amendment rights in the NMI. What possible reason could there be to issue weapons to more unstable politically appointed unstable Govt. employees??? (Same with Customs)

    • Tinalakattne Yantitiyas

      Sorry Cap but disagree with you on this one. They are part of law enforcement; like it or not. As far as being corrupt etc; they ABT employees should be held accountable and that starts with management holding employees to the “rules of conduct”, keeping up with training, and dismissal of poor performing employees. Heck! The whole government need to pull up their big boy underwear and act, think, serve, be accountable as they were appointed by “Joe Public”.

      Regarding gun ownership and second amendment; one shoe does not fit all brother.

  • captain

    BTW, Dynasty served 24 hours. I am surprised that Viola did not use that as a reasoning to include BS under that law as she attempted to do in the “smoking” issue.

  • captain

    So what is next in regards to the firearms, allowing the Gaming Comm. on the Islands to carry guns?
    This mid term elections it is a MUST to voteout many of these irresponsible idiots.

  • Tinalakattne Yantitiyas

    Ed definitely right! ABTC carrying firearms bill should be on a different bill along with languages for high accountability/training/guidance regarding its usage both on and off the clock.

    Secondly, we have enough troubles with alcoholic beverages on the islands and “other” drugs. Do we need to continue to beat ourselves to the ground? A “cooling” period should instead be enforced. A 2 or 3 am no alcohol sale would be the much smarter course.

  • Juanita Mendiola

    What exactly are they enforcing that would require them to use lethal weapon? It sounds to me that this is beyond the context of their duties. I mean, what are they going to do? Keep bar keepers, servers, patrons or stores at gun point while someone retrieves compliance documents? Or shoot violators running away? I am lost. Unless I am misunderstanding their enforcement duties, I do not see the need for them to carry fire arms.

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