The House Committee on Commerce has recommended full House passage of a bill allowing video lottery terminals in certain hotels and airport departure areas, but the measure does not specify where the generated revenues will go, such as whether it will be for the NMI Retirement Fund or other programs.
Gov. Eloy S. Inos wants any video lottery bill to specify the programs that will receive revenues from it.
The administration has looked at video lottery for debt service for an up to $300 million pension obligation bond. The governor signed the POB authorization bill on the same day he announced a video lottery plan.
Five of the seven House Commerce Committee members, led by chairman Rep. Edmund Villagomez (Cov-Saipan), signed off on the panel report.
The committee offered a new version or House Draft 1, to allow video lottery terminals only in hotels with at least “100 rooms” or “at any departure area that is accessible to departing passengers only.”
House Bill 18-100, authored by Rep. Antonio Agulto (Ind-Saipan), amends Section 1 of Public Law 3-60 by allowing video lottery terminals to be part of the operation of a public lottery.
But the bill does not limit the number of video lottery terminals allowed.
HB 18-100, HD1 may be acted on at the next House session.
Agulto’s earlier plan was to allow video lottery terminals only in 10 Saipan locations, including hotels with over 250 rooms.
However, this was not included in the actual bill, only to be amended by the committee to place them only in hotels with at least 100 rooms and in airport departure areas.
Agulto said he does not believe the video lottery bill conflicts with the still pending electronic gaming bill and the casino gambling bill.
Video lottery refers to a system in which players wager on machines in which winners are chosen based on random selection done by a computer.