The Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission’s requirement for certain Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino employees to obtain either a $500 or a $50 one-time license has been creating an uproar that at least one lawmaker says should be resolved for all parties concerned.
Employees, mostly nonresidents, are the ones required to pay, not the employer, sources said.
Rep. Trenton Conner (Ind-Tinian), a member of the Tinian Legislative Delegation, said that, in his understanding, the $500 license has been in the Tinian Gaming Act and regulations for quite some time but it will be imposed only in fiscal year 2014.
He hopes that Tinian Dynasty and the Tinian Gaming Control Commission will agree on the rate.
Lucia L. Blanco-Maratita, executive director of Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission, clarified the issue on behalf of commission chair Matthew Masga and confirmed both the required $500 one-time license fee for “casino key employees” and $50 one-time fee for “all other employees.”
“Casino key employees” are defined as manager, supervisors and employees empowered to make decisions regarding casino operations. They include shift supervisors, cashiers, casino managers, assistant managers and security supervisors under the Tinian Gaming regulations.
“All other employees” are regular casino and hotel employees.
Blanco-Maratita said the Tinian Gaming Act and regulations require all casino employees to be licensed by the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission.
Pursuant to the gaming law, a person cannot work in a casino, and a person shall not employ someone to work in a casino, unless that employee is the holder of a casino employee or casino key employee license for the type of work the employee will be doing, she said.
She said the Act and regulations require casino key employees be licensed as “casino key employees.
“These employees have to go through an application and investigative process and have to pay a one-time license fee of $500. All other employees (regular casino and hotel employees) must apply and pay a one-time fee of $50,” she told Saipan Tribune.
Employees interviewed also confirmed the fees,
Blanco-Maratita said the casino employee licensing is dependent on the “type of work” performed by the employee or applicant.
“Therefore, if an employee gets promoted or transfers to another position [different type of work], the employee has to apply for a license for that changed type of work or position,” she added.
Florida-based human rights activist and former CNMI teacher Wendy Doromal described the $500 fee as “robbery” at a time when Tinian Dynasty has just started paying its employees on time.
A few weeks ago, Dynasty started paying its employees’ back wages and has been issuing payrolls on time and even a day earlier.
“But now the Tinian Gaming Commission is out to take a huge chunk of their wages,” Doromal said.
Nonresidents have said that the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission posted a memo in which all staff that were promoted must update their current ID.
In order for an employee to update their ID, they have to pay $500 to the commission.
“If the ID is not updated the employee will be given a notice that they have seven working days to pay the fee and after that the employee is not allowed to work. This is robbery. What person making less than $7 an hour can come up with $500 for a bogus ID fee? Just one more ugly CNMI extortion scheme,” Doromal added.