Rota Legislative Delegation chair Rep. Teresita Santos (R-Rota) introduced a revenue-generating bill authorizing Internet gambling on Rota with a nonrefundable $1 million application fee, a $1 million license fee for the initial 10-year term license, and a 25-percent gaming tax.
Casino gambling has long been allowed on Rota and Tinian, but not on Saipan.
Santos’ House Bill 18-135 seeks to use the proceeds from Internet gambling application fee and gaming tax for restoration of full retirement benefits, salary adjustment pursuant to Public Law 7-31, medical referrals, and scholarship programs on Rota.
The lawmaker said that a “well-regulated Internet gambling industry is of paramount importance to ensure greater consumer protection and control.”
The Rota Gaming Casino Commission has regulatory oversight over Internet gambling on Rota, and so are taxes, fees, fines, penalties, and other revenue collected from it under the bill. The commission also has the authority to grant licenses to Internet gambling operators.
Any license approved is for an initial term of 10 years, and could be renewed once every five years thereafter.
Under the bill, proceeds from the application fee and gaming tax will be used for the following: 50 percent for full retirement benefits’ restoration; 25 percent for salary adjustments pursuant to PL 7-31; 15 percent for CNMI medical referral/interisland medical referral; and 10 percent for the Rota Municipal Scholarship Program.