ABTC workshop held for alcohol, tobacco, betel nut retailers

Alcoholic Beverage and Tobacco Control Division director David R. Maratita educates over 200 licensed businesses engaged in the sales of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and betel nut products about the new laws and regulations administered by ABTC. (Contributed Photo)

Over 200 business representatives took part in the Alcohol, Beverage, and Tobacco Control Licensee Workshop at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe.

Commerce Secretary Mark O. Rabauliman stated that the ABTC Division under the Department of Commerce held an informational and regulation update workshop for alcohol, tobacco and betel nut retailers.

“We met with small retailers as well as operators of restaurants, bars, and night clubs. The workshop focused on educating businesses licensed by the ABTC Division on the mandate for monthly sales reports for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

“We also shared updates on the alcoholic beverage control laws that implements the new Class-8 Casino Liquor License and Class-9 E-Gaming License. This was an amendment made by Public Law 19-30 authorizing both the Casino and E-Gaming establishments to sell alcoholic beverages for 24 hours.

“We also addressed the newly implemented betel nut control regulations as created by Public Law 19-66. These outreach efforts are part of the ongoing and continued resolution of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres in strengthening public and private partnership by updating and educating businesses on the changes and requirements of the laws affecting their licenses,” Rabauliman said.

According to ABTC director David Maratita, the division control regulations and the new betel nut control rules and regulations will fully take effect on Feb. 7, 2018.

Maratita elaborated that the new Class-8 Casino Liquor License and Class-9 E-Gaming Liquor License are applicable only to those business classes or category.

Maratita says that while Public Law 19-30 recognizes the potential negative impact that may occur by allowing the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages for 24 hours per day, the authorization and condition of the special casino liquor license and the e-gaming liquor license are strictly confined within the casino and e-gaming establishments.

“One of conditions prior to the issuance of license is to have the employees of the casino and e-gaming establishments attend the required ABTC certification training in selling and serving alcoholic beverages responsibly, to ensure compliance on the restrictions prohibiting the sale and service of alcoholic beverages to an obviously intoxicated individual. ABTC has been conducting the certification training to casino and e-gaming employees in preparation for the new regulations that will follow the issuance of the casino and e-gaming liquor licenses. The amended alcoholic beverage control rules and regulations implementing the issuance of the new Class-8 casino liquor license and Class-9 e-gaming liquor license will take effect this week,” Maratita said.

The current law states that the license fee for Class-8 casino liquor license is $20,000, while the e-gaming liquor license fee is $10,000.

Maratita further added that the new law authorizing the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages for 24 hours at the casino and e-gaming establishments changes everything with respect to the business landscape and its enforcement mandates.

“Due to these changes, the ABTC Division will be on the clock 24/7 to provide services with regards to the inspection of these establishments and collaboration with the Department of Public Safety in safeguarding the community from the harms of alcohol such as drunk driving and other elements associated to alcohol intoxication and violations of other CNMI laws. Moving forward, we encourage the general public to call the division’s 24- hour hotline at 285-1821 to report any violations of the alcoholic beverage and tobacco control laws,” Maratita said.

ABTC supervisor Vince Palacios noted that many businesses have commended the efforts of ABTC in reaching out to the community to ensure that they are well informed of new amended laws.

“Many business establishments were not aware of our new amendments with regards to both our alcohol and tobacco laws, including the new betel nut control regulations. We received a great deal of positive feedback from the information disseminated during the workshop. We reiterate that if businesses still need assistance, our office is available to help,” Palacios said.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said the workshop works toward ensuring businesses will continue to be in compliance.

“We want to emphasize and recognize that the ABTC law enforcement officers are peace officers with full arresting authority and firearm capabilities. While this aids in enforcement, these workshops and outreach campaigns aim to prevent the need to use force. With the increase in commercial activity, and improvements to regulations, I commend the collaboration and consistent foresight of the Department of Commerce and the ABTC team with our private sector,” Torres said.

The ABTC Division is working toward bringing the workshop to businesses on Tinian and Rota.

All retailers who sell betel nut, including importers and local distributors of betel nut, are required to obtain a license from the Department of Commerce, Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco Control Division. Application forms for the Class-8 casino liquor license and Class-9 e-gaming license as well as the application for betel nut control license are now available for downloading via the department’s website at http://commerce.gov.mp/divisions/alcohol-tobacco/. Applications may also be picked up at the Department of Commerce, One Stop Regulatory Processing Center in Capitol Hill, as well as the offices of the Department of Commerce on Tinian and Rota

The new licensing and filing fees required under Public Law 19-66 as adopted through regulations are as follows:

-Class-1: Betelnut Import/Distributor License: $75 license fee, $50 filing fee;

-Class-2: Betelnut Retail Sales License: $75 license fee, $50 filing fee.

The new licensing and fling fees required under Public Law 19-30 as adopted through regulations are as follows:

-Class-8: Special Casino Liquor License: $20,000 license fee, $50 filing fee;

-Class-9: Special E-Gaming Liquor License: $10,000 licensee fee, $50 filing fee.

For more information about the workshop and the new laws, contact the ABTC Division at 664-8024, 285-1821 or via email at info@commerce.gov.mp. (PR)

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