Bill to put poker, e-gaming under casino commission


Rep. Joseph P. Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan) believes the Commonwealth Casino Commission should regulate poker arcades and electronic gaming facilities since they fall under the gaming industry.

Deleon Guerrero, chairman of the newly established Gaming Committee of the House of Representatives, has introduced a bill transferring the functions of licensing and regulating poker arcades and e-gaming facilities from the Department of Finance to the commission.

Finance currently has the licensing and regulating powers of all machines used for poker amusement, pachinko slots, e-gaming, and electronic table games.

Deleon Guerrero said it is only proper that everything related to the gaming industry be put under the commission’s control.

“They have the training and the expertise in order to regulate the gaming industry. It just makes sense to consolidate everything in one regulatory authority,” he said. “They are in a better position to do it, but we do have some issues that we are going to discuss further with them.”

“Like amending the bill to make things clearer. CCC supports the bill but it needs to be expanded and we’re working on it right now. They are also going to give us their comments,” said Deleon Guerrero, who was a member of the House that passed the bill that legalizes casino operations on Saipan in the 18th CNMI Legislature.

He said licensed poker and other gaming machines would still need to meet certain standards. “Maybe they are not compliant right now but this should be sorted by regulation. The standards for protocol for taking out money would also be tightened up.”

“We want to see that the gaming industry is tightly regulated. In a way it is not fair to the casino industry that they are heavily regulated and we have two others—poker and e-gaming—that are not. I’m not saying that they are not regulated, we just want to make sure all the standards are fair and equitable.”

Deleon Guerrero’s bill, House Bill 20-38, does not include bingo, cockfighting, and lottery.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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