The Saipan and the Northern Islands Legislative Delegation passed Wednesday a local bill that proposes some amendment to Saipan’s electronic-gaming law.
All 17 SNILD members present at a special session voted “yes” to the passage of House Local Bill 22-28, in the form of S1, D1. The legislation would amend Saipan Local Law 22-6, Section 101(a) to restructure the local license fee imposed on all poker amusement machines located within e-gaming facilities or hotels and e-gaming devices located on Saipan.
Saipan Local Law 22-6 essentially doubles the license fees of e-gaming machines as it imposed a $2,500 tax or 15% of net gaming proceeds, whichever is greater, on all e-gaming devices on the island, including poker arcades within e-gaming facilities or hotels. This is on top of the $2,500 license fees these companies are already paying to the government for each machine.
Before passing the bill, the SNILD adopted the Gaming Committee’s report that recommended the passage of the legislation.
SNILD Gaming Committee chair Rep. Edwin K. Propst (D-Saipan) said the committee met last June 15 to discuss the legislation and then worked and produced a substitute bill.
Propst thanked those who submitted comments, including Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, Northern Islands Mayor Vicente Santos, Attorney General Edward Manibusan, and MP Holdings LLC general manager Bartley A. Jackson.
MP Holdings owns the Saipan Vegas game room. At the June 15 SNILD Gaming Committee meeting, Jackson said the proposed amendment to the e-gaming law is a well-thought-out bill as it will save the e-gaming industry on Saipan.
Propst said Wednesday that the committee worked with Manibusan and with MP Holdings LLC, and that there were agreements made and several of which were worked out.
Propst said he did realize, however, that there are some changes that have to be made to the substitute bill.
The SNILD members approved Propst’s proposed amendments.
E-gaming was legalized in the CNMI in 2013. MP Holdings and Mariana Entertainment are the only two companies involved in the operation of e-gaming businesses on Saipan.
Mariana Entertainment owns game room Club 88.