It should already be common knowledge that the electronic casinos will not generate new revenues as there are no special flights or anything planned to bring in tourists specifically to gamble at hotels in a room full of machines and there hasn’t been one feasibility study or anything to prove different. The tourists that are going to play these machines were coming to the CNMI anyway to spend their money on vacation, not necessarily to gamble, so we were going to get their money anyway! The real gamblers and high-rollers go to real casinos, so guess who is going to be the top players—locals again. The citizens who are falling for the ridiculous political rhetoric that e-gaming is going to do so much to help the CNMI are ignorant about the economics of e-gaming or they are following someone who has no proof.
As for e-gaming being the salvation for the retirees, that is exactly what politicians want you to think, just like they promised us “better times” and lots of other broken promises that were never backed up with evidence and facts. They used every excuse in the book to make gambling bigger on Saipan and now it’s the Fund for the sake of politics only, not because they care so much about retirees but to get re-elected. By the time we see for true their mistake it will be another two years and they will have new political footballs to toss us.
As for people not wanting to identify themselves, I don’t blame them and more important is the fact that it does not matter who but what they are saying and promoting. Their names won’t make one difference but the haters don’t like it because they don’t have a messenger to attack and have to deal with the empirical truths and facts that e-gaming is casinos and that they won’t create new revenues.
As for the public hearings, I was there at all of them trying to stop the casinos first, hoping our leaders realize that e-gaming is casinos but they didn’t. The members of the House, Senate and governor who passed H.B. 18-51 are either ignorant about the many different alternatives to e-gaming or they are followers serving a different boss than the people. It is truly disappointing when you consider the fact that the people and the Catholic Church are on record twice against casinos on Saipan, which is e-gaming; they didn’t respect the people or God.
Alternatives, I can tell readers for true a referendum will be sponsored for the people to kill e-gaming, followed by an initiative to create a Micronesia lottery for the CNMI, Guam, FSM, and Palau that will be owned by the CNMI government and operated by a private company through a bidding process. There is also talk of a marijuana initiative to make it legal for medical and recreation purposes like the states of Colorado and Washington. Do we have to be last at everything? FYI, the city of Denver saw $567 million in collections last year, which is a clear indicator tourist will literally be fighting for a plane ticket to visit the CNMI. There is also the fact that the President has stated publicly that we (America) need to move forward and stop arresting our youth for something that almost every adult has tried. The war on pot is a futile war as it grows freely.
P.S.: Ignorance is bliss for those who will follow anything and anyone and I bet these are desperate people who don’t believe in God and some of the same people who are still asleep in dreamland and their vote for Better Times and Let it Be. Hello, wake up, it’s 2014!
Ambrose M Bennett