The Northern Marianas Sports Association is hoping the scratch card lottery system would pump in additional funds to the CNMI’s sports arm.
NMSA, during its monthly meeting last week at the conference room of the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium, announced that it signed an agreement with Pacific Lotteries of Australia on Oct. 21 to become the distributor of the scratch card tickets in the Commonwealth. Scratch cards are a type of instant lottery game where you rub off a thin layer covering the ticket that has a hidden number or prize money. As much $1,000 in cash prize can be won in each card.
Funds from the scratch card will be used to defray the costs of NMSA’s daily operations and at the same time assist the off-island trips of the CNMI’s various national teams.
White said they are aiming for a mid-December launch of the lottery so that CNMI athletes can use the money to be collected for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
The long-time NMSA chief, however, declined to disclose other details of the agreement, like how much money would go to the Commonwealth’s sports fund.
“The terms of the agreement are confidential. However, we hope to raise enough funds to cover a substantial portion of the costs of participating in off-island events, such as next year’s Pacific Games,” White said in an email to the Saipan Tribune.
Sports governing bodies getting funds from revenues collected from bingo, casino, lottery, sweepstakes and other games of chance is not a new idea, as Australia, Guam, the Philippines and several other countries follow the same practice.
In the Philippines, the government allots 5 percent of the income generated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. from the casinos it operates, to finance the country’s sports development programs.
In the CNMI, NMSA during the last fiscal year received appropriation from the government, but in the past years, as an independent organization it relied solely on funds given by private companies and other sponsors. NMSA and its member sports federations also hold various fundraising activities to come up with the money needed to finance their trip to off-island tournaments and training.
Last year, NMSA took over the maintenance and management of the Oleai Sports Complex that houses the track and field facility, football field, Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium, and the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios and Miguel “Tang Ge” Pangelinan ballfields and will be needing additional funds to get the job done.
The CNMI sports governing body is also at the forefront of the resurfacing of the Oleai track oval, hoping to bring back the Level II international certification given to the facility before. Once the project is done, the Commonwealth, through Northern Marianas Athletics, can proceed with its bid to host the 2017 Micronesian Regional Championships and then prepare for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.