The Senate has formed a new committee led by Sen. Justo Quitugua (Ind-Saipan) to address gaming concerns in the CNMI.
According to internal Senate communications, the new Committee on Gaming will be composed of Quitugua, Sen. Jude Hofschneider (R-Tinian) as vice chairman, and Sen. Francisco Borja (R-Tinian), Sen. Francisco Cruz (R-Tinian), Sen. Sixto Igisomar (R-Saipan), Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota), Sen. Steve Mesngon (R-Rota), and Senate President Arnold Palacios (R-Saipan) as members.
“The Senate [felt] like the committee had to be set up to address anything and everything to do with the gaming industry in the CNMI,” Hofschneider told Saipan Tribune.
“In this case, [it’s relating to] resort operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC, because of the magnitude of the gaming industry here in the CNMI.”
According to Hofschneider, the Senate first discussed the idea of forming the committee as a whole before unanimously passing it prior to the appointment of the committee chair and vice chair.
The Senate gaming committee has been functioning since July 11.
The committee could not be less than a five-man body and is responsible for the consideration and the reporting of all bills, resolutions, and other matters referred to it by the Senate relating to the gaming industry in the CNMI.
Hotel casinos, poker machines, electronic gaming establishments, internet gaming establishments, and all other gaming activities are included in the scope of the committee.
The committee also concerns the impact of the gaming industry and its effects on the community, including the implication of regulatory mechanisms, revenue collection, community welfare, as well as consumer protection.
The House counterpart is currently chaired by Rep. Joseph Deleon Guerrero (R-Saipan) and is composed of Reps. Edwin Aldan (R-Saipan) as vice chairman, Blas Jonathan “BJ” Attao (R-Saipan), Ivan Blanco (R-Saipan), Angel Demapan (R-Saipan), Joseph “Lee Pan” Guerrero (R-Saipan), and minority leader Edmund Villagomez (R-Saipan) as members.
The House counterpart has been in effect since the swearing in of lawmakers in early 2017.