Torres: Casino ripple effect brings in other investments


Gov. Ralph DLG Torres downplayed a concern about a lack of diversification in the CNMI’s source of revenue and its reliance on the casino industry, saying the casino itself is producing ripple effects.

In an interview on Wednesday, Torres said the casino brings in other investments.

“Now property value has increased. Now tourism has doubled,” the governor pointed out.

He said the casino is an industry that has a ripple effect that brings in other revenues.

If one says the casino is just one industry, “well, it is a huge one and the biggest one,” Torres said.

He pointed out that because of the casino industry on Saipan, the CNMI’s revenue has increased altogether.

Tang earlier disclosed that the gross revenue tax from the Saipan casino has helped the CNMI government pay the Settlement Fund $1 million per week since December 2015, extending the Settlement Fund’s investment horizon.

However, since it is not certain that this source of revenue will continue, and because of the CNMI government’s lack of revenue diversification, relying too much on the casino gross revenue tax “is very risky,” Tang said.

This was among the issues that Tang discussed in her report on the operation of the Settlement Fund from fiscal year 2016 through the third quarter of fiscal year 2017.

Tang made the presentation in the U.S. District Court for the NMI on Wednesday. Torres watched the presentation and was allowed by designated Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood to speak about the government’s efforts in meeting the obligations to the Settlement Fund.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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