Saipan casino bill signed into law

    A bill legalizing casinos on all three main islands of the Northern Mariana islands was passed into law by Governor Eloy S. Inos, according to local media. The government passed the bill to help generate revenue to make up a shortfall in pension funding. Eloy said a 25 percent cut in pension provisions will be restored within 90 days. However, local media said the restoration of benefits will still depend on whether a casino investor makes a

    $1 million non-refundable application, and pays $30 million towards a license-fee payment. The bill is also currently facing a series of about 20 amendments. Alex Sablan, head of the CNMI Chamber of Commerce, told local media that the exclusive casino operator was not being taxed enough to solve the islands’ funding issues. Taxes of $15 million per year don’t even cover the minimum requirement for the retirement fund that was recently settled, he said.