Online betting could be unveiled soon at the CNMI – i.e. the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. This is the financial support to Imperial Pacific International (IPI) which is the only casino operator Saipan.
On Tuesday, the Senate of the CNMI sanctioned the final reading of House Bill 21-31, which allows the three senatorial districts of CNMI – Saipan & the Northern Islands, Tinian & Aguuijan, Rota – to decide if they’ll permit online betting operations in their regions.
As at now, the bill will be sent to the House of Rep for adoption. The House Bill 21-31 has been passed around the legislature as far back as 2019.
This was around the time that showed that IPI did not have the ability to make a profit if they kept on running its current land-based casino operations – this also includes completing the construction of its facility that’s been halfway built.
Without surprise, IPI showed support for House Bill 21-31, as long as the company had the sole right to offer online betting.
The Senate approved the bill by a 6-1 vote with an abstention. The lone abstention vote was from Senator Paul Manglona. According to the Saipan Tribune, he was quoted to have asked his contemporaries how they were backing IPI to have more duties knowing the ill-fated company was falling down a cliff.
Senator Sixto Igisomar gave a response to the objections of Manglona as he noted that the CNMI is in some way a part of the United States. For this reason, whoever operates online betting from the CNMI
“has to jump through the obstacles of the federal government on internet gambling to make sure that they qualify for it.”
This could be a little difficult for IPI. This is because of the list of federal probes the company which is listed in Hong Kong is currently battling. These vary from an investigation down to alleged violations of the Bank Secrecy Act.
IPI responded to this by not responding to the Treasury Department. They are also facing an FBI probe into alleged wire fraud, illegal campaign contributions and money laundering.
The bill was introduced by Representative Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero, and he said it would make sure a stream of betting revenue that could not be hidden by issues like coronaviruses and did not depend on tourists to the CNMI.
That is not all, recently, China acknowledged that it had created a ‘blacklist’ of countries that had established a reputation for enticing mainland residents out of the country for betting purposes.
According to them, the list will never see the light of day but will remain a top secret within government circles. However, CNMI politicians understand this all too well and they know that the entire business model of IPI was built around high rollers from China – most of whom do not pay the debts they accrue from gambling.