14 Jan 2009

CNMI poker establishments cry foul

4:01 pm on 14 January 2009

Several poker establishments in the Northern Marianas are crying foul over a resolution calling for the phase-out of all poker machines in the CNMI, except those in licensed casinos.

They say the June the 30th deadline unfairly targets their businesses and puts to waste the thousands of dollars they spent to enhance security.

The manager of Treasure Island, Emil De Belen, says he opposes the resolution because it would result in the loss of jobs not only for himself but 15 of his co-workers.

It was the same sentiment made for another operations manager of a poker establishment in Garapan.

She says if the plan pushes through, she will be out of the job and she won't be able to send money to her family back home.

There are a total of 791 poker machines in the CNMI.

Poker establishments pay 12,000 US dollars per machine a year, which translates into about 9.5 million US dollars in licence earnings for the government a year.