26 Apr 2011

CNMI gambling bill raises constitutionality issues

8:10 am on 26 April 2011

A bill legalising casino gambling on Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas is starting to draw questions about its constitutionality.

A Representative, Stanley Torres, launched the first local bill in CNMI history seeking to authorise casino gambling in a senatorial district.

But the House minority leader, Diego Benavente, says Mr Torres' proposal is not allowed by the constitution because he said a local law was not a Commonwealth law.

Mr Benavente says in his opinion, even if the language of the constitution is vague, its intent is not and it needs to be followed.

But Mr Torres said once signed into local law, his bill, albeit affecting the Third Senatorial District or Saipan, is in fact Commonwealth law.