7 Mar 2014

CNMI business group wants casino issue on ballot

4:38 pm on 7 March 2014

A group in the Northern Marianas has launched a petition so that the issue of casino gaming on Saipan can be put into the November ballot.

The Marianas Economic Research and Development Foundation is pushing for an integrated resort and tourism development in the CNMI, which includes legalising casinos on Saipan.

Our correspondent, Mark Rabago, says the foundation is concerned about the casino's rapid passage in the House and Senate without public hearing.

"They need 2,600 signatures to have the question under the member ballot, asking residents whether Saipan voters want to see gaming on Saipan. So this is a strategy by those who support casino gaming to have a law in place, at the same time as that bill. They want it on a ballot for the member polls."

Mark Rabago says the foundation would need the signatures of at least 20 percent of registered Saipan voters, and have them verified by the Office of the Attorney General.