31 Mar 2014

Senate passes Saipan casino amendment bill

7:49 am on 31 March 2014

The Northern Marianas senate has passed an amendment bill to the week-old Saipan casino gaming law, to change some problematic sections of the new statute.

House Bill 18-182 tries to alleviate some of the concerns of the Saipan gaming law's critics.

They include clauses on tax rebate restoration, cuts in tax benefits for the exclusive casino licensee, payment of interest on retirement contribution withdrawals and land compensation payments.

The governor, Eloy Inos, is expected to sign the amendment bill this week.

Saipan voters have rejected a proposal to build a casino twice, the last time in 2007.

But pro-casino lawmakers say times have changed, and the CNMI needs to find the money to restore the 25 percent cut in retirees' pensions.