Casino Commission applies for law enforcement authority

Imperial Pacific International

Commonwealth Casino Commission chairman Juan M. Sablan and executive director Edward C. Deleon have asked lawmakers to grant law enforcement powers to the commission, in order to better investigate and enforce gaming-related laws, Marianas Variety reports. 

In a joint letter to the House Committee on Judiciary & Governmental Operations, Sablan and Deleon said that it “needs to be granted authority to be a law enforcement agency.

They added that the commission personnel is more trained on gaming enforcement than any other law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth and that the law enforcement authority will allow the casino commission to receive criminal and financial information, along with other law enforcement and intelligence related information.

They also noted that the commission is currently unable to conduct criminal background and other suitability investigations of the casino licensee and other individuals without great difficulty. 

They said the law enforcement power will allow the commission to share law enforcement resources and assets, through the asset forfeiture program and other asset sharing agreements, with federal law enforcement agencies.

The related House Bill is due to be discussed this week. 

Earlier this year, it was reported that the government is now considering a bill to legalize online gambling to offset falling revenues from the casino.

As of now, House Bill 21-31 has already gained approval, and will now move to the House of Representatives where it will be debated and then voted upon.

Should the House of Representatives decide to pass the bill, then online gambling will be made legal across the CNMI.