Saipan looks to online gambling to offset falling casino revenue

More than six months after super typhoon Yutu wreaked havoc across Saipan, the island has been struggling to get back to its full fighting force, further mired by falling revenues from its casino operator.

According to a report from Reuters, hundreds of people remain in makeshift housing following the super typhoon, with some schools teaching students in tents.

In the past, Saipan’s economy has been propped by tax revenue from the operations of Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific International Holdings, which make up for around 60 percent of government revenues per year.

However, lowered visitation from high rollers has weighed on tax revenue, which has come down 70 percent.

According to a report from Reuters, on a recent Saturday afternoon, only four of around 100 baccarat tables were occupied, while the rest of the casino lay empty and VIP sections were closed off.

It is understood 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.

It is understood that the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) will be in charge of issuing iGaming licenses and regulating the industry.