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Commission asks Senate to ‘expedite’ casino law amendment

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THE Commonwealth Casino Commission has asked the Senate Cannabis and Gaming Committee to “expedite” action on House Bill 21-11, which would give the regulatory body more authority over casino operations.

Authored by Vice Speaker Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero, H.B. 21-11 was passed by the House in December last year. It proposes to criminalize certain acts related to gaming and would further empower the casino commission.

In their joint letter to Senate Cannabis and Gaming Committee Chairman Vinnie Sablan, acting Casino Commission Chairman Jose Reyes, and acting Executive Director Charlie Atalig said the commission has been in full support of the provisions of the bill since it was first introduced.

The commission still supports the “much needed amendments,” they added.

Reyes and Atalig said they “respectfully request your committee’s assistance in recommending its expedited passage to the full Senate.”

The casino commission believes it is the proper agency to investigate and enforce any violations of the casino and gaming-related laws on Saipan, as it has the institutional capability and knowledge to investigate gaming-related crimes.

The measure would allow the casino commission to receive criminal and financial information and other law enforcement and intelligence-related information, the commission said.

It has been informed by local, regional, national, and international law enforcement agencies that it would be difficult for these agencies to provide confidential and other law enforcement information to the casino commission if it is not an authorized law enforcement agency, the commission added.

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