Pohnpei Seeks Guidance from CNMI on Launching Casino Gambling

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Guam – The CNMI House of Representatives yesterday hosted a delegation from Pohnpei that visited the lower chamber in a fact-funding mission to learn more about the Commonwealth’s experience in casino operations.

This comes as one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia courts an investor planning to build a 1,000-room casino and golf resort on the island.

The delegation, made of three senators and one legislative staff, said they are looking at legalizing casinos in Pohnpei to improve the island’s tourism industry.

CNMI lawmakers advised their counterparts from Pohnpei to learn from Saipan’s experience with poker establishments, which were originally allowed to operate on the islands for tourists, but wound up catering to local residents.

The visit by Pohnpeian lawmakers comes a few months after the CNMI Senate thumbed down a House bill that seeks to legalize casino operations on Saipan.

House Speaker Froilan C. Tenorio, however, told the Pohnpei delegation that he hasn’t given hope in introducing casino operations on Saipan, believing that it’s the only one that can save the teetering CNMI economy. Casinos are allowed to operate on Tinian and Rota.

Mark Rabago, PNC News, Saipan.