In September 2007 residents on the island of Rota, part of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) voted to allow casino gambling. In January 2008 CNMI legislators passed a bill to appropriate US$500,000 for the Rota casino industry but, according to Rota politicians, this money is still outstanding. Lack of funding for the Casino Commission is now delaying the development of casinos on Rota.
The Commission is presently working on rules and regulations to govern the operation of casinos on the island and also is looking for future investors. A new casino industry is seen as offering employment opportunities on Rota and boosting tourism to the island. Recent visitor numbers from Japan and Korea have been affected by perceived travel constraints following the onset of the H1N1 virus pandemic and, in the case of Korea, a fall in its currency value.
Now Rota politicians are looking to borrow funds to push casino development
forwards. Apart from job creation in the gaming industry, casinos would mean work for the construction industry and more employment for Rota’s workforce, which has been hard hit by the present economic climate. The Rota Casino Act of 2007 provides specific guidance to monitor and safeguard the casino industry and to protect the interests of the public, and the Commission is working to ensure that the rules and regulations are attractive to potential investors and conducive to the operation of casinos. (E-07.27.09)
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