In the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a legislative committee has reportedly officially approved a pair of revised measures that would update the American territory’s regulations on casino gambling.

According to a report from the Marianas Variety newspaper, the first measure endorsed yesterday by the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives’ Committee on Gaming was introduced by independent legislator Edwin Propst and would raise the maximum amount a casino, employee or individual player could be penalized for rule violations to $800,000.

The newspaper reported that the current maximum punishment stands at $50,000 but Propst believes this is inadequate and initially proposed via his House Bill 20-50 at setting this ceiling at $5 million. However, negotiations purportedly saw this lowered although the revised amount would still be three times higher than that able to be imposed by any other jurisdiction of the United States.

“While a fine of that magnitude could be devastating in other industries, such a fine is a pittance when one considers that the casino regularly takes bets of over ten times that amount,” reportedly reads House Bill 20-50. “In short, a $50,000 fine could represent less than the revenue the casino wins on one single bet. As such, that amount is in no way sufficient to serve as a deterrent to improper conduct.”

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is home to the new $500 million Imperial Pacific Resort and Hotel Saipan with representative Joseph Deleon Guerrero reportedly declaring that the Committee on Gaming arrived at the new $800,000 ceiling after ‘soliciting comments’ and reviewing guidance and ‘rates from other jurisdictions’. He purportedly additionally explained that this maximum amount could still be changed as the five-page House Bill 20-50 goes for a vote before the full 20-member Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives.

For his part, Propst reportedly told the Marianas Variety that his legislation would see only ‘severe offenses’ subjected to the $800,000 penalty while ‘lesser offenses’ could be hit with ‘smaller fines’.

“If this bill becomes law, it should act as a deterrent but the biggest deterrent would still be suspension or revocation of the license,” Propst reportedly told the newspaper.

The Marianas Variety reported that the second proposal approved on Tuesday by the Committee on Gaming is known as House Bill 20-82 and was introduced by Deleon Guerrero in an attempt to clarify the powers of the Commonwealth Casino Commission. If passed by the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives along with the Northern Mariana Islands Senate, perhaps this 47-page measure’s most significant provision would see all of the regulator’s commissioners limited to serving a pair of six-year terms effective from May of 2014.

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