Industry Reports

Tinian Governor Gives the Nod to Online Gambling Bill

As Casino Reports announced towards the end of September, the Tinian and Aguiguan Legislative Delegation approved an amendment to the Tinian Casino Gaming Control Act of 1989. It aimed to regulate the constantly-growing online gambling industry across the island of Tinian, which is striving to prosper for years. The bill was passed unanimously by the Tinian politicians and it appeared on Governor Ralph Torres’ desk, pending his decision. According to the latest updates, on Tuesday Mr. Torres penned the revised bill, which allows licensed casino operators to lawfully offer online gambling supposing that they meet certain requirements.

This Tuesday, Governor Ralph Torres approved an online gambling bill. The piece of legislation became known as House Local Bill 20-30 and it was sponsored by Rep. Edwin Aldan. After being supported by the Tinian officials, the bill needed only Governor Ralph Torres’ approval to become a law.

Under the recently-signed law, which was renamed to Tinian Local Law 20-5, the casino licensees are allowed to offer online casino games within their platform. However, to qualify for an online gambling license, casino operators should fulfil certain conditions. Among all other things, casino licensees are required to operate a land-based casino facility, which features no less than 300 hotel rooms. In terms of taxes and fees, interested casino operators will pay an annual fee of $300,000 for the permission to offer online casino games. Along with the annual fee, casino operators will be obliged to pay a 5% tax on their gross gambling revenue every month. Last but not least, the operators need to implement a geolocation software to limit online gambling activity within the borders, where online gambling is regulated.

Most Licensees Unable to Meet the Requirements

The announcement of the revised law ruffled the feathers of many casino operators, who expressed their reluctance to the high requirements. They explained that most of the casino operators throughout the island are not able to apply for a license as they are unable to meet all the requirements set by the government. Industry-involved experts warned that lifting the bar that high may result in a negative effect. Instead of reviving the dull casino market, Tinian officials may bury it even deeper.

Here it is important to note that Tinian’s casino industry has experienced a significant slowdown due to the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, which needed to suspend operations. The reason is that in 2015 the US financial watchdog FinCEN penalized the operator with a $75-million fine due to certain lapses in its anti-money laundering system. In order to resume its gambling operations, the operator needed to pay the fine, which took quite a long time. This damaged the development of the casino industry in the area, as Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino was among the major operators at that time.