House panel defers action on bill to abolish Lottery Commission

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THE House Gaming Committee on Tuesday did not act on House Bill 21-96, which would abolish the CNMI Lottery Commission, because lawmakers want to hear first from the Commonwealth Casino Commission.

Authored by Rep. Ralph Yumul, the committee chairman, the bill proposes to transfer the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the lottery commission to the casino commission.

Yumul said the committee needs to sit down with the casino commissioners and executive director Edward C. Deleon Guerrero because aside from the casino, there are other gaming activities on island — the public lottery or scratch lottery, for example — that would be overseen by the casino commission if the bill becomes law.

The Lottery Commission was established in 1982 by Public Law 3-60 to allow the operation of a public lottery in the CNMI. The funds earned from lottery operations are deposited into the Commonwealth Lottery Fund.

According to Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig, findings of his department “determined that such revenues have been appropriated annually for the operations of the CNMI government leaving a current balance of $40.”

A Lottery Commission revenue report indicated that as of August 2019, a total of $293,794 in lottery revenues and business license fees had been appropriated for government operations.

Internet gaming

As for H.B. 21-31, which would regulate internet gaming in all the senatorial districts, the committee decided to let the full House decide on the measure.

The bill was introduced by Vice Speaker Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero.

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