The Commonwealth Casino Commission wants to be a law enforcer. Juan M. Sablan, the chairman, and Edward C. Deleon Guerrero, the executive director, in a joint letter, to the House Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations, stated that the casino commission “needs to be granted authority to be a law enforcement agency.” With that attempt, they endorse the passage of the House Bill 21-11.
This bill would define the authorities of the casino commission and would cause certain activities related to gaming, become criminal offenses.
With a separate letter to the House Gaming Committee, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce communicated their support for the bill.
Their letter was to inform the House Gaming Committee Chairman, Ralph N. Yumul about the introduction of the bill by, Lorenzo I. Deleon Guerrero the vice speaker, and the chamber president, Velma Palacios with intentions to provide the commission with the “necessary autonomy from potential political interference.”
The Casino Commission Chairman and executive director declared that the commission is the most suitable authority to investigate any violations of the casino rules – and implement gaming-related laws on Saipan.
They proclaimed that the commission has the institutional ability and expertise to deal with gaming-related offenses.
They appended that the commission personnel is more qualified at gaming enforcement than any other law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth. Moreover, it is more efficient and convenient to have the Casino Commission implement the gaming law than to train employees from the Department of Public Safety.
Further, the Casino Commission announced that the law enforcement authority would allow them to receive information regarding criminal and financial activities, and would also give them access to other law enforcement and intelligence-related data.
Without the authorization to operate as a law enforcement agency, it would be difficult for the Casino Commission to receive confidential and other law-enforcement information from different regional, local, federal, and international law enforcement agencies.
It would hinder the Casino Commission’s ability to conduct investigations on criminal backgrounds, and investigations related to the suitability of a casino license.
They added that the license to operate as a law enforcement authority would enable the Casino Commission to share law enforcement assets and resources, via the asset confiscation program and other asset sharing arrangements, with the federal law enforcement agencies.
The bill, H.B. 21-11 will be presented in the House Gaming Committee meeting on Monday. It will also be discussed in the Casino Commission’s monthly meeting, which is to be held on Thursday, Sept. 26.