|Developers have halted a planned casino project on the south Pacific island of Tinian after learning of a bill that would legalise gambling on the neighbouring and much larger island of Saipan.|
Bridge Investment Group had planned to open a 300-room hotel and casino on December 28 but has announced a postponement pending the outcome of House Bill 15-322, which is being sponsored by Vice-Speaker Justo Quitugua.
Both Tinian and Saipan are part of the Commonwealth Of The Northern Mariana Islands, a dependent territory of the United States with a population of just over 80,000. The proposed bill would legalise casino games such as blackjack, baccarat, and Texas Hold'em at what was formerly the La Fiesta shopping mall on the Commonwealth’s largest and most populated island.
'We are very disappointed as this action will negatively impact our project on Tinian,” said Phillip Mendiola-Long, Executive Vice President for Bridge Investment Group.
“Therefore, our owners want to stop all movement on our project until the Legislature decides what it wants to do.'
The bill would also permit slot machines at major resorts and hotels and has already been approved by the House. It must now be approved by the Senate and signed by the Governor to become law.