Entertainment and Gaming

Entertainment and Gaming Industry

The Entertainment Industry is just starting to develop in the CNMI. The first international film festival was held on Saipan in December 2017. Saipan has a burgeoning writer’s community and there is an active theater community. The premier form of entertainment in the CNMI, particularly on Saipan, has become casino gambling.

The hotels and tour operators provide entertainment to tourists such as through dinner shows, live music, and island tours. Occasional concerts make their way to Saipan. Mixed Martial Arts is also big on Saipan. Gaming is a form of entertainment and the CNMI has allowed casino gaming on all three of the major inhabited islands (Saipan, Tinian and Rota). Each of these islands regulates gaming differently and the Gaming Industry is different on each island.

For example, Saipan Cockfighting Act of 1994 regulates Saipan’s Cockfighting Industry. A Saipan Cockpit Board established under this law. People who want to get involved into the cockfighting business need to apply to different kinds of cockpit license. The type of cockfighting license they need depends on whether knives or other sharp instruments will be used in the activity. In addition, no license shall be issued to any person, corporation, company or entity who is not a US citizen and resident of Saipan for at least seven years preceding May 11, 1996. Tinian Casino Gaming Control Act of 1989 regulates Tinian’s casino gaming industry. Persons under the age of 21 years will not be allowed in a casino during the hours of operation.

Companies in the Gaming end of the Entertainment and Gaming Industry either operate gambling facilities (casinos and e-gaming establishments) or provide support to the gaming facility operators (junket operators, gaming machine suppliers, auditing, etc.). Casinos will often also engage in auxiliary restaurant and hotel services, and therefore there is a cross-over with the Hospitality and Tourism Industry.

The gaming industry is highly regulated by the government. The Commonwealth Casino Commission has its own regulation to manage the gambling industry. For example, all junket operators must be licensed by the Commission. The casino licensee must keep a log of the junket representatives registered by the junket operator and make it available to the Commission upon request. The casino gaming licensee shall promote training and hiring of permanent US residents in a proactive endeavor to achieve an objective to having citizens of the US and permanent US residents comprise at least 65% of all employees. The licensee shall develop an Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Program, approved by the Chairman or Executive Director, sufficient to ensure compliance with all federal anti-money laundering statutes, all other federal statutes, and all Commonwealth laws and regulations regarding the handling and transfer of money.

Entertainment Law in the CNMI focuses on contracts and compliance. Gaming Law is not a branch of law in the traditional sense, but rather is a collection of several areas of law that include regulatory law and contract law. Attorneys who work with the Entertainment and Gaming Industry generally have additional education in the law applicable to this Industry.

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Chalan Kiya, Saipan, CNMI
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