Zoning Office: 15 of 21 poker arcades failed to relocate

OF the 21 poker establishments on Saipan that are not within the legally designated areas, 15 have not relocated as of Oct. 26, 2017, Zoning Administrator Therese Ogumoro reported to the board on Thursday.

The poker arcades had until Oct. 25 to comply with Saipan Local Law 18-5 which requires poker operators to relocate their establishments to the designated zones for adult gambling machine businesses.

Ogumoro said the penalty of non-compliance is up to $1,000 per day.

At the meeting presided by Zoning Board chairman Diego Blanco at the multi-purpose center in Susupe, Ogumoro said of the 21 poker establishments, six are covered by Saipan Local Law 20-12 which rezoned all lots east of and adjacent to Beach Road from village commercial to mixed commercial, and which extended the allowable areas of poker arcades to include lots from Chalan Msgr. Guerrero to As Perdido Road.

Ogumoro said there are 47 active poker establishments with a total of 650 machines on Saipan.

Of the 47, 26 are within the designated zones, including the six allowed by Saipan Local Law 20-12.

Under Saipan Local Law 18-5, poker arcades must be within the tourist resort and mixed commercial districts on lots abutting or west of Beach Road and Chalan Tomas Sablan from Afetna Road to Chalan Msgr. Guerrero, and on lots abutting or west of Chalan Pale Arnold from Chalan Msgr. Guerrero to Dama di Noche Street, as well as in the Garapan Core, Garapan East, and Beach Road zoning districts if the business is located 200 feet away from a church, Laundromat, public or private school, park, playground, or other adult gambling machine business; or in a hotel with more than 20 rooms if it is located within the Garapan Core, Garapan East, Beach Road, tourist resort or mixed commercial zoning districts.

Ogumoro said she received 10 letters from poker operators, some of whom have asked for an extension due to the difficulty in finding a new location. She said others who have found new locations have yet to renovate the shops.

“Some of the letters expressed their willingness to comply with the law and…to relocate their establishment,” she added.

But at least two poker operators have sued the CNMI Zoning Board over the implementation of S.L.L. 18-5.

“We would be conferring with our legal counsel regarding the lawsuit,” Ogumoro said.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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