SAIPAN – The Commonwealth Casino Commission supports House Bill 21-77, which would extend from six months to 36 months the statute of limitations for violations that may lead to the revocation of a casino license.

Co-authored by Rep. Ralph N. Yumul and Vice Speaker Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero, H.B. 21-77 proposes to give the casino commission adequate time to investigate any violation of the casino license agreement.

The bill would also authorize the Legislature to approve any decision by the casino commission to revoke a casino license.

H.B. 21-77 states: “The license shall not be suspended or revoked absent finding of clear and convincing evidence during a hearing by unanimous vote of the Commonwealth Casino Commission; provided that any decision of the commission to revoke the exclusive casino license shall be submitted to the Legislature for approval by a majority of the members of each house of the Legislature through a joint resolution.”

In their joint letter to Yumul, who chairs the House Gaming Committee, acting Commission Chairman Joseph Reyes and acting Executive Director Charlie Atalig said they share the committee’s view that the current statute of limitations in the casino law “is inadequate and a challenging time constraint should an offense severe enough to warrant suspension or revocation of casino license occur.”

They added, “The commission may require more than six months to conduct a thorough investigation on such occurrence. With that stated reason, the commission supports the extension of the statute of limitations from six months to 36 months.”