In the Northern Marianas, a bill allowing poker arcades to operate in south-western Saipan was approved by a local delegation last week.
The measure passed despite opposition from the Commonwealth Zoning Board, which said the bill contradicted a local law intended to move poker parlors away from villages and into designated areas.
Representative John Paul Sablan said he authored the bill to protect Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance funding worth a potential $US1.44 million.
There are about 120 poker machines in the CNMI and with their annual renewal fee at $US12,000 apiece, Mr Sablan said the bill protects a major source of funding for education.
The bill will now go to Governor Ralph Torres for approval.