U.S. Treasury Given CNMI Casino Jurisdiction

In a case between the U.S. government against Hong Kong Entertainment over 158 criminal charges in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a judge has given the U.S. Department of the Treasury authority to regulate casinos on the land. The department immediately fined the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino for violating FinCEN rules.

A ruling in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands has granted the U.S. Department of the Treasury authority to regulate casinos in the land. A statute has been authorized by Congress allowing the Treasury to expand the definition of the United States to include the CNMI.

The case of NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona was quoted in the ruling, which hopes to tackle anti-money laundering. Last November the U.S. government filed 158 criminal charges against Hong Kong Entertainment Investments Ltd. in regards to local gaming property Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino. More than 150 of those counts regarded failures to file currency transaction reports. FinCEN fined the property $75 million last week.

“Tinian Dynasty’s actions presented a real threat to the financial integrity of the region and the U.S. financial system,” said FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery in a statement.

Hong Kong Entertainment moved to dismiss the case, due to the belief that U.S. Congress never gave the U.S. Treasury authority to regulate the CNMI casinos. Judge Manglona said from its inception in 1970, the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act granted the Treasury Secretary authority to include “the possessions of the United States” as part of the “United States.”

George Que, a VIP services manager from Tinian was charged in 2014 with conspiracy to allow gamblers to conduct transactions over $10,000 without filling out necessary paperwork with the U.S. government.