Senate voted to defer action on the controversial online gaming bill, House bill 10-12-12-HD2 after the Senate Committee on Public Utilities and Housing recommended to table the bill. This essentially means that no further action will be taken on the bill.
The bill which had passed unanimously in the House received loud opposition from the public. A public hearing held on June 3 on the bill garnered a large crowd of public opposition. An online petition to oppose the bill gained over 600 signatures.
The bill proposed to increase the number of online gaming licenses to 30 from current 4, expands the definition of online gaming broadly, expanding beyond just the current licenses of Virtual Pachinko and Internet Lottery to sports betting, and e-casinos.
It is touted to bring millions in revenue to Palau with estimated $27 million for licenses and fees. In this COVId-19 environment, it is pushed by its proponents to be the solution to Palau’s financial woes.
Deferring action on the bill as some senators say, is “putting the bill to sleep” without controversy. Given the current time table, the bill can continue to “sleep” until the time runs out on this government.