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THE Keep Guam Good organization believes the For-Profit Bingo Initiative, or Prop A, is a disguise to start casino gambling on Guam.
Yesterday at the Sinajaña Community Center, members of the Keep Guam Good organization launched their campaign against Prop A before a small crowd.
The initiative was submitted to the Guam Election Commission back in May by representatives of the Japan Guam Friendship Club with the proponents hiring individuals to obtain signatures for petitions. The facility where the for-profit bingo operation is proposed to be held is the former Guam Greyhound Park.
During the meeting, Keep Guam Good member Jackie Marati said a monopoly would be established if Prop A is passed, adding that Guam Greyhound will be the only place where bingo can be held. This could affect the fundraising efforts of nonprofit organizations like the Pangasinan Community of Guam and the senior citizen centers who hold bingo games.
“As a direct result of this monopoly, nonprofits who help our man'åmko', our senior centers, health care, youths and veterans will be shut down and unable to compete with such a well-funded monopoly,” she said.
Marati also said the bingo slot machines that are intended for the facility, as indicated in the initiative, is really “a blatant legalization of casino gambling on Guam.”
Jay Arriola, also a member of Keep Guam Good, gave a history of Guam Greyhound, which was once used for dog races before it was shut down a few years ago. The facility has been the proposed location for casino gambling initiatives that failed to garner enough votes to pass.
“Where do they expect to benefit by justifying the proposal,” he said of the proponents, adding that the people of Guam need to know who the owners or proponents of the for-profit bingo initiative are.
“The people of Guam deserve no less,” Arriola said.
Keep Guam Good members also state that more information and input from the proponents of Prop A need to be addressed on the legislation, which will appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 6.
If the proposal receives enough votes, it will take effect within 30 days of its passage.
“If this proposal passes by Dec. 8 this year, casino gambling will be legal on Guam with no rules and no regulations,” Marati said.
Father Adrian Cristobal, of the Archdiocese, informed the crowd that Archbishop Anthony Apuron will publish a letter in the Uma’Tuna Si Yu’os (formerly known as the Pacific Voice) on the bingo initiative by this weekend or next weekend.
“This will open the way for casino gambling on Guam,” Cristobal said of Prop A. “The concern of the archdiocese and the archbishop is the effects it will have on our society, most especially the effects on the poor and the families spending a large percentage of their money on casino gambling.”
Former Department of Revenue and Taxation Director Joey Duenas was present at the meeting and also expressed his concern on a section citing regulations of for-profit bingo by DRT.
“There is no regulation. All it says is that the Department of Revenue and Taxation shall within 90 days of the passage of this title promulgate rules and regulations for the operation. It doesn’t say the Department of Revenue and Taxation will be responsible for the administration and enforcement of this act,” he said.
The initiative itself, he said, is “poorly written.”
“And I believe it’s poorly written on purpose. If you make something so vague, so broad, in effect there’s no enforcement, there’s no regulation, there’s no administration,” he said.
In the meantime, the Guam Election Commission announced that Prop A will appear on the ballot as follows:
- Initiative to approve for-profit bingo at the former Greyhound Park and any adjacent property that is acquired by the owners of the park.
- 1. Defines Gross Bingo income as value of wagers minus value of prizes paid out.
- 2. Gross Bingo income is taxed at 20 percent, current Guam tax laws apply to other forms of income.
- 3. Bingo tax revenue placed in newly created Guam Bingo fund, from which expenditures are controlled 30 percent by GMH Board, 30 percent by Education Policy Board, 30 percent by GPD and GFD, 10 percent to Department of Revenue and Taxation for expenses. DRT will regulate Bingo Operations.
- GEC also announced that any voter or group of voters have no less than 45 days prior to the general election to prepare and file with the commission their arguments for or against the initiative. The arguments should not exceed 500 words.
- GEC board members are scheduled to meet this evening at 5:27 p.m. in the commission conference room.