A feeling of unrest hovered in the Yigo gym at the village meeting held last night to educate the community on the For-Profit Bingo Initiative, or Prop A, which seeks to legalize for-profit bingo gaming in the Guam Greyhound Facility in Tamuning.
The small group that was present expressed their concerns over the impact of the initiative and of gambling in general on the island.
Attorney Ron Moroni represented Guam Japan Friendship Village, the proponent of Prop A. Moroni explained to the group that he had been asked by the company to address claims based on “misinformation.” He read from different clauses of the initiative, assuring the crowd that Prop A does not propose to bring in slot machines and will not affect recreational bingo.
He added for-profit bingo can be regulated by the Department of Revenue and Taxation and will be good for Guam’s economy. He further stated that claims made by the opponent are “not correct.”
For her part, “Keep Guam Good” organization member Jackie Marati argued that Prop A seeks to bypass the Johnston Act, which would make it possible to bring slot machines to Guam. Marati also stated that the group underwent no background checks. Throughout the campaign, she stated, the group has been silent and had not provided any credible information for the public.
Community members also expressed concerns that DRT, the Guam Election Commission, and the Legislature were not reaching out to the community when they are supposed to be the regulators of the law.
In addition to concerns over Prop A, several other concerns were also made about gambling on Guam in general, some of which are allegedly occurring without regulation.
Juan Blas ran a bingo game from the Greyhound Park for six months several years ago and wrote an essay in support of the initiative when he was sure that recreational bingo would not be affected.
Blas stated there are several game rooms and businesses that get permit licenses with DRT to operate, but that Rev & Tax is not actively enforcing the regulations.
“Jackie, we have a lot of housecleaning to do in Rev & Tax,” he stated.
Yigo Mayor Robert Lizama also felt that the village meeting was a good opportunity for residents to discuss the initiative. “It's good for people to come out and for the community to air out its concerns,” he stated.
The next village meeting on Prop A will take place at the Dededo Senior Citizen Center on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.