Guam may be gearing up for a new set of gambling laws. Soon, Guam’s Liberation Day gambling activities may resume. Mayors are currently working on the new legislation, though a number of issues are in the way.
History of Gambling Laws Inside Guam
Guam banned most forms of gambling in 1977. That year, the government passed the Criminal and Correctional Code that completely banned casino and sports gambling. The Liberation Day Carnival was the only period in which Guamanians could gamble.
The money earned from gambling went directly towards funding for the event. Two years ago, this all changed. Senator Telena Nelson passed a bill to ban Guam’s Liberation Day gambling activities.
Attendees and revenue decreased dramatically. Before long, officials here began talking about whether or not to reopen up gambling during the celebrations.
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Recently, the government even pondered full legalization of casino gambling in Guam. Previous Governor Eddie Calvo told the media, “I’m not saying I like it, because I don’t particularly care for (casino gambling). We gotta look at casino gambling.” Last week lawmakers here resumed talks to once again allow gambling one brief period a year.
Recent News on Guam’s Liberation Day Gambling Laws
Current Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has stated that she will support Guam’s mayors deciding on the new gambling laws. Bill 43-35 was proposed in January that allows Mayors to hold their control over the Liberation Day Carnival. This bill would continue the ban on gambling during this event.
Is the bill is passed, $500,000 would be redirected from the GVB’s Rainy Day Fund to help pay for the carnival. The government is also reviewing a number of other bills.
Lawmakers here are at a standstill. Mayor Melissa Saveras is certainly fighting to reintroduce gambling during the Carnival.
“Whatever we get from the concessions and the vendors who bid is what supports our entire Liberation festivities,” she told the media.
There is no clear answer on whether or not gambling will be allowed. The Governor seems very open to the idea. Guam is short on cash right now and gambling could be the key to generating some much-needed revenue.
What Are Locals Saying About All This?
Guam’s government officials aren’t making much headway. A number of citizens have recently weighed in on the situation. Some feel legalized gambling would help to bring life to the Carnival once again, while others feel it’s unnecessary.
“It does bring in revenue, it can help our community. Why not?” Said Bobby Cruz, a local Guamanian.
Others felt gambling would be okay under tight restrictions. “It has to be regulated,” said Marie Cependa. “Sometimes it carries on after the festival, and that’s the problem.” This certainly makes sense. Any gambling laws passed will likely include heavy regulations.
Ultimately, the decision will come down to this territory’s mayors. Make sure to stay tuned for updates on the situation.
Do you think gambling should be allowed during Guam’s Liberation Day Carnival? Will the mayors come to a decision soon? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.