The ‘Legalization of Bingo Act’ or Proposal A has been drafted in a way that could allow for a bona fide casino at the former Guam Greyhound. This position is being argued by a grassroots organization that is in opposition to the proposal. This proposal could allow slot machines or any other gaming machine to be legal by putting the word ‘bingo’ on the machine according to Jay Arriola, an attorney for the ‘Keep Guam Good’ group. This group and several other individuals have submitted comments on Proposal A to the Guam Election Commission.
Opposition to Proposal A
Proposal A will be put on the ballot for the November 6th, 2012 General Election. The analysis of the bill by the Guam Election Commission states that this proposal has a broad definition of bingo which includes the use of all forms of computer, electronic and other technologies. It is because of this definition that groups like Keep Guam Good are arguing against the proposal. This group argues that the definition in Proposal A will allow for a monopoly on all bingo operations and activities. This monopoly could cause non-profit organizations that benefit from bingo to lose players to the casino-style bingo that may be legal with Proposal A. The loss of bingo players will then cut the amount of money that non-profit organizations can raise for their charities.
Proposal A also allows for the expansion of the Guam Greyhound to include other facilities and buildings for the use of bingo operations. Although the Guam Election Commission says this proposal will only apply to the physical address of the Guam Greyhound and will not affect other bingo operations, many are still opposed to the proposal. Those who oppose Proposal A also site this part of the proposal as a problem as it allows for the unlimited expansion of gambling and bingo operations rather than containing those activities to a single place. This is the 4th time that casino-type gambling has been proposed at the Guam Greyhound since 2006 and it has been defeated by Guam voters every time.
Supporters of Proposal A
Juan O. Blaz, a retired director of Veterans Affairs, put in a written statement to the Guam Election Commission that stated he was a supporter of for profit bingo operations. Blaz argues that about 20% of the funds raised from the proposal will be put toward public safety, public education spending and public health. Proposal A would put a 20% tax on the Greyhound for its total bingo revenue. Blaz also says that a commercial bingo operation in Guam would help the tourism industry and in turn, this could create additional jobs because more tourists would be visiting so more people would be needed to support the thriving tourism industry. Mark Martinez of Tumon, otherwise known as ‘Paps’, also put in a written statement to show his support for Proposal A because he thinks it will assist the local government in collecting much needed revenue. Martinez says that any bingo operation that is outside the senior citizen centers needs to be taxed.