Guam – Despite the signing of Bill 101-35 into law, the Mayors’ Council of Guam is worried over the lack of bids for the operation of games of chance at the 75th Liberation Day carnival.
Bill 101-35 legislated the games of chance regulations for the carnival. Governor Lou Leon Guerrero signed the measure into law on Friday, May 3.
In an interview with with Newstalk K57’s Morning’s with Patti. MCOG executive director Angel Sablan speaks on the matter.
“That’s the worrisome thing. We still haven’t gotten that, even after we publicized that it’s been passed into law, we still really haven’t found anybody…but what we have to do first is set up a pre-bid meeting and then we’ll know who are the ones interested – because that meeting has to happen, before any bidding,” Sablan said.
As written in Bill 101-35, two vendor spots are reserved for the house of cards with a minimum bid of $250,000; two spots for the big and small with a minimum bid $20,000 minimum bid; four spots for color games with a minimum bid of $7500; two spots for beto beto with a minimum bid of $5000, and; 50 spots at $150 to $1000 dollars each for games requiring skill.
Vendor selection is a sealed-bid process with successful bidders to be ranked and awarded in descending order.
After signing the bill, the governor said, “I am pleased to sign this bill because we are demonstrating that together we can celebrate our island’s liberation events, now and into the future, without risking precious resources that fund our government’s priorities.”
“But liberation is not about games of chance, it’s about commemorating the stories of occupation and liberation, especially told by our remaining survivors. We will always be thankful to them and to the U.S. forces who liberated Guam 75 years ago,” Leon Guerrero added.
In opposition, Vice Speaker Telena Nelson described the legislation as, “A Trojan horse for gambling that without a doubt deceived the people of Guam.”
Nelson called out carnival organizers and some public officials saying, “They placed their bets on gambling as a primary solution and didn’t care to look down safer avenues. Then, loopholes were found to protect the interest of gambling bidders – not the people’s best interests.”
Nelson was one of five lawmakers who voted against the bill and initially proposed reallocating $500,000 out of the Guam Visitors Bureau’s rainy day fund to replace anticipated revenues from games of chance.
MCOG rejected Nelson’s proposal.
Sablan said “they are going to do whatever they can to make games of chance happen at the carnival. “Hopefully it doesn’t deter interested people from coming and bidding during the time frame,” he said.
With or without games of chance, the carnival will open on June 5.