Guam – Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. and Attorney General Lenny Rapadas are in disagreement over the Senator’s substitute version of bill 20.
The measure would tax gaming machines like the Liberty machines and other similar devices and then use those revenues to help fund the hospital. These are gaming machines that the A.G.’s office has deemed as illegal.
Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. has introduced a substitute version of Bill 20 which would tax gaming devices like liberty machines. The first version would’ve assessed a four percent tax on insurance premiums that would then go towards the Guam Memorial Hospital but after the insurance industry came down hard on this idea the senator decided to change the funding source.
“We got the insurance industry of course who came out and really scared the community saying they would have to pass this down to them which I still believe today shouldn’t be the case. You know they get very huge generous Qualifying Certificates and I believe they can absorb the cost. So the second, the substitute version that I have now looks at a different funding source which is the recently licensed gaming machines,” said Senator Rodriguez.
However Attorney General Lenny Rapadas says that these gaming machines are illegal and thus the funding source in bill 20 is not a viable one. “Our opinion is and has been for a while that you cannot license gaming or gambling devices on this island,” explained Rapadas adding, “We have absolutely no question as to the Senator’s desire to make sure that GMH is funded and it’s always it’s a good thing and we don’t want the hospital to go under we just believe that another funding source would be more appropriate,” said “Well that’s his opinion these machines are out. the government has licensed those machines over a month now so as far as I’m concerned these are legal devices so what I want to do is capture it for use for our hospital.”
In fact we found that the 671 Gameland Gameroom in MongMong is advertising 24 hour Liberty Machines. However, Attorney General Rapadas says these machines are not supposed to be in operation.”So right now are these liberty machines and similar types of machines are they supposed to be out there?” asked PNC. “They’re not supposed to be. We’ve got a list from Rev&Tax and we’re currently looking at each of them and we’re sending letters out soon to the different companies to make sure they understand what the law is,” replied Rapadas. The Attorney General says he will testify on the bill at the public hearing on Thursday.