Guam – Governor Eddie Calvo and Attorney General Lenny Rapadas disagree about the legality of gaming devices known as Liberty, Symbolix, and Match Play.
The Governor told PNC that he doesn’t believe these devices are gambling or gaming machines. The A.G.’s office on the other hand says these devices are used for gambling.
“I think everybody is getting a little bit confused on this issue. Bill 20 is not a bill that would legitimize gambling or gaming machines. Gambling is illegal. I must preface that I’m, for the record, against gambling just as the same as I am against abortion,” said Governor Calvo. The Governor based on his discussion with his legal counsel believes that the Liberty, Symbolix and Matchplay machines that substitute bill 20 would’ve taxed to fund the hospital are legal amusement devices.
“So I went to our legal counsel and I asked them is it legal? Are these gaming machines based on the 26th Guam legislation laws that were passed and the rules and regulations that were enacted as a result of that law these are those machines circa 2001 and previous that were licensed are they legal? And their opinion is yes. I must state I must disagree with the Attorney General’s office. I saw that hearing and I don’t see any citation of case law or statute. I have a lot of confidence in our legal team here in Adelup and unfortunately with the Attorney General’s office, god bless them, we’ve had some issues with some of their opinions in the past,” said Governor Calvo.
Attorney General Lenny Rapadas has issued a statement in response saying in part, “With all due respect to Governor Calvo and his lawyers, we certainly can agree to disagree, but I respectfully direct his attention and his legal team to our legal memorandum issued to the Guam legislature that cites case law and statute. Giving the governor the benefit of doubt that he was unaware of this memorandum since it was just given to the Guam legislature and posted on our website yesterday, I will direct my office to send a copy to the governor’s office.”
In this memorandum A.G. Rapadas cites 11GCA 22202 which reads “No slot machine or amusement device set to make progressive or automatic payouts shall be licensed under this section.” Liberty, Symbolix and match play all have payouts. The A.G. also cites 9GCA 64.20(b) which defines illegal gambling devices as among other things “Any slot machines, video poker machines and other machines or devices which afford the opportunity of winnings, payouts, malfunction refunds to the player, or giving the player or user anything of value under any guise or form based partially or completely upon chance”
The attorney general further states in his memo that although the Department of Rev&Tax does have regulations that provide for the licensing of these fees Guam law supercedes these regulations.