Guam – The Guam Police Department and the Department of Revenue and Taxation temporarily shutdown the casino at the liberation carnival today for illegal gambling. The casino is only permitted to operate from 6pm to 6am on weekdays but was found to be in operation during the middle of the day today during what is supposed to be off-hours.
“This afternoon I got a call from the Deputy Director of the Department of Revenue and Taxation, Marie Benito informing me that there was some illegal gambling here at the casino and Revenue and Tax director was gonna be here and requested for police presence to stop the gambling from happening and insure that the casino closes down,” explained Police Chief Fred Bordallo.
The casino was operating during hours when it is supposed to be closed. The governor’s proclamation which gives the casino the authority to operate only allows it to operate from 6am to 6pm on weekdays and is only allowed to stay open for 24 hours on the weekends. Mayor’s council member Robert Hoffman says today’s situation was all a big misunderstanding. “The casino operators had asked the liberation day committee to extend the hours of a table which is the baccarat table because they feel that’s the only way they can kind of recoup the cost of their initial investment of half a million dollars so they wrote the letters the letters were written sent down to the administration pretty much just pending signature I believe under that assumption the casino operators thought oh it’s already done,” said Hoffman.
In fact this is the same thing that the operators of the casino told Police Chief Bordallo. “They responded that there’s a possibility that they had authorization to have casino operations their casino operations beyond those hours and grant an extension and we haven’t seen that so I’ve informed them that we’re going by the governor’s proclamation,” said Chief Bordallo.
Hoffman says that the casino owners are requesting this extension because they bid on the casino slot under the impression that it would be a 24 hour a day operation. “If they knew it wasn’t going to be a 24 hour operation they wouldn’t have bid that high when you’re trying to outbid somebody your based on the assumption of the original bid which the original bid packet said 24 hours so to come into a compromise and lose whether it be 72 hours of operating time they’re trying to find another compromise in this and they’re saying do you think you can allow this?” explained Hoffman.
There were approximately 50 people in the casino but no one was arrested and the casino will be allowed to open during it’s approved hours of operation. GPD did however take down all the names of the people inside the casino at the time of the bust. “We’re having a police report documenting this situation we’ll provide a copy of it to the A.G.’s office and it’s classified as illegal gambling the case.”
It will be up to the A.G.’s office to determine whether there will be any criminal charges and whether there was any criminal intent.
“This is the first time Guam has had it in eight years but it’s also the first time it’s really been scrutinized since the beginning of the governor’s who’ve allowed this on the part of the carnival and gaming and so one thing we want to do at Guma Mami and at the mayor’s council is make sure everything is followed. In a sense the rules are followed we’ve been very vigilant about that meeting with rev&tax and compliance officers and getting to make sure that everything is done here so there’s no ill intent whatsoever,” said Hoffman.
According to governor’s spokesman Phil Leon Guerrero Governor Calvo was indeed prepared to sign the extension of hours request unfortunately the casino operator violated the conditions of the original agreement. Thus they have been assessed a ten thousand dollar fine which they have agreed to pay to the treasury of Guam tomorrow. Leon Guerrero also tells PNC that the governor will also withold any action on the request for extended hours indefinitely and if the casino operators violate the conditions again their permit will be revoked.