Guam – Senators Chris Duenas and Tommy Morrison urged the Mayors Council Wednesday to support their proposed boost in the tax levied on gaming activities on Guam.
Their Bill #19 increases the gross receipt tax rate on limited gaming activities from the current 4%, to 20%.
The Guam National Olympic Committee is strongly opposed to the measure saying it would robs GNOC of its only source of direct funding. And the Mayors have expressed concern that the bill could impact their village bingo operations.
But Senator Duenas pointed out to the Mayors that village bingo operates through a permit from Rev and Tax, not a gaming license and he argued the higher tax rate would only affect those who apply for a limited gaming license.
The Senator also said that Mayors will actually benefit from the bill, because it allocates funding to repair and construct recreational facilities.
“There is probably somewhere in the realm of $60 to $100 million that’s generated through the limited gaming on Guam. So at the four percent, we’re still looking at anywhere between $1.5 to 4 million a year that could be generated for this program at the very conservative four percent,” says Duenas.
“It kind of pains me when I hear an athletic organization that boasts of the greatness that we’re seeking in Guam of our kids to aspire to be Olympians to reach high and to go for the gold, but those kids are not born to go for the gold. They develop those skills in your villages,” laments Duenas.
“It’s a cost of doing business. Do you think that the people, the patrons that went there would really care that it was fixed into the winnings and the payouts? That four percent, because they knew that their kids have good baseball fields and swimming pools and things to play in? Their conscience is clear,” Duenas argues.
The mayor’s have unanimously voted to present a resolution to Senator Duenas in full support of Bill 19.