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    Thursday, September 19, 2019-1:46:52P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Casino gambling may return to Guam Liberation carnival

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — The governor of Guam and the president of the Mayors’ Council of Guam are open to the possibility of once again allowing casino gambling during the annual Liberation Day carnival.

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero told reporters Thursday that she does not support year-round casino gambling on island, but if the mayors decide they want casino gambling during the carnival, she won’t oppose it.

Dededo Mayor Melissa Savares, president of the mayors’ council, said casino gambling “is not something that is in the current plan” but “if we get a bidder for casino gambling, we’ll see. We’ll let the carnival committee go from there.”

Games of chance, and casino gambling in particular, have been the primary source of income to fund the Liberation Day celebrations.

Two years ago Sen. Telena Nelson introduced and won passage of a bill banning casino gambling and all games of chance during the Liberation Carnival.

Carnival attendance — and income —  slumped.

On Jan. 25, Sen. James Moylan proposed giving mayors the authority to reintroduce games of chance during the carnival.

Nelson countered on Feb. 1 with Bill 33-35, which proposed transferring responsibility for all Liberation Day celebrations to the Guam Visitors Bureau.

Neither the mayors nor GVB were consulted and a controversy erupted over whether gambling should once again be a part of the Liberation Day celebrations.

On Thursday, Nelson withdrew the proposal. She introduced another measure “in a showing of compromise and respect for our mayors.”

In response, Mayor Savares said “compromise and respect should have been sent before anything was introduced.”

Bill 43-35 would allow the mayors to maintain their control of Liberation festivities but continue the ban on games of chance. Instead, it proposed funding the Guam Island Fair and Liberation Day Carnival activities with $500,000 from the GVB Rainy Day Fund.

“I think GVB can keep their money,” said Savares. “We don’t want government money.”

The mayor said, “whatever we get from the concessions and the vendors who bid is what supports our entire Liberation festivities.