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Casino operators pay $10,000 fine

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Liberation Carnival casino is back in business, but if they violate the rules one more time they could find themselves out of luck. Sinajana vice mayor and Guma Mami president Robert Hoffman delivered a check on behalf of the operators of the Liberation Carnival casino to the Treasurer of Guam this morning.

The operators were assessed a $10,000 fine for opening the casino during unauthorized hours. Hoffman said it was a miscommunication because the operators had asked the governor to extend its hours. But prior to any approval being granted the casino was open during lunchtime since Monday. The Guam Police shut it down temporarily.

Governor's Communications Director Troy Torres told KUAM News, "The governor wants to see whether the operators are going to follow the letter in the spirit of the law and the permit and if they are good corporate citizens and they demonstrated their willingness to appreciate responsibility and accountability for violating the conditions of the permit and even though there was a misunderstanding. So there's hope that everything is fine after this."

Torres adds the current hours will remain in place: 6pm to 6am on weekdays and 24 hours on the weekends. 

Meanwhile according to Hoffman Guma Mami's board is meeting this evening and will draft an apology letter to the governor and to the people of Guam. Guma Mami will be receiving a portion of the proceeds from the gambling concession.

(Of note, Hoffman several years ago was the treasurer of the group Keep Guam Good, which opposed casino gambling.) 

He tells KUAM News today that he hasn't changed his position in that he voted against the gambling concession when it went up for a vote in the mayors council and voted no as a Guma Mami board member to bid on the gambling concession, but was outnumbered.

In the meantime, Police Chief Fred Bordallo doesn't believe there was any criminal intent involved with the casino operators cashing in during the unauthorized hours but forwarded a report to the AG's Office just in case. What does pose a concern is off-duty police officers working at the casino as secondary jobs and allowing the gambling take place when the casino should have been closed.

A separate investigation into that is now underway.

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