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Legal challenge brewing over gaming machines

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - As Bill 19 simmers in public law with another measure aimed at repealing it just recently introduced, it appears another legal challenge may be coming the government's way as one owner of gaming machines on Guam is planning a lawsuit of his own.

Now that Bill 19 has lapsed into public law, the Attorney General's Office has indicated they plan to review and possibly amend its lawsuit filed less than a month ago.

The AG, as you recall, is taking Rev & Tax along with the Governor's Office to court over its decision to renew hundreds of amusement devices and asks the courts to declare the regulations illegal because they conflict with duly enacted law.

It now appears that may not be the only lawsuit Rev & Tax has to deal with as Darryl Styles, the owner of D&D Games intends to file one himself. Styles, who declined an interview on camera, tells KUAM he's considering legal action as he believes the new public law creates a monopoly in terms of which gaming machines are licensed.

"We're only following the law," he said.

Rev & Tax director John Camacho says it's not a monopoly rather they're simply following regulations.

"The Regulations specify that the only machines that are authorized to be licensed are those machines that were registered on or before August 1, 2001 and this is the regulation that we follow," he said.

D&D's machines were registered in 2003. Styles adds the licensing of only certain machines puts D&D Games at a slight disadvantage. Meanwhile according to Camacho, a total of 400 Liberty Machines were issued licenses last month all of which are owned by Guam Music, Inc.

And just as Camacho says they're following the law, the Administration too is firing back at those who have criticized its actions, instead questioning the actions of certain members in the legislature who are flip-flopping on the issue.

It was in the 26th Legislature that Senator Ben Pangelinan who wants to take away all gaming, voted for the bill that created the rules that allowed the Liberty Machine and Symbolix machines to operate. In the 27th Guam Legislature, when Senator Pangelinan was a speaker, he was part of the Legislature that adopted the rules and regulations for those machines to be licensed and to operate and now, because of whatever reason, he now wants to take away all gaming including cockfighting and bingo," explained deputy press secretary Phil Leon Guerrero. He is referring to Bill 139 introduced in 2001, that authorizes the Cockpit Licensing Board together with Rev & Tax to promulgate the rules to regulate all gaming activities on Guam provided that the rules and regs restrict gaming activities to those authorized and licensed on Guam as of August 1, 2001. Pangelinan along with Governor Eddie Calvo - then a senator, and current Senators Judi Won Pat, Frank Aguon Jr. and Tom Ada voted for the measure.

It's unclear if and when styles will in fact file a lawsuit as he's still considering his options in the hopes of having his machines licensed too. Camacho meanwhile says he is not worried and will wait and see what happens next. 

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