Efforts continue to move Cockpit License Board forward - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Efforts continue to move Cockpit License Board forward

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - They're tasked with regulating cockfighting activities on Guam and while they haven't officially met with a full board in over a decade, the Cockpit License Board appears to be moving forward as not only are members being appointed, but leaders are ensuring that laws are being enforced.

Wednesday afternoon Senator Michael San Nicolas will hold a confirmation hearing for Thomas Tanaka Jr. to serve on the Cockpit License Board - a board we should note hasn't had a quorum for some time and has not officially met in over a decade. "But in the law they're also authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for all gaming activities on Guam, so when we go through the confirmation process for board members it's very important that we fully understand their perspective on not just cockfighting but gaming in general because the law is very broad on what they can do on this board," he said.

Donald Taitano is the only confirmed member of the board and Jason Rui was appointed and had his confirmation hearing late last year. DRT director john Camacho Says while the board handles the licensing process, he only knows of one cockpit that is allowed to operate in Dededo and has told KUAM that law authorizes three different cockpits on island.

He said, "With all regards, we're not authorized to issue license, only the board and we don't handle the appeals, all we do is assist."

No license however has been issued as the board has yet to meet but according to Camacho, cockfighting activities are still being regulated as DRT still collects on taxes specifically 4% under the Limited Gaming Tax. Public law passed over the summer allowing a limited gaming tax to go toward recreational centers and doe sports facilities. Camacho estimates around two thousand dollars has since been collected but says it has the potential for more.

He said, "My predecessors that way back the bidding process can hit $1 million, $100,000 depending on the process and that will probably bring a large amount of revenue when we have at least three license on Guam."

As for cockfighting during village fiestas, those are allowed through proclamation by the Governor's Office but are still required to comply with law and pay taxes.  San Nicolas  says while he hasn't heard of any complaints regarding cockfighting on Guam, he hopes this board can finally meet to conduct its intended purpose.

"I think it will be a good thing to have the board fully formed to have good members on the board who take an interest in preserving cultural activities but also know what the limits are so that we're not going to be using cockfighting to go out and pursue other gambling activities or other gaming activities because our community is  very clear on what the limits are," he said.

The confirmation hearing is set for Wednesday at 2:30pm at the Guam Legislature. 

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