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Rev & Tax will continue to regulate gaming devices

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Just as the hundreds of licenses were renewed last month, the Department of Revenue & Taxation is assessing a recent decision by the Supreme Court related to electronic gaming devices. Despite the recent opinion, agency director John Camacho says his department will continue to regulate the gaming devices on Guam as authorized by public law.

"Basically what the Supreme Court is basically saying is they're actually sending it back to the Superior Court to make that determination, and from that determination I think we'll just have to wait for any judgment to decide whether the gaming regulations are valid or not," said Camacho. Last week, the Supreme Court of Guam issued an opinion reversing a decision by the Superior Court relating to licensing of electronic gaming devices. The attorney general brought action in the Superior Court seeking a judgment as they believed the devices were illegal because gaming regulations are unenforceable. The trial court however dismissed the action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on the AG's failure to exhaust administration remedies.

"What it all means is we continue to regulate the gaming devices and all these bingos that are out there in accordance to Public Law 32-60, and until such time the court makes a ruling," Camacho added. Public Law 32-60 as you recall creates a method for collecting tax and license fees from Guam gaming activities. The law uses the extra taxes to fund sports facilities and activities throughout the villages through the mayors, Parks & Rec and public schools and to operate urgent care activities at the Guam Memorial Hospital.

The measure also creates a limited gaming tax fund and the GMH Healthcare Trust and Development Fund. Camacho added, "So it's a little bit over a million for a year, and likewise with the hospital, I think if I'm not mistaken, the total is roughly about $3 million or something." And until such time the court hands down a decision to do otherwise, Camacho says they will continue to monitor the nearly 300 gaming devices stationed throughout the island for compliance.

In the meantime, the Attorney General's Office declined to comment on the legal battle at this time. 

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