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Anti-gambling groups call on leaders to shut down Hagatna casino

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The Liberation Casino under construction in Hagatna, as the controversial issue stirring up anti-gambling groups who are now calling for lawmakers to hold the mayor's and the operators of the casino accountable.

Let the games begin. Though there are a lot of players involved in this argument, it seems the casino operations will press on.

Anti-gambling groups, Keep Guam Good and Lina'la Sin Casino are once again leading the opposition. An effort to wipe out the casino operations at the Liberation carnival.

"Ultimately that's really what we want. We did away with what I call poker machines in every village and we devised Lina la sin casino because they became a mini casino and it's bad for the people and the economy," said Dr. Jose Cruz.

The day after KUAM reported the construction of the Liberation Casino on the Paseo grounds, the groups are calling on lawmakers to hold an emergency oversight on the Mayor's Council and the Guam Liberation Historical Society.

"The Guam Historical Society but please don't give me a sham. You are raising money so that's the reason they are doing that. So they are putting it on the Guam Historical Society well ok there's a history of liberation but I think we are losing the essence of liberation," said Cruz.

Cruz, Lina'la sin casino's president, has put a call out to the attorney general and the public auditor to investigate, as well. "Lina'la and Keep Guam Good all have good faith at heart about what they want to see for the island and we do too. We want to see the community grow. We want to see what's good for our family values. We want to see what's good for the revenue stream for the liberation day. We're open minded about the ideas and what the people's concerns are. But we also have to be realistic in how the monies come to pay for those operations," he said.

Acting Governor Ray Tenorio responding to the concerns said, "The mayors indicate their priority is to take care of the interests of the people, and their communities need the revenue to finance these operations. In the absence of an appropriation which sufficiently take care of the financing, they rely on the casino and the other activities of the liberation."

Senator Michael San Nicolas who chairs general government operations tells KUAM, "this is not an oversight issue as they are operating under the current legal framework."

Liberation Carnival chair Mayor Robert Hoffman also saying in part, "Every year we go through this." He adds, "If I had it my way give the responsibility to someone else. We certainly don't need the criticism. We already have a ton of responsibility."

Dr. Cruz also urged senators to vote this month on legislation that would do away with the Liberation casino. He said, "That's nice to know that they are hoping for that but as far as I am concerned I am not reporting that out yet until I get the complete report."

Tax and finance chair Senator Joe San Agustin today confirming he still has unanswered questions, saying, "The mayors can't wait until the legislature acts on something. They have to anticipate that the revenues will be borne out of their activities, and we support the mayors and their request."

Meantime, the construction is almost done. The building permit names Xiang Wang Construction Company as the applicant who is building it at a cost of $30,000.

During a Rules Committee hearing today, Bill 50 was not included on this month's session agenda.

Again, that measure would have forced the mayor's to cease casino operations immediately.As for the Tiyan casino? It has been turned over to Barrigada, which mayor June Blas says they will clean up and possibly use as a recreational facility.

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