Rev & Tax says pull tabs illegal
by Nick Delgado
Guam - The Department of Revenue & Taxation has confirmed that the "Pull Tab" tickets KUAM News found outside paradise bingo are illegal. But the problem is the agency lacks the staff and funding to ensure that the illegal business is not being done.
A game of skill or a game of chance? That's been the question surrounding an investigation that the federal bureau of investigations is conducting. The feds raided the MGM Spa, Crazy Horse strip club, Paradise Bingo and Isla Bingo - establishments all listed under the same non-profit organization the Overseas Chinese Association Center. But it was Pull Tab tickets that KUAM found stashed at the back of paradise bingo labeled casino and gambling pack that raised concern for Rev & Tax officials.
"This particular tickets is considered lottery, which is illegal," confirmed John Garrido, the agency's compliance branch supervisor. He says the organization was warned before, adding, "We ran into these things when we were doing inspections and we confiscated this particular lottery tickets. The fact that it is considered by the attorney general as illegal, we in turn made sure that the proprietor at the time ceased playing these particular lottery tickets."
A January 2008 AG's opinion states that if a game is not played in a manner that resembles traditional bingo as it exists and has been commonly understood, it is not bingo. Additionally the opinion states it is gambling and is not lawful. The law states that 'bingo games' mean a specific game of chance in, which prizes are awarded randomly.
"When it is played through the traditional blower, when that number comes out then the patron wins at that particular time," Garrido explained. But he also says there are ways around the rules when it comes to these cards. He says players could use the numbers and pictures as bingo cards and when their pair is called out, they collect the instant cash.
He still says these items are illegal and that the unfortunate thing is he just doesn't have the funding or staff to stay on top of enforcement. Meantime, Garrido warns establishments that may be running these types of operations they could face the possibility of being shutdown.
"I would say that they should cease and desist because their bingo permit may be lifted and them being a nonprofit organization they may lose that privilege," he said.
Rev & Tax was not aware and is not part of the federal investigation. However, officials tell KUAM News that they believe it may be related to some type of international crime ring.