Archdiocese: don't be duped by bingo
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - A for-profit bingo initiative may be on the Decision 2012 General Election ballot, but the Archdiocese is urging its parishioners not to be duped into believing it will be good for Guam.
"We encourage our people to take a look at this initiative very, very carefully and realize the kind of danger that is ahead of this if this is every approved," stated Archdiocese communications director Monsignor Brigido Arroyo isn't buying all the benefits that the Guam Japan Friendship Village maintains the island will receive from voting in for-profit bingo at the former Guam Greyhound facility in Tamuning. The initiative managed to garner enough petition signatures to make it on the General Election ballot, but arroyo is hoping the island will reject the idea as it did with previous gambling proposals.
"We want to encourage people, of course we cannot tell them how to vote or what to vote, but the archdiocese, we'll encourage people to look at this initiative, to really study it and look at it and the kind of damaging effects it will have on our community," Arroyo continued.
While bingo itself isn't considered to be bad, arroyo says that when organizers throw in big prizes and monetary pots, it can become abusive, something the Catholic Church on Guam doesn't support. "It's a wedge to perhaps bring in have a bigger gambling thing. It looks like they're just going to buildup into that," he said.
Arroyo is even more concerned that the for-profit bingo will be operated in such close proximity to St. Anthony's Church and a number of schools, noting, "It's going to be jeopardizing the parish and the schools. We have several schools here." He added, "When big money is at stake, then there will be a lot of people - perhaps maybe the mafia, I don't know. But these are the possibilities that might come in and will jeopardize the peace of our community here."
Proponents of the initiative have not been willing to speak about the purported benefits of the initiative but what they filed with the Guam Election Commission states that the Guam Japan Friendship Village will pay 20% on the Business Privilege Tax on all of its gross receipts. That money would deposited into the Guam Bingo Fund and distribute for healthcare, public safety and education.
But the Archdiocese isn't convinced that the purported benefits of for profit bingo will outweigh the negative impacts to the community. "We encourage our people to take a look at this initiative very, very carefully and realize the kind of danger that is ahead of this if this is every approved," Arroyo said.
"We ask our people to pray that these people will realize what is going to happen and the kind of affect it will have on people."