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The government of Guam, which has been in an uphill struggle under the weight of heavy bills to be paid off, might reconsider opening the door to casino gambling, an idea that the voters did not give a nod repeatedly in past elections.

Governor Eddie Calvo briefed on Tuesday that it might be the ripe time to start the conversation about legalising casino gambling to raise cash.

He added that he had recently returned from a trip to Saipan, where the Chinese-owned Imperial Pacific International casino was reportedly handling gambling bets of over $2 billion a month.

“I’m not saying I like it because I don’t particularly care for (casino gambling),” said the governor, adding later, “We got to look at casino gambling.”

Though he is not necessarily endorsing the casino idea, the governor said, in awe, that local lawmakers in Saipan had to hold additional legislative sessions because of surplus tax revenues that have been generated out of the casino operation.

He also talked about how, during a recent visit to Saipan, he was allowed inside a backroom of high rollers, where one gaming chip, or “bar,” could be worth $300,000.

This is an idea that must require a lot of public input, and a lot of transparency on the part of the government, especially the sponsors of a proposed law – if the idea ever progresses into a piece of legislation.

Some of the past proponents of casino gambling on Guam have pointed out that there is a way to allow a controlled casino environment to ensure the local population’s cash is not siphoned off by the future casino.

One option proposed in past casino proposals was to restrict casino access to travellers who can show proof of arrival and departure plane tickets – as a way to try to keep Guam residents’ lives from getting ruined by casino gambling addiction.

It has been decades since Guam banned poker machine parlours, but the stories of families squandering fortunes and neglecting young children have lived on.

Some international tourism destinations do have certain casinos as part of their offerings for visitors to experience.

The question is, is Guam the right environment for this type of tourist draw, in light of the heavy emphasis on the island as a family-friendly, safe destination for international tourists?

And is Government of Guam so desperate for cash that it might entertain the casino gambling idea that voters have repeatedly rejected?

If Guam voters were to vote on a casino gambling initiative again, it might be best to do it in an environment where the island government is in a position of strength.

This means casino gaming should be discussed and decided, if at all when GovGuam is not in dire need of cash. This way, future casino investors would not squeeze GovGuam into certain terms that could leave the island with more financial baggage than it bargained for.


Source: European Gaming Media and Events