In the United States territory of Guam, an anti-casino group has reportedly called on government officials to investigate alleged illegal gambling activities it believes are taking place at a fairgrounds facility near the community of Tiyan.
According to a report from local television broadcaster KUAM-TV, the Lina La Sin Casino group has written to Guam Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson along with John Camacho, Director for the Guam Department Of Revenue And Taxation, asking whether local mayors have been given official permission to operate fiesta-related casino events at the venue.
“It’s a long-standing issue and it’s been a long-standing issue since the first time and [since] we took a position,” Jose Cruz, President for Lina La Sin Casino, told KUAM-TV. “Again I repeat myself; it affects the children.”
The Pacific Daily News newspaper reported that the nearby villages of Sinajana and Talafofo had been given temporary permission to operate weekend gambling-related activities in October in order to celebrate their Saint Jude and San Miguel fiestas while the community of Agana Heights held similar casino events in late-November and early-December to mark its Our Lady Of The Blessed Sacrament celebrations.
However, Cruz reportedly believes that the leaders of these villages have continued to illegally operate gambling parties featuring craps, blackjack, bingo and roulette alongside Texas hold‘em and Pacific poker at the Old Casino Building in Tiyan and called the current situation a “farce”.
In his letter, Cruz alleges that the Mayor’s Council Of Guam or other government officials have insisted “on continuing this activity in spite of numerous occasions where the people of Guam have resoundingly rejected casino gambling on our island”. He wrote that the “mayors are abusing the permit initially granted” and appear to be “extending the permit unilaterally” without formal authorization.
“It continues to be disappointing to know of casino gambling continuing to operate at Tiyan, Guam, the site of the 2016 Liberation Day Guam Island Fair, which ended in August,” wrote Cruz. “We ask your offices to promptly investigate and, if necessary, shut down illegal gambling activities. Any permits that may not have been issued properly by the governor as required by law should be revoked as well.”
The mayor for Sinajana, Robert Hofmann, reportedly told the Pacific Daily News that the office of Guam governor Edward Baza Calvo had previously given his and other small villages permission to use the Tiyan facility for cockfighting and games of chance in conjunction with their annual village fiestas in order to raise much-needed funds.
“Every district is different in size and capabilities,” Hofman told the newspaper. “Some mayors have it there, some mayors don’t. This is another way of benefitting the community. At least it’s an option. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have any activities because I have no room in my center.”