The signature campaign reaches its final batch today, if the requisite number of signatures reaches 5,000 that will allow it to be included in this year’s General Election in Guam. Not only is the proposal to make slot machines legal but also to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21.
In 2002, a group of prominent local businessman introduced a proposition to legalize casino gambling, but it didn’t reach the ballot on time and it was included on the 2004 General Election ballot then.
Residents engaged in island wide debates over other the many benefits and harms of legalized gambling. Students protests, media buzz and awareness campaigns spurred.
The supporters of casinos said that it is much needed for the economy with so many benefit. In the end, the casino gambling proposition failed by a margin of more than 7,800 votes during the general election.
Unlike the proposition made in 2004, the slot machine gambling initiative does not aim to legalize any type of gambling other than slot machines. The initiative explicitly identifies “pari-mutuel racing facilities,” a type of gambling associated with dog racing.
With an August 3rd deadline to submit signatures; the public knows that there is little time left for the public to debate about slot gambling issues now. However, residents are asking for better guidelines so they would understand exactly what it is that they are looking at.
Resident, Bertha Duenas said that the often-used argument that gambling will benefit the island’s economy doe not apply to Guam because their economic declines should be attributed to poor fiscal management in the government.