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Supreme Court reschedules hearing on game room machines

Supreme Court justice were scheduled to have a hearing today on their case involving the gambling devices that the Attorney General says are illegal but the hearing was rescheduled until 2pm December 5.

The Supreme Court of Guam is expected to issue a mandate in this case involving the issuance of gaming machine licenses, bringing the involved parties one step closer to knowing whether or not gaming devices are legal under local law.

In 2008, approximately 1,200 gaming devices were licensed in violation of Guam’s amusement devices licensing laws. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) sued the Department of Revenue and Taxation (DRT) to revoke the licenses. DRT revoked them after a court order. Then, Guam Music, Inc. (GMI) intervened in the case and filed a new lawsuit against DRT in an effort to force them to reissue its gambling machine licenses. The parties agreed to dismiss the two cases in 2012.

The OAG believed that this meant the gambling devices would remain unlicensed because it is not legal to license gambling devices. DRT, however, then issued gaming machine licenses.

In response, the OAG filed its current case arguing that DRT should be prohibited from issuing gaming machine licenses. The Supreme Court’s issuance of the mandate will trigger the Superior Court to rule on two pending motions filed in 2016. The OAG’s motion deals with the merits of gaming regulations. The OAG has argued that the gaming regulations are invalid because they were submitted by DRT to the Legislature without complying with the Administrative Adjudication Law and they exceed DRT’s authority. After the proceedings in the Superior Court have run their course, the OAG expects a Supreme Court ruling that will ultimately decide the validity of the gaming device regulations once and for all.

Meanwhile Attorney General Leevin Camacho continues to maintain that these gambling machines inside the game rooms are illegal.

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