Governor's Office allows governor's cronies to continue operating
By Jacob Nakamura
The Department of Revenue and Taxation will not permit the operation of so-called Liberty, Symbolix, and Match Play electronic poker machines. But after consultation with legal counsel, DRT director Dafne Shimizu says Guam Music Inc., one of the two licensees of electronic gaming machines on Guam, will continue to be licensed to operate the horse race machines.
Those are the higher-priced, higher risk gambling machines normally found in the center of game rooms. Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero assigned her legal counsel, Sophia Santos Diaz, to work on the gambling issue with DRT.
According to a businessman within the industry, the game rooms operated by Gil and Connie Jo Brennan Shinohara will continue hosting the horse race machines. Documents indicate Guam Music Inc.'s attorney, Randy Cunliffe, also operates game rooms. Ms. Shinohara was Ms. Leon Guerrero's campaign manager, before becoming seaport deputy manager. She resigned shortly after Jesse Mendiola filed criminal complaints against her and others for the operation of gambling machines in places, where children frequent.
Mr. Cunliffe is first gentleman Jeff Cook's law partner at the firm of Cunliffe & Cook.
Guam Music Inc. relicensed for business, poker machines out
"No registrations for machines licensed under the regulations of 3 G.A.R. 7114(a)(5) have been renewed," Ms. Shimizu said.
Those are the regulations struck down in a ruling by Judge Arthur Barcinas handed down on March 13, the day before the public health emergency started on Guam. Mr. Barcinas issued his written ruling March 16, the week business establishments were forced to shut down.
The issue of whether the licenses for the gambling machines would be renewed was under legal review since that time, according to Ms. Shimizu last week. This morning, Ms. Shimizu said the matter had been settled.
"DRT will not be issuing any such registrations based on the Judgment by Judge Barcinas," she said.
When pressed on whether the legal review included whether the horse race machines would be licensed, she said legal counsel recommended they should be.
"After consulting with legal counsel, horse race machine devices are able to be registered under Guam law," she said.
Ms. Diaz, the governor's legal counsel, has been counsel for the gambling issue.