Decision: Companies not allowed to operate illegal gaming machines while waiting for appeal to be heard

August 14,2020 – Tamuning, Guam- The Superior Court of Guam has denied a request by the owners of gaming machines to continue operating machines that are illegal under Guam law while their appeal is pending.

Earlier this year, the court invalidated the gaming rules and regulations because they were submitted without public notice, public hearings or an economic impact study as required by the Administrative Adjudication Law. In its recent decision, the court held that the gaming machine owners did not meet the requirement of showing they were likely to succeed on appeal or that they would suffer irreparable injury. 

The court specifically rejected an argument made by one gaming machine owner that it would suffer irreparable injury because it would have to repay pandemic financial assistance. The court held that it was unclear if the company applied for COVID-19 federal assistance after its decision but, if so, “understood the risks when it applied for the federal relief programs.”  Finally, the court found that the gaming machine owners had not established that the profits they earned and taxes generated through the operation of gaming machines outweighed the public’s interest, noting that “gambling has long been considered potentially unfavorable to the public’s interest.”

The owners of the gaming machines can now ask the Supreme Court of Guam to issue a stay.

Assistant Attorney General Marianne Woloschuk argued the case on behalf of the OAG. Read the Decision & Order.