HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Guam's Senate has passed a bill to make all gambling in the U.S. territory illegal after it pays off debt for its financially troubled public hospital.
Pacific Daily News reported Tuesday (http://bit.ly/1abCpD1 ) that the Senate unanimously approved the bill, which allows some forms of gambling to continue until debt is paid for Guam Memorial Hospital.
The bill says all gambling would become illegal once the hospital retires all of its roughly $18 million in vendor debt, the amount it owed as of March.
The hospital consistently loses money because of uninsured patients and bad collections.
Sen. Ben Pangelinan introduced the bill's sunset amendment and tried to establish an $18.8 million target for the hospital's debt. But Sen. Rory Respicio of the Rules Committee said Pangelinan's figure would not be part of the final version sent to Gov. Eddie Calvo.
Calvo has 10 business days to decide how to act on the bill.
The measure comes after several days of vigorous debate on gambling machines, along with back-and-forth earlier in the session on whether gambling should be legal in the unincorporated territory.