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Jesuit Priest Sits on Fence Regarding Legalized Casino Gambling

by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor

               The Catholic community was in an uproar last week as Jesuit priest Richard McGowan did not take a stance on the issue of legalized casino gambling in Guam in a heated forum debate.  McGowan, an associate professor at the Carol School of Management, was enlisted by Guam Greyhound wishing to build a casino at the Tamuning Dog Racing Track.

                He shocked his audience with his unorthodox response to the issue that contradicts the principles of the Catholic Church. “I will not say one way or another how you should vote on this,” said McGowan, who continued to provide several examples of success in the legalization of offline and online casino gambling and going against Archbishop Anthony Apuron who upholds the staunch Catholic line that gambling should remain unlawful in the island of Guam.

                McGowan alluded to both Atlantic City and Cairo, where casinos are regulated by the government to only permit entry to those holding foreign passports. A similar concept has been suggested in legalizing casino gambling in Guam, in which entrance would require an international departure ticket.              

                While McGowan chastised Atlantic City, mentioning that divorce and bankruptcy rates increased substantially after the legalization of casino gambling, he countered his statement arguing that the industry generated $400 million in tax revenue. Archbishop Apuron soon responded that McGowan’s was not an expert opinion, although his studies were conducted at Harvard.

                A vote will take place on November 4th that will decide whether or not Guam will get its casino. Guam Greyhound has expressed no intention in backing down on the issue to change the law and legalize gambling within the city.