Installation of Slot Machines on U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay

Headnotes: 

Section 5 of the Anti-Slot Machine Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1175, prohibits the installation or operation of slot machines on any land where the United States government exercises exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction, including military bases outside the United States. This interpretation of the plain words of § 1175 finds support in its legislative history, which reveals that Congress intended it not only to assist the states in enforcing their anti-slot machine laws, but also to establish a uniform federal policy against the use of such gambling devices in areas under federal jurisdiction.

Under the terms of the lease agreement between the United States and Cuba, the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay constitutes land “acquired for the use of the United States, and under the exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction thereof” within the meaning of 15 U S.C. § 1175. Accordingly, no slot machines may be installed or operated on that base.

Updated July 9, 2014