ASTCA Chair to Bluesky: Don’t mix apples and oranges
“Gambling laws and system interconnectivity are two separate and distinct issues that should not be mixed, because they are not connected,” said ASTCA’s Board Chairman, Roy Hall Jr.
The comment by Hall was in reference to the response from Bluesky Communications, after it was learned that ASTCA’s Chairman had launched an official complaint with the Attorney General’s office on allegations that a Bluesky Communications promotion for its customers — using text messages to enter into competitions and win monetary and other prizes — is gambling.
Bluesky CEO Aoe’e Adolfo Montenegro denies the allegation that their promotions do not comply with local law.
According to Hall, the matter of gambling was referred to the AG’s Office in September 2013 and if it is determined that Bluesky's promotional activities are gambling events, in the spirit of following the law, “I will anticipate that Blue Sky will cease and desist these styled promotions.”
He further stated that while Bluesky says they consulted with their attorneys, they failed to say if their attorneys advised them that their promotions were not gambling activities, but were lawful.
On the subject of connectivity, ASTCA continues to address the complaints of Aoe’e on behalf of Bluesky’s interest to have access to ASTCA, but these negotiations are ongoing. According to Hall, ASTCA submitted to Bluesky a proposed MOU to move the interconnectivity negotiations forward.
“The interconnectivity agreement must be equitable to ensure that each party bears the costs of implementation of the two systems and that the plan is fair to all customers of ASTCA and Blue Sky. For example, ASTCA customers cannot vote in the ongoing Le Leo Singing Competition on KVZK-TV, because voting is restricted to only Blue Sky customers paying 25 cents a text to vote.”
Hall further stated that with an interconnectivity agreement, ASTCA and Bluesky customers will in the future be able to vote seamlessly in these competitions to make it truly an American Samoa event.
Finally, ASTCA wants to ensure that both systems will be secure from any attempt to unlawfully access or to disrupt service to either or both systems.
It is the strong opinion of the Chairman of the ASTCA Board that ASTCA apply caution to the interconnectivity between the two systems and allow all parties to comply with federal and local laws. Hall said In the past, government agencies have rushed into agreements that were later determined to be based on bad judgment or resulted in poor investments for the government and the people of American Samoa.