The former Puerto Rico Tourism Board executive has stepped down from his role as gambling director as the territory embarks on a major overhaul of gaming regulation and oversight that will see the creation of a new Puerto Rican Gaming Commission.
Detailed in Law 81 and approved last July by Puerto Rico’s Senate, the new Commission will take over responsibility for the gambling brief from the Tourism Board and Equestrian Sports Society.
Speaking to local media sources, former gambling director Jaime Alex Irizarry said he had left the Tourism Board in “good faith” but hinted to reporters that the creation of the Commission had made his role all-but-redundant.
“With the creation of the Commission, both the position of director of Games of Chance and the Administrator of Equestrian Sport are consolidated in the new executive director,” he said. “In this context, logically, I see no great reason to stay in the position.”
News of Irizarry’s resignation came just weeks after the new Commission put out a call for consultancy services to assist the body with formulating new regulations for gambling verticals such as sports-betting and competitions such as esports tournaments.
The new regulations are part of sweeping reforms mandated by Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced, who is hoping to create new sources of tax revenue in an attempt to reduce government debts following the two hurricanes that devasted the territory in 2017.
The successful consultancy firm will also help develop systems and processes for the Commission to carry out its policy development and enforcement duties, as well as submitting interim progress reports.