The director of the Puerto Rico Gaming Commission Orlando Rivera Carrión resigned from his position this week amid allegations of possible conflict of interest, El Nuevo Dia reported.
Resignation Has Been Confirmed
Manuel Cidre Miranda, Secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC), confirmed the resignation of Gambling Commission director Rivera Carrión, effective immediately, due to the irregularities.
The Gambling Commission’s director was put under pressure from representatives of the slot machine industry body (UNOMAR) and the Fiscal Board and decided to step down from the position. He will be officially relieved from his duties on May 15 but will be on paid leave until then, meaning his resignation is effective immediately.
Rivera Carrión acknowledged while speaking to a local media that Manuel Cidre was the one who prompted him to resign. He also commented on the police escort provided to him as director of the Gambling Commission.
Rivera Carrión boldly stated that he legalized “an industry that was completely illegal” while answering questions regarding his tenure at the helm of the commission. He then singled out online sports betting as his achievement while noting that casinos and racetracks are functioning and “in order.”
The Gambling Commission will be managed by its administrator Jaime Rivera Emanuelli on an interim basis until May 15.
Alleged Conflict of Interest
The local media also reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requested a copy of the report containing the alleged irregularities committed by former boss Rivera Carrión from the House of Representatives.
In February, two representatives filed a complaint with the Office of Government Ethics alleging that Rivera Carrión engaged in a conflict of interest by disbursing his trips outside of the country, to Chicago and Las Vegas, related to proposals from companies interested to operate slot machines in Puerto Rico to the companies he evaluated.
Further, the now former Gambling Commission director allegedly participated in a chat with members of the gambling industry he is supposed to regulate as part of his obligations.
Commenting on the resignation, representative Jose Rivera Madera, one of the two who filed the complaint against Rivera Carrión, outlined that stepping down was the only course of action for the commission’s boss.
The representative, who also wrote to the Governor Pedro Pierluisi to request the immediate removal of Rivera Carrión from his position, outlined that institutions should be defended “from any act that could lacerate their image,” especially so in the gaming sector where trust is paramount and “security must be prioritized.”