Renato Hamel, the head of the Chilean Gaming Control Board (SJC), will resign, and according to local press, the reason could be due to the growing controversy surrounding the awarding of the license for the new casino in Chillan.
The President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, made the request for Hamel’s resignation herself, according to the Ministry of Finance. The position that Hamel has held for more than three years will be temporarily filled by civil engineer, Daniel García Fernández, who served as Director of Management Services of the Ministry of Finance, according to G3 Newswire. Hamel was appointed in May 2012 during the administration of Sebastián Piñera. His resignation coincides with the announcement by the Court of Appeals of Concepción to request the help of the SCJ regarding the Chillan license controversy. The court has requested the SJC to intervene now that a third writ of protection is to be filed by the Argentine -Spanish Boldt-Peralada against the regional council. The SJC has five days to respond to the request.
For two years now, the licensing process for the South American casino has been delayed, and in November, the proposal submitted by the Argentine -Spanish Boldt-Peralada group was rejected for the third time by Regional Council of Bio Bio. The group’s proposal was for a casino in the capital of the province of Ñuble. It is one of four provinces of the Chilean region of Bío Bío.
After the two previous ballots were invalidated by the court, the regional council was forced to vote again. The ballots were invalidated after Ricardo Abdala, the lawyer representing Boldt-Peralada, successfully argued that lawmakers had exceeded their scope as stipulated by Chile’s gaming law. According to Abdala, rather than focusing on specific technical points of each project, regional councilors should have stuck with points specific to the destination of the project and how it would fit with the overall regional strategy.
After the third rejection in November by the Regional Council, Abdala said he would contest the decision again, saying the council acted unfairly in favor of Chilean-Canadian operator Marina del Sol. Last November when local media reports emerged that claimed the SJC failed to deliver a report on time to the proper authorities, the controversy grew. Marina del Sol would have been ruled out of the bidding process altogether had the report been delivered on time. However, the article in the newspaper at the time was described as being “absolutely false” by a spokesman for SJC.