PHILADELPHIA—A veteran investigator with experience working for the Secret Service and local police departments as well as in gambling regulation has been named director of the chief enforcement arm of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Paul Mauro, 47, has been leading the board's Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement since the December 2009 retirement of its first director, David Kwait. On Wednesday, the board officially appointed him as director. The BIE is an independent bureau of the board responsible for conducting regulatory and background investigations in the state's growing gambling industry.

Mauro joined the bureau in January 2006 as a supervisor in its Harrisburg office and became a deputy director in April 2007. He previously worked as a special agent with the Secret Service, with the Lancaster police department and as chief of police at Harrisburg International Airport.

"I understand how to talk to a local cop. I understand how to talk to a federal agent," Mauro said. "And I also understand how to talk to regulators."

His job is a big one in a state that recently passed New Jersey to become the nation's second-largest gambling market, behind Las Vegas. Pennsylvania has 11 casinos up and operating—and it could one day be home to 14. A license for a resort outside Pittsburgh is tied up in litigation, and another license is tied to a yet-to-be-built racetrack. The board also revoked a second license that had been issued to Foxwoods in Philadelphia, and that license may soon be put out to bid again.

All that means Mauro will have plenty of work to do. His bureau, which has about 70 employees spread across the state, conducted more than 7,000 investigations last year and has conducted about 50,000 to date. Those probes include criminal background checks, financial investigations and probes of alleged wrongdoing by casino workers. The work can take investigators all over the state, the country and across the globe.

"We have major challenges ahead of us," Mauro said, alluding to all the investigations that need to be done to get more casinos up and running. "We're a major player now in the world of gaming."

The results of the BIE's investigations eventually go to the board, which makes final decisions. "Our goal is basically to conduct the most thorough, competent regulatory investigations possible," Mauro said.

Gaming board chairman William Ryan called Mauro the right man for the job, lauding his ability to cultivate relationships within the agency and across the industry.

"Paul Mauro has been, in essence, directing the operations of the BIE for over three years and has displayed an unquestioned ability to be highly effective in this position," Ryan said in a statement. "Paul has not only gained the respect of his peers within the BIE and PGCB, but with key individuals in other areas of law enforcement inside and outside of Pennsylvania."