The Malta Gaming Authority would like to draw attention to media articles published by the Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI), La Repubblica and the Times of Malta. The MGA objects to the articles in question which contain factual inaccuracies, speculation, untruths and a misleading portrayal of the Malta Gaming Authority and the way it operates. The latest published articles refer to rehashed stories on which enforcement action has already been taken accordingly by the MGA.

The MGA takes exception to the claim that “Gaming Companies threatened to leave Malta if it failed to clean up the sector”. These claims are completely false and solely intended to tarnish the reputation of the Maltese Jurisdiction.

In addition, the Malta Gaming Authority also denies lack of cooperation with Italian Authorities. The MGA does not normally receive cooperation requests from Italian authorities other than its counterpart gambling regulator in Italy. Requests from law enforcement or financial intelligence units are sent to the corresponding authorities in Malta. Naturally, the MGA cooperates and provides any relevant information to the competent authorities when duly requested, or if the MGA deems that such information in its possession needs to be shared with the respective authorities.

The prevention of criminal infiltration is of the utmost importance for the MGA. The MGA ensures that its procedures and resources in the field of due diligence are the best possible, and in fact, many applicants are refused a licence on the basis of failure to meet fitness and propriety standards. Others are detected as part of on-going checks, and the appropriate action is taken immediately. With that said, if detection and prosecution of organised crime was easy, it would not exist in the first place.

In certain cases, information and resources (such as in-depth intelligence into the activities of organised crime, or resources such as phone tapping) available to Italian law enforcement and anti-organised crime police is not necessarily readily available to gambling regulators, whether Maltese or otherwise. The MGA takes lessons learnt on board, and sees its role also fulfilled when another regulator or law enforcement agency provides actionable information. This allows the MGA to take all necessary action to detect and prevent such criminal infiltration from continuing, and to assist with the eventual collection of evidence and prosecution.

The MGA’s official position on these reports was already illustrated to the Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI), who in turn decided not to publish the MGA’s replies for reasons which are not ‘completely clear’.