The Malta Gaming Authority is “closely” investigating a Qormi-based company linked to an online gambling racket unearthed by Italian authorities.
A spokesman for the regulator, which granted an operating licence to the company - Medialive Limited – in 2007, said that, in view of the current investigations, “any further comments at this stage would be imprudent and premature”.
In an operation dubbed Operation Doppio Jack, Florence police arrested seven suspects including the owner of Medialive Limited last week. However, the MGA spokesman said the gaming watchdog had not yet received any official notification from Italian authorities on the case.
According to the spokesman, the company, which employs approximately 55 people and offers live casino sessions, is still operating and no decisions have been made yet on whether to suspend its licence.
“An MGA licence is suspended if there is a breach of Maltese law,” he said, adding, “Whether there has been a breach or not still needs to be established.”
He said, when asked, that the company’s servers, which were allegedly used by the racket, had not been seized so far.
Industry sources expressed surprise that the MGA had still not decided to call in the Malta police and to secure the servers, which could possibly contain incriminating evidence.
“The allegations made are very serious, and the Italian arrests were enough to prompt the Maltese authorities to at least take precautionary measures to make sure any possible evidence is not compromised in any way,” the sources said.
The president of the Italian Parliament’s Anti-Mafia Commission, Rosy Bindi, who was in Malta a few weeks ago, expressed “concern over the lack of collaboration by the Maltese authorities over this racket”.
She said the operation by the Italian police confirmed that “gambling was one of the industries in which criminal activities invest and recycle money”.
According to the head of the Florence prosecution office, Giuseppe Creazzo, Italian authorities had not yet managed to obtain the seizure of various Maltese bank accounts and the IT platform used in Malta in connection with the gambling racket. He attributed this to “legal obstacles”, though he did not elaborate.
According to the Italian police, the racket involved millions of euros in online gambling through some 24 gaming parlours in various Italian regions connected to the server hosted in Malta.
It is estimated that about €10 million a month passed through the illegal platform.
Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.Support Us