The risk of the gaming industry being infiltrated by crooks was at an all-time low, the former head of the Malta Gaming Authority Joe Cuschieri told Times Talk.

Malta has been mentioned a number of times as a possible jurisdiction used by the Italian Mafia for money-laundering – but he stressed that only one of those cases had actually been proved.

However, he did not shrug off the concerns, and admitted that organised crime was very sophisticated nowadays, meaning that regulators had to be up to speed.

“We now use a lot of intelligence from foreign agencies on individuals and that gives us a first line of defence,” he said.

Mr Cuschieri, who is now heading the Malta Financial Services Authority, said that there was now also much more collaboration with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit on anti-money-laundering.

The MGA recently reacted sharply to stories in the Times of Malta about the jurisdiction being at risk of being ‘taken over’ by criminal elements from Italy. It said in a statement that “If detection and prosecution of organised crime were

easy, it would not exist in the first place.“Information and resources available to Italian law enforcement are not readily available to gambling regulators – Maltese or otherwise.”

Mr Cuschieri also spoke about the challenges he faces at the MFSA and said that within a few weeks, it would present a vision for the sector which would be presented for consultation with the various stakeholders.

“Should we start licensing certain types of private banks? That is a question that we need to ask ourselves,” he said.

“We need to look at how we manage risk so that we might reject certain business models.”

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