Gambling news in Malta is often positive, but a recent investigation has gambling operators spooked. Gaming companies are threatening to leave Malta after an issue with mafia was discovered. The Times of Malta broke a story about Malta operators who are exerting pressure on the Malta Gaming Authority.
The Malta Gaming Authority is known for its above board regulations. The regulators have always been recognized as one that ensures casino companies are operating legitimately before allowing their stamp to be used on online websites. However, it seems that the gaming authority missed the Mafia getting into the gambling sector.
According to the news story, the Malta Gaming Authority is ferreting out issues with gambling firms that tie with the Cosa Nostra Kingpin. The Kingpin, Matteo Denaro, is operating in the industry, and he is unwanted for his dodgy business practices. The sources are unnamed, with regards to the casinos requesting the Malta Gaming Authority clean up the mafia issue or they would leave. It is not known how many companies made the threat if Malta fails to clean up the mafia ties.
Operators have expressed their concerns surrounding the lack of action the gaming authority has taken to freeze assets that are linked with the Italian mafia kingpin. The Investigative Reporting Project Italy stated the Italian courts are urging the Attorney General in Malta to freeze Centurionbet assets. The request to freeze these assets came after an investigation found ties between the Malta-licensed company and Francesco Martiradonna, who is the son of a mafia boss, currently in jail.
Martiradonna was arrested in 2017 and will face trial in June. There are also 100 other suspects that will be in a trial in June, who are suspected of being tied to organized crime.
Malta Gaming Action
The Malta Gaming Authority did suspend the casino license after Martiradonna was arrested. The suspension has not had an impact on the money going from Malta to Italy since the assets are currently available. Italian authorities want Malta to freeze the assets and have requested same several times. In frustration, the chief anti-mafia prosecutor, Nicola Gratteri, chided the authorities in Malta for not taking action.
In a statement, she said it is easier to work with Colombia or Peru on such matters than it has been to work with Malta. Gratteri states if Malta does not freeze the assets the investigation will be useless into the mafia family.