Malta Gaming Authority Pulls Mafia Linked Betting License

Published Saturday, February 03, 2018 -
Malta Gaming Authority Pulls Mafia Linked Betting License

Malta has a reputation as being a safe bet for registered online gambling firms that want to maintain a secure environment. Unfortunately the arrest of one of Italy’s top crime bosses involved in online betting has tainted that hard earned goal.

Benedetto Bacchi, the ‘betting king’ reportedly controlled a network of 700 betting shops across Italy has been detained by Italian police. Now the Malta Gaming Authority has announced that it has suspended the remote gaming license of Phoenix International Ltd, which has been operating a number of Bacchi’s online betting sites.  

Recent raids on dozens of internet cafés by Italian police, in a Palermo focused anti-mafia operation called ‘Game Over’ has resulted in 23 arrested individuals. The operation was created to undo a clan in Palermo whose members were charged with various crimes such as money laundering, fraud and drug trafficking.

A police spokesperson commented, “It is evident that such results would have never been achieved without the crucial intervention of the mafia association which forced betting agencies operating in its heartlands to market Bacchi’s gambling platforms,”

Rodolfo Ruperti, Chief officer of Palermo Police also said, “The mafia changes its skin and, in this case, it makes deals with businessmen capable of securing them big profits,”

The Malta Gaming Authority suspension notice told Phoenix to, “indefinitely suspend all gaming operations, cease to register new players, suspend all transactions on all websites, including deposits and withdrawals, and submit all data and documentation requested by the Authority.”

The betting shops were known as ‘data transmission centres’ which featured terminals that connected to the Malta-licensed Phoenix gambling sites. The MGA also told the public that any Phoenix-related sites that continue to claim to be operating under an MGA license are not legally authorized. These unauthorized operators allegedly generated undeclared revenue of €1 million every month.  


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