The MGA, the Mafia and Palermo In The News — Weekly Round-Up For February 9, 2018

Palermo Police In Further Raids On Betting Shops

Police claim online links to Malta and the mafia

The online gambling hub of Malta hit the headlines in Italy again this week following further police anti-mafia gambling raids in the Palermo region which allegedly uncovered links between internet cafe-style betting shops and websites hosted on the Mediterranean island.

In a police operation appropriately dubbed “Game Over” hundreds of police officers raided 700 premises across Palermo, arresting 23 persons on allegations of organised crime links and illegal gambling activity, shuttering shops, seizing assets worth millions of Euros and freezing bank accounts.

Among those arrested was alleged kingpin Benedetto Bacchi who reportedly controls a large number of illegal betting shops that link to Malta-licensed online gambling websites such as B2875, Bsport24.com and B28sport.com, all connected with Phoenix International Ltd in Malta.

Italian police are investigating a slew of charges against Bacchi and others, including organised crime association, money laundering, illegal transfer of financial assets, fraud and drug trafficking.

The new cases and attendant publicity are likely to be embarrassing for Malta and the Malta Gaming Authority, which has had to weather similar high profile Italian criminal gambling cases allegedly linked to the island in recent years.

InfoPowa readers may remember the MediaLive associated arrests last year and, going a little further back, the Betuniq issue.

MGA Suspends License Allegedly Linked To ‘Game Over’ Palermo Bust (Update)

Phoenix International Limited : MGA/CL2/1163/2016

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has moved to suspend the license of Phoenix International Limited, who is allegedly linked to the massive police anti-mafia gambling raids in Palermo earlier this week (see previous InfoPowa report).

The MGA suspended Remote Gaming license MGA/CL2/1163/2016 linked to B2875, b28sport and BSport24 sports betting sites saying they have been instructed to cease registering new players and suspend all transactions on all websites, including deposits and withdrawals.

“Due to the suspension of the licence, Phoenix International Limited is therefore not authorised to continue conducting gaming by means of distance communications under an Authority licence,” the notification reads.

Players are urged to contact support.mga@mga.org.mt should they have outstanding payments due to them on the mentioned license number.

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Brian Cullingworth

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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