Malta regulator establishes new Sports Integrity Unit

29 August 2019

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has created a new Sports Integrity Unit in an effort to increase focus and resources dedicated to preventing the manipulation of sporting events and competitions.

The unit will gather intelligence and information relating to suspicious betting and serve as a liaison with both national and foreign regulatory authorities, law enforcement agencies, betting monitoring systems, sporting bodies and gaming operators to investigate activity.

The new unit will also work with other divisions of the MGA to implement policy initiatives, such as signing cooperation agreements with other entities focused on tackling corruption in sport.

Antonio Zerafa, who currently serves as a senior executive with the MGA, will lead the new unit as sports integrity officer. He has been with the regulator for four years, holding various positions within the Criminal Probity Screening Department.

“Having a dedicated Sports Integrity Unit is vital for the MGA’s statutory objective to ensure that gambling is free from crime, specifically the manipulation of sports competitions," MGA chief executive Heathcliff Farrugia said.

“The MGA is committing to cooperation with stakeholders to the extent permitted by law to act against a pervasive phenomenon that threatens the integrity of both the sports and the betting industries.”

The move comes after the MGA this week also released new guidelines governing licensees' advertising and established a new committee to ensure compliance with the new rules. Guidance includes a 30-point checklist for licensees that sets out responsible gaming requirements in relation to advertising and promotions.