Man slapped with €10,000 fine over unlicensed gambling

A man from Qormi has been fined €10,000 after admitting to running an unlicensed gambling operation

A man from Qormi has been fined €10,000 after admitting to running an unlicensed gambling operation.

On Wednesday, Chris Barbara, 25, filed a late guilty plea as the criminal proceedings against him continued before Magistrate Simone Grech.

Barbara had initially denied charges of running a gambling enterprise in Malta without the necessary licence issued by the Malta Gaming Authority or another competent authority in a European Union State.

He was also charged with breaching the Gaming Act and carrying out regulated activities without a licence.

The court had heard how in January 2021, the police had arrested a 21-year-old man on related charges. During the examination of that man’s mobile phone, investigators had discovered a chat with the accused in which the participants had discussed gambling.

Magistrate Grech was also told how gambling had taken over the accused’s life and had led him into substantial debt.

After allowing him time to reconsider his guilty plea and explaining the punishment his charges carried, Barbara confirmed his admission of guilt.

In sentencing, the court took into account his age and the fact that his guilty plea had taken place after proceedings had reached an advanced stage, but also that he had cooperated with police investigations.

The magistrate ruled that imposing the ideal punishment should be a fine at the lower end of the applicable spectrum.

Finding him guilty on his own admission, the court condemned Barbara to the payment of a €10,000 fine.

Police Inspectors George Frendo and Wayne Rodney Borg prosecuted.