Malta gaming regulator sets up anti-sports corruption unit

Sports Integrity Unit will be MGA intelligence gathering unit against corruption in sports and manipulation of competitions

Malta’s gaming authority has set up its own sports integrity unit in a bid to fight the manipulation of sports competitions.

The Sports Integrity Unit’s role will consist of the gathering of intelligence and information relating to suspicious betting and will serve as a liaison with regulatory authorities, law enforcement agencies, betting monitoring systems, sporting bodies and gaming operators in order to investigate irregular and suspicious betting activity.

The unit will also be liaising with other MGA directorates to introduce new laws on the reporting of suspicious betting activity by gaming operators to the MGA and establishing a culture of cooperation amongst industry stakeholders to tackle the worldwide problem of corruption in sports.

Senior executive Antonio Zerafa will be the MGA’s sports integrity officer. Zerafa, a criminology lecturer with a Master’s degree in Counter Fraud & Counter Corruption Studies from the University of Portsmouth, has been at the MGA for four years.

He holds various positions within the Criminal Probity Screening Department within the Enforcement Directorate and serves as Secretary to the MGA’s Fit & Proper Committee. He is currently reading for a PhD in Law and Criminology with a focus on gaming-related crime at the Sheffield Hallam University.

“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,” CEO 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.”

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