Malta is the gaming hub which is considered a divine place for every online gambling entity to develop its business and reap the benefits from it. Due to its liberal manner of operation, the local authorities are also willing to constantly improve themselves, sometimes bringing conflict situations to the field, such as the most recent one revolving around the new Non-Executive Chairperson of the Malta Gaming Authority, Marlene Seychell.
It is no secret to anyone that the island of Malta is constantly on the pursuit of becoming a better location for online gaming and it welcomes operators from all four corners of the world willing to develop their business with its help. The regulator which oversees this field seeks ways in which it could better its own operation which inevitably leads to the introduction of new people to some of the leading positions in its structure. About a month ago one such figure became the center of attention due to the potential conflict she could have brought to the authority.
What should be noted about her is that she is one of the Board Members of the company overseeing the operation of Main Street Complex located in Paola in the southern part of the country. The shopping complex has four floors of retail stores boasting some of the leading world brands and ever since its official opening back in 2004 it has been a preferred shopping location for people from near and far. Along with the retail and entertainment offerings, it also features the so-called Bingo Royale which brings gambling offerings to the individuals interested in participating in such.
The venue has a wide variety of promotions on a daily basis, as well as jackpots of all sizes up for grabs. Along with them, there is also sports betting available on site, drawing even more people to the venue. The existence of such gambling facility in the very heart of the shopping complex which is overseen by Ms. Seychell could be easily considered a conflict of interest since her potential appointment at the leading position could result in her having an unfair advantage. Future decisions regarding the facility could possibly be driven by personal benefit incentives.
Malta Gaming Authority Witnesses Yet Another Controversy
Ms. Seychell was proposed for the position of Non-Executive Chairperson by the Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee, as she was deemed appropriate for the position and experienced enough to bring development forward. During the initial hearing related to her proposal for the position, she claimed that she is not connected to any company which is involved in gaming offerings whatsoever, as this would have made the situation problematic.
However, in addition to her official statement she also stated that if the circumstances demand it, she is prepared to put an end to her attempts at becoming a Chairperson at Malta Gaming Authority. What should be taken into account, is that she did not try to hide her position at the shopping center Board of Directors. Instead, she made it clear that she is not directly connected to the companies developing, as they are obliged to respond to the management. What made the situation more complicated was that Joe Gasan, a co-shareholder of the shopping center as well as of the bingo venue operating in it, is her fellow Board Member.
Following a wave of publicity revolving around her position in the gambling authority and the link she has to Mr. Gasan she voluntarily decided to give up on her plans of becoming a Non-Executive Chairman of MGA. This most recent turn of events comes several months after the controversial situation involving Italian-based online gambling businesses which allegedly have been connected to illegal activities. Their licenses for operation were issued by MGA which in turn led to its CEO Joseph Cuschieri’s resignation.
Shortly after that the new CEO of the regulator, Heathcliff Farrugia was appointed, in an attempt to swerve from potential negative consequences. In the past, there have been instances which have led the general public to second-guess the level of reliability of the gaming authority, such as the one with the Italian Mafia infiltrating gaming companies located in Malta. Up to this point, the authority has managed to deny all accusations coming its way and prove them wrong.