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Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority: a governmental regulatory body which is worthless and ineffectual

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority: a governmental regulatory body which is worthless and ineffectual

The Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority is the governmental body whose job it is to oversee and regulate all gambling operations located in Malta. The 2004 Remote Gaming Legislation lays out the requirements, and it includes the following heartening clause:

The Authority may order the suspension or cancellation of a license if...the license holder has failed to meet commitments to players

Unfortunately, the reality does not match the marketing. The Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority does not, in fact, do anything for players who lodge complaints with them regarding their licensees.

On the 3rd of March 2008 I lodged a complaint with the Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority, regarding confiscation of over £5000 in winnings on the part of Interwetten sportsbook and casino - see my Interwetten confiscation of more than £5000 article.

Mario Galea, the CEO of the Malta LGA, to whom I complained, acknowledged receipt of my email and said he would pass it on to the player support manager.

As of 1st of June 2008, three months later, I have heard nothing.

A handful of other players had identical problems, and they complained at Casinomeister - see the Interwetten confiscating winnings thread.

All these players also lodged complaints. None of them have heard anything.

However, the Malta LGA did deign to issue one communication, to "Casinomeister" Bryan Bailey, an unaffected third party. Bailey reported thus:

The LGA said that Interwetten had paid a number of the affected players, but had specific reasons not to pay the others.

Apparently, this is an "investigation" according to the Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority:

• They do not acknowledge receipt of anything from anyone.

• They do not communicate in any way with players who lodge complaints.

• They communicate with third parties, who have no business knowing any details in the first place, that their findings are that "the casino had reasons not to pay".

• They offer no rebuttal options.

• They offer no explanations.

In fact, The Malta LGA says nothing beyond that which the players didn't already know anyway, ie. that the casino was confiscating their money. This is the sum total of their "investigation".

Is this the end of the story of the somewhat spectacularly failed Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority?


For the past few months, another Maltese-licensed operation, Betchance, has been in no-pay mode, and currently owes players somewhere in the region of $100,000. Here are some summaries from Sportsbook Review:

1/22/2008 11:06 PM

First BetChance (SBR rating F) payout activity observed in nearly five months

Two players confirmed receiving payouts less than $500 USD. The book sent the following message prior to payment:

"Thanks for your collaboration and support during these months. Betchance would like to inform you that your withdrawal has been processed. Also note that all the company's problems have been solved. Within few weeks we will offer new offers and services through our website. You are welcome, to visit betchance.com!"

Players should avoid being optimistic until more substantial withdrawals are issued. This message was similar to what the book sent with very small payouts last September. The sportsbook owes over $100,000 to SBR readers alone. These two payments were made via bank wire.

2/5/2008 08:39 AM

BetChance (SBR rating F) player confirms 2480 EUR paid. This marks the largest payout reported of a total amount just above $4000USD since the book first stopped processing payouts in September.

Delinquent withdrawal requests remain over $100,000.

5/1/2008 08:33 PM

BetChance (SBR rating D-) scam continues after scattered payouts
Many players who filed a complaint reported payment at the start of April. BetChance failed to pay players at the close of 2007 and beginning of this year. The sportsbook was upgraded from F to D- in April to reflect the possibility of payment. Players have since wrote to SBR strongly objecting to the sportsbook having a rating above F-. BetChance payouts have not continued while its marketing campaign has. BetChance is telling players they are only able to withdraw the amount they deposited. The result is new players depositing in an effort to win money the book will not pay.

Player to BetChance: "I am still waiting on a response to my email from 31st January 2008 (10 weeks ago !!!). Furthermore there are 5 open withdrawals over 5000 Euro in total. Please let me know within 7 days when you will payout this amount. Please regard that sportsbookreview.com has changed your rating from F to D- on 7th April and I think that you won't be pleased if your rating will changed again to F."

Betchance owes a minimum of $100,000, and as such has the absolute worst rating at Sportsbook Review, an F-, reserved for the biggest and worst sportsbook scams on the internet.

The Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority lists Betchance among its licensees - see the Authorised Remote Gaming Operators page, under the "class 2" listings. The LGA has not removed Betchance's license, in spite of this sportsbook's spectacular failure to "meet commitments to players" as per the terms of the 2004 Remote Gaming Act.

So, in summary:

• When players complain to the Malta LGA, they are completely ignored.

• When LGA licensees stop paying players and end up owing large sums of money, with no apparent prospect of payment, the LGA happily continues to allow them to maintain their license.

Any casino or sportsbook operator considering relocation to Malta as an ostensibly "reputable" jurisdiction should bear in mind the following:

1) That the Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority has no credibility with the player community, and as such, operations within the jurisdiction of Malta will not be considered safe by such players who will then not give Malta licensees their business. This has obvious financial consequences: fewer players equates to less money.

2) That gambling regulation within the European Union has gained pace recently, acting as some counterbalance to the action taken against online gambling by the United States in 2006 with the passing of the Internet Gambling Prohibition And Enforcement Act. For gambling regulators to now be seen to be spectacularly failing is possibly the very worst thing for the online gambling industry at his moment.

Players and industry mover & shakers be warned: the Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority is an ineffectual, worthless and dangerous blot on the copybook of the European online gambling regulatory scene.

***Update Monday June 2nd 2008***

Less than twelve hours after writing the above article, lo and behold I received my first communication from the Malta LGA, to the effect that my emails have been received and the matter is being investigated. How this squares with the LGA's statement to a webmaster that Interwetten had "valid reasons not to pay" I cannot begin to imagine. However, I'm glad to have finally received the courtesy of a response.

5 Previous Comments

Great thanks for your article.

I also have problem with betchance and I win over £20k in betchance. However I didnt receive my money.

I have been contact with this bookie for almost 1 year, what I have got is rubish promise.

Is any way to solve the

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:25 pm  

have you contacted the SBR people?


Also, a post on their forum might get you up to speed with other issues and some general support:


Of course, you should "officially" make a complaint to the LGA, but we know that is a complete waste of time. It wouldn't hurt to do it anyway, just for form's sake.

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 2:36 pm  

good article - having you tried contacting the racing post to see if they have any interest in exposting the farce that is the LGA

it must be worth a try

i am another punter owed money by betchance - i have found the lga to be as useless as your article suggests

i have also contacted the maltese ministry of finance who regulate the lga, suprise suprise they are just as useless

this is a scandal and needs exposing

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:16 pm  

Would this be something of interest to The Racing Post? I'm not much familiar with it, but it seems UK track racing fucussed. I'm not sure if governmental departments in far-flung European outposts would be much of interest to them.

Unsurprisingly, I have heard not a word further from the Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority. I have told them they will be seeing me at next year's ICE and that I'll certainly be seeking legal recourse against them in Malta.

They simply do not respond.

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 11:15 pm  

I've done another writeup for Midas Oracle.

By Blogger 100% Gambler, at 4:39 pm  

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