MGA launches new sports integrity unit

(source: Unsplash/Markus Spiske)

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The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has launched a new Sports Integrity Unit with the aim to increase focus on and shift resources toward fighting against the manipulation of sports competitions, according to a press release sent to Business Malta.

The roles of the unit will include gathering intelligence and information related to suspicious betting and will work in liaison with local and foreign regulatory authorities, law enforcement agencies, betting monitoring systems, sporting bodies and gaming operators in order to investigate irregular and suspicious betting activity. 

MGA Senior Executive Antonio Zerafa as Sports Integrity Officer will represent the head of the unit. Mr Zerafa has been at the MGA for four years and has held various positions within the Criminal Probity Screening Department, as well as the Enforcement Directorate as Secretary to the MGA’s Fit and Proper Committee. 

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“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,” said Heathcliff Farrugia, MGA’s Chief Executive Officer.  

“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,” Mr Farrugia added. 

In addition, Mr Zerafa has a Degree in Criminology from the University of Malta where he is also a visiting lecturer, a Master’s Degree in Counter Fraud and Counter Corruption Studies from the University of Portsmouth, and is currently reading for a PhD in Law and Criminology with a focus on gaming-related crime at the Sheffield Hallam University.

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