The Malta Gaming Authority has revoked the operating licence of MKC Ltd, a gaming company registered at an address belonging to the MGA’s former Chief Officer for Authorisations, Karl Brincat Peplow.
The MGA said in a press release on Tuesday that the licence was revoked for a number of infractions which included failing to “discharge financial commitments”, failing to “meet commitments to players in a timely manner”, and failing to “pay in a timely manner all amounts due to the Authority”.
Brincat Peplow had resigned from his post along with ex-MGA CEO Heathcliff Farrugia in October 2021 just as a police investigation into Farrugia’s ties with businessman and alleged Daphne Caruana Galizia murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech was starting.
MKC Limited ran the online casino Betworld247 and is registered at the same Birkirkara address as Malpep Limited, Brincat Peplow’s consultancy firm.
Malpep remains one of the MGA’s officially authorised System and Compliance Auditors.
Several other companies are listed at the Birkirkara address, including other online casino and gaming companies, a petrochemical trading company, an auditing firm and a Spanish energy company.
MKC Ltd is owned by Swedes Juliana and Danijel Kotur. The company faced legal action by the Netherlands’ KSA regulatory body last September for allowing players from the country to gamble at its online casino without the necessary certification.
When Heathcliff Farrugia was the MGA’s CEO, Brincat Peplow was his right-hand man. Farrugia stands accused of trading in influence after text messages found on Yorgen Fenech’s phone revealed the two had a cosy relationship.
Farrugia has since been replaced by current MGA CEO Carl Brincat, as Malta’s gaming industry, which contributes around 10-12% to the country’s GDP, has seen a noticeable downtrend since 2021, in part due to the country’s Financial Action Task Force’s greylisting, which has since been reversed.
New gaming licences dropped by 75% last year compared to 2018.
The MGA is now scrambling to retain operators by introducing a softer approach to enforcement, with a new law approved in parliament on Wednesday to protect locally licensed operators from prosecution in foreign courts.