The gregarious CEO of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) in Malta, which handles the regulation and licensing of large numbers of Europe-facing online gambling operations, Mario Galea has resigned with immediate effect, according to a brief notice on the LGA website this week.
The LGA Board of Directors has accepted Galea's resignation, and his position will be taken over by Michael Gonzi until a permanent incumbent has been found. Gonzi is Secretary to the Board.
Galea declined to comment when approached by the Times of Malta in September this year following reports that he had cancelled a trip to the EiG conference in Barcelona because he was contemplating leaving the LGA. Chairman Nicholas Xuereb professed no knowledge of any intended resignation by Galea at the time.
In July 2008 a new Board of Directors of the LGA was appointed under the chairmanship of Xuereb.
Galea has been an influential figure in the LGA for the past four years, spearheading the fast growth of the Maltese i-gaming industry, which is now a major world player. He joined the organisation in 2004, having previously been a significant shareholder of the Internet hosting company BellMed. To avoid any conflict of interest, he sold his BellMed holdings to a nominee company four months after joining the LGA. BellMed is involved in hosting Malta-licensed websites, and is understood today to host almost 70 percent of the companies licensed by the LGA.
In late 2004 the Malta government declared Galea free of conflict of interest, finding that he had "…disposed of a private shareholding in a transparent manner and avoided any form of conflict of interest in his position as a public official."
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