Thursday November 7,2013 : MYSTERY SURROUNDS RADICAL CHANGES AT MALTA ONLINE GAMBLING REGULATOR
 
Chairman Galea and CEO Portanier both resign.
 
Surprise developments at Malta online gambling regulator Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) are certain to trigger industry speculation as the apparently sudden resignation of chairman Mario Galea and CEO Reuben Portanier sinks in.
 
No reasons were given for the resignations, which were announced by the Malta government parliamentary secretary for competitiveness Edward Zammit Lewis, who combined the news with a notification on the appointment of Joseph Cuschieri as executive chairman of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA).
 
Interestingly, Lewis's statement implied that Galea would remain involved, saying:
 
"I am delighted to announce this appointment at such a crucial stage in the development of the on-line gaming industry in Malta. With Cuschieri's appointment at the helm of the LGA and the support of Mario Galea's expertise in the remote gaming sector, I am confident that the LGA will have the right professional set-up to enable its continued development."
 
Cuschieri is a certified public accountant specialised in management accounting and finance and holds a Masters Degree in Business Management from Henley Management College, UK.
 
He is the son-in-law to Malta foreign minister George Vella.
 
Prior to joining the LGA, Cuschieri was Chief Commercial Officer at Vodafone Malta and senior consultant with Ernst & Young.
 
Galea was the first head of the LGA but left in 2008, returning only in May this year to the post of chairman. Around the same time he was also appointed consultant for the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement as that body moves towards legalised online gtambling in the state of New Jersey. Galea also works with Malta-based with Random Consulting.
 
In his statement, Lewis said Cuschieri had vast experience in economic regulation particularly in the electronic communications sector where he spent five years as COO at the Malta Communications Authority.
 
"In his new role, Cuschieri will be focusing amongst other things on reforming the authority to make it more efficient and agile, strengthening the relationships with all stakeholders, strategically grow the on-line gaming sector and promote Malta as a globally recognised gaming jurisdiction," he said.