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MGA boss Joseph Cuschieri to become MFSA’s CEO

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Malta Gaming Authority boss Joseph Cuschieri to become MFSA's CEOReading Time: 2 minutes

Mr Cuschieri’s departure will also lead to musical chairs at the gaming authority

 

Joseph Cuschieri, an accountant who has been heading the Malta Gaming Authority since Labour was returned to power in 2013, has been selected by the Office of the Prime Minster to serve as the new CEO of the Malta Financial Services Authority, The Sunday Times of Malta is informed.

The MFSA law does not contemplate the post of a CEO so the government is amending it specifically to create the position, long earmarked for Mr Cuschieri.

Since its inception in the late 1980s, when Malta laid the seeds for its now burgeoning financial services industry, the MFSA has been led by Prof. Joe Bannister, except for a short stint during the 1996-1998 Labour government when he was replaced by Edward Scicluna, today’s Finance Minister. In 1998, following the premature collapse of Alfred Sant’s Labour administration, Prof Bannister was reinstated by then Finance Minister John Dalli, known to be a close friend of his.

Despite pressure from senior Labour quarters, including repeated public calls by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo for the removal of Prof Bannister, Prime Minster Joseph Muscat has kept him in office and defended him against accusations of conflicts of interest including those revealed by the Paradise Papers.

The MGA boss has been eyeing the position at the MFSA for a long time. However, it was only after Labour’s last victory at the polls that the OPM decided to give him the position, following more dissent over the possibility of Prof. Bannister being reconfirmed. According to an amendment in the MFSA law, which still needs to be approved by Parliament, the new CEO must be selected by the board of governors of the financial regulator, which is meant to be independent.

However, an OPM source said that the decision on Mr Cuschieri has already been taken by Castille.

An industry source said: “It is a joke in industry circles that the MFSA or its new non-executive chairman, Prof. John Mamo, will have any say in the selection of the new CEO. Everyone in the industry knows that Mr Cuschieri has already been chosen by the OPM.

Mr Cuschieri’s departure from the MFSA, in a few weeks’ time, will also lead to musical chairs at the gaming authority.

The expectation is that Mr Cuschieri’s right hand man at the MGA, Heathcliff Farrugia, will step into his shoes while the current chairman of Mimcol, Adrian Said, will be appointed non-executive chairman.

Mr Farrugia, a former colleague of Mr Cuschieri at Vodafone, was recruited to the MGA by Mr Cuschieri without any call for applications.

Both Mr Cuschieri and Mr Said are considered as part of the inner circle of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri.

At the MGA, Mr Cuschieri was one of the highest paid political appointees on the island, given a remuneration package of over €120,000 a year.

Industry sources say he is now gunning for an even better package in his new post.

During his tenure, the MGA saw its operating costs more than triple, reaching €10 million in 2016, while the industry continued to flourish.

Relocating its premises to Smart City, the MGA paid €4.3 million to fit-out a building leased for 15 years from the Dubai-based company. Mr Schembri sits on the board of Smart City.


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Russian Online Casinos Supply the Donbass Separatists

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Russian Online Casinos Supply the Donbass SeparatistsReading Time: 1 minute

Pro-Russian separatist groups of the Donbass War (Eastern Ukraine) receive material funds from illegal gambling business, states a recent article published in the Russian Sobesednik magazine. According to article, part of the illegal profits of the online casinos is used to finance the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

As reported by GC Alor analysts, the black turnover of these Russian online casinos is around 200 billion RUR (2,725,065,200.00 Euro). The Majority of these online casinos are registered in foreign administrations, like Azino777 being registered in Curacao.

As experts say, many online casinos are physically based in Ukraine, where the legislation is slightly more loyal than Russian. It is allowed, for example, to develop gaming software for third-party customers. Lucky Labs company, which is linked to the online casino “Vulcan”, operates in Ukraine as software developer.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine, which conducted searches at the office of the company lately, Lacky Labs also controls the websites of CasinoX and Joycasino. The company’s office is big. It is a 4-storey building designed for 150 people. There is also a basement area where there is a kitchen and a dining room, a gym.

Lucky Labs was founded by two Russians. Because of the sanctions imposed by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, now they are not allowed to enter the country. However, Lucky Labs continues to exist. Now the company is registered by an Ukrainian citizen.

If some of the profits of illegal online casino go to pro-Russian patriotic purposes, it becomes clear why Roskomnadzor does not block their Internet addresses. The correspondent of “Sobesednik” managed to access the mentioned online casinos without any obstacles, using no VPN or “mirrors”.

 

Source: sobesednik.ru


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Play’n GO ‘Slots’ Into 1st Place!

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Play'n GO 'Slots' Into 1st Place!Reading Time: 2 minutes

Company celebrates EGR victory with Slot Provider of the Year Award

 

June 22, 2018 – Play’n GO were honoured at the EGR B2B Awards on Wednesday (20thJune) as they took home the highly coveted Slot Provider of the Year Award, beating out some strong competition.

The awards, held in London’s prestigious Hurlingham Club, “celebrates and rewards the very best service suppliers in the online gaming industry” and Play’n GO were honoured to have been nominated in numerous categories including Innovation in Mobile and Best Multi-Channel Supplier.

Play’n GO were recognised for their remarkable offerings in the slot market over the past year including innovative games such as Viking Runecraft, Sweet Alchemy and Moon Princessas well as many other popular titles.

CEO Johan Törnqvist was delighted to pick up the win, and believes it is a reflection of the company’s hard work.

“It’s an honour to pick up such a sought-after award, especially with the level of competition in the category. As a company we work hard to put out the finest, most entertaining, offering to our partners in the market, and winning this award is a testament to that. We have consistently been recognised in the industry for the innovative products we release and it’s our job not to rest on our laurels, but to continue innovating”

 

About Play’n GO

Play’n GO is an award-winning supplier of high quality gaming content to many of the world’s leading casino brands.  Its genuine omni-channel solution can be tailored to suit the needs of individual online and land-based partners, regardless of geographical, regulatory, or market-specific requirements. Its games are developed in HTML5 to provide an enhanced user experience on all devices and operating systems. These are complemented by superior back-office administration tools which provide expansive reporting and marketing capabilities, ensuring operators are equipped to provide the ultimate gaming experience. The supplier’s extensive portfolio was recently recognised by the award of the IGA Slot Provider of the Year 2017 title. Play’n GO currently hold offices in Sweden, Malta, Hungary, and the UK. Please visit http://www.playngo.com for more details.


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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Poland: Accepted Changes In Taxes, Including Gambling

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Poland: Accepted Changes In Taxes, Including GamblingReading Time: 1 minute

Poland’s lower house (Sejm) has voted down five Senate amendments to a comprehensive amendment to several tax bills, including gambling.

The adopted amendments may be applied retroactively, which is to the income earned from January 1 2018.
Gamblers will be treated in a uniform manner after the changes.

Adopted by the Sejm on May 10th of this year extensive amendment to the Personal Income Tax Act (PIT), the Corporate Income Tax Act (CIT) and the Act on flat-rate income tax on certain revenues earned by natural persons; that all winnings on machines will be exempt from PIT, the tax relief for creators will be extended to the next creative professions, the real estate income tax will be larger. This applies to provisions adopted last autumn and effective from January 1st 2018.

Unlike the regulations adopted in autumn, the amendment assumes for example, that participants of legal gambling will be treated in a uniform manner. Regardless of whether the games are organized by casino operators or a company performing a state monopoly in this area, which would be Totalizator Sportowy. In line with the provisions changed by the Sejm and approved by the Senate on Thursday, winnings in slot machine games, card games, dice games and cylindrical games – regardless of which legally operating entities organize them – will be exempt from personal income tax.

In the remaining scope, the rules of taxing winnings (in numerical games, cash lotteries, mutual bets, etc.) are to remain unchanged in relation to the provisions currently in force. Pursuant to the amendment of October 27th 2017, winnings in gambling are subject to a l0% PIT tax on winning if their one-time value of winning exceeds PLN 2,280 (528 Euro).


Source: European Gaming Media and Events

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