Casino Regulator’s CEO Steps Down

Published By Mia Gardner : 02 Nov 2020 | Last Updated: 30 Dec 2020

Heathcliff Farrugia, who has served the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) in the capacity of chief executive following his appointment to the position nearly 3 years ago in 2018, will be stepping down as CEO, the casino regulatory body has confirmed. Farrugia has been with the MGA since 2014. Before his appointment to the office of CEO he served the regulator in the capacity of chief operations officer as well as in the capacity of chief regulatory officer.

Instead of availing himself for an extension of contract alongside the MGA, Farrugia will reportedly not be open to a renewal of turn but will instead commence focusing on alternative career opportunities.

Since Farrugia’s term in office only officially expires early next year, the former CEO has now been placed on gardening leave for the duration of what’s left of his current contract.

The Journey To The Top

Farrugia is an old and respected hand in the casino regulatory business. Before joining the MGA in 2014, he spent time serving in several managerial roles and capacities at the Malta division of telecommunications giant Vodafone. He also worked as customer value management manager for the same company in Italy and spent several terms as member of the board at the Gaming Regulators European Forum.

Farrugia is regarded as having played an instrumental role in the inking of several casino partnership initiatives focused on cross-country compliance and a crackdown on illegal black-market operators. Farrugia pushed hard for European cross-border legislation for the purpose of offering better support to law enforcers.

Resignation Motives Questioned

It had been under his hand of guidance that the casino regulator earlier this year formulated a list of new requirements for sports betting operators licensed in Malta by the MGA. The requirements obligate licensees to report to the MGA all suspicious betting patterns – with the new regulations coming into force on January 1st, 2021.

Farrugia and MGA chief regulatory officer Karl Brincat Peplow both turned in their respective resignations on Thursday last week. According to the MGA, Farrugia and Peplow have stepped down from their positions with the regulator in order to explore the possibility of a new (unspecified) joint venture together.

The timing of the resignations has in the meantime been described by local media publications as surprising. Many are now speculating whether Farrugia and Peplow’s “early” departures are in any way connected to links recently uncovered between MGA officials and a local murder investigation.

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