The Malta LGA and the Alderney AGCC at the London ICE: no answers and nobody available.

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This is the rather long-promised followup to my previous articles on the Malta LGA, the ex CEO of the LGA Mario Galea, and also the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.

I attended the 2009 International Casino Exhibition in January this year for the purposes of speaking to the Malta Lotteries And Gaming Authority and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.

My reason for seeking out the LGA were complaints at Malta-based sportsbooks Interwetten and BetChance. Betchance is covered in detail in my Betchance article here, and the Interwetten matter is described in great detail in the Interwetten report on my own site.

I was looking for the Alderney Commission to raise issues which I described in the AGCC article for Midas Oracle – namely, why the AGCC considers it acceptable for a licensee to revoke a player&#8217-s winnings after the player followed all the rules to the letter.

Those above-mentioned articles are infinitely more interesting than anything I can say here. The visit was a monumental waste of time.

To give the LGA credit, they were at least available to talk, which is more than can be said for the AGCC.

I spoke to two members of the LGA&#8217-s legal department, Dr. Edwina Licari and Dr. Joseph F. Borg. I had been given Dr. Licari&#8217-s name by the &#8220-complaints manager&#8221-, one Frances Blenheim, who told me she would not be in attendance herself. She also said that Dr. Licari would be up to speed with the matter.

However, Dr. Licari knew nothing about my case. I said &#8220-hey, your friend Frances told me to talk to you!&#8221-, to which the lady replied that although the complaints woman had notified her that I was intending to visit, she had NOT told her anything about the case. As such, she was in no real position to say anything other than that which would have been complete guesswork.

So, zero out of ten for that.

I felt a little sorry for Dr. Licari. She looked frankly terrified during my entire visit, as if she thought I could be on the verge of doing something totally unpredictable (granted, always a possibility). This, in its turn, put me slightly on edge.

Never mind. Onwards to Betchance.

I had pepared a sheet of paper with reports from Sportsbook Review, detailing in brief the unfolding situation, namely that Betchance&#8217-s debts were around $100,000, the silence was absolute and the Malta LGA still listed them. I read this out to Dr. Borg.

He told me that Betchance&#8217-s license was under &#8220-notice of suspension&#8221-.

And that was all. Because of this notice, no comment was possible.

I also quoted ex-CEO Galea&#8217-s comments, that the Betchance players were &#8220-lying&#8221-, and that people who questioned the LGA should watch their backs.

Again, no comment was possible. Galea would have to speak for himself. And, of course, Galea is no longer part of the LGA.

In fairness to the LGA I should add: Betchance&#8217-s license was suspended two weeks after this, on February 2nd – see their suspended licenes page.

Also in fairness, Dr. Borg was a nice enough fellow, who offered to look at my own Interwetten case. We also glanced over other general matters – he pointed out that the LGA was not a court of law and could only make recommendations, and acknowledged that the Interwetten players&#8217- ten month wait for just a response from the LGA was unacceptable.

However, answers there were none.

So then I sought out the Alderney Commission.

A &#8220-States of Alderney&#8221- stand there indeed was. Unfortunately, there were no more than two reps of the Gambling Control Commission.

So could I please come back later?

So I did. Still nobody. OK, try again, shall we?

Next time, I spoke to a lawyer – somewhat out of desperation, as I could see I was getting nowhere with anyone on the actual commission. I told this gentleman I wanted to discuss matters pertaining to player complaints – could he be of help?

He said he&#8217-d listen, but it wasn&#8217-t his department so he would be unlikely to be able to shed any light on my concerns.

So we should probably just leave it at that, eh?

Good idea. No sense in wasting anymore time.

So I departed.

In a fairly bad mood.

And that was it. No answers from anyone. The Malta LGA couldn&#8217-t say anything, and Alderney was barely there.

I&#8217-ll finish off this non-article with a customary rant – I think it&#8217-s justified:

This exhibition, and others like it, is a quintessentially perfect representation of the gambling industry. It&#8217-s like candy floss. It looks lovely, but one lick and it&#8217-s gone – or, in this case, one flick of the duster. There is no substance. You go up to a snappy looking stand, full of smart looking people wearing nice suits, and you think: hey, this is the business. Then you ask them a question, and you discover there&#8217-s nothing there. There isn&#8217-t even a bit there, there is nothing. A question: nothing. Another question: nothing. Try somewhere else, and you can&#8217-t even ask a question in the first place, because despite all the throngs of people in evidence, nobody has anything to do with anything of substance. One puff and it&#8217-s gone. Back to nothing.

Which is all rather like Las Vegas, or any other gambling centre: monumental homages to nothingness, with no real entertainment other than for the masochistically inclined.

So, I suppose I got what I expected so shouldn&#8217-t really complain.

Thank you for reading my non-report on my non-visit to the non-event that was the 2009 Earls Court International Casino Exhibition. If it bored you, think about me going to it and writing about it, and hopefully you&#8217-ll feel a lot better.

My next report will be on an online poker scandal currently and painfully being played out. It is, I promise, more interesting. :D

Why do BetFair Games (regulated in Malta, E.U.) have a timer on games?

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Malta&#8217-s Lotteries and Gaming Authority is a stricter regulator than the UK&#8217-s Gambling Commission on that point. The Malta regulator mandates BetFair Games to display a timer on their games. The timer is visible on screen at all times, and, when the countdown expires, play is interrupted to provide the customer with a reminder of how long they&#8217-ve been playing. (If it didn&#8217-t interrupt play, there wouldn&#8217-t be much point in having the countdown, of course.)