Malta-Based iGaming Company with Alleged Ties to Organized Crime Targeted by Italian Police Raid

A major operation conducted by law enforcement agencies throughout Italy has resulted in the seizure of assets valued at approximately €400 million belonging to an iGaming operator registered in Malta. This move is part of Italy’s ongoing efforts to combat organized crime infiltration in the online gaming and betting industries, as well as to tackle corruption and money laundering activities.

The investigation uncovered that the operator was part of a sophisticated criminal network involved in operating black market online gambling operations. While headquartered in Italy’s Reggio Calabria region, the organization extended its influence across Europe through companies with offices in Malta, Romania, Austria, and Spain. These illegal operators posed a significant threat by providing minimal customer protection and responsible gambling measures.

The operator utilized a complex “cascade” system with the help of criminal organizations to gain protection and promote its brand online. Local businesses facilitated the collection of illegal proceeds, with a portion of the profits going to the criminal entities, enabling substantial money laundering activities. Most of the proceeds from these illegal activities were transferred abroad to evade Italian tax authorities. The investigation identified an unnamed kingpin with a prominent position in the Malta-based company, targeting the Italian market through multiple outlets dedicated to betting and games of chance.

The authorities became aware of the organization during an investigation into the connections between businesses and organized crime, which revealed an income misalignment with the assets held by the crime boss at the center of the operation. This discovery led to the issuance of seizure warrants for the suspect’s assets and the assets linked to three connected iGaming companies, totaling an estimated value of €400 million. The suspect was also placed under special surveillance for two and a half years, and ordered not to leave his municipality.

The successful seizure of assets marks a significant achievement for Italy’s financial police and Public Prosecutor’s office in neutralizing the threat posed by these offending operators to the safety of European citizens. The ongoing scrutiny of the online gaming and betting sector by law enforcement is crucial in addressing criminal infiltration and money laundering activities. While Italian authorities have extensive experience in uncovering gambling-related crime, the widespread reach of these illegal networks continues to pose challenges. It is hoped that the investigation will yield sufficient evidence to target other similar enterprises before they can cause substantial harm.