The Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta has had some rough years, as their reputation as one of the most solid and respected regulators has vanished into thin air. The reason for such is due to so many of the companies holding a license in the small Mediterranean country has gone broke and closed shop without paying their players.
Along with the millions lost in player funds, players at least expected to get a service which would be equal to the money they just lost – But they didn't. Instead they have been met with month long reply times to emails, no return of funds in almost all cases and seemingly no consequence for the owners stealing players funds.
This has been the case for several years, but it seems that the LGA might finally have woken up, as they told us that they have arrested the Swedish Director and Key Official of Everleaf Gaming, Michael Zwi Oros. He has been arrested, charged with misappropriation of player funds as well as not paying outstanding gaming taxes license fees.
Oros was granted bail by the Maltese police, paying €10,000 to be able to stay out of prison for now. He cannot leave Malta however and he has to report to the local police station in St. Julians every single day, so they can be assured that he is still staying.
Furthermore there's still an ongoing investigation into other key position people from Everleaf Gaming, including on Jean Pavili who was another director for the company. The goal by arresting the key personnel from the company is to try and obtain enough funds to pay the outstanding player balances of the poker network, estimated at around €800,000.
The main reason for the failure of the Everleaf Network, amongst many, was the fact that they network worked closely together with Italian agents using credit. When these agents began not paying their debts because of their players losing, the network had no funds to continue paying the regular depositing players.
The problem should never have gotten this far however, as the LGA should have done their job properly and ensured on a monthly basis that the balances in the client versus their e-wallets and bank accounts were always a match. This has not been done, which means that the LGA did not do their job as they should and did not help protect the players from being victims of fraud.
Furthermore it is far from certain that this case would ever have developed the way it did, if it hadn't been for a few poker players insisting on the case. These players contacted lawyers, local newspapers and everyone else they could use for something to create attention about the case. The case finally picked up as it reached the government top and now it seems that something is happening.
Let's hope this kick in the ass to the LGA will wake them up – Then maybe we can start seeing our funds from PIV, Purple Lounge and all the other companies who have scammed in recent times. At least this is a beginning, which will hopefully lead to tighter controls of companies handling millions in funds and actual punishments to people stealing and laundering money.