MGA Names Lawyer Ryan Pace As Chairman

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has named lawyer Ryan Pace as Chairman of the Maltese gambling regulatory body.

Pace has considerable legal experience, having worked for Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela’s law firm, Abela Advocates, since receiving his warrant in 2018.

He earned his Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from the University of Malta in 2014, as well as a Diploma of Notary Public in 2015, and a Doctor of Laws degree in 2017. While pursuing his degree, he started working with Abela and his wife Lydia, who is also a partner at Abela Advocates, in 2015.

Awaiting official announcement

Despite the fact that Pace’s name has been added to the MGA’s list of Board of Governors on its website, the regulator has yet to provide an official announcement about his nomination, and his exact roles and responsibilities have not been disclosed.

Last June, the Labour Party activist was appointed as the MGA’s Deputy Chairman, overseeing one of Malta’s most significant economic sectors.

According to The Shift, an independent Maltese news source, some figures in the country’s gaming industry have expressed reservations about Pace’s nomination, citing his age, lack of gambling industry experience, and political affiliation to the party.

In an interview with the media company, a “veteran gaming operator” said: “The appointment of someone who is a young graduate and has no experience in gaming does not increase the international respect that our jurisdiction has gained over the years.”

Claudette Buttigieg, Karol Aquilina, and Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, all members of the opposition Nationalist Party’s Public Appointments Committee, voted against Pace’s nomination, according to the outlet.

Pace’s appointment comes after Dr Carl Brincat was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the MGA in January 2021, succeeding Heathcliff Farrugia, who told Maltese authorities that he wanted to pursue a career in the private sector.