The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has promoted lawyer Ryan Pace to the position of Chairman of the Maltese gambling regulatory authority.
Pace has extensive experience of legal affairs, having worked for Abela Advocates, the law firm of Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela, since obtaining his warrant in 2018. He was made Deputy Chairman of the MGA last June.
He holds a degree in law from the University of Malta, having obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) in 2014, and also secured a Diploma of Notary Public in 2015, followed by a Doctor of Laws degree in 2017. He first began working with Abela in 2015 whilst studying for his degree.
While the MGA has not released an official statement regarding the appointment, and Pace’s exact responsibilities have not been detailed, the regulator has added him to its list of Board of Governors on its official website.
However, according to independent Maltese news outlet The Shift, some figures in the country’s gaming industry have expressed concerns at the appointment, allegedly due to Pace’s age, lack of experience of the gambling industry and political allegiance to the Labour Party.
Speaking to the media firm, a ‘veteran gaming operator’ remarked: “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.”
The outlet also reported that Public Appointments Committee members Claudette Buttigieg, Karol Aquilina and Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici – all MPs for the opposition Nationalist Party – voted against Pace’s appointment.
Pace’s appointment follows the ascension of Dr Carl Brincat to the position of CEO of the MGA in January 2021.