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 served in the law firm of Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela, Abela Advocates, since obtaining his warrant in 2018.
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 and his wife Lydia – a partner in Abela Advocates – in 2015 whilst studying for his degree.
Although the MGA has added Pace to the list of Board of Governors on its official website, the regulator has not released an official statement regarding the appointment, and his exact roles and responsibilities have not been detailed.
The Labour Party activist was made Deputy Chairman of the MGA – which oversees one of Malta’s most important economic sectors – last June.
However, according to The Shift – an independent Maltese news outlet – 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 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 Chief Executive Officer of the MGA in January 2021, replacing Heathcliff Farrugia, who had informed Maltese authorities that he wished to transfer to a career in the private sector.