Italian police arrest 41 in raid on mob-connected gambling site

Alleged mafia man Mario Gennaro

The Italian Anti-Mafia Police have conducted a raid on Maltese based betting company BetUniQ in conjunction with the brand’s suspected affiliation with the infamous Calabrian crime outfit ‘Ndrangheta.

As part of their operation labelled “Gambling”, Italian authorities have been tracking BetUniQ CEO Mario Gennaro over the last few years, noting with particular interest that he’d been taking part in poker tournaments involving notorious figures from Calabria.

Media reports in Italy imply that these tournaments held in Malta were being used to launder money, and that BetUniQ’s multi-million euro operations were being used by the mafia as a front to evade taxes on home soil.

BetUniQ was launched back in 2010 having received a legitimate license from the Malta Gaming Authority, and quickly expanded to a network of over 500 gaming points throughout Italy. However it did not hold any sort of license permitting it to offer gambling or betting services in the country.

 Gennaro, who was described by head of the investigation Judge Caterina Catalano as the mafia’s “new man”, was arrested during the raid on Wednesday – in which over €2 billion in cash and assets were seized by police - along with five other senior figures on staff at BetUniQ who are awaiting deportation back to Italy where they will stand trial.

Judge Catalano also ordered the arrest of 35 other individuals connected with the illegal ring, which includes companies based all over Europe in Austria, Spain and Romania as well as Malta.

According to Italian authorities, the People’s Network – the nation’s third biggest poker network and controller of popular skins People’s Poker, Ballas and BetItaly –along with Microgame S.P.A are also under investigation and have had their services “temporarily suspended”.

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