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Luxury Complex Plans for Manoel Island, Malta Subject of Heated Controversy

Malta, one of the major online gambling hubs within the EU jurisdiction that hosts big names such as Mr Green, Casumo, and BetFair, and more, and one that is experiencing an economic progress surge has become increasingly a point of interest for many foreign companies due to its highly competitive business tax rate and favourable living conditions. However, while some may view progress, especially that relevant to construction and cleaning up, as a symptom of overall improvement, others see this simply as gentrification, a market no longer accessible by the average family, and the erasure of architecture that defines a cultural identity as one of a kind.

Midi’s Proposed Renovation Plans for Manoel Island

In an article published in the Times of Malta on 23rd March, development consortium Midi plans to have Manoel Island in Malta converted into a luxury hotel, shopping complex, and casino with other telltale amenities. The changes will also affect the historic Lazaretto area on the island. Midi, who officially holds a concession granted in 2000 that put it in the driver’s seat for any developmental changes to Manoel Island, presented its master plan during a meeting with NGOs last Tuesday. The fully-fledged version is expected to be presented next week.

While the details of the plan have not yet trickled down to the public, what seeped through is that the whole perimeter will be used to build a hotel, with one more hotel plus casino to be built over Lazaretto, an isolation hospital with historic value. Midi’s checklist includes high-end retail outlets and luxury low-rise apartments as well as a garden designated as public space surrounding the old fort still standing. Plans also include a helipad, a superyacht marina, and a taxi pontoon where there currently is a swimming spot that was the centre of controversy due to a pitched campaign to keep it open to the public.

Conflict of Interests

Mr. Conrad Borg Manché, Gzira Mayor, starkly opposes Midi’s development project as it currently stands. He states that the average citizen has nothing to benefit from such changes, shutting him out, and the project is blatantly skewered in favour of the elite. He alternatively proposes that Midi should take a more balanced approach to the development, focusing more on cleaning up and opening parks to the public. He adds that at this time, these plans are only speculative. However, granting Midi the go-ahead would mean going against the spirit in which the original talks were made in Parliament when the concession was granted.

Ms. Tara Cassar, environment officer, further supports Mr. Borg Manché’s argument in saying that no part of the plans to include any provisions for the cultural aspects of the island, and everything simply homing in on commercial value and purpose.

Times of Malta contacted Midi to elicit a response, but at the time, Midi said they needed more time to put together a response.

Midi’s History Since Taking Up the Project

The concession agreement made in 2000 states that developments should be made with the goal of completing a “Mediterranean Village” by 2023. Otherwise, fines will be imposed daily for 3 years until the contract is invalidated.

Following Midi’s sealing off of the foreshore recently, Midi has come under fire by the public. This escalated last September when protestors cut through the fence. Gzira Local Council and the government joined to file judicial protests against Midi in an attempt to coerce the consortium to adhere to the agreements put forward in the concession contract.

Midi’s response was to grant conditioned access, stating that anyone entering can only do so between 8am and 8pm on weekends. The consortium is also planning to install a fence over 2 metres high enclosing most of the island, leaving open only one access route.    

Which Comic Book Hero or Villain Would You Play Poker With?

There is something akin to a hidden fancy some comic book creators have for poker and other card games. We can attribute this to the actual game of poker, being one that mixes skills with luck; a blend of traits that ups the allure of characters whose skills reflect in their complex strategy building while their unpredictability and volatility carry an air of mystery and luck.

Some comic book characters’ histories are ones that can be traced in their earliest stages to gambling. Others’ powers or nature were entirely inspired by card games such as The Joker and Gambit. Read on as we reveal a few of the most renowned comic book characters inspired by or related to poker and other card games.


Gambit is an intuitive choice when popping the question about which comic book heroes spring in mind when we think of Poker. Gambit can channel his psychic powers into playing cards he flings at his enemies for explosive effect. His dexterity with cards shines in his surgically precise card throwing skills. This would undoubtedly make him a suitable opponent or dealer at the tables. What’s more, while he is on the good guys’ side, he keeps enshrouded in a certain amount of mystery and never reveals too much about himself or his intentions; a skill that would add nicely to the list of needed for being a top-notch Poker dealer.

The Joker

With one comic book hero in, it’s time for a villain. And which villain tops the list of Poker-related comic book characters better than DC’s Joker. The Joker has been enjoying notoriety as, perhaps, the most noteworthy antagonist and arch-enemy complimenting Batman to figure in any comic to date. His absolute unpredictability and outright nihilist madness are complimented by his devilish cunning and sharp wit. Created and reinterpreted several times in different comic books, The Joker shone even darker, first with Jack Nicholson’s impersonification in Tim Burton’s Batman, and then as Heath Ledger’s Joker in Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight.  

We have no qualms about The Joker making a formidable opponent or dealer at the tables with his highly cerebral and deceptive ways.

Iron Man

Multi-millionaire, philanthropist, scientist, and superhero par excellence, Tony Stark is no stranger to the Poker tables in more than once entry in the comic book series. He is also seen playing Craps at a casino in one of the movie adaptations.

He is an astute strategist with a highly scientific mind to back it up, a risk-lover, and an adept fit at the VIP tables with high-flying numbers.

The Thing

Marvel’s The Thing is not the first name that springs to mind in conjunction to Poker playing. That’s probably why the gambling aficionado side to his character is not really shed light on during his movie appearances. That being said, in the comics he’s an avid player, verging on compulsive. In one episode, he organises a Poker tournament to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah as well as his turning into a mutant.

His stone-cold demeanour is the perfect poker face that allows him to conceal his emotions and thoughts from his opponents. Despite this, he is irascible. And due to this paired with his colossal and destructive strength, his superhero companions know better than to beat him at cards.

An Endnote

So, which comic book character would you pick to play a few hands against? Would you pit yourself against a mysterious hero with psychic explosive powers? Or maybe a devilish and deceptive villain? Or how about an irascible colossus? Or maybe a high-rolling millionaire with sharp brain and the verbal skills? The ball’s in your court. Now, if you’re in the mood for some comic book action, head over to betfair and try out the comic book hero themed slots or to PokerStars Casino for a few hands!  


Playtech launches the biggest Live Casino in the industry

Online casinos have been growing at an exceptional rate and although there’s a massive selection of casino slot games available, the choice of Live Casinos seems to be lacking. One of the big names in the industry, Playtech has opened the largest live casino studio in Latvia’s capital so expect more gaming options in the coming days.

New live casino boasts state of the art technology

Based in the heart of Riga at the top of the Old Town walls, the studio oozes charm and the latest art technology. The brand new Playtech studio has been designed based on a futuristic approach. By applying the best and latest technologies, this casino game provider giant is providing its licensees with a never seen before gaming experience.

The studio boasts high-quality cameras monitoring hundreds of casino table games available. Playtech has also a dedicated section within the complex where it trains its Live Casino staff to make sure that they are offering top notch service. The rest of the studio is reserved for licensees to give them access to a massive selection of custom tables and gaming areas.

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer said that the launch of the new studio represents a big leap in the Live Casino niche. He added that the studio will provide all Playtech licensees with the opportunity to deliver next generation Live Casino experiences to all clients. He also admitted that he feels very confident about the latest achievement that makes this company stand out from the crowd.

Playtech Live forms part of the company’s ONE Omni-channel and gives players easy access to all available content via the use of a sole account and wallet making it extremely attractive to many online casinos in the industry.

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