Gambling fraud on the up in Macau

Gambling fraud on the up in Macau

Monday, August 3, 2015 Totally Gaming
The authorities celebrated the rise as a sign of improved detection

Gaming-related activities made up more than 75 per cent of the total suspicious transaction reports (STRs) recorded in Macau last year as the authorities began their crackdown on money-laundering within the sector. 

According to Macau's Financial Intelligence Office (FIO), the gaming sector generated 75.6 per cent of STRs in 2014, up on the 71.3 per cent of STRs reported the previous year.

A crackdown on fraud and money-laundering in the last year has had a severe effect on gambling figures in Macau, with a 34.5 per cent year-on-year drop in revenue to 18.6 billion patacas (€2.1bn/$2.3bn) recorded in July.

There were 1,370 gaming-related transactions among the 1,812 STRs last year, with 1,138 among the total of 1,595 in 2013. Overall there was a 14 per cent year-on-year increase in STRs, with the FIO celebrating this as a sign of improved detection rates.

“The major reason for the increase is due to the adoption of a new policy by several gaming concessionaires on customer due diligence as well as a better control of funds transfers,” the FIO said. “The submission of STRs without identity details of subjects continued to decline and this phenomenon is consistent with the tendency of the previous year.”

The FIO said that conversion of gaming chips without a record of gambling activities was the most common trigger in 2014 for a suspicious transaction report, accounting for 766 cases.

Macau also recorded a total of 571 casino-related crimes in the first five months of 2015, up by 23.3 per cent from the prior-year period, the director of the Judiciary Police, Chau Wai Kuong. Reported cases included allegations of abduction and crimes such as extortion and usury.

The drop in revenue in July was less than that experienced in recent months – with a 36 per cent fall in June -  and visa restrictions announced at the start of last month are expected to be a long-term boost for the industry.

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