Mia Gardner | 21 Dec 2017
The discovery of these fraudulent transactions was posted in the FIO’s newsletter, which noted that as many as 1,074 suspicious cases were spotted in H1 2017 – a massive increase from the 780 transactions reported during the first half of 2016. The gambling industry accounts for around 70% of all suspicious transaction reports in Macau, with insurance companies and banks making up another 21.7% of the total.
Casinos have always traditionally been targets for fraudulent financial activities, and being the world’s largest casino gambling hub, it stands to reason that Macau’s casinos will attract many of these suspicious activities as large amounts of money pass hands between casinos, VIP gamblers, and even possibly suspicious third parties.
Gambling transactions are deemed possibly fraudulent in Macau when they lack customer due diligence, either because of a lack of identification when redeeming chips or credits, or when junket promoters receive payouts.
Under local law, casinos must disclose all transactions worth over MOP500,000, but despite this, only 79 of the aforementioned suspicious payments and withdrawals were reported to the Public Prosecutions Office.
Macau earns much of its revenues through wealthy Chinese VIP players, who particularly enjoy playing Baccarat in the famous casino gambling hub. This popularity among high rollers has made Macau the largest and most profitable gambling destination in the world, but with this success comes a proportionately higher rate of suspicious financial activity.
Now, the government of Macau is launching a probe into the hike in possibly fraudulent transactions in order to determine what exactly the region’s many VIP players are doing with the money they wager and win at local land-based gambling venues.
Being the only Chinese territory that allows many forms of real-money gambling, Macau officials are particularly diligent in putting an end to potentially unwanted financial activities, so it will be interesting to see how local regulators take action once the results of this investigation have been revealed to the public.