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Fiona Simmons December 4, 2023 2 min read
Gambling-Related Crime in Macau Increases as the Industry Rebounds
The industry continues to heal but has also attracted an increased number of criminal activities
Macau’s gaming industry reported a significant year-on-year gross gaming revenue increase in November. The special administrative region’s gambling sector was impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic but seems on a steady path to recovery.
According to the report, the local gambling operators recorded GGR of almost $2 billion last month, marking a stellar 435% year-on-year increase. While this figure is still behind October 2023’s result, the November results demonstrate that the region is rebounding.
Experts also pointed out that November’s results being lower than those recorded in October was an expected outcome considering the National Day Golden Week holiday, which provided a significant boost to the industry last month. For reference, in October, Macau’s gambling operators reported GGR north of $2.4 billion.
Year-to-date GGR comes at roughly $20 billion, demonstrating a stellar 325% year-on-year increase. With this pace, the industry might be on track to hitting its $27 billion target in 2024.
Crime in Macau Is on the Rise
Unfortunately, the industry’s recovery was also accompanied by an increase in gambling-related crime. Macau’s Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, just commented on the matter, revealing that local authorities have identified 716 gaming-related crimes this year.
The Secretary pointed out that cases of gambling-related fraud and thievery have skyrocketed. For reference, the police recorded 155 cases of fraud which represents an unfortunate 139% year-on-year increase. At the same time, casino thefts increased by a whopping 486% year-on-year (129 cases).
While this criminal activity corresponds to a year-on-year increase of 176%, it should be noted that the number of gambling-related cases was still 55.2% behind what the authorities recorded during the same period in 2019.
Money exchange fraud, which often happens around the region’s casinos, also represented a significant problem for the local authorities. Unfortunately, Macau would need to introduce new laws in order to combat money exchange gangs and put a stop to their activities.
Wong Sio Chak noted that the Judiciary Police has proposed a criminalization of illegal money exchange activities, hoping to increase the punishment for such criminal activities.
Speaking of gambling-related crime, a recent report claimed that the region’s Prosecutor’s Office reportedly wants charges against Alvin Chau and Suncity for fraud to be reinstated. For reference, Chau was recently sentenced to 18 years in prison but the Court of Second Instance ruled that his team no longer has to pay up.