Macau’s gambling industry seems to be recovering, as attested by the number of casino-related frauds, which has almost caught up to pre-pandemic levels. According to the Office of the Secretary for Security cited by GGRAsia, there have been 164 attempts of casino fraud during the first nine months of the year.
The numbers are comparable to 2018. In 2020, there were only 60 logged casino-related fraud attempts, down from 291 cases in the first nine months of 2019 in comparative terms.
Authorities have been able to classify and offer a breakdown of the individual cases of fraud, arguing that 92 of those involved currencies. These cases are flagged as the most dangerous to public order by authorities. The police have been able to arrest some 1,255 people from mainland China involved in such operations who facilitated illicit money exchange in the city or run the operations themselves.
While the overall cases of illicit money exchanges were lower than in 2020, the number of people arrested increased by almost two-fold, or authorities arrested 696 people more than they did in 2020. This points to better cross-border cooperation between authorities as well as police’s growing expertise in this area.
Fake Gaming Chips Disappear, Macau’s GGR Still in Slow Recovery
Interestingly, police have all but managed to crack down on the trade of fake gaming chips. No new cases have been identified since the first quarter. In the first quarter, police apprehended a total of $257,582 worth of fake gaming chips.
In the lack of fraudulent activities on casino floors, the overall gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the special administrative zone’s casinos has improved. October was still slow, but there were notable signs of improvement.
November started slow, but signs of recovery are evident notwithstanding extenuating circumstances such as limited traveling from mainland China. At the same time, Macau is looking at renewing its casino concession deals which have been a hotly-debated topic.
As Macau is still a little slow on recovery, South Korea seems to be a focus of regional casinos’ appetites as South Koreans are one of the most affluent and populous groups of tourists in the region. South Korean dollar will be king in the short-term, industry experts predict.