Macau has recorded year-on-year case decreases during the first nine months of 2020 in a number of gaming-related crime categories, according to the latest data released by the Office of the Secretary for Security.
The decreases coincided with a sharp decline in casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau: city-wide GGR was down 82.5 percent year-on-year in the January to September period.
In contrast to some previous announcements, the Macau government did not provide in its Thursday statement, an overall figure for gaming-related crime within the relevant timespan.
During the first nine months of 2020, the Macau police investigated a total of 23 cases of pickpocketing inside casinos. That compared to 148 cases in the prior-year period.
The city’s police forces also probed in the same timespan a total of 60 alleged gaming-related scams, 231 cases fewer than in the same period of 2019, the Secretary’s office said. More than half (33 cases) of the scams that were reported between January and September this year were linked to currency exchange.
During the reporting period, there were no robbery cases recorded inside casinos.
The number of overall cases of usury, an activity more commonly known as loan-sharking, declined by 87.9 percent in year-on-year terms, to 57 cases. Local authorities did not provide a breakdown of how many of those cases were related to gaming.
Macau police detected the use of three counterfeit gaming chips during the first nine months of 2020, the data showed. The total face value of counterfeit gaming chips discovered either in use or subject to attempted use within Macau during the period, reached HKD1.02 million (US$2.4 million). One counterfeit gaming currency token detected carried by itself a face value of HKD1,000,000.
The Secretary’s office did not provide a breakdown on the distribution of either the utilised or nearly-utilised fake casino currency in terms of number of cases and casino venues affected.
In the first nine months of 2019, a total of 189 counterfeit gaming chips had been detected in Macau by the local authorities. Their total face value was nearly HKD17.5 million.
Bucking the overall downward trend, there was an aggregate of 52 instances of illegal gaming recorded in the first nine months of 2020. The tally represented 41 cases more than in the corresponding period last year.
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Lei Wai Nong
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance