Macau’s Financial Intelligence Office says the 2020 tally of suspicious transaction reports filed by city’s gaming industry - including the casino firms – fell by 36.5 percent year-on-year, to 1,215, compared to 1,913 such reports in 2019.
In full-year 2020, Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) shrank by 79.3 percent year-on-year, due to what analysts attributed to the disruption to travel and tourism caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most gamblers in Macau casino resorts are tourists, rather than locals, according to a number of market research surveys.
Suspicious transaction reports by Macau gaming operators accounted for 54.6 percent of the city’s aggregate 2,224 such reports in 2020. In 2019, such filed reports by gaming operators amounted to 65.0 percent of the annual total.
The 2020 tally of reports from all sectors was down 24.4 percent on the 2,941 filed market-wide in 2019.
The change was “mainly due to the decrease in the number of suspicious transaction reports reported by the financial sector and the gaming sector,” said the Financial Intelligence Office.
Reports issued by financial institutions and insurance firms tallied 677 in 2020, or 30.4 percent of the annual total. In 2019, that sector had filed 880 reports, or 29.9 percent of that year’s total.
“Other institutions” made up 332 reports in 2020, or 15.0 percent of the annual total. In 2019 that heading had accounted for 148 reports, or 5.1 percent of the year’s aggregate.
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"We [estimate] that these illegal [currency exchange] transactions account for somewhere between 50 percent to 60 percent [of Macau's annual gross gaming revenue]”
Managing partner at IGamiX Management and Consulting