The number of suspicious transaction reports (STRs) made by Macau casino operators to the city’s authorities rose 169.6 percent year-on-year in the nine months to September 30. That is according to data issued on Monday by Macau’s Financial Intelligence Office.
There were 2,335 such reports, representing 73.5 percent of all transactions flagged in the city during the period, versus 866 notifications made by the gaming firms in the prior-year first nine months.
Gaming-related STRs in the first nine months of 2022 – a period before travel in and out of Macau was normalised – had been only 51.6 percent of the total.
Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the nine months to September 30 rose by 305.3 percent year-on-year, to about MOP128.95 billion (US$16.01 billion).
The city’s casinos are required to report to the local government any transaction of MOP500,000 or above, although that does not mean that such a transaction will be flagged as suspicious.
The aggregate number of STRs received by the financial watchdog in the first nine months of 2023 was 3,178, an increase of 89.5 percent compared to the prior-year period’s tally of 1,677.
“The change was mainly due to the increase in the number of STRs reported by the gaming sector,” said the intelligence unit.
The tally of flagged transactions during the latest reporting period from the “financial institutions and insurance companies” sector rose marginally, to 617, from 611 a year earlier.
The latest number represented 19.4 percent of all suspicious transactions reported in the first nine months, compared to 36.5 percent of that sector’s STRs a year earlier.
Suspicious transactions under the “other institutions” heading, tallied 226 this time, a rise of 13.0 percent on the 200 in the same period of 2022. Such STRs were 7.1 percent of the total to September 30, compared to the 11.9-percent contribution in the first nine months last year.
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