Macau’s gaming operators filed 1,913 reports of suspicious transactions to the city’s Financial Intelligence Office last year. The figure represents a decrease of 8.3 percent in year-on-year terms.
In 2018, the city’s gaming operators had filed 2,087 reports, roughly on par with the previous year’s volume of reports.
The Financial Intelligence Office, the Macau government agency that counters money-laundering, posted data for 2019 on its website saying it received a total of 2,941 reports of suspicious transactions from all sources last year, 20.9 percent less than the year before.
The office’s Friday statement said the decline in suspicious transaction reports, known as STRs, was due mainly to decreases in filings made by institutions outside the city’s gaming sector. The number of reports made by financial institutions last year, including insurance companies, reached 880 reports. In 2018, the same market segment logged 1,122 STRs.
In 2016, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau revised its anti-money laundering rules. The new provisions from the gaming regulator tightened the reporting rules but kept the threshold set for casinos to report “large” transactions at MOP500,000 (US$62,500).
Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) contracted 3.4 percent year-on-year in 2019, shows data from the local regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. According to Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, the overall decline was related to a contraction in GGR generated by VIP play, down by 18.5 percent in year-on-year terms.
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“We expect Las Vegas Sands to not have any material change in strategy. The focus remains developing Macau and Singapore”
Vitaly Umansky, Kelsey Zhu and Tianjiao Yu
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein