Macau suspicious gambling transaction reports down 18% YTD

According to statistics from the Financial Intelligence Office, the anti-money laundering watchdog of Macau, Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) from gambling operators for the first nine months of 2019 dropped 18% from 1,687 in 2018 to 1,382.

Gambling operators continue to contribute the most reports, contributing 66.2% of the total for the year to date. This compares with the industry’s 2018 contribution of 54.8% of the total reports.

Total STRs dropped 32.2% from 3,079 for the first nine months of 2018, to 2,089 for the first nine months of 2019. Gambling operators increased share in reports was driven by a nearly 50% decline in reports from financial institutions, insurance companies, and other institutions.

However, globally, Macau’s large transaction threshold remains much higher than recommended international standards. In a 2018 report, a US government agency identified Macau and Philippines as two hotspots for money laundering due to their reporting threshold being much higher than the US$3,000 (MOP 25,000) recommended. Macau’s reporting threshold is currently US$61,900 (MOP 500,000).