Last year’s record surge in casinos suspicious transaction reports (STRs) was mainly due to Macao’s post-pandemic visitor rebound, but also thanks to ramped-up efforts by the gaming sector to detect shady gambling activity, reports specialist gaming news outlet, GGR Asia.
The gaming sector recorded a total of 3,431 STRs during 2023, the most since record-keeping began in 2006.
By comparison, less than 2,000 were recorded in pre-pandemic 2019.
Compared with 2019, 2023 saw a 79.4 percent rise in casino-related STRs, says GGR Asia. The total is also a 170 percent year-on-year increase from 2022.
Macao’s Financial Intelligence Office (commonly referred to by its Portuguese initials GIF) said that the most common triggers for STRs in 2023 involved ”conversion of chips without or with minimal gaming activities, conversion of chips on behalf of third parties, [and] exchange of currency/cash conversion.”
According to GIF, more people have been visiting Macao’s casinos since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted at the start of the year. This, combined with greater oversight from casino operators, led to an exceptional number of suspicious transactions being identified.