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Gambling crime is up 75 percent year-on-year

During the first five months of the year, almost 1,000 people were banned from Macao’s casinos for their involvement with illicit foreign exchange activities
  • Cases of loan sharking and theft in casino areas were also on the rise, the latest figures show





Almost 580 gambling-related crimes were recorded in the first five months of this year – a 75.5 percent increase on the same period in 2023, according to Inside Asian Gaming, which cited figures from the Judiciary Police (known by its Portuguese initials PJ).

Police said 130 of the 579 cases related to fraud, 52 more cases than last year, and that about two-thirds of those cases were closely tied to money exchange gangs involved in illegal foreign exchange activities within Macao. 

The PJ also noted that it identified a total of 1,924 money exchange gang members between January and May this year. It referred 927 of them to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau to be placed on a list of people banned from Macao casinos.

[See more: Macao’s proposed gambling crimes law doesn’t go far enough, say lawyers]

Instances of loan sharking in the first five months of the year rose considerably, to 104. The same period in 2023, when Macao was emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic, saw just 18 cases. 

Cases of theft, and failure to report found objects, also increased, mainly occurring in gambling districts with a lot of foot traffic, Inside Asian Gaming said.

Macao witnessed an 18 percent year-on-year increase in crime during the first quarter of 2024, according to official figures. Law enforcement officials say the spike is mostly due to a sharp rise in the number of scam cases and fraud.

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