More UnionPay terminals conducting illegal transactions were uncovered in Macau on Wednesday, according to Union Gaming Securities Asia Limited.
Quoting local media reports, the industry analyst group said police discovered a retailer in Taipa, near the Cotai casinos) “illegally using mainland UnionPay terminals instead of overseas terminals.” The retailer, which was identified as a pawnshop, transacted a total of MOP280 million (US$35 million) over the past year.
The retailer reportedly saved an estimated MOP900,000 (US$112,500) by using the mainland devices instead of the overseas devices, Union Gaming said.
“Recall that Macau police have conducted many such UnionPay raids over the last few years and in all cases, the raids have focused on the use of portable mainland UnionPay terminals to spoof that the transaction is occurring on mainland soil rather than internationally,” Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen said in a note.
China has been trying to crack down on illicit money channeled through Macau’s casinos for more than a year. Last year, the Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM) announced it is monitoring mainland bank cards on real time to combat “illegal cross-border financial activities and money laundering.”
According to Macau’s Judicial Police, at least 30 cases related to unauthorized UnionPay use were opened last year, of which 24 were delivered to the Public Prosecutions Office.
Pawnshops in Macau are infamous for deriving a huge chunk of their business volume through bogus transactions, in which cash advances are disguised as product purchases. Other scams involve the actual purchase of a high0value item via UnionPay, after which the customer returns the items in exchange for cash.
Macau police busts illegal casino in Areia Preta district
Meanwhile, a suspected illegal casino was raided in Macau’s Areia Preta district, GGRAsia reported, quoting reports from public broadcaster TDM.
Police found nine people playing poker in a unit at a high-end residential building in the neighborhood, which has no legal gambling facilities. A total of MOP3 million (US$373,867) were seized during the operation, according to the report.
Investigators believed the casino has already been running for more than a month, police told the news outlet. A 26-year-old waiter, suspected of leading the casino, could be charged with operating an illegal gambling establishment and Internet casino, while the gambler would face fines if convicted on illegal gambling charges.
There are more than 30 licensed casinos in the city state, and a total of six licensed casino operators: Galaxy Entertainment, Melco Crown Entertainment, MGM China Holdings, Sands China, SJM Holdings and Wynn Macau.