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Macau reports 89% STR increase y-o-y in 1Q24

In the first quarter of 2024, Macau’s gaming sector experienced a significant 89.1 percent year-on-year rise in suspicious transaction reports (STRs).

The figures were released by the Financial Intelligence Office (GIF). The number of STRs from the gaming industry increased to 1,125, from 595 during the same period last year. Overall, STRs across all sectors totaled 1,460, marking a 78.7 percent increase, with casinos accounting for 77.1 percent of these reports.

Macau reports 89% STR increase y-o-y in 1Q24
Source: Financial Intelligence Office

The office did not provide specific reasons for the rise. For 2023, the casino sector recorded the highest annual STRs since 2006, attributed to economic recovery and diligent reporting efforts. Common triggers included chip conversions and currency exchanges.

Quarter-on-quarter, the increase in STRs was modest, only 2.6 percent higher than the 1,096 reported in the last three months of 2023.

In 2023, Macau’s gaming sector saw 3,431 STRs, an approximately 80 percent increase compared to 2019. This increase was driven by the city’s economic rebound and continuous reporting efforts by the gaming sector to detect suspicious transactions.

Macau reports 89% STR increase y-o-y in 1Q24
Source: Financial Intelligence Office

Key factors contributing to the rise in STRs included the conversion of chips without or with minimal gaming activities, the conversion of chips on behalf of third parties, and the exchange of currency or cash conversion. These triggers have remained consistent from 2019 to 2023.

The substantial increase in STRs highlights the heightened vigilance and proactive measures within Macau’s gaming sector to monitor and report suspicious activities, reflecting broader economic trends and regulatory compliance efforts.

Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel
Frank Schuengel is an online gambling industry veteran with over twenty years of experience in Europe and Asia. Equally at home in the Isle of Man and the Philippines, he started his career as a sports trader before setting up and running whole operations, and more recently focusing on the regulatory and licensing side of things in the worlds of fiat and crypto eGaming. When he is not writing about gambling topics, he can be found cycling around Manila and advocating sustainable transport solutions for a Philippines based mobility magazine.

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