New Gaming Crime Bill Excludes Illicit Money Exchange

June 18, 2024 | Gaming

MACAU, SAR (June 17, 2024) — The forthcoming ‘Law on Combating Illegal Gambling Crimes’ will not not include provisions addressing illegal money exchange, but the Macau government has not ruled out the possibility of criminalising such activities in the future.

According to the ‘Macau News Agency‘ the draft bill, which is set to replace the current Illegal Gambling Law (Law 8/96/m), is currently undergoing review at the Legislative Assembly (AL).

Chan Chak Mo, the head of the Second Standing Committee of AL, told local media after a bill review meeting on Thursday that while the proposed legislation does not target illegal money exchange, the Macau government takes this matter seriously.

He said the local authorities emphasised that illegal money exchange activities taking place in casinos and surrounding tourism facilities have impacted the development of the gaming industry, economy, and society as a whole.

Therefore, the government remains open to the idea of criminalising these activities and is considering implementing penalties such as entry bans as a potential solution.

Earlier this month, China’s Ministry of Public Security urged security forces in Macau and the mainland to strengthen cooperation in cracking down on illegal money exchange businesses in the Macau SAR.

The so-called ‘money changers’, usually present around the city’s casinos, have been identified as a key channel for moving funds across different jurisdictions, particularly between the Chinese mainland and Macau.

Driven by huge profits, the scale of the ‘money exchange gangs’ providing large amounts of cash exchange and high-interest loan services illegally in Macau has expanded rapidly, mainland authorities said, adding that it had triggered other illegal activities such as fighting, fraud, theft, and smuggling, severely affecting local social order and stability.

In late 2023, Macau’s Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, had already indicated the SAR government’s consideration of criminalising illicit money exchange.

The first quarter of the year saw a rise in the illicit activity — even higher than the comparable level in 2019.

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