Date
18 October 2017
Macau casino gamblers are able to skirt China's cap on outgoing foreign exchange by using their UnionPay cards to get cash from ATMs. Photo: Bloomberg
Macau casino gamblers are able to skirt China's cap on outgoing foreign exchange by using their UnionPay cards to get cash from ATMs. Photo: Bloomberg

Macau VIP gaming reeling from Beijing graft crackdown

A wave of high-profile arrests of senior Chinese officials, including former security tzar Zhou Yongkang, is hurting the high-roller business of Macau casinos, Metro Daily reported Monday, citing various analyst reports.

The recent arrest of Zhou, the most senior official to become entangled in a widening anti-coruption campaign, has put VIP gamblers on alert. They are expected to stay away over the short term, according to a research report by Citigroup.

However, gamblers continue to spend large amounts of cash in Macau casinos by using their UnionPay cards, which are widely accepted by establishments, allowing them to skirt China’s foreign exchange regulations that cap the amount of money individuals can bring out of China at 20,000 yuan (US$3,250) each.   

Also, the practice allows them to launder money.

One such operation was recently busted when authorities raided an underground casino in Shenzhen, the report said.

A 70 percent expansion in Macau’s VIP casino business coincided with Zhou’s time as China’s security chief from 2008 to 2013.

Zhou was a member of the Central Political and Legislative Committee of the Communist Party.

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