On August 21, 2023, one of the most prominent casinos on the Cotai Strip in Macau suffered a loss of HK$5.7 million (US$727,000) after a criminal group used fake chips to gamble in the casino. The group of eight men used a total of 804 chips to defraud the casino and tried to flee to mainland China. Macau police arrested two of them and is still looking for six other fugitives, reported Inside Asian Gaming (IAG).

Fake Chips Detected for Unusual Surface Finish:

The name of the casino property has not been reported, but the money lost is surely significant for any operator. The fraud was reportedly detected by a casino dealer who retrieved chips from a table and noticed an unusual surface finish of 10 chips each worth HK$10,000 (US$1,275). The chips reportedly felt rough and didn’t seem authentic. They were swiftly identified as counterfeited for they did not contain the respective identification tag, according to IAG.

Two Fraudsters Arrested:

As reported, the casino called the police and the two mainland China men were immediately arrested. These two men reportedly had 200 counterfeit chips worth HK$2.4 million (US$306,000), but the police investigation soon revealed that the fraudulent group of at least eight people was involved in the fraud. The group ”operated” for at least two hours inside the gambling facility and circulated the fake chips across the gaming tables and regular gamblers, IAG reports.

Mainland China Bound:

After the arrest of two group members, at least six other companions fled from Macau the same night. According to GGRAsia, they were bound for mainland China via the Border Gate and the police is looking for them. During the investigation, the police reportedly found 112 fake chips in a waste incineration facility. As these counterfeited chips were similar to those used in the affected casino property, police reportedly believes that the runaway members of the fraudulent group disposed of the load on their way to the mainland.

Chip Count Revealed the Loss:

According to IAG, the casino staff counted the chips and the initial count established that 493 fake chips had been used at the property. These chips were reportedly exchanged by 10 gamblers to win more than HK$700,000 (US$89,260). As indicated above, the count may either include or exclude the 200 chips found with the two arrested fraudsters, as well as the 112 chips found in the incineration facility and elsewhere, therefore the physical count was the only method available to establish the approximate loss.

In any case, the physical count reportedly arrived at 804 chips found during the investigation to incur a loss of at least  HK$5.7 million (US$727,000) to the reputable casino resort in the Cotai Strip.