Compared to the last quarter of 2015 crime in Macau has fallen significantly so far this year, according to the government’s mid-term review report on the local casino industry released earlier this month. However, when taken year on year, the first quarter of 2016 saw a dramatic rise in such gambling related crimes as usury (illegal money lending) and unlawful detention. The two crimes usually go hand in hand as illegal loan operators may hold a gambling patron against their will in an attempt to recover bad gambling debts.

Most of the victims of this sort of crime were not Macau residents, and the activity was largely unseen outside of casinos. Local media is reporting that Macau’s Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, stated Monday that they plan to more efficiently employ crime prevention measures to combat those two crimes specifically.

Another focus of the reading of the report was what is known as “multiplier” betting. Beijing has cracked down over the last 2 years on how VIP gamblers are getting access to funds, as well as continually enforcing caps on how much money a person may bring with them to gamble in Macau. The practice of using “the multiplier” sees a well-heeled gambler place bets, that by agreement, are perhaps ten times larger than the actual stated value of chips laid on the table.

This sort of side-betting, is by its very nature difficult to discover, track, and enforce against. The practice is illegal and not only deprives the taxing authority of due revenues, but is also, “seriously disruptive to social order,” Secretary Wong told reporters at Monday’s reading. Reports indicate that undercover operations may be in order to stem the practice.

GGRAsia reported on May 13 on the heels of the Review’s release, that many of the city’s junket operators are supportive of the government’s efforts to combat unlawful practices, and that they see more stringent regulatory endeavors in their industry as a positive. “The content of the mid-term review as a whole is a positive for the industry because it can be better regulated. And we also agree to the part when the review mentions exploring the introduction of undercover agents to combat side betting: basically we are supportive of government initiatives to combat unlawful practices,”  Kwok Chi Chung, president of the Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters told the local industry news outlet.

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