Macau operators face July 1 deadline to end illicit money transfers

    Macau’s casino operators have been handed a deadline of July 1st to end illegal money transfers using China UnionPay mobile swipe-card devices or face a crackdown, according to the South China Morning Post. The report has added to jitters amongst stock market investors about the potential impact of a clampdown on mass market GGR. So far, analysts have sought to calm fears saying it’s not a new policy, but an ongoing effort to stamp out illicit practices and this form of credit access is secondary to the main use of the machines in Macau. “There is no new regulation from UnionPay, and the targeted segment for regulation strengthening (cross-border point-of-sale relocating) represents a minor form of patron UnionPay cash access,” Sterne Agee said in a recent note. It said cash withdrawals using UnionPay account for 13 percent to 15 percent of GGR. The primary use, by a large margin, is within pawn shops owned by Macau locals. “Returning items is not illegal and we do not believe it is realistic to make it so,” the note said.