New ATM measures will take time: Bernstein

The Macau government is planning to implement new security features at ATMs near casinos in the latest measure to clamp down on illegal cash flows out of Mainland China, local media reports.

According to a Macau government statement on Sunday, under the new measures, holders of China UnionPay cards will be required to scan their identity cards, and undergo facial scanning when making withdrawals at ATMs.

The government did not specify when the new tech will be in place, but Bernstein in a Monday note said “it will likely take significant time for a full roll out to occur.”

The government mentioned it would be employed at ATMs around casinos.

“The government spares no effort to implement anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism rules,” said the government in a statement.

Last week, South China Morning Post reported that total amount of cash withdrawn from ATM machines in Macau topped HK$10 billion a month.

“The hole-in-the-wall cash flood has prompted monetary chiefs in the former Portuguese enclave to order banks to make sure the city’s 1,300 cash dispensing machines never run dry,” said SCMP, quoting a source close to the matter.

Bernstein said there were “numerous individuals” that currently utilize multiple ATM cards in Macau in order to counter the daily limits placed per card, which was implemented last year.

“Over time though, stronger AML and KYC procedures will likely create headwinds for junket activity and certain premium mass liquidity. The news out of Macau may create downward pressure on the stocks as investors again realize that Macau risks are largely tied to policy and the power of the government to limit growth has not been diminished,” said the analysts.