U.S. authorities are turning up the spotlight on how money flows from Macau to the U.S. to make sure U.S. operators are not being used as conduits for money laundering, or to funnel proceeds from crime into the U.S. financial system.
U.S. Internal Revenue Service agents from the criminal enforcement unit traveled to Macau last month to gather information, Reuters said, citing sources. It said that a supervisory special agent with the service’s Criminal Investigation branch had acknowledged the trip during a conference in Macau earlier this month. Media were apparently excluded from the room during the agent’s remarks.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s anti-money laundering unit has also been closely examining money flow from Macau casinos.
It was unclear if IRS-CI was probing the operations of one or more U.S. casinos in Macau for possible criminal prosecution for failing to police transactions for money laundering activity, the report said.
Las Vegas Sands Corp, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International all have resorts in Macau. Gross gambling revenue rose to a record $45 billion in Macau last year, making it far and away the world’s largest gambling hub, fuelled by visitors from China. The territory is also the biggest contributor to the U.S. operator’s profits, with Sands China for example, accounting for $939.8 million of LVS’s $1.48 billion in adjusted property EBITDA in the first quarter.