Casinos in Macau have been on high alert ever since the attack at Resorts World Manila in the Philippines. Macau, the biggest gambling hub in the world has always had concerns over its booming casino industry and as a result, all six major casino operators had stepped up security measures at their casino properties.
Galaxy Macau Battling Counterfeit Chips
Although Macau’s casinos have increased security measures, it has not deterred criminals for trying to scam the casinos. The latest incidents involve Galaxy Macau who has had a string of counterfeit chips being introduced at the gaming tables over a period of 4 days. Galaxy Entertainment operates its flagship Galaxy Macau casino in the Cotai district, which is reported to have seen as many as seven separate counterfeit chip incidents which has resulted in the casino losing $77,000 (HKD $600,000).
The Macau Judiciary Police were informed of the first incident on July 19th and since then have recorded an additional 6 incidents involving counterfeit Galaxy Macau chips. The police have arrested two individuals from Mainland China in the latest incident and believe that there is a common link between all seven incidents, although that link is yet to be discovered.
The two individuals from Mainland China entered Macau through the Zhuhai main border gate on Saturday night at 7 pm. The suspects state that once they reached Galaxy Macau, they were met by an individual who handed over 100 Galaxy Macau counterfeit chips in HKD$10,000 denominations. They had a deal which allowed them to collect HKD$ 150,000 each time they were able to pass through 100 counterfeit chips. The Judiciary Police has stated that the quality of fake chips was poor and was not very difficult to identify.
Mastermind Could Be Behind Counterfeit Racket
The two individuals played baccarat at Galaxy Macau and were quickly in the money, winning HKD$ 350,000 in genuine chips before they were arrested by casino staff at around 11.30 pm. They were found with 85 counterfeit chips and told police that their strategy was to use the fake chips at the baccarat table and win real chips and also to mix the fake chips with genuine chips when they were cashing out.
The Judiciary Police in Macau are responsible for protecting casinos and their patrons from scams and criminal activities. They confirmed that another incident at Galaxy Macau saw 32 counterfeit chips turn up but so far the authorities have not been able to find out the masterminds behind the counterfeit scheme. Galaxy Macau has been asked by the press to comment on the string of counterfeit incidents but the casino has declined to issue a statement as the matter was currently under investigation. The authorities did not confirm if the gang had any other casino properties on their radar.
Beijing had launched an anti-corruption drive in Feb 2014 which specifically targeted Macau’s casinos in an effort to stop money laundering and criminal activities from flourishing in Macau’s casinos. The anti-corruption drive resulted in the collapse of Macau’s VIP gaming industry and resulted in 27 months of consecutive decline in gross gaming revenue. Macau’s casino industry started to recover only in August 2017 but gaming analysts believe that Macau’s VIP industry will never return to its heydays.
Macau Casinos Should Remain Alert
Beijing has relaxed its anti-corruption crackdown in the last 10 months and as a result, the casino industry has slowly started to recover. However it appears that criminals are also taking advantage of the relaxation in the anti-corruption drive and are once again targeting Macau’s casinos. While counterfeit chips have so far only been discovered at Galaxy Macau, other casino properties in Macau will also want to train their staff and keep a close watch on their chips as it is quite possible that the mastermind behind the Galaxy Macau counterfeit chip scam could have also attempted to counterfeit chips at other casino properties.
The Judiciary Police have stated that based on their interrogation of the two suspects arrested on Saturday, they believe there were as many as 10 suspects involved in the counterfeit racket and the authorities are yet to arrest any of them so far.

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