Cryptocurrencies could Spell Trouble for Macau Casinos, Says Former Hong Kong Police Chief

Former Hong Kong police chief Steve Vickers, who’s currently a business risk consultant, has a warning for Macau casinos about accepting cryptocurrencies. “Potentially from an organised crime point of view, cryptocurrencies do afford opportunities for the avoidance of government duty,” said Vickers. He spoke with GGR Asia about the matter during a meeting organized by […]

Former Hong Kong police chief Steve Vickers, who’s currently a business risk consultant, has a warning for Macau casinos about accepting cryptocurrencies.

“Potentially from an organised crime point of view, cryptocurrencies do afford opportunities for the avoidance of government duty,” said Vickers.

He spoke with GGR Asia about the matter during a meeting organized by the British Business Association of Macao, explaining his concerns on how criminals use cryptocurrencies.

“For example, China’s program to contain capital outflow could be circumvented quite easily if cryptocurrencies took on a wider distribution,” he explained

“The mainland is continuing the anti-corruption campaign vigorously. Those Macau casinos that are heavily or very heavily focused on the VIP trade, are more vulnerable than those that are more diversified in their business approach.”

Why is Vickers Worried about Cryptocurrencies?

Vickers used to command the Royal Hong Kong criminal intelligence bureau, during the British occupation of the territory. And based on his experiences, he’s worried that cryptocurrencies will give criminals an anonymous way to launder money through casinos.

“Unfortunately the side effect of cryptocurrency is the anonymity it provides,” he said.

“A number of extortion cases I have dealt with involving kidnap, ransom and other offences had a ‘crypto’ element, unfortunately. This is something that governments need to get their heads around now, before it becomes more difficult.”

Vickers also worries that cryptocurrencies can be used to circumvent borders.

“I think it’s true to say that certain very colourful characters previously associated with the negative side of gambling – particularly here in Macau – have shown an interest in cryptocurrencies, and understand the opportunity it presents to avoid borders when seeking to make cross-border transactions.”

Current State of Cryptocurrencies in China

China is cracking down on cryptocurrencies in their country. Their goal is to eliminate many of the so-called “pump and dump” coins, which see companies start faulty projects in hopes of collecting money without developing a working product.

Some cryptocurrencies are still being traded in the country, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Nebulas, NEO, and VeChain.

The country aims to narrow the scope of the industry, which will help with the money laundering fears surrounding cryptocurrencies.

 

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