Macau may be adopting cryptocurrency, in an effort to fight money laundering and tax evasion.
The legislators were told on Tuesday by Chief Executive Ho Lat Seng that the government has plans to make some adjustments to the laws, in order to regulate the issuance of a virtual legal tender.
Ho stated that, by introducing a virtual currency, it would give them a better chance at fighting money laundering, tax evasion, and terrorism financing. The plan is brought upon by Macau’s casino revenue taking a nosedive due to the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, and the recovery has been rather slow.
The government will be working with China’s central bank to find out if the issuance of digital currency is feasible.
As for now, there are no announcements regarding the formal plans detailing the implementation of digital currency. However, some of the junkets — which serve as intermediaries for Chinese high-rollers that make up a significant portion of the city’s gambling revenue — are worried that the adoption of a traceable, government-tethered currency would drive the industry further into its grave, already weakened by the pandemic and stricter rules surrounding high-stakes gambling.
Macau’s regulator has involved a number of casino operators into discussing the feasibility of buying gambling chips with digital yuan.
There are still some missing details that are keeping the casino analysts from forming a conclusion regarding the impact of the potential digital yuan launch. Sanford C. Bernstein analysts said that, by making digital currency as the only payment option when buying gambling chips, it could spell trouble for Macau casinos as it essentially removes the junket system.
However, the analysts added that it could actually be advantageous in the long run if digital yuan becomes one of the options that allow an easier access to money in the city.