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China – Macau stepping up ATM security with facial recognition

By - 10 May 2017

The Macau government is taking security checks for money withdrawals up a notch, announcing that UnionPay ATM cardholders will now need to present ID cards and take part in facial recognition to withdraw money.

The move has caused some concern that the casino sector will be affected. UnionPay is China’s main payment network.

JPMorgan said: “We do not expect the actual impact on [gaming] demand to be very meaningful, as there still are many other ‘channels’ – at least for now – that can help players/junkets to get cash in Macau, via pawnshops for example. That said, we can’t rule out any potential impact on ‘player psychology’, as some players/junkets may feel reluctant to use ATM cards given increased identity checks, so any progress in this area warrants close monitoring in our view.”

Nomura said: “History tells us that, while there could be a near-term blip in middle-market mass gaming revenues, Chinese gamblers are very resourceful in trying to move money out of the mainland.”

Daiwa added: “This latest development does dampen the prospects of achieving the Street’s much-higher growth trajectory in 2017.”

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