DICJ denies plans to use digital currency in Macau casinos

By Iqbal Johal

The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) has denied that it has discussed using a digital version of China’s currency in Macau’s casinos.

According to reports, Macau’s gambling regulator was said to have held talks with casino operators within the past few months over the possibility of using China’s upcoming digital yuan, to buy casino chips in the region’s properties.

In October, the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, made digital yuan a legal tender by giving it the same legal status as the physical yuan, with pilot schemes of the currency launched in cities such as Shenzhen and Suzhou.

Talks were reported to be in the initial stages with Bloomberg suggesting Macau’s authorities were considering adopting the digital yuan only inside city casinos, although they aren’t keen on the idea of allowing digital wallets to be accepted for use on gaming floors. Currently Macau’s casinos use Hong Kong dollars.

However, in a statement, the DICJ denied such talks had indeed taken place.

The DICJ said: “We wish to clarify that, as to there was a media report saying that DICJ had discussed with gaming concessionaires on the use of digital yuan within casinos, this is a false report.”

The reports come at a time when Macau’s casino revenue has been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with November gross gaming revenue (GGR) falling 71% year-on-year, down to MOP6.75bn ($844m). GGR is down 81% year-to-date compared to 2019, standing at MOP52.6bn.

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