Alipay restricted from gambling-related transactions

China’s largest third-party payment services Alipay confirmed that its Barcode Payment service is prohibited from any gambling-related transactions such as purchasing gaming chips.

Aside from gambling, transactions related to weapons, pornography, credits, drugs or prescription medicines and financial products are also prohibited, according to Alipay’s Stored Value Service terms of service.

Macau Pass managing director George Zhang told Macau Business Daily that the restriction complies with the monetary regulations of Mainland China and Macau.

Earlier this year, the Alibaba Group-owned AliPay reached an agreement with Macau Pass to expand its services in the city. Over 100 local shops and restaurants with more than 51 local brands introduced Alipay’s QR code payment in July.

According to Zhang, Alipay users can spend a maximum of 50,000 yuan (US$7,729) from their accounts per day.

Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen ruled out the possibility of casinos’ involvement with Alipay due to “potential legal ramifications.” But when it comes to Alipay’s longer-term implications for the gaming industry, Govertsen is bullish on mass-market customers using it as an alternative or in addition to UnionPay for getting cash.

Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong last week vowed to monitor Alipay transactions to ensure legal money inflow. He also noted that as of now, no casino had been found to be accepting payments made through the service.

Third of gamblers in Macau spend under $125

According to a survey conducted by the city’s Tourism Research Centre at the Institute for Tourism Studies between April and June 2015, 38% of Macau gamblers spend fewer than MOP1,000 (US$125.30) per visit.

The findings were included in the Macao Visitor Profile Survey 2nd Quarter Report, which aims to give tourism policy decision makers and members of the tourism and hospitality industry with “up-to-date information” regarding the profile of visitors to Macau and how that profile is evolving.

Out of 1025 visitors questioned, 25% spent more than MOP5,000 on gambling; a further 18% had wagered MOP2,001 to MOP5,000, 19% spent MOP1,001 to MOP2,000; 17% spent MOP501 to MOP1,000; and 21% spent under MOP500.

Mainland China accounted for 68% of the respondents, while 17% came from Hong Kong and 8% from Taiwan.

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