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The conduit for the cash is the Chinese government-supported payment card network, China UnionPay.No one knows for sure how much Chinese money is being channeled illegally into Macau.Any steps to clamp down on UnionPay cash-back transactions would likely rattle Macau, because the cash also feeds the casino sector on which the territory's $43.6 billion economy overwhelmingly depends.In Macau, UnionPay card transactions reached 130 billion Macau patacas ($16.77 billion) in just the first four months of 2012, up from 88.1 billion patacas in all of 2011, according to a confidential report by Macau's banking regulator, the Macau Monetary Authority, reviewed by Reuters.All the counterparties involved benefit from these cash-back transactions, an industry source said.The Macau banks overseeing the merchant charge 1 percent to 2 percent on the transaction. And the UnionPay card-issuing bank back in China will generally charge around 1 percent on the transaction, the source said.One of the main steps the company took came in June of 2012, when it required UnionPay card-issuing banks to put a 1 million yuan ($166,000) daily limit on any transaction in Macau, down from 5 million to 10 million yuan previously.
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