Welcome to the autonomous Chinese region of Macau – is the only administrative centre to gross more gambling revenues than the original casino capital of the world, Las Vegas.
A former Portuguese colony, until recent years, it was a little-known destination for such pursuits – but it has been outdoing the whole of Nevada since all the way back in 2010, which means it’s more than time we got acquainted.
As well as drawing in the punters, it has the impressive architecture to match. Macau is a bucketlist destination that in 2020, should be on every self-respecting traveller’s bucketlist – particularly if they’re partial to a spin or two on the roulette wheel, and the glitz and glamour of the casino scene.
The story of Macau is one of globalisation, and one that came to pass through the meteoric rise of China. Foreign multi-national casinos had a significant role to play, while the economic prosperity of Chinese citizens has meant a much greater level of disposable income – to be spent on travelling, shopping, and of course, gambling.
Returning to Chinese rule back in 1999 as a special administrative region, it is the only part of China in which gambling is legal – so it is little wonder that Chinese tourists, in search of a little adrenaline and, at times, reckless abandon, flock to the city every year. Now though, the rest of the world is catching on; it might seem like a long way to go for a few games on the slots, but rest assured that Macau has a great deal more to offer.
The lap of luxury
Prior to its return to Chinese rule, the region suffered somewhat from the impact of organised crime. VIP gaming rooms were sub-contracted, and a scuffle ensued. The VIP rooms still exist today, hosting high-stakes games away from the throng of the main casino areas, and are part of Macau’s unique appeal even today. The gambling experience here is different, and people want to experience it for themselves.
Where Las Vegas can be said to focus on mass market gamblers, the same does not apply in Macau. Appealing to high-spending clientele and lavishing them with luxury from start to finish, it’s here that the richest and most-respected gamblers head, to be made to feel truly special. It’s little wonder, then, that the revenue Macau’s casinos generate is so high.
A spokesperson at SOS Game, the dedicated guide to online slot games, said: “When it comes to quality, the casinos in Macau truly are a cut above. Distancing themselves from the type of lairy, brash clientele you might find at a Las Vegas establishment, these places are all about that luxury experience. High-rolling guests are spoiled and given an impeccable service from start to finish, so it’s little wonder that the wealthiest gamblers out there choose to return again and again.”
Casino operations generate a huge amount of revenue for the government, sometimes, as much as 81% of all annual revenue collected – which is double what it was just 18 years ago, back in 2001.
Suffice it to say, the casino business makes perfect financial sense in Macau – and is another reason business is continuing to boom.
In the past, a company known as Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau had the monopoly on casino operations in Macau, but in 2001, the Government began to allow foreign multi-nationals to operate. It’s easy to see that the benefits of doing so have been huge, with big name brands including MGM and Las Vegas Sands – hailing straight from Sin City itself now drawing in crowds of casino enthusiasts, year after year.
Making big investment in the region, casino territory in Macau more than doubled over the next few years, and today, it stands at over 30 square kilometres. Combined, they jingle to the tune of a whopping $38 million per year – more than six times the sum wagered in Las Vegas.
During the Chinese New Year, more than 100,000 people visited the Venetian Macau – the biggest casino in the world, and one which boasts 550,000 square feet of gaming space.
The game of choice in Macau is baccarat – head and shoulders above classics such as blackjack, poker and roulette. There are now 38 casinos, 23 of which can be found on the Macau Peninsula, with the rest located over on Taipa Island.
Despite popular belief, the evidence is there; Macau has officially taken over from Las Vegas as the casino capital of the world. So, if you’re in search of a luxurious gambling getaway where the stakes are high and the wins are big, then look no further – Macau is calling your name.
Image credit at the very top of the article: DR studio/Bigstock.com
Please gamble responsibly, 18+