A Guide to the Gambling Mecca Macau

Each year millions of visitors make the journey from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland to Macau, with the wealthier folk helicoptered in whilst those that work in more menial jobs arrive on coaches, but all are there for the same reason, to experience the casinos, the action and the thrills.

Macau used to be known to some as the Las Vegas of the East or even Asia’s Monte Carlo, and to be honest if you were not interested in casinos you probably would not know the name. Today, Macau is the new giant of the casino industry racing past its rivals and grabbing much of the attention and of course, the cash.

For centuries Macau was a Portuguese colony, and since 1999 it has belonged to China as a ‘Special Administrative Region.’  This means that Macau has more freedoms as it runs under a ‘one country, two systems’ formula.

Over the last few years Macau’s casinos have seen some tougher times as people gamble online with site like Play UK live casino, but if you were to be there right now walking along the city’s casino boulevard the Cotai Strip you would never know it as the casino hub is bouncing back from the rough times it has had to endure.

Back in 2014 the gaming revenue for Macau was in excess of 45 billion US dollars but the Beijing launched its anti-corruption crackdown which targeted the casinos and especially the VIP gambling segment which hit the industry hard.

This led to 26 months of gross gaming revenue decline until 2016 when the turnaround began.

We have seen all of Macau’s six casino operators: Sands China, SJM Holdings. Wynn Macau, MGM China Holdings, Melco Crown Entertainment and Galaxy Entertainment Group expand their businesses in the last few years with most of them opening up even bigger and better new properties.

The Cotai Strip has seen three new mega casinos added, and all casinos are being encouraged to develop more family orientated projects an entertainment to help draw even more numbers of visitors. This is in line with Government initiatives to seek economic diversification.

Macau now boasts 40 casinos and has its own currency which is called the pataca or MOPS, but in the casinos the currency of choice is the Hong Kong dollar with some establishments only accepting Hong Kong cash.

With casinos open 24 hours, house rules are pretty much similar across the city with Baccarat being the most popular game, followed by the slots, Black Jack and then Roulette.

But no matter where you go you are sure to experience that electric atmospheres that only Macau can deliver.

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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