Macau – the Gambling Heaven in China’s Shadow
Well, let’s take it from the top. If you are a fan of gambling, then you should already know about Macau. This is the undisputed gambling capital of Asia, and one of the most famous casino resorts in the world. In fact, there has long been an ongoing argument whether Macau has managed to surpass Las Vegas itself, the traditional bastion of gambling. In terms of sheer size and profits, the Chinese autonomous territory certainly has a case.
If you ever get the chance to visit Macau, you will find a unique world dedicated whole-heartedly to gambling. It is extremely hard – no, nigh impossible! – to pinpoint only a single casino as a representative of the entire island. The Venetian, the Parisian Macau, MGM, Grand Lisboa… Macau boasts the largest casinos you will find anywhere… and some of the smallest too. Much like Las Vegas, the place is best experienced in its entirety.
There is something for everyone, and things don’t look to be letting up. Increased competition from other resorts has led to talk of tough years, but it seems that business is picking up once more, and new grandiose venues are opening doors. All to all, even though cliched, Macau remains the undisputed top gambling destination in Asia. However, there are other venues which are trying to topple the gambling overlords of Asia from their throne.
Singapore – Gambling Gems in The Tropical Paradise
Compared to Macau, Singapore does not boast that many casinos. However, it’s quality over quantity in the tropical paradise. If you want to visit a high-end casino vacation, then one of the leading Singapore resorts is the place to be. Gambling laws can be rather strange at some places, so you should be ready to produce a valid identification document if you ever get the chance to walk through the doors of a Singapore casino. Even though gambling is not forbidden in Singapore, the locals are required to pay an additional ‘levy’ for entering a casino – which ranges from $100 for one day to $2000 for the whole year. Notably, the proceeds from this tax are used mainly for public works and charity.
Marina Bay Sands is the best-known casino in Singapore. It is part of a hotel resort worth over $5,5 billion and turns the luxurious into average. As the name suggests, it is located close to the beach and boasts over 500 gaming tables and 1,600 slot machines. When the casino opened back in 2010, it held the title of most expensive standalone casino property. The surrounding hotel complex is truly spectacular, with 55 floors of rooms, a mall, several theatres and two ‘celebrity chef’ restaurants topped by the famous SkyPark and its infinity pool. The whole property is actually run by the Las Vegas Sands corporation, so you can expect the best that the experts in entertainment have to offer.
Luxury is the keyword when we are speaking about the Resorts World Sentosa Casino too. Located beneath the Crockfords Tower hotel on the island of Sentosa, just south of the Singapore coast, it is considered one of the most sophisticated casinos in the world. It runs a profitable partnership with the renowned IGT slot developers, which allows you to play some of the most advanced – and fun! – slots available. Aside from the flashing slots, there are about 500 gaming tables, so all preferences are well-covered. The overall interior of the casino is also quite striking. A partnership with the Universal Studios ensures that the resort has unique decorum and many attractions that keep the visitors entertained.
Philippines – the Thriving Competitor
The Philippines are one of the top tourist destinations in Asia, and quite naturally offer some of the best casino resorts in the region. In fact, the thriving gambling industry there has turned the region into one of the chief competitors of Macau and Singapore for best Asian gambling destination. People usually go to the Philippines to enjoy the vibrant nature, the turquoise waters and the tropical beaches, but gambling fans will be spoilt with a rich selection of casinos that compares favourably to the top gambling destinations in Europe we told you about.
For many years, the Resorts World Manila was the top-ranked casino in the Philippines. Made in cooperation with the famous Genting casino operator from Malaysia, this was the first integrated casino resort to open doors in the Philippines. It is conveniently located just next to the Manila airport, so it is usually the first stop for visitors to the country. With over 300 live tables and 1,500 gaming machines, it offers Las Vegas-like entertainment in a unique environment. However, the usual air of the place was darkened in 2017, when a horrific shooting took place. Since then, even though the security has been tightened significantly, Resorts World Manila has lost ground to its competitors.
Currently, the most popular Philippines gambling venue is the Solaire Resort and Casino, which is located in the world-famous Entertainment City and offers a spectacular view at the Manila Bay sunset. It might trail behind the Resorts World in sheer size but makes up for it with an excellent poker room and perfect location. There is also the thriving City of Dreams resort, which tries to make all dreams come true. The resort is not far from the Solaire Casino and the Resorts World Bayshore, which means that people staying in Entertainment City have quite the choice. It remains to be seen if the hugely ambitious Okida Manila that joined the ranks of Philippines casinos just last year will manage to gain a similar reputation and improve Manila’s reputation as a gambling haven even further.
Malaysia – a Casino Hidden in the Mountains
The Resorts World entertainment chain runs throughout the whole of South-East Asia – and it all started in Malaysia. The Genting Casino opened back in the 1970s with only thirty tables and a selection of what was then known as ‘one-armed bandits’. Since then, the famous casino has been growing steadily, and now sprawls on 200,000 square feet and offers more than 400 tables and 3000 gaming machines. By the way, at least from curiosity, you might be interested in the top online casinos in Malaysia
If you truly want to become a part of the history of gambling, then this is the place to be. The main feature of the casino is the fact that it is situated 1,800 meters above sea level – in fact, the Resorts World was originally known as the Genting Highlands. It is a pleasant getaway from the Malaysian heat and situated only 35 kilometres from the capital Kuala Lumpur. It is quite easy to get there with a car, though travelling by a cable car with the Genting Skyway is a very scenic alternative.
Another advantage of the Genting casino is the fact that it is the only actual casino resort in Malaysia. Getting a gambling license in the country is very hard, so all casino fans that visit the country usually end up heading for the famous Genting resort, where there are a lot of other attractions on offer. Of course, you should keep in mind that there are certain drawbacks too – since there is little competition in Malaysia, the personnel don’t always seem to be on top of their game, and the casino is somewhat trailing behind the Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore in terms of quality. However, the unique view more than makes up for that.
South Korea – the Foreigner’s Getaway
If you’re planning a trip to South Korea, you may be disappointed to learn that gambling is strictly forbidden… for Koreans. South Korea is one of the few countries in the world that differentiates between locals and foreigners in terms of this prohibition. This means that there are casinos in South Korea, but they are more popular with the tourists. Asking the locals for directions might not be the best idea, since it would likely earn you confused looks.
The best place for a gambling fan in South Korea would be the Paradise Walker Hill Casino, which is hidden in Seoul. Now, don’t expect anything grand like the Singapore and Macau palaces. Since it is tailored only for tourists, Paradise Walker Hill is considerably smaller than the island Behemoths, but still boasts a very diverse selection of table games, including Baccarat, Black Jack, Roulette, Poker and Tai-Sai, as well as some modern terminals from the ETG company.
There might well be changes in the future, but before the casinos become open to South Korean customers, their size will probably remain more diminutive. For now at least, eSports and other forms of sport betting appear to hold a greater importance in the high-tech country. However, the more relaxed atmosphere in local casinos, where all the visitors would be fellow tourists, may actually be considered an advantage by many.
The Future of Asian Gambling – Vietnam and Japan
As you may see, the gambling map of Asia is changing quite rapidly. Less than 8 years ago the Philippines didn’t boast resorts that could rival the grand casinos of Macau or Las Vegas, while now they have no less than 5, and new ones are opening doors. Even though legal restrictions are still hampering this industry, there are certainly signs that things are a-changing, and some new exotic locations might soon offer a good time for the gambling fan.
Vietnam appears to be the next country ready to join the likes of Macau, Singapore and the Philippines under the spotlight. Since the beginning of 2017, there have been trial periods that allow gambling for ‘economically-qualified’ citizen. If the Vietnamese markets were to open for the locals, then there would be a huge interest from foreign investors which would inevitably lead to the emergence of casino-resorts that would attract foreign players as well.
Things appear to be moving slower in Japan, which is famous for its convoluted gambling legislation – as you well know, gambling prohibitions have led to the appearance of Pachinko machines in the place of slots. It would appear that the country will finally allow the opening of casino resorts at certain locations, but the Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill is still under heavy consideration at the time of writing, so we will have to wait some years before visiting a wacky Japanese casino. The same cannot be said about Japanese online casinos though, so make sure to get informed on the topic in our website!