Macau, China – The Gambling Capital of the World
Macau, also known as Macao, is a Chinese island city with very rich and interesting history. Early documents have found evidence that people have settled in the region during the Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD). Over a millennia later, in 16th century, the rocky island was rented out to Portugal under an official agreement between the two countries.
Nearly five centuries later, in 1999, Macau became part of mainland China once again. While gambling is illegal in the country, the government decided to legalise the activity only on the island of Macau. It was not long after that the small city became the new gambling capital of the world.
It may surprise to some of you that this island city has pushed the fabulous Las Vegas from the top gambling destination. But what is even more shocking is that by 2006, Macau has earned more gambling revenue by the entire state of Nevada. While there are plenty five-star casino resorts, there is more to the destination.
There is a great mix of Chinese and Portuguese cultures and religions on the island. Meaning that you can attend a wide range of events all in the same place. For instance, you can go to the Macau Grand Prix or the International Music Festival. Also, visitors could attend the celebrations of The Lunar Chinese New Year, the A-Ma festival, the Feast of the Drunken Dragon, and the Feast of the Bathing of Lord Buddha.
The Latest Macau Casino Ranking 2021
1. The Venetian Macao
Currently, the Venetian Macao is home to the biggest casino in the city and the world, with a total gaming floor area that spreads to over 500,000 sq ft. Having said that, it should not surprise you that gamblers can choose from over 1500 slots and more than 600 gaming tables under the same roof. In 2007, the casino resort opened doors for the first time under the management of the Las Vegas Sands which also owns The Venetian in Sin City.
This 5-star casino resort is one of the top gambling destinations in Asia and probably the best casino in Macau. Aside from the gigantic casino, visitors of The Venetian Macao can enjoy fine dining at more than 30 restaurants, some of which are Michelin-starred. But that is not all – guests can take advantage of the outdoor swimming pool and the 18-hole rooftop golf course. On top of all that, there are more than 300 retail shops.
2. Wynn Palace
Wynn Palace is another luxury casino resort operated by an American firm in our top Macau casino ranking. As a matter of fact, this is the second one in the island city owned by Wynn Resorts Ltd. Opened in 2016, this establishment has the second largest casino floor area worldwide – 424,000 sq ft. Visitors from across the globe can test their luck at more than 500 slots and over 350 gaming tables.
Allegedly, the construction of the whole complex costs around 4 billion US dollars. With so much money invested, you can be certain that guests enjoy only the best of the best during their stay. There are some things that you can only do at Wynn Palace, like taking a SkyCab gondola over the 8-acre performance lake. Furthermore, this establishment holds the record for the highest number of Forbes Five-Star restaurants.
3. City of Dreams
Developed by Melco Crown Entertainment, City of Dreams is one of the most extraordinary casino resorts in the world with a combined gaming area of 420,000 sq ft. It first opened in 2009, but since then it has gone through quite the change. Located right next to its biggest rival, The Venetian Macao, this mega-development has four separate towers, namely Grand Hyatt Macau, The Countdown Hotel, Morpheus, and Nuwa which is under refurbishment.
The City of Dreams mega-complex offers gamblers the chance to place a bet at over one thousand slots and to take a seat at more than 350 gaming tables. Furthermore, the additional amenities are exquisite – Michelin-star restaurants, luxury shopping centres, a SOHO gallery, and four spa centres. During your visit, find time to attend the breath-taking entertainment shows, House of Dancing Water and the Dragon’s Treasure, at the casino resort.
4. Grand Lisboa
Owned by Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, Grand Lisboa is the tallest building on the rocky island with 52 stories up in the sky. Furthermore, its unique and memorable architectural design of a golden lotus has become an icon of Macau. What is more, the casino area is among one of the largest in the world – 290,000 sq ft. There, gamblers can find more than 800 slot machines and over 200 gaming tables.
Interestingly, the original Hotel Lisboa and Casino was opened in the 70s, and it is one of the oldest casinos in Macau. However, the modern icon of the city welcomed its first guests in 2007. At the golden lotus casino resort, visitors can find not one but three Michelin-star restaurants, alongside a luxury spa, an outdoor swimming pool, and, of course, daily entertainment. Moreover, Grand Lisboa holds the largest ongoing poker tournament in Asia.
5. Sands Macao
This is another casino resort in Macao owned and operated by one of the largest operators in the world, Las Vegas Sands. Today, the Sands Macao total gaming floor area is around 229,000 sq ft, making our list of the biggest casinos in Macau. However, the establishment you see today is different than then one that opened in 2004. In 2006 and 2007, the whole complex went under major expansion.
Furthermore, Sands Macau casino welcomes high-rollers and casual players alike at its three spacious gaming areas that offer a wide range of high-end entertainment. There, visitors can enjoy more than 1000 slot machines and over 700 tables. In addition, Sands Macao is a preferred gambling den by players because it is close by the ferry pier. This makes the commute from Hong Kong to Macau much easier.
The Rise of Macau
Within the span of two decades, Macau transformed from a small Portuguese province into the top gambling destination in the world. We believe that this is directly linked to China’s government plan for globalisation and the rise of the Chinese middle class. Allow us to elaborate; the country embraces new practices that can lead to economic growth. Then, it saw the unique opportunity in the face of Macau and allowed foreign direct investment to the small island territory.
Furthermore, the Chinese economy has only gone upward in the last 30 years, hence, the birth of the Chinese middle-class consumer, who is hungry for experiences – travel, shopping, gambling. Currently, gambling is illegal in mainland China, unlike casino sites in Hong Kong. We can only assume that China wants to keep the money circulating within its economy. Therefore, China decided to legalise gambling within the special administrative region of Macau.
Chinese Monopoly Over the Gambling Industry
Let us get back to the roaring 20s. Back then, Macau was still under Portuguese governance, but the gambling industry was blossoming in the region. Four decades later, the communist government allowed Stanley Ho to take over the Macau franchise, so he can eliminate the local competition. During his reign, the billionaire practically owned one-third of the entire gambling industry on the island.
Around the time of the turnover of Macau to China, the administrative region was rigged with organised crime and gangs trying to launder money using VIP casino rooms. Thus, the government stepped in and sent down the military to clear the city of criminal activity. This is when the Stanley Ho era ended and when the era of modern Macau began. Since then, China has been embracing change and welcoming multinational companies at the rocky island.
International Investment in Macau
From 2002 onward, the Chinese government has granted licenses to several international casino resorts such at Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and MGM to operate in Macau. The development of new mega-developments has resulted in a major increase in job vacancies for locals and, of course, an economic boom.
Furthermore, the demand for high-quality entertainment on the island has risen dramatically. Thus, nowadays, visitors can enjoy many performances, events, luxury shopping, and fine dining, among others. Just like that, almost overnight, Macau turned into the gambling capital of the world and pushed Las Vegas off the top.
Guidelines for Visitors
As we mentioned above, technically, Macau is part of China. However, when it comes to gambling, different rules apply to locals and visitors because the city is categorised as the country’s special administrative region. This is why we decided to prepare a handy Macau casino guide for first-time visitors of the rocky island.
|Legal Age ⛔||21|
|Accepted IDs 🆔||Passport or Hong Kong identity card|
|Legal Tender 💲||Hong Kong Dollar (not Macau Pataca)|
|Dress Code 🤵||Formal, Business Casual|
|Not Allowed in Casinos 🚫||Cameras, Laptops, Luggage|
Here are some more tips for gamblers planning to go to Macau. First, take it slow when it comes to drinking, visibly drunk players are asked by the security guards to leave. Secondly, while smoking inside is illegal, gamblers generally disregard the rule. Lastly, you will need a receipt from the casino hotel as proof to take the free shuttle busses.
Frequently Asked Questions About Macau
Hopefully, we have addressed all your queries about casinos in Macau. However, we know that some of you might want to know even more about the top gambling destination. Thus, we gathered the most common questions on the topic and prepared an answer to each.