Profile of a Gambling Town: Macau

  • In which we take a closer look at the greatest gambling cities in the world
  • Macau is the biggest gambling city in the world

Macau is a densely populated region on the coast of China and a former colony of the Portuguese Empire. It is also the largest gambling region in the world, with the industry worth more than seven times as much as Vegas.

Macau is spectacular in every way including the 338 metre-high Macau Tower.
The Macau Tower is one of the more spectacular sites.


The history of Macau dates back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC) when the first Chinese inhabitants took refuge in the region from invading Mongol armies. The region was home to the Tanka boat people and remained largely undeveloped until the Portuguese took control in the 16th century. By the time Macau returned to Chinese control in 1999 it was one of the most important trading ports in the South China Sea.

In 1962 Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau was formed, a monopoly dedicated to the running of casinos in the district. Stanley Ho and family were the sole runners of casinos in Macau until 2002 when the monopoly was finally broken. To this day however the family has huge holdings in the city and remains in possession on over 14 casinos in the town.

If that isn’t enough to satisfy your thirst for knowledge on this fast-growing casino region, then you’ll find a host of other info here at Casinopedia.


Macau has humid subtropical climate with humidity being somewhere between 75-90%. Like much of south China, the weather is subject to monsoons in April and May so these are not recommended months for travel. The average high in July is 31 degrees celsius with the temperature dropping to around 15 in December/January.


Gambling in Macau was administered by Stanley Ho’s monopoly Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões from 1962 to 2002. From 2002 onwards several Vegas operators moved into the territory meaning many of the casinos in Macau will be familiar to Westerners including the Sands, Wynn, Venetian and MGM Grand.

The Wynn Palace, Cotai, Macau. Picture:
The Wynn Palace, Cotai, Macau. Picture:

The Venetian is the largest casino in the world measuring a spectacular 10,500,000 square foot. This one casino alone has an impressive 3,400 slot machines and 800 gambling tables.

Of the rest perhaps it is the Wynn which is the most impressive. The casino features a lake as big as 25 football pitches complete with the obligatory gondolas which no good casino lake could possibly be without. The luxury hotel boasts 1,706 rooms, meeting facilities, a spa and salon and retail areas. One of the most stand out landmarks in Macau is the Grand Lisboa casino, which is a high rise building shaped like a Lotus flower.

Entertainment & Sports

Besides gambling, the entertainment industry in Macau has probably lagged behind other gaming destinations, but in the last few years has really begun to shine. One of the big shows is the House of Dancing Water, an acrobatic piece of theatre hosted above (and in) a giant tank of water with spectacular set pieces, music and dance.

Football is one of the biggest sports in the region with the teams adopting the names of Portuguese sides including Benfica, Porto and Sporting. Macau also has its own national team representative of the special status of the region. Rink hockey is another popular sport which could best be described as hockey on roller skates.

If that’s a little too far out for your tastes then there is always the Macau Grand Prix, one of the regular fixtures of the Formula 3 season.

Check out the definitive list of casinos you MUST visit in Macau here.

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