SEVEN things you never knew about the world’s casino capital Macau

Macau, affectionately known as the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’ has been put on the map not just for its appeal to the casino playing fraternity, but also for its striking landmarks including the 338-metre-high Macau Tower.

Macau is spectacular in every way including the 338 metre-high Macau Tower.
Macau is spectacular in every way including the 338 metre-high Macau Tower.

With spectacular views across the city, the tower seemingly keeps a watchful eye over the city and its influx of visitors either eager to try their luck at the gaming tables or who want to discover some of its hidden secrets.

Situated on the south coast of China, here some interesting facts about this casino haven you may not have been aware of.

1: Vegas who?

Macau actually superseded Las Vegas as the world leader in gambling revenues a decade ago.

Sorry Las Vegas, your time as the world's casino capital ended a long time ago. Picture: ThinkStock
Sorry Las Vegas, your time as the world’s casino capital ended a long time ago. Picture: ThinkStock

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It generates more than $45 billion annually from a staggering 30 million visitors who travel to the high-rolling city stamped with a Portuguese influence from its colonial days.

One in five, or 20 per cent, of the locals are employed at its 33 casinos.

2: Cheaters do not prosper

Unlike Las Vegas, punters prefer gaming tables over the slot machines.

Ace up your sleeve to get one over on the house? Think again if you want to stay there. Picture: Thinkstock.
Ace up your sleeve to get one over on the house? Think again if you want to stay there. Picture: Thinkstock.

Baccarat is the favorite game mostly because it offers a low house advantage while the slot machines can be less favorable.

However, remember the Macau government insists you adhere to its strict, gaming regulations. You might want to leave any hacks you have learned at home.

Definitely not a place count cards or any other ruse you’ve you have mastered to beat the house as cheating is regarded as a serious criminal offence.

3: Monotony of the Macau monopoly

The six casino operators that now exist in Macau brought an end to the former monopoly system.

Stanley Ho is known as the founding father of the Macau casino industry.
Stanley Ho is known as the founding father of the Macau casino industry.

Until 2002, tycoon Stanley Ho reigned supreme for 40 years. However, the government changed the rules to allow competition and so we now have some of the US casino giants like Las Vegas Sands, MGM and Wynn Resorts with their branding emblazoned across many of the city’s biggest resorts.

4: Any room at the inn?

With so many people hotfooting it to Macau for their vacation and the fact it has the world’s highest population density, you might want to check in advance if there is any room availability.

The remarkable Venetian in Macau offers its own gondola rides.
The remarkable Venetian in Macau offers its own gondola rides and has 3,000 rooms, but even monster resorts like this are not always enough to sate demand.

At the last count, there were 20,497 people per square kilometre. That’s a tight squeeze. Go easy on the hotel buffet, ok?

5: Step away from the tables, at least once

Aside from the Cotai Strip which is home to Macau’s fabulous casino resorts, there are many historic reasons to visit the beautiful city.

There's more to Macau than just giving the casino your hard-earned. The historic city includes delights such as the ruins of St Paul's. Picture: ThinkStock.
There’s more to Macau than just giving the casino your hard-earned. The historic city includes delights such as the ruins of St Paul’s. Picture: ThinkStock.

Having been granted UNESCO’s World Heritage status in 2005, Macau is well-worth a visit just to see iconic monuments in the heart of the old city.

6: Long-time alive

Not only does Macau have a dense population but also one that lives to a grand old age, unlike many hardened gamblers who still enjoy unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking.

Living in Macau is good for your health.
Living in Macau is good for your health – more so than perhaps your wallet.

The average life expectancy is 84.4 years. Maybe a few more high rollers might take heed of the Macau lifestyle when they read this fact!

That being said, any region which pulls in that kind of money should at least see some benefit for its residents.

7: China rules OK?

Following more than 400 years of Portuguese colonial rule, China assumed formal sovereignty over Macau in December 1999 as a special administrative region.

China is the reason Macau is a massive casino hub.
China is the reason Macau is a massive casino hub.

Still, Macau has become one of the richest regions in the world thanks to its gaming industry and the tourists pouring in from mainland China.

It’s this proximity to the huge, and growing, China market that has caused an influx of billions in investment. The fact that Macau is in Chinese hands also means there is largely unfettered access to any Chinese wealthy enough to make the trip.

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