The debate on which country is the center of gambling in the world is complex as numerous countries are now embracing gambling. However, putting all the factors constant, one region that stands out from the rest is Macau. According to our expert Kevin N. Cochran, the former Portuguese colony has surpassed even the biggest names in gambling like Las Vegas, evidenced by the revenue generated.
History of Macau
Macau operates under the”One Country, Two Systems” principle, the same as Hong Kong. This allows it to have significant independence in most economical and governing activities. The region also has its currency called the Macanese Pataca (MOP), which qualifies it to be considered a country.
The evolution of Macau into the gambling center of the world is mainly a globalization story. It dates back to 1840, when it was still under Portuguese rule. At the time, there was high unemployment in the region which forced the Portuguese to find new ways of creating employment to stop the migration of the locals to neighboring Hong Kong. The locals started doing manual jobs on the plantations and mines to generate some income. However, the region was a favorite for people from the mainland as it was a distant place from home where they could indulge in all immoral practices. This led to the growth of gambling in the region.
Fast forward to 1960; the govt granted Stanley Ho full rights to dominate the entire Macau gambling space, including the famous Lisboa. Stanley made a lot of fortunes as he dominated the majority of gambling spaces at the time. The Chinese Communist Party, however, destroyed most of the property in Macau at the time as they wanted to control all casinos in the region. This led to a shift in the rule as Macau was now under the communist regime. It was the beginning of the success in gambling in Macau.
Gambling operations in Macau contribute a significant percentage of the government’s total revenue. Back in 2001, tax revenue collected from casino operations accounted for 40% of the total revenue generated by the government. Fast forward to 20 years later, tax revenue generated from gambling activities in the region accounts for almost 85% of total government income. The significant rise in revenue generated from gambling in the area is mainly attributed to the industry’s opening up, which allows foreign companies to seek a casino license.
From 1960 to 2001,there was only one company, Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, SA (STDM) that was licensed to operate casinos in Macau. In 2002 however, this changed, and some foreign companies and multinational firms were also licensed to operate in the region. This includes MGM, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and Galaxy.
The international firms made tremendous investments in high-end shopping malls, luxury hotels, and state-of-the-art casino complexes. The government at the time initiated numerous land reclamation projects that saw an increase of land from 11.6 to 29.7 square kilometers to cater to the growing foreign casino investments.
Gambling in Macau
Online gambling is picking up in Macau, with numerous offshore casinos allowing locals to play. Some of the casinos reviewed at online blackjack Canada also Macau residents. There is thus no major difference between casinos in Canada and those in Macau.
It is interesting to note that Macau is home to the biggest casino in the world, Venetian Macau. It boasts of the most remarkable gaming space of 550000 square feet, followed by its sister casino Venetian in Las Vegas, with 120000 square feet of gaming space. The casino is estimated to host a whopping 100,000 patrons on the Chinese New Year, the highest number the whole year.
The most outstanding attribute of gambling in Macau is that it ensures it delivers the real Macau experience, unlike other countries that have copied western cultures. Macau is home to 38 casinos, where ten are located on Taipa Island and 23 on the Macau Peninsula. Most casinos in the region are dominated by old Macau layouts and themes many years ago. They also serve Macau cuisines with the unique inclusion of traditional, complementary Macau tea instead of whiskey or beer.
Interestingly the most popular game in Macau is not blackjack, poker or roulette. Instead, Baccarat is the game of choice for many, with statistics estimating that the game generates more than 80% of gambling revenue collected from casinos.
The difference in cultures also makes Macau a celebrated global gambling Centre. Most Western players gamble for fun, while most gamblers in Macau gamble to make money.
We cannot talk about gambling in the world and fail to mention Macau and China in general.