What to Expect When Gambling in Macau
This probably wasn’t what Mao Zedong had in mind when he founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949. China was a Communist country from 1949 until 1978 – two years after Mao’s death. now it’s the largest economy in the world, with a thriving middle class and luxury to spare. There’s also an increasing wage gap between the people on the coast and those living inland. It’s similar to America in that sense.
Gambling in Macau is a lot like gambling in America, too. Macau was under Portuguese control until 1999, when the small strip of land (just 12 square miles) on the Pearl River Delta was transferred to China as an “autonomous territory.” In many ways, Macau is to China what Las Vegas is to the United States: The rules are different, the money flows like wine, and you can pop into the Venetian whenever you like – or the Wynn, or the Sands, or any of the other 30 casinos operating in Macau at last count.
Of the 33 casinos in question, 23 are found on the Macau Peninsula itself, and the remaining 10 on nearby Taipa Island, also part of the territory. The Venetian is the largest of the bunch, sitting on reclaimed land known as the Cotai Strip – a term that Las Vegas Sands actually came up with and trademarked. Almost all the casinos in Macau are open 24 hours a day, and you don’t have to gamble if you don’t feel like it; these “casino resorts” are giant entertainment complexes with all the same restaurants, bars and theaters you’d expect anywhere else.
It’s always easier to operate in a foreign land if you blend in with the locals, but Macau is highly dependent on tourism and gambling revenue, so everyone is welcome; although, most tourists come from Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Keep in mind that the casinos are really, really big, even bigger than the ones in Las Vegas. Don’t try to visit them all at once, or you’ll miss out; limit yourself to two a day and get the most out of the endless entertainment.
Once you’re inside, you’ll have access to the usual run of table games, with an emphasis on baccarat. If poker happens to be your thing, try the Casino Lisboa, home of the largest poker room in Asia. Make sure to use the free casino buses while you’re in Macau, and if you’re on a budget, consider staying at the Best Western or a similar hotel instead of the resorts. Once again, it’s just like being in Las Vegas.