The Gambling Industry in Macau
The special administrative region of Macau is well-known across the world as a global gambling hub. Gambling has been legal in Macau since the 1850’s, when the Portuguese government at the time legalised gambling activities in the colony. Gambling tourism forms a large portion of Macau’s economy, accounting for roughly 50% of their total economy and revenue. A large proportion of visitors to Macau casinos are based in China and Hong Kong, especially since the colony was transferred to the People’s Republic of China in the late 1990’s, and Macau has come to be known as the ‘Monte Carlo of the Orient’ to many international gamblers because of this.
The Casinos in Macau
Macau owes its popularity to a variety of local and international casinos that offer a wide range of gambling games. Macau is home to 33 casinos in total, of which 23 are situated along the Macau Peninsula and the remaining 10 on Taipa Island. The Venetian Macao Casino is the largest of these casinos, and the Grand Lisboa Casino and the Wynn Macau Casino are just a few of the other casinos located in Macau. These casinos feature a wide range of games, including classic casino additions like baccarat, boule, blackjack, roulette, keno, sic bo, fan-tan and slots.
Macau Posts Record Gaming Revenue
With many foreign casinos in Macau that originate from regions like Las Vegas and Australia, the Macau gambling industry caters to all gamblers, and Macau posts record gaming revenue that exceeded that of the famed Vegas Strip in 2007, and in 2009 gambling revenue constituted almost 70% of Macau’s total fiscal revenue, showing that the region’s casinos were continuing to grow both in size and popularity with global gamblers.
Gambling Activities in Macau
The gambling activities offered in Macau can be divided into 4 main categories. Casino games, sports betting, greyhound and horse racing and lotteries are all available to visitors to Macau casinos, as well as other gambling activities, except for online casino games, which Macau does not license at present. Until the introduction of a variety of Western-style casino games by STDM which revolutionised Macau’s gambling industry in 1962, only Chinese gambling games were available in the region, the most popular of which was the game fan-tan, which was played in over 200 fan-tan gambling houses across Macau during the 19th century.
Recent Gambling Revenue Developments
In recent years, Macau’s profits from gambling activities have seen a decline, seeing Macau posts record gaming revenue lows in 2015. It is speculated that this may be due to the state of other Asian economies, as Macau’s gambling business is dependent on the economies and visitors of China and Hong Kong. As Macau is largely dependent on foreign funds to fuel its economy, its gambling industry may at times provide an unstable source of revenue. Macau plans to remedy this by relaxing visa restrictions and reversing their transit visa policy, making it easier for tourists to visit the special administrative region, which will serve to benefit the economy, especially in peak seasons.