Legalized in 1847, with not less than 200 small gambling houses in Macau, the casino industry boomed in the 1960's: when the government granted the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM), a syndicate jointly formed by Hong Kong and Macau businessmen, the monopoly to all forms of gambling. The Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau introduced western-style games and modernized the marine transport between Macau and Hong Kong (ferry), bringing millions of gamblers from Hong Kong and China mainland every year. The license expired at the end of 2001, allowing six concessions and subconcessions of casino games of fortune: Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (known as SJM; headed by Stanley Ho), Galaxy Casino (a subsidiary of Galaxy Entertainment Group, from Hong Kong), Wynn Resorts (of Steve Wynn), Venetian Macau (Sheldon Adelson), a partnership of MGM with Pansy Ho (daughter of Stanley Ho), and a partnership of Melco and PBL of Australia.
Today, there are 16 casinos operated by the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, and they are still crucial in the casino industry in Macau. The oldest and most impressive one, crowded day and night like the Grand Central Terminal railways station in New York, remains the three-storey complex Casino Lisboa (in Hotel Lisboa and connected Grand Lisboa): featuring exciting Las Vegas style shows -certainly the best in town- this is a living museum of gaming where a 99,9% Asian clientele can still play some of the most traditional Chinese games, like Sic Bo, and Fan Tan. We tried to understand the rules; harder to transcript than ideograms, you need some Mandarin blood in your veins to get involved. Blackjack, baccarat, roulette, boule, keno, and «big and small» are very popular, with the most glittering array of slot machines anywhere (the locals call them «hungry tigers»). Poker was introduced only in August 2007, in an electronic table format at Galaxy Starworld casino. The first live poker tournament was the Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau event in November 2007. In January 2008, the government of Macau published the official rules for Texas hold 'em poker games in Macau. In February 2008, Grand Lisboa Casino added the first live-dealer cash game tables in Macau. In May 2008, « PokerStars Macau » opened at Grand Waldo Casino. In November 2008, Texas Holdem' Poker opened at Wynn Macau and the « Learn to Play » table is available. « PokerStars Macau » moved to a new location at the Grand Lisboa Casino in March 2009. Today, Wynn Macau, Venetian, Hard Rock Casino, StarWorld and Grand Lisboa casino offer live-dealer cash game poker tables, and only Grand Lisboa Casino has live poker tournaments every weekend.
«Monte Carlo of the Orient», Macau became in 2010 the largest casino resort in the world: welcoming more visitors and generating more benefits than Las Vegas! There are now 33 casinos: the biggest is The Venetian Macau. Nowadays, the gambling industry generates over 40% of the GDP of Macau: the economy relies heavily on gambling, which also boosted the development of a remarkable high end hotel and restaurant industry. The concentration of five star deluxe hotels and Michelin star restaurants is unmatched anywhere else in the world: including Monte-Carlo! Each hotel has its own, important fleet of Bentley and Roll Royce limousines. Tens of ferries and helicopters establish each hour, and round the clock, a luxurious and quick shuttle with Hong Kong and mainland China. A tax-free zone, Macau allows lucky winners to purchase high-fashion clothes, sophisticated Swiss watches (new... or used by some unlucky player, who sold his Patek Philippe or Blancpain to one of the numerous pawnbrokers established behind the Casino Lisboa), and fine gold and diamonds jewels in the most exclusive shops in Asia. Such a prosperity is outsourced by the casino industry, and means a very high level of security: a most pleasant, nostalgic city with a lovely colonial architecture, Macau is amazingly safe. All in this together makes Macau a major tourist destination, even for those who don't like gambling.
Visitors to the casinos should read the sign at each entrance, urging players to chance only what they can afford. The casinos in Macau operate 24 hours a day. Players are not obliged to tip the croupiers and any request for a tip by casino employees may be ignored.
Casinos are so important for this small Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of the People's Republic of China, that the Faculty of Business Administration of the University of Macau teaches gaming law since 2005. In 2007, it has also been included in the master program of international business law offered by the Faculty of Law of the University of Macau, in which various theses have already been defended in topics of gaming law.
Bars and Discos
Macau's Nightlife is famous for its variety, its frantic pace and constant change. For night owls this is a city that never sleeps, with plenty of bars, shops and restaurants, as well as casinos F&B resources, open all night long. Visitors will have no problem if they wish to get a delicious meal or go dancing in the middle of the night.
If you are looking for bars and pubs, you will find a great number of them along the Avenida Sun Yat Sen close to the Kum Iam Statue and the Cultural Centre. With its picturesque location, facing the Outer Harbour and Pearl River, you can enjoy the music and the wine while watching the boats gliding by. The music is completely cosmopolitan, with bars throbbing to the rhythms of Brazil, Portugal, England, Africa and every part of Asia. Likewise the songs will come in languages from around the world. In some bars there are live bands performing clients' request, for instance in the bars and pubs in hotels like the Landmark, Holiday Inn, Emperor and Westin.
There are also some popular pubs on Taipa Island, opposite the Macau Jockey Club, with a casual ambiance which will make visitors feel at home. On Coloane, you can drink under the stars on the terrace of the Pousada de Coloane or sip a glass of Port in the Westin Resort.
For the most popular trendy discos in town head for NAPE and Avenida do Infante D. Henrique. Here the music is modern with some local touches: international pop sung in Cantonese, Mandarin, Thai or Japanese.
Cabaret-style entertainment is also on offer, with performance of the Crazy Paris Show daily at Restaurant Portas do Sol of Hotel Lisboa, from 10:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., while in the Jai Alai Show Palace, on the 2nd Floor of the Jai Alai Complex there are continuous performances every night from 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Macau there are plenty of karaoke
clubs (mainly in the city centre, Rua dos Pescadores, Estrada do
and in Taipa Island, near the Jockey Club).They are very popular among
locals and visitors. These clubs offer reasonable prices and packages
and drinks/snacks) to customers and the atmosphere is friendly and
A nice opportunity to test your singing skills or a different way to
time with friends.
Tourism information office
Macau is doted with a very efficient tourist office, publishing an abundant litterature and maps. It also efficiently provide information about casinos, assist tours, sightseeing, restaurants and hotel reservations:
IN MACAU COMPLETE LISTING