Casinos and Gambing in Macau

Destinations — By on 30/04/2013 3:25 am

A Travel Guide to Macau's Casinos

With over 33 casinos and an annual gaming revenue of over US$40 billion, Macau has eclipsed Las Vegas as the world’s gambling mecca. The reason for Macau’s rise to prominence as the world’s casino capital is due to Chinese gamblers. Chinese love to gamble and they take their gambling very seriously. Gambling though is illegal in mainland China and Hong Kong but has been legal in Macau since 1848. Sitting on the border of China and right next door to Hong Kong, Macau is ideally located to cater to China’s hordes of willing and cashed up gamblers.

Macau receives over 28 million tourists every year and 16 million of these tourist come from Mainland China with another 7 million coming from Hong Kong. With a population of half a million, Macau is dominated by gambling which is the biggest industry and makes up 70% of government revenue.

When you travel to Macau you can enjoy the world’s most extravagant and glitzy casinos, bus loads of gambling obsessed tourists, hotels, restaurants and public transport subsidised by these tourists. To help you enjoy your time travelling in Macau, this guide outlines the locations of Macau’s main casinos and gives information on Macau’s top casinos.

Casino Locations
Like Hong Kong, Macau is made of up two main parts. There is the Macau Peninsula which borders on the Chinese city Zhuhai and there is Macau Island that consists of Taipa, Cotai and Coloane. Most of Macau’s casinos are on the waterfront on the southern side of Macau Peninsula and the newly reclaimed Cotai strip on Macau Island.

The location of all of Macau’s major casinos is marked on the map below.

View Casinos in Macau in a larger map


Macau Casino Guide
The following guide to Macau’s best casinos in terms of flamboyance, atmosphere and size.

City of Dreams
Basics – This is an enormous hotel and casino complex with three hotels (Hard Rock Hotel, Crown Towers Hotel and the Grand Hyatt), 550 gaming tables, 1500 slot machines and over 20 restaurants and bars. The atmosphere in the complex and on the gaming floors is relaxed, informal and boisterous with people clearly having fun.

The House of Dancing Water – As well as gambling, hotels and eating, the City of Dreams also has  a production called the House of Dancing Water that cost US$260 million and took five years to develop. It is based very loosely on the story of a young fisherman who is transported to a fantasy world where an evil queen plots to separate two lovers. The story is basically an excuse for an outrageous extravaganza that involves a diving pool holding 14 million liters of water (5 olympic swimming pools) dirt bikes, acrobatics, martial arts and much more.

Located – Cotai Strip

The Venetian
Basics – This hotel and casino complex is enormous and feels like a miniature city when you are in there. To give you an idea of the size, it is the 6th largest building in the world in terms of floor space and it is the world’s largest casino. It is so insanely large that there is a series of canals on the top floor used for gondola rides and they have painted the ceiling to look like a cloudy sky on a sunny day. An effect that is both impressive and creepy. The ground floor has art work on the ceiling very reminisce of the Sistine Chapel that adds to the formal feel of the hotel.

The Venetian has 800 gaming tables and over 3400 slot machines, 3000 rooms in the hotel complex and over 23 restaurants. The Venetian was opened in 2007 and was attended by the Manchester United Football club. It even has an entertainment area called the Football Fanatic Zone and a Manchester United merchandise shop.

Located – Cotai Strip

Hotel and Casino Lisboa
Basics – Built in 1970 the Casino Lisboa is one of Macau’s original and most famous casinos and walking around the casino you get the feeling that it is old and has better days. The casino has over 100 slot machines and over 140 gaming tables.

Prostitution – The casino floor is in a round area at the center of the building with shady and slightly worn tables and prostitutes (mostly from Mainland China) patrol the area outside the casino floor. This is the only casino in Macau where you can see gambling and prostitution so blatantly hand in hand.

Located – Southern end of Macau Peninsula

Hotel and Casino Grand Lisboa
Basics – Built in 2006 the Grand Lisboa is right next to the Lisboa and is Lisboa’s modern replacement. The Grand Lisboa is new, glitzy, has over 240 gaming tables and 750 slot machines and is housed in Macau’s tallest building that includes 430 hotel rooms. Very impressive but sterile, lacking in atmosphere and does not have the character of its aged predecessor.

Located – Southern end of Macau Peninsula

Wynn Macau
Basics – Opened in 2006, the Wynn Macau was the first Las Vegas style resort to be opened in Asia. It has 212 gaming tables, over 370 slot machines, 600 hotel rooms, five restaurants, two bars.

Shows – The Wynn Macau has two shows that make it stand out. There is the “Golden Tree of Prosperity” in the atrium where a giant gold tree rises out of the floor, and there is the Dragon of Fortune where a gold leaf covered animated dragon emerges every hour in a cloud of fog. With extravagant displays and a full line up of designer labels such as Gucci and Prada, the Wynn Macau attracts high rollers.

Located – Southern end of Macau Peninsula

The Sands Macau
Basics – Built and opened in 2004, the Sands Macau was the first gaming complex opened in Macau that was owned and operated by an international company, leading the way for the newer and larger international casinos such as The Venetian. The Sands Macau has 85 gaming tables, over 130 slot machines, a 289 room hotel and a huge chandelier holding almost 6000 light globes. The layout of the casino is very minimalist and the gaming area is in one big room.

Located – Southern end of Macau Peninsula near the ferry port

MGM Macau
Basics – This is 600 room casino resort with 345 gaming tables and over 1000 slot machines built in 2007. Popular with foreign tourists because the minimum bets are low and it is normally busy with a relaxed pleasant atmosphere.

Located – Southern end of Macau Peninsula

Tips for Travellers to Macau’s Casinos
Route – If you are in Macau for a day, see couple of casinos on the Macau Peninsula (ie Casino Lisboa and Grand Lisboa), enjoy the old town then catch a bus to the Cotai strip and see The Venetian and the City of Dreams

Time -One day is plenty to experience Macau's casinos and you can do a day trip from Hong Kong very easily by ferry

Nature of Gambling – Gambling is not meant be fun to Chinese who take it very seriously so don’t expect to see a lot of happy smiling faces on the gaming floors

Transport – There will be courtesy buses for all the major casinos running to both ferry terminals and the airport which are very convenient

pixel Casinos and Gambing in Macau
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