What do Rihanna, David Beckham, and Leonardo DiCaprio have in common? They all visit Macau, of course. And for several consecutive years, this Asian gambling haven has outperformed Las Vegas in revenue. That’s no small feat for a small territory in Asia. Particularly when considering that Vegas is practically an institution. Nevermind the fact that according to <a href=”https://casinosites.me.uk/”>Casino Sites</a>, Macau only has about a third of the 130 active casinos in Vegas.
And just check out all the movies that revolve around the Sin City. From the suave Bond movie Casino Royale, the Sinatra slick flick Ocean’s 11, to well-loved classics like Casino, Vegas is an icon in American culture and the Hollywood film industry. With trendy clubs, fabulous hotels, and flashy headliners like Britney in 2017 and Mother Monster Lady Gaga set to dazzle under the limelight this year, how can Macau even compete?
So what is it about this Asian region? How in the world is this Vegas mini-me outshining its all-American counterpart? Is it just because Macau is newer in comparison to Las Vegas so more tourists are paying visits?
Let’s take a brief look at Macau’s history (trust me, it’s relevant), then we’ll dive right into answering those questions.
A Bit of Background on Macau
Macau started off as a leased Portuguese colony in 1557. (Yes, you read that correctly. The Portuguese government “rented” Macau from the business-savvy Chinese.) It served as a trading post for countries looking to do business with both China and Japan. Despite not being recognized by China as a Portuguese territory, it was named an official Portuguese province in 1951. Then, after a lot of diplomatic and not-so-diplomatic talks, it was eventually returned to China in 1999. The result is the Macau that Asian gamblers, famous celebs, and filmmakers know and love today: a semi-autonomous region that is laced with luxury and touched by Asian-European fusion.
Showdown: Macau vs. Vegas
Vegas is known as the entertainment hub of the West (cue the quick flashback to The Hangover). Who hasn’t heard of the Las Vegas strip? Bright neon lights, 24/7 boozing, and club hopping, and a wide range of eateries from cheap, fast food to ultra-exclusive, fine dining restaurants. The “City of Lights” has it all. It isn’t just a place for gamblers.
Macau, on the other hand, is an exciting mix of that small town vibe with its historic buildings and pricey restaurants. There’s a lot of variety in Macau though. People visit for gambling, but also for shopping, shows, and fine dining. Slot machines and blackjack tables are everywhere in Vegas, but in Macau, it’s primarily baccarat and the Chinese game, Sic Bo.
The reason behind why this little peninsula is making three times the revenue of Las Vegas has more to do with its various offerings to tourists. For starters, a lot of people going to Macau are Asians from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. If you’ve seen Crazy Rich Asians, the well-to-do Nick Youngs and Peik Lins aren’t just from Singapore. A lot of them hail from these countries as well. And since winnings are legally untaxed in the region, why wouldn’t they flock to this beautiful city to make more money, eat at Michelin-starred restaurants, and shop some fancy haute couture?
And there you have it: the main reasons why this Asian gem is sitting pretty as the reigning gambling capital of the world.