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How Macau beat Vegas in top gambling destination


The decent casino halls in Macau are often filled with millions of visitors from all over the world, flipping cards, rolling dice and trying their luck on roulette. From the 1850’s when gambling was legalised in Macau, no one could have dreamt of the place being the leading casino spot in the world. The puzzling question is, ‘How on earth did Macau beat the legendary Vegas?’. CasinoSites offer a engrossing explanation by letting the numbers talk for themselves. With a revenue of more than and 4 trillion yuan and millions of visitors yearly, it was just about time before they took over the industry. Macau, the little piece of land accessible via ferry from Hong Kong, under the rule of China is causing mayhem in the US.

Vegas: Past and Current Situation

Nevada legalised gambling in the year 1931 but it was only until the late 1940’s when gambling facilities were established in the region. 1960, saw the establishment of more casinos when gamblers had to migrate from Cuba which had become unsafe. 1975, is when the booming gambling industry skyrocketed, when Vegas recorded revenue of more than a billion dollars. Investors and developers were already concentrated on turning Las Vegas into a dream destination for tourists, fully equipped with shopping malls, jaw-dropping casinos, state of the art hotels that could compete with the well-established cities like New York and London.

The gambling scene in Macau is more of a quiet experience

The growth rate in Vegas came to a standstill during the recession period. The revenue rates went in a downhill frenzy, and it is only now that the casinos are recovering. Vegas is slowly but steadily picking up in sales and generating more revenue, re-establishing its position among the gambling destination spots. Today, there are over 75 casinos, world class hotels, epic pool parties and mind-blowing stage shows. The main visitors in Vegas are Asians and Americans, however, Mike Zanoli, former casino manager, states that they preferred Asian gamblers who spend more money and time in casinos. This has been proved true over the years with big Asian spenders cashing out upto $50,000 on a single bet.

Macau: Then and Now

In comparison to Vegas, Macau hasn’t received as much press and attention. Almost all gambling movies are based in Las Vegas. It was only a recently when the Hangover 3 was acted in Macau.

All the same, Macau has brought in great numbers to the Chinese. A huge percentage – up to 50% – of the revenue generated comes from their gambling spending.

Macau, ever since the legalisation of gambling, has leaped great milestones to establish its position ahead of the game. In 2002 legal casinos appeared together with several other businesses such as top restaurants, shopping malls and hotels. In the year 2013, Macau had more tourists than the UK and Italy combined. In 2014, the island had over one million Chinese tourists and reported a total of 30 million international tourists.

Nevada legalised gambling in the year 1931 but it was only until the late 1940’s when gambling facilities were established in the region

However, just as Macau is growing the casinos are faced with serious problems. The same shady practices seen in Vegas casinos are propping up in China. Since gamblers are not allowed to take out cash of more than $3,300 on the spot, a huge percentage of them are smuggling in big bets.

The worst part is that casinos do not give away lines of credit like they do in Vegas. Due to all this black markets have emerged with casino workers at the forefront of supplying the gamblers with fake credit cards, stolen jewelry and wiring money from Hong Kong. The government is trying to control this by requiring more transparency from the gambling sites, a provision of a detailed list of all the player’s wins and losses.

So, What’s the Difference?

Both Las Vegas and Macau are quite similar, with shady practices, state of the art entertainment spots, and luxurious casinos. So, where are the differences?

Shannon Troy who is the US Media Manager of the Macau Government Tourist Office, says that Macau is more reserved when compared to Vegas. In the Nevada desert there is more consumption of alcohol, a higher embracement of nudity and strip joints, while Macau is not over the top crazy; the overall difference is that Vegas is louder. If that doesn’t make any sense, look at how many bachelor/bachelorette parties are held in Las Vegas.

The gambling scene in Macau is more of a quiet experience. Gamblers are more serious, you will find tea being served in the casinos rather than alcohol as in Vegas, decent clothed women serve bottled water to visitors randomly. As a result of the increasing health concerns, Macau banned smoking within the casinos. Macau is also viewed as more of a shopping and relaxing place for serious gambling as Las Vegas has established in parts its name as a party destination.

Las Vegas is fully equipped with shopping malls, jaw-dropping casinos and state of the art hotels

How Does Macau Beat Vegas?

Vegas still controls the numbers, largest size and publicity within the casino sites industry. It on average has 42 million visitors annually while Macau settles at around 30 million. The restaurant prices in Macau are 34% lower than in Vegas, but the opposite is seen in the rent rates where Macau has an 8% higher rent rate compared to Vegas. The average cost of living in Macau is half that of Vegas standing at $770 per person per week.

Could this be one of the reasons why Macau beats Vegas at its own game? To add on to this Macau generates more revenue compared to Vegas. Macau reports $28 billion which is three times the reported $6.04 billion by Vegas. Vegas is fighting back hard with plans to improve the overall tourist experience by additional activities rather than just gambling. Expect more from Vegas in the near future.