While gambling has been legal in Macau since the 1850s, it wasn’t until the late 1960s that gambling really took off in Macau. Hong Kong and Macau businessmen built the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM) and introduced Western-style games and modernised the transportation methods between Macau and mainland China, allowing more players to visit the budding entertainment hub.
Macau has been dubbed the “Monte Carlo of the Orient”, with gambling accounting for nearly 50% of its economy. Gambling revenues in Macau have actually continued to exceed those of Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and other great gambling hubs, all thanks to casino chains from Las Vegas establishing themselves in Macau.
There are 33 casinos in Macau, with the biggest being the Venetian Macau, but even with large casino firms operating outside of the city, Macau took to gambling trends slowly. Poker was only introduced to the city in August of 2007, with the first Asian Poker Tour Macau event being held in November of the same year. Since then, various corporations have established their own poker brands in the city.
Macau also has facilities for horse racing and dog racing, but most tourists come to the city to experience their casinos. It seems all gambles made during the early stages of Macau’s bid for casino prowess have paid off, as even though revenues from the city have started to decline, they still amount to more than Las Vegas or any other casino city in the world. In the height of its success, Macau’s gambling taxes even made up 70% of the government’s income.
What’s most admirable about Macau, however, is that they have enforced strict rules on their casinos and tourists. After organised crime families attempted to infiltrate and take over the gambling scene of the city, local governments sought to establish specific rules to protect both businesses and patrons. Today, Macau’s gambling industry is one of the most organised in the world, with millions flocking in from both the East and the West to experience the one-of-a-kind thrills offered by this great city.