Macau is a mélange of 21-st century Las Vegas, new China and old Europe. Macau – the former Portuguese colony in southern China – is a small area with a population of only almost half a million. It has a big past and what appears to be, an unlimited future when it comes to tourism, ostentation, and gambling.
Macau draws on legions of global risk-takers. It already boasts of having gaming revenues four-times more than Las Vegas. This translates to billions of whatever currency you choose, be it the American dollar, Canadian loonie, Macanese patacas, or Chinese yuan.
While some cities debate the pros and cons of letting in even one casino complex, Macau has thrown its heart and soul into the gaming industry. With the wheels of fortune grinding non-stop.
Macau houses the Venetian – the world’s largest casino – that, similar to its predecessor in Nevada, seeks to re-create the kitschy version of Venice. The Venetian gambling area covers over 550,000 square feet, and is open 24-hours. On a busy day, it welcomes 120,000 visitors.
The city has a long gambling history. Tycoon, Stanley Ho dominated the landscape through the late 20th-century, with his original Lisboa casino. It is still standing across the street from the new Grand Lisboa, which can be seen for kilometres in every direction.
In 1999 China took over the reins making Macau similar to Hong Kong as a special administrative region. Since then the industry has expanded exponentially, with American investors arriving in 2004. Gambling continues to be popular and with gambling being illegal in mainland China, all that pent-up demand is channeled there.