Macau: The World’s Largest Gambling City
Macau (or Macao) is a former Portuguese colony located in eastern China. This province has belonged to China since 1999 but has a separate status – a bit like Hong Kong – since it is the only place in China where gambling and casinos are allowed.
It is a place that was colonized a second time by very ambitious businessmen like Sheldon Adelson, Stanley Ho, or Steve Wynn, who built giant complexes and casinos there. In total, 6 operators have launched casinos in the city: Sands Macau, Wynn Macau, MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, and Melco Crown Entertainment.
The Domination Of Stanley Ho, Then Of The Others
Stanley Ho is Macau’s main casino contributor. In 1962, Ho’s company, the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau, had a monopoly on casinos and created several. It was during these years that Ho made his fortune and became a billionaire.
This monopoly ended in 2002, which allowed other investors to take a closer interest in Macau. Adelson launched the Sands Macau in 2004, and in 2006, it was Steve Wynn’s turn to create the Wynn Macau.
In 2007, Adelson returned with one of the craziest casino projects to date, creating the Venetian Macau, which is one of the biggest casinos in the world and partly reproduces the city of Venice. Today Stanley Ho and his company have 16 casinos in Macau, and other giants like MGM Grand have also invested in this gaming Mecca.
Since 2004, it has been the largest gambling city globally in terms of revenue, greatly surpassing Las Vegas. Each year, the profits of this city are increasing and breaking previous records. Tourism is Macau’s strong point, attracting millions of tourists, mainly from China and Hong Kong. Some of the visitors are high-roller players who are willing to bet fortunes at the city’s casinos – these players have done a lot for Macau.
Macau has a total of 33 land casinos, and all forms of games are represented there. Baccarat is, without doubt, the most popular game for Chinese players. In 2012, Macau casino revenues were $ 38 billion. And each year is more lucrative than the last!
In 2013, the city’s casinos set a new revenue record with $ 45 billion in revenues. Decidedly this city seems unstoppable; casinos and high-stakes poker work wonderfully. It remains the best destination for casino operators; they make most of their turnover there. Among others, MGM has plans to build a new casino in the former Portuguese colony for more than $ 3 billion. Stanley Ho and Sheldon Adelson also plan to build other gaming establishments.
Yet 2014 will have been the year of upheavals for the city. In turn, we saw the poor working conditions of the city’s croupiers, particularly the croupiers in the VIP rooms, who are often mistreated. This was followed that year by demonstrations in an attempt to bend casino officials.
For its part, the Chinese government is increasing the repression on certain practices. It is trying to put an end to the impunity of certain actors in this city, particularly by limiting the abuse of money transfers. This affects a few months later on drop-in high-rollers. The consequences of government actions and problems related to city employees and competition from other growing jurisdictions lead to something unthinkable in the city: growth is no longer there. Observed from June 2014, it was confirmed and semi-explained in August 2014, then continued and led to the biggest drop in October. Yet the year had started well, with among other things a good month of May.
Even if the high-roller players are declining in attendance, the average players always bet more in Macau than elsewhere. The average minimum bet is 13 times higher than in Las Vegas. Casino owners remain confident. However, 2014 will mark the first year of growth decline in the gaming city, a 2.6% decline for $ 44.1 billion generated by casinos.