Las Vegas East: Gambling in Macau

March 27th, 2009 - 2:56pm PST

For years, Macau was known as the "Monte Carlo of the Orient," perhaps because the classic European game of Baccarat has been the most popular table game there for as long as anyone can remember. Most closely associated with the French Riviera and Monte Carlo, in particular, Baccarat is even better known in the States as the preferred card game of James Bond.

macau is the spot for the die hard slot machine players in asiaBut Macau is much more than that. With casinos, horse racing, and greyhound racing, it has been a Mecca for tourists from Hong Kong and elsewhere for decades. And while the traditional table games of Macau still enjoy considerable popularity (they represent almost a quarter of the country's GDP,) Macau's twenty-eight casinos are looking more and more like Las Vegas every day. Not to slight Atlantic city, but development in Macau, by the likes of Wynn Resorts, MGM Mirage, and the Las Vegas Sands, is taking on an atmosphere that is distinctly reminiscent of the bright lights of the Vegas strip.

Evidence the arrival of more than 5000 slot machines in a city which, before 1970, relied primarily on the traditional Chinese game of Fan-Tan.

But now, gambling in Macau would seem to have it all. With the introduction of Texas Holdem' as a government sanctioned table game in 2008, Macau is now an official stop on the Southeast Asia Poker Tour, and gaining in popularity among Poker officiandos.

However, for the real deal, and emblematic of Macau today as well as the Macau of tomorrow, one need only venture into the Venitian Macau, a Renaissance themed luxury hotel and casino resort owned by the Las Vegas Sands corporation. The Venetian is the 40-story, $2.4 billion Flagship for the 7 resort hotels which are under construction on the Cotai Strip in Macau. The 10,500,000-square-foot Venetian Macao, with its 3400 slot machines, is modeled after its sister casino resort, The Venetian in Las Vegas. A behemoth of singular proportions, it is the largest single-structure hotel building in Asia.

Open since August, 2007, the resort boasts a staggering 3000 suites, and offers over 1 million square feet of convention space. Add to this another million-plus square feet of retail space, and a paultry 550,000 square feet of casino space, with over 800 gambling tables, and you've got the largest casino in the world, by any measure.

Oh, and don't forget all those slot machines that you can happily play on your way to the 15,000 seat arena for entertainment/sports events. Happy Gambling.