Macau is the gambling mecca of China, a nation that loves to bet. Unlike the mainland, gambling is legal here, with the result that it has developed into a huge tourist industry that dominates the Macanese economy. It’s been calculated that the gambling sector in Macau in 2014 was five times larger than that of Las Vegas!
Again unlike the mainland, prostitution has also been decriminalised and drugs are said to be readily available. Unsurprisingly these rackets have attracted the interest of the Triads and other criminal gangs. This combination of ingredients have made Macau the primary place on the planet for spending money on pleasure. It’s a den of iniquity if ever there ever was one but it’s a fascinating place to observe from the outside.
All of the places mentioned in these posts are on my Google map, here.
The oldest casino is The Grand Lisboa which was built in the 60s (brief video here).
The casino’s gaudy hotel (built in the 70s) dominates the skyline and you can see it wherever you go in the centre of town.
The building is supremely ugly but the lights are quite fun to watch at night. Video here.
The huge foyer is a supreme example of bad taste.
As it’s a casino, they don’t like you taking photos inside. I was told to stop after taking this one.
The Grand Lisboa is out of date now as huge sums have been ploughed into building new casinos in a dedicated zone of reclaimed land outside the main urban area known as the Cotai Strip .
Probably the most famous casino is The Venetian which is the world’s biggest with a gaming floor that covers 546,000 square feet.
Just over the road is The Parisian which even has a replica of the Eiffel Tower standing outside it.
On the way back from eating at Fernando’s (see later post) my driver stopped so I could watch the world-famous fountain show at the Wynn Palace which was truly a bizarre experience.
The spectacular roaring fountains erupt with the force and noise of a firework display. All the while cable cars pass over and through the fountains to the sound of music. When I was there a very loud recording of the Artful Dodger singing ‘Consider Yourself At Home’ was blasting out over the speakers. Seeing and hearing is believing; watch my video here.
Back in town, there are plenty of new buildings but none of them are particularly attractive.
Most people seem to live in apartment blocks of varying sizes, I didn’t see any individual houses.
My driver told me that real estate in Macau has increased so much in value that ordinary local people can no longer afford to buy their own property which is a sad state of affairs.
On to the food next!