Macau makes 7 times as much money from gambling as Las Vegas does.
Macau is rich and is only getting richer with a GDP per capita of 81000 $, 3rd in the world after Luxembourg and Switzerland and an unemployment rate of 1.9%.
It got so rich thanks to gambling.
Macau is a former Portuguese colony and when its role as a trading port began to fall behind Hong Kong, the Portuguese government decided to legalize gambling in 1847 to give it an edge. It remained under Portuguese control until 1999 when it was formally handed over back to China as a Special Administrative Region, which means it has its own rules and economic freedoms.
Casinos are illegal in China, which is why Macau has become a hotspot with 38 casinos. But Macau’s unique situation extends far beyond only China: casino gambling is also illegal in nearby areas like Vietnam, Taiwan, and Japan.
Macau is located in the Pearl River Delta, 60 km from Hong Kong and has a population of 650 thousand people, making it the most densely populated administrative region of the world.
Now Macau is hoping to diversify its revenues beyond gaming by upping its entertainment offerings. Non-gaming in Macau accounts for just 12% of its total revenue, in Las Vegas, that’s 65%, which makes the city heavily reliant on the prosperity of people who actually gamble.
Written by: Michele di Fonzo