Gambling in Macau


Gambling in Macau has been legal since the 1850s when the Portuguese
government legalised the activity in the colony. Since then, Macau has
become known worldwide as the "Monte Carlo of the Orient".
Gambling tourism is Macau's biggest source of revenue, making up about
50% of the economy. Visitors are made up largely of Chinese nationals
from the mainland and Hong Kong. With the entry of large foreign
casinos from Las Vegas and Australia, Macau overtook the Las Vegas
Strip in gaming revenues in 2007.
Until Western-style casino games were introduced in the 20th century,
only Chinese games were played, the most popular being Fan-Tan.
Generally, gambling in Macau can be divided into three different
categories: casino games, horse racing and greyhound racing. There is
also sports betting and a number of lotteries. At the present time,
Macau does not license online gaming operations.
Contents [hide]
1 History
2 Economic aspects
3 Gambling forms
3.1 Gaming policy
3.2 Casinos
3.3 Horse racing
3.4 Greyhound Racing
3.5 Gambling and society
4 See also
5 References

In an attempt to generate revenues for the government, gambling in
Macau was legalised in 1847. In the late 19th century, the government
introduced a licensing system for the fantan houses (Chinese gambling
houses). It is reported that over 200 gambling houses were required to
pay gambling rent to the government.[1] The second casino monopoly
concession was granted to the Tai Heng[2] Company in 1937.[3] The
company was, however, too conservative to fully exploit the economic
potential of gambling. The industry saw a major breakthrough in 1962
when the government granted the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de
Macau (STDM), a syndicate jointly formed by Hong Kong and Macau
businessmen, the monopoly rights to all forms of gambling. The STDM
introduced western-style games and modernised the marine transport
between Macau and Hong Kong, bringing millions of gamblers from Hong
Kong every year.[1] The license was extended in 1986 for another 15
years but expired at the end of 2001.
Macau was transferred to the People's Republic of China in 1999 and
became a special administrative region of China. During this
transition, there were no changes to gambling policy in Macau.[4]
In 2002, the Macau government ended the monopoly system and 3 (later
6) casino operating concessions (and subconcessions) are granted to
Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM, an 80% owned subsidiary of STDM),
Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Galaxy Entertainment Group, the
partnership of MGM Mirage and Pansy Ho Chiu-king, and the partnership
of Melco and PBL. Today, there are 16 casinos operated by the STDM,
and they are still crucial in the casino industry in Macau, but in
2004, the opening of the Sands Macau ushered in the new era.
[edit]Economic aspects

The so-called "Monte Carlo of the Orient," Macau's economy relies
heavily on gambling. Nowadays, the gambling industry generates over
40% of the GDP of Macau. Since the early 1960s, around 50% of Macau's
official revenue has been driven by gambling. The percentage remained
steady until the late 1990s. In 1998, 44.5% of total government
revenue was produced by the direct tax on gambling. Then there was a
9.1% decrease in 1999, probably due to internet gaming. After the
handover of the Macau from Portugal to China, the SAR released
gambling licenses to other companies in order to eliminate the
monopoly played by the STDM. In 2002, the government signed concession
contracts with two Macau gaming companies, Wynn Resort Ltd. and Galaxy
Casino. This opened the gambling market for competition and increased
government tax revenue significantly. It also attracted more tourists
to Macau. At this moment, according to official statistics, gambling
taxes form 70% of Macau's government income.[5]
The main casino operators in Macau are SJM Holdings, Galaxy
Entertainment and Sands China with respective revenues of 9.7, 4.8 and
4.2 billion in 2011.[6]
However, the gambling industry is also a source of instability in the
Macau economy, as the nature of gambling business is not susceptible
to technological advancement or productivity growth. The gambling
business is still dependent on the prosperity of other Asian
economies, especially that of Hong Kong.
[edit]Gambling forms

[edit]Gaming policy
Detailed law is enforced in Macau to ensure "qualified operation of
gambling" in Macau. The details are listed in Law 16/2001 (regime
jurídico da exploração de jogos de fortuna ou azar em casino), and
other laws regulating the activity of gaming promoters and credit for
The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (known as DICJ) is the
main government unit that oversees the operation of different gaming
Under Macau law, it stated that a permit issued by the Gaming
Inspection and Coordination Bureau is required for the operation of
lotteries sales, lucky draw or similar activities, and the initial
procedure in the application on the operation of lotteries sales,
lucky draw or similar activities is to submit a notification to the
relevant government department 10 days prior to the application.
Macau has 33 casinos, of which the biggest is The Venetian Macau. 23
casinos are located on the Macau Peninsula and 10 casinos on Taipa
Island. They all operate under a government franchise and under a
common set of rules.
Many forms of gambling are legal there, such as blackjack, baccarat,
roulette, boule, Sic bo, Fan Tan, keno and slot machines.
Poker was introduced only in August 2007, in an electronic table
format at Galaxy Starworld casino. The first live poker tournament was
the Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau event in November 2007. Shortly
thereafter, in January 2008, the government of Macau published the
official rules for Texas hold 'em poker games in Macau. In February
2008, Grand Lisboa Casino added the first live-dealer cash game tables
in Macau. In May 2008, 'PokerStars Macau' opened at Grand Waldo
Casino. In November 2008, Texas Holdem' Poker opened at Wynn Macau and
the "Learn to Play" table is available. 'PokerStars Macau' moved to a
new location at the Grand Lisboa Casino in March 2009. Today, Wynn
Macau, StarWorld, and the Venetian offer live-dealer cash game poker
tables. Poker once was but is no longer offered at Grand Lisboa and
Hard Rock.[7]
Gambling has been legal in Macau for a long time beginning in 1851
where there was a licensing system for gambling houses until 1863.
Beginning in 1934, casinos' ownership and operation was centralised
where through private negotiations, some franchises monopolised the
operation right of all casinos. The casino industry has been
controlled by the STDM monopoly for 39 years but, this changed in 2001
when casino licenses were offered to other casino operators, including
American companies such as Las Vegas Sands (Sheldon Adelson) and Wynn
Resorts (Steve Wynn) and then later on 18 May 2004, the Sands Macau
casino opened near the Macau Ferry Terminal.

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