A History of Gambling in Macau that You Never Heard About

A History of Gambling in Macau that You Never Heard About

Affectionately everyone simply calls Macau by the name Macau. This is however not the official name of the district. It was named Macau Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. You can understand why it is simply called Macau. As little as 170 years ago the Portuguese government legalised gambling in Macau, in an attempt to generate more revenue.

Today Macau has over 41 casinos that are booming and certainly creates a large portion of the revenue for China. But these 41 casinos didn’t just spring up from nowhere. The original gambling license was so expensive that to be able to cover the costs for the license, about 200 Fantan houses – gambling houses – had to split the cost.

Tai Heng and the STDM

It is only much later – in 1937 to be exact – that a second gambling license was granted to Tai Heng. However, this was a failed attempt as the region proved to be far too conservative to push the boundaries and get the monies worth from the licensing. It unfortunately folded and brought nothing to the economic growth of Macau.

In 1962 the STDM – Sociedade de Turismo e Diveroes de Macau – was formed by businessmen from both Macau and Hong Kong. They were then granted the monopoly rights to all forms of gambling. Here started the first real mayor breakthrough for the industry and it finally seemed that the ball was rolling.

They modernised the industry and brought into the eastern world of gambling many of the western forms of gambling. But beyond this they also modernised transport between Hong Kong and Macau, allowing millions of people easy access to come to Macau and spend their money at the new casino industry. After several license extensions, their licensing finally got denied by the end of 2001, Opening the door for modern casinos.

Modern Casinos in Macau

By 2002 a new company that was 80% still the STDM – however now called the SJM (Sociedade de Jogos de Macau) was granted the rights to open three modern casinos, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and The Galaxy Entertainment. This got extended to 6 casinos and by 2004 the famous Sands Macau was built near the Macau Ferry Terminal.

Of the 41 casinos currently in Macau, 16 of them are owned and operated by the STDM and they have certainly proved their economic value to the region and country.

Since 1999, when Macau was transferred to the People’s Republic of China, they have seen a large growth in their world of gambling and it has been on a steady upward climb. Skyrocketing the economy. What else would one expect from a place that is affectionately referred to as ‘Monte Carlo of the Orient’? It is estimated that about 50% of Macau’s revenue is driven by the gambling industry that sees thousands, if not millions of tourists every year.

Whether you are interested in the history of gambling or simply looking for an exceptional gambling experience, Macau is certainly the gambling venue to visit.