The fast ferry takes about an hour and soon we’d arrived at the ferry terminal in Taipa, the smaller of the two islands in Macau Special Administrative Region, and hopped on the free shuttle to the Venetian hotel on the Cotai Strip. At the moment the strip is essentially the Venetian and Four Seasons hotels; the rest is still a building site
Melissa told me that China had clamped down on providing permits for the Chinese to visit Macau, the only place in China where gambling is legal, owing to concerns about the amount of money pouring out of China and flooding into Macau’s, often American owned, casinos. Apparently gambling revenue in Macau has been growing at a rate of more than 20% per year and in 2006 overtook Las Vegas as the most profitable gambling centre in the world.
Wow!! Who’d have thought it.
The Venetian hotel is the spit of the one in Las Vegas. Macau’s quite freaky that way as whether you’re visiting the casinos or the old town you have to keep reminding yourself that you’re in China.
After a stroll around the ruins of Fortaleza do Monte we decided to check out the Wynn Casino. Along the way we walked down a street chocka-block with food stores and vendors offering tastings, such as this woman who was snipping off strips of some sort of cured pork with scissors and handing samples to passersby. We were wary of eating samples off the street at first, but took the plunge and were glad we did. It was soooo good!!
On the way to the Wynn we passed the Casino Lisboa, one of the most famous hotel casinos in Macau built in 1970 by Stanley Ho who held a government granted monopoly of the gambling industry in Macau for over 35years. The older Chinese casinos provide an interesting contrast to the newly opened western owned casinos. The chinese casinos were also packed unlike the Wynn, but that could have been because we were there on a Monday or because its probably costlier to gamble at the Wynn than across the street at the Lisboa.