From a western point of view, we tend to think of the home of gambling as Las Vegas. Home to the strip and some of the most famous, not to mention luxurious casino resorts in the world, Las Vegas is synonymous with gambling in our minds, and one of the top destinations in the world for gambling tourism. People go to Vegas to enjoy the casinos, but as a result, a booming entertainment industry has sprung up in support of the audiences, as well as countless other sectors that support those travelling to and staying in Las Vegas.
But casting an eye to the wider world, Las Vegas is in fact not the only place to boast these attractions. In fact, it’s actually not even the biggest, in terms of the scale of the resorts on offer, or the number of tourists visiting each and every year. The autonomous region of Macau is Asia’s answer to Las Vegas, and it is proving an increasingly attractive draw for gamblers from far and wide.
So in a head to head contest between the two, which of these two incredible resorts tips the balance as the best place to go gambling? And are there other factors which should influence whether you choose one or the other for your next gambling trip?
Las Vegas is famous worldwide as a gambling resort, but it’s also one of the biggest entertainment draws in the whole of the US. In 2017, there were over 3.5 million visitors to the Nevada city, with some 83.8% of rooms in the city occupied on average throughout the year. Accounting for seasonal variations in tourist numbers, these are incredibly strong figures, and only go to show how popular Las Vegas is with its visitors.
Las Vegas is constantly depicted in films as the definitive place to go for gambling, and despite competition from other US casino resorts, Las Vegas remains far and away the favoured choice. Casinos like the Bellagio, the MGM Grand, Caesars Palace and more are instantly recognisable across the world. So too are the performances and artist’s residencies that make up much of the nightlife there.
So Las Vegas sets a high bar, both as a place to go gambling, and also generally as a visitor attraction such as a general holiday or even as part of a fun stag do.
Macau is a geographically small territory located in the shadow of mainland China, and the primary destination for gambling in Asia. While it’s not as frequently depicted as such in Hollywood, Macau is actually the world’s leading gambling centre by every measure, making Vegas look like chicken feed in comparison.
That’s not to criticise Vegas as a place to visit, or a place to gamble, and it still remains hugely popular. However, the sheer scale and size of Macau, which benefits significantly from heavy traffic from players in China and elsewhere in Asia, means it stands head and shoulders above anywhere else globally, as the world gambling capital.
With millions of Chinese gamblers flocking to Macau every year, and revenues in the order of $35 billion per annum from gambling activity, Macau has the cash to back it up. As a result, you can expect to find enormous casinos and crowds of gamblers, not to mention plenty of other attractions for during your stay.
In reality, it’s really difficult to pick between these two resorts, and any gambler would be in heaven in either of these cities. Naturally, Macau is bigger than Las Vegas, and attracts a significant number of gamblers, both from high population Asian countries, and from elsewhere around the world. While Vegas can also claim a truly international visitor base, simple geographics mean there is a slight disadvantage to Las Vegas in terms of the numbers it can hope to attract.
If you’re into gambling and you’re looking for a place to visit, there are other reasons that should influence your decision. Both these locations have some of the best casinos in the world, and you can expect to find everything you’re looking for and more, at least from a gambling and entertainment perspective. Vegas has a nightlife scene that probably tips the scales for some visitors, while Macau benefits from its historical ties to Europe, making it an intriguing historically European enclave on the doorstep of mainland China.
Both have their strengths – without declaring a winner, it looks like the only option is to visit both, and see for yourself!