Casino Crawl and Meat Market
Macau Travel Blog› entry 3 of 82 › view all entries
We started outside the place where it all started (of course) ... at the old Lisboa Casino founded by Stanley Ho, the casino magnate from decades ago. The neon lights are still bright and but its grandeur has been outdone by the new Grand Lisboa opposite.
The more memorable visits are as follows:
- Lisboa Casino: The shopping arcade that's part of the classic casino is home to the most daring meat market I've ever seen. It is no accident that dozens of the most beautiful Chinese women strut up and down the arcade attired in sexy but classy numbers (not trashy). It was like a catwalk ... except for the odd attempt to converse with prospective customers and me. The security guards don't do anything about it ... probably no law against loitering?
- MGM Grand: Very good and varied crowd and band in the club/bar.
Strangely you don't see as many Macanese men here ... most of the girls have European boyfriends or partners ... this seems to be a worldwide trend ... first New Zealand then Macau huh? There'll be lots of European women feeling "left on the shelf" soon.
- Wynn's Casino: This was more nicely and privately laid out ... partitioned into separate gaming rooms rather than one big giant gambling barn as in the case of the others. At 9 pm one of the ceilings opens up to reveal a big LCD display ... and a golden tree of wealth pops out from the ground. Yes, money does grow on trees here.
- Grand Lisbon: Gentleman playing simultaneously on two tables! Some of you may know my people's penchant for gambling ... but apparently the industry wasn't that confident at all initially in Macau ... there were sleepness nights pondering over how to bring create interest to bring people here, eg. having the big guest entertainers like Celine Dion. Now they know ... all they had to do was open the door! I'd say the pole dancing corner in the gaming room is unnecessary.
Now, how about a casino that's not a casino? There's Mocha, a chain of automated gaming halls around Macau offering jackpot machines and computerised versions of table games. Some people hog their machine by jamming a guitar pick on the machine's button ... which is illegal of course (as Claudio explains). The irony is that Mocha offers these guitar picks as branded momentos ... I guess they're suggesting that you play a guitar and not jam it on their machine to improve their revenue. Yeah, right!
I arrived in Macau by ferry and took a free shuttle to a nearby casino where I met Claudio, my host for my brief nightstop. Claudio is a fellow Couchsurfer ... someone who hosts others and/or gets hosted through the www.couchsurfing.com website.
Claudio is from Portugal and has been in Macau for the last 18 months or so ... but has picked up Cantonese very well. Parts of the evening were particularly odd when taxi-drivers or waitresses talked to us in Cantonese and having the European (and not the Chinese) respond!
Despite only one short night, Claudio managed to give me a very good introduction to the new Macau ... in a way that no guidebook could! He took me on a casino-crawl (see separate entry) and dinner to a Portuguese restaurant called Dom Galo. Wow! Portuguese food sure is tasty.
A few snippets about the casino industry:
- Employees of the Macau government cannot patronise any casino in Macau. I guess it is like a responsible drug dealer making it a point not to sell to their own kids, right?
- There has been an explosion in the number of large casinos here ... the industry here is comparable to Vegas. I'm on holiday, go look up the stats yourself.
- Mainland Chinese are by far the largest clientele.
- The Macau SAR government collects huge taxes from the casino ... basically money flows from poor, middle-class and rich Mainlanders to the pockets of the Macau SAR government and the casino owners.
Excuse the poor quality of the camera-phone photos.