Speaking of gambling tourism, one of the most-visited cities worldwide is definitely Macau. But have you ever wondered how this gambling boom started? GBC Time has collected the most interesting facts about the history of Macau's establishment as one of the most popular gambling capitals.

Macau or Macao is probably a city with a special and unique history. It has incredible architecture and infrastructure. However, Macau became even more unpredictable and intriguing in the 1850s, when gambling was legalized officially.

Currently, gambling is the biggest revenue source of the city which allows the authority financially support all the industries. You may also know this gambling tourism center as the gambling capital of the world or “Monte Carlo of the East”.

Comparing two gambling leaders Las Vegas and Macau, the competition has been tough for both. In 2007, Macau even overtook the US gambling center in revenue.

How was gambling legalized in Macau?

In 1849, the Portuguese government decided to make gambling legal entertainment to attract tourism to the city. Eventually, at the end of 19 century, the local authority allowed the licensing of the fantan houses – Chinese gambling houses. This decision caused even higher income to the city funds coming from the casino operators as the rent bill.

Reforming moment of the industry in Macau

In 1962, the whole market was upside-down, which implied an absolutely new direction of business development. The local government decided to implement the monopoly-model system for all forms of gambling to Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM).

Thanks to this reform, the Macau market was filled with Western-style games. STDM totally modernized the industry and added brand-new gambling experiences to the customers. Moreover, in addition to the inside-market changes, syndicates improved the transport system between Hong Kong and Macau. Comfortable, convenient, and fast sea transport allowed to provide even higher tourism influx to the island.


In 1986, the monopoly license expired. But analyzing the whole success and achievements over all the years, the government renewed the deal with the syndicate until 2001.

A new history for Macau begins

A bit earlier, in 1999, Macau was transferred to the People’s Republic of China. Since that time, the popular city got the status of an administrative region of China. the local authority expected to face any changes with the new political system stepping on the island, however, the industry of gambling was untouched by the new government.

In 2002, Macau was officially out of the monopoly system, which caused the establishment of 3 casino concessions:

  1. Sociedade de Jogos de Macau;
  2. Wynn Resorts;
  3. Las Vegas Sands.

Later there were added more 3 concessions, which became the drivers of the successful financial situation in the city. Nowadays, STDM operates around 16 casinos that play a major part in the whole industry in the city.

For all these years, Macau still stays one of the most popular gambling tourism centers that welcome players from all over the world.

Today gambling tourists are ready to spend millions on spending ta weekend in one of the casinos in Macau. You can dive into the casino world of Macau by watching the video at the link.

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