Macau Travel – A Night at the Casino

Macau, or “Asia’s Las Vegas” as it is sometimes referred to, has gone from zero to hero during the last decade, outrunning its Nevada counterpart in terms of both volume and range of games, and while the former Portuguese colony has much more than just gambling, a Macau travel plan is incomplete without visiting some of the cities famous casinos.

Casino Lisboa Macau

A proper “casinos safari” should obviously start from the “Lisboa”, Macau’s iconic gambling house, which for many years was the only casino in the city, and has made a name for itself for its rowdiness, smoke-chocked rooms and promiscuous cabaret shows… Things look more “civilized” nowadays, but the Lisboa certainly retains some of its colonial-days charm…

Grand Lisboa

The Grand Lisboa occupies a gleaming 250 m lotus-shaped skyscraper, right in front of the good-old Lisboa, and while it lacks the ambience of its ‘older brother’, it more than makes up for it with a decent range of games (including Texas hold ’em), a fabulous buffet restaurant, and the famous ‘Crazy Paris Show’… This is also where you can see ‘The Star of Stanley Ho’: The world’s largest cushion-shaped internally flawless D-color diamond.

Wynn Macau

Still around the corner of the Lisboa, Steve Wynn’s Wynn Macau occupies a modern glass-clad monolith, with 100,000 square feet of casino space, and other than gambling you can enjoy a lovely Italian dinner at ‘Ristorante il Teatro’ and watch the famous Wynn Performance Fountain.

Sands Macau

Further up Avenida de Amizade, the colossal gold glass-clad facade of Sands Macau can be seen from every corner around that area. This huge casino used to hold the title of the “world’s largest casino” until the Venetian opened up, in 2007, but although it is no longer “the biggest”, it is certainly one of Macau’s most impressive gambling halls. One of its restaurants, 888 Gourmet Place, features what is possibly the best Las Vegas style buffet in Macau.

City of dreams

Recently opened City of Dreams is the hottest thing in Macau nowadays, and while the colossal casino is not as big as the one at the neighboring Venetian, it is properly geared for mid-range gamblers, which might make it more popular among the average tourist. In terms of entertainment, you should see their ‘Vquarium’ (virtual aquarium) and the ‘Dragon’s Treasure Show’.

The Venetian

And finally… The world’s largest casino: The Venetian. Nestled within the spectacular Venetian Macao Resort, the Venetian casino boasts a gambling space of almost 600,000 square feet, with 3,400 slot machines and 800 gambling tables, spread across four themed gaming areas. While there, you should make a point to hang around the Venice-themed ‘Grand Canal shoppes’, one of Macau’s most extravagant shopping and dining complexes.

Casino Colors – To Be Enjoyed?

When designing a new gambling location, developers consider casino colors to be very important. One of the strong selling points for a “live” casino is atmosphere: the bright colors, the sounds and the buzz of people being entertained and challenged by their favorite games.

In the early days of Web casino development may of the site owners and operators were striving to recreate the atmosphere of the big-house gambling centers. Since online casino play takes place primarily at home, designers felt they needed to make the experience as much like a live experience as possible.

Only in the past few months have gambling-industry insiders started to rethink how they present their online sites. Some have even suggested taking a few of the “bells and whistles” away because these extras might distract the online player from the task at hand. For some in the business, this will be a difficult concept to grasp, much less to accept. Casinos have always been well-lit, colorful, fascinating, and even a bit noisy – all by design. Now, a handful of people are suggesting taking this in a new direction.

Much of the argument for making online casino sites a bit more conservative comes from those who style themselves as “serious” players who don’t need the color, lights and bells that a recreational gamer might desire. A couple of industry watchers have suggested a serious survey/research study to determine just what it is players want in their online gambling. Are rich colors and full-motion video the most important details, as opposed to challenging and potentially lucrative games?

For years the belief has been that the atmosphere mentioned earlier – lights, bells, conversation buzzing around us – is what brings players back. If this is true, then online sites would need to recreate this, literally making the computer screen look and sound like the inside of a live gambling hall. There is little doubt that the world of Web-based casinos has grown rapidly, exploding into a major industry in a matter of years. All of this has happened without the familiar surroundings, sights and sounds of those big rooms.

So what is it that has drawn millions of people to the world of online gambling? Is it just the thrill of blackjack, craps, slots and poker? We certainly haven’t enjoyed the camaraderie of other gamblers or the efficient service of a cocktail waitress. Even without these amenities, gamblers seem to be gravitating toward online play. A British study shows that while gambling overall decreased a few percentage points from 1999 to 2007, the number of players online actually increased.

Are players showing a strong desire to play slots, roulette, blackjack and other games at home, without having to deal with the travel and expense of going to a live casino? Is the economic downturn we’re experiencing reaching into the world of live gambling?

In the past, Web-casino designers and managers have had little choice but to provide the same atmosphere as a player would get in a “brick-and-mortar” casino. These designers and managers will still have to provide almost-perfect software and game variety to keep players coming back. But will they have to concentrate so much on casino colors, lighting, graphics and sounds as they did in the past?

Some in the industry say no. As the legendary songwriter Bob Dylan said, “The times, they are a-changin.”