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Macao and Singapore competing

150kms from Canton and 70kms south west of Hong Kong, is Macao. Before becoming part of the People's Republic of China, Macao was a Portuguese colony for 400 years. It is composed of the peninsula of Macao and two islands Taipa and Coloane. With a total area of 28.2 kmĀ², you can hear three languages spoken: Portuguese, Mandarin and Cantonese!

Large casino industry

macao singapore las vegasSince then and even under Portuguese administration, much of the economy of Macao is based on gambling revenue. With a casino industry representing 40% of the gross domestic product, the peninsula has dethroned Las Vegas as the largest casino industry. Macao is renowned for high-roller tourists spending large amounts of money on roulette, slot machines and blackjack. Despite all this it remains a less prestigious destination than Las Vegas.

The Venetian: the largest casino in the world

In Macao you can visit over 20 different casinos, such as the Bellagio. But the most impressive is the Venetian, which is a respectable replica of its American namesake.

Built by the American giant Las Vegas Sands, the Venetian Casino Macao is a miniature replica of Venice in Italy. With more than 850 table games and 4500 slot machines this giant casino was built for the modest sum of US$ 1.8 billion. But the Venetian Casino is also a resort. With 3000 suites, 350 shops and a stadium that can accommodate 15000 people, it is the largest hotel in Asia and the second largest hotel in the world.

Can Singapore compete?

Macao may have replaced the infamous Las Vegas, but should Macao be wary of Singapore? Indeed. With the opening of two new casinos last year, the small nation-state has already welcomed over US$2.8 billion. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the consulting company, these two casinos should generate US$5.5 billion in 2011, rising to US$8.3 billion by 2014!

Furthermore, these two casinos have allowed Singapore to significantly increase the number of tourists visiting the country by 20% in 2010. Half of these tourists come from Muslim countries where gambling is prohibited, such as Indonesia, India and Malaysia.