Macau – the Gambling Heaven in China’s Shadow
Okay, let’s take from above. If you’re a casino fan then you should know Macau already. This is Asia’s undisputed gaming capital, and one of the world’s most renowned casino resorts. In reality, there’s been a long-standing debate over whether Macau has managed to overtake Las Vegas itself, the traditional casino bastion. The autonomous Chinese region definitely has a case in terms of its sheer scale and income.
If you ever get the chance to visit Macau, you’ll find a fascinating place entirely devoted to gambling. It’s highly difficult-no, almost impossible! – To recognize only one casino as representing the entire island. The Venetian, the Parisian Macau, MGM, Grand Lisboa … Macau features some of the smallest casinos you’ll find anywhere. Unlike Las Vegas, the atmosphere is best viewed throughout.
Everyone has something, and things don’t look to be letting up. Growing competition from other resorts has led to talk of difficult years, but business seems to be picking up again, and new grandiose locations are opening doors. Macau remains the undisputed top casino destination in Asia, though cliched to everyone. Yet there are other venues that are seeking to topple Asia’s gambling overlords from their throne.
Singapore – Gambling Gems in The Tropical Paradise
Singapore doesn’t have too many casinos, relative to Macau. In the tropical paradise, it’s consistency over quantity though. When you want to enjoy a high-end casino holiday then the place to be is one of Singapore’s leading resorts. Gambling laws can be very peculiar in some cases, so should you ever get the chance to step through the doors of a Singapore casino, you should be able to show a legitimate identification card. While gambling is not prohibited in Singapore, the locals are expected to pay an additional ‘levy’ to enter a casino – ranging from $100 for one day to $2000 for the entire year. Of special interest, the revenues from this tax are primarily used for public works and charity
Marina Bay Sands is Singapore’s best-known Casino. It’s part of a $5.5 billion hotel resort and transforms the lavish into an average. It is situated near the beach as the name implies, and boasts more than 500 gaming tables and 1,600 slot machines. It kept the title of the most expensive standalone casino property when the casino opened back in 2010. The surrounding hotel complex is truly magnificent, overlooking the iconic SkyPark and its infinity pool, with 55 floors of rooms, a mall, multiple theaters and two ‘celebrity chef’ restaurants. Currently the entire property is managed by the Las Vegas Sands company, and you can expect the best that the entertainment experts have to bring.
As we talk about the Resorts World Sentosa Casino, luxury is the keyword too. Located under the Crockfords Tower Hotel on Sentosa Island, just south of the Singapore coast, it is considered one of the world’s most luxurious casinos. It runs a lucrative relationship with renowned developers of IGT slots, enabling you to play some of the most advanced – and enjoyable! – Providing slots. There are about 500 gaming tables apart from the blinking slots and all interests are well guarded. The casino’s overall interior is very impressive, too. A collaboration with Universal Studios means that the resort is decorated in a special way and has several attractions that hold the visitors entertained.
Philippines – the Thriving Competitor
The Philippines are one of Asia’s biggest tourist destinations, and offers some of the region’s best casino resorts very naturally. The booming gambling industry there has in reality transformed the city into one of Macau and Singapore’s main competitors for the best Asian gambling destination. Visitors typically go to the Philippines to enjoy the colorful scenery, the turquoise waters and the tropical beaches, but gambling fans will be rewarded with a rich collection of casinos that compares favorably with the top gambling destinations we’ve told you about in Europe.
The Resorts World Manila has been the top-rated casino in the Philippines for several years. Made in partnership with Malaysia’s popular casino operator Genting, this was the first integrated casino resort in the Philippines to open doors. It is conveniently situated just off Manila airport so it is usually the country’s first stop for tourists. It provides Las Vegas-like entertainment in a special environment, with over 300 live tables and 1,500 gaming machines. But, in 2017, when a terrible shooting took place, the normal air of the area was darkened. Because then Resorts World Manila has lost ground to its rivals, even though the security has been substantially tightened.
The Solaire Resort and Casino, located in the world-famous Entertainment City and offering a stunning look at the Manila Bay sunset, is the most popular gambling venue in the Philippines today. It could lag in sheer size behind the Resorts World but with an excellent poker room and ideal venue, it makes up for it. There’s also the vibrant resort City of Dreams, which strives to make all dreams come true. The resort is not far from the Solaire Casino and the World Bayshore Resorts, which means people staying in Entertainment City have quite a preference.
Malaysia – a Casino Hidden in the Mountains
The entertainment chain of the Resorts World runs across all of South East Asia – and it all started in Malaysia. With just thirty tables and a selection of what was then known as ‘one-armed robbers’ the Genting Casino opened back in the 1970s. The popular casino has steadily expanded since then, and now sprawls on 200,000 square feet and offers more than 400 tables and 3,000 gaming machines.
If you ever want to be a part of gambling culture then this is the place to be. The casino’s biggest advantage is that it’s situated 1,800 meters above sea level – in reality, the Resorts World was originally known as the Genting Highlands. It is an easy getaway from the Malaysian heat and situated just 35 kilometers from the capital Kuala Lumpur. It’s very easy to get there by car, but it’s a very scenic option to travel by a cable car with the Genting Skyway.
Another advantage of Genting casino is the fact that it is Malaysia’s only actual casino resort. It is very hard to get a gambling license in the country, so all casino fans who visit the country generally end up going to the popular Genting resort, where there are many other attractions on offer. Of course, you should bear in mind that there are some disadvantages too – as there is little competition in Malaysia, the staff doesn’t always seem to be on top of their game and the casino is somewhat trailing in terms of quality behind the Singapore Resorts World Sentosa. The special view does more than make up for that, however.
South Korea – the Foreigner’s Getaway
If you’re planning a trip to South Korea, you may be disappointed to hear that gambling for Koreans is strictly prohibited. South Korea is one of the few countries in the world that differentiates on this ban between locals and foreigners. This means that in South Korea there are casinos but they’re more popular with tourists. It might not be the best idea to ask the locals for directions, because it would probably make you look lost.
The best spot for a South Korean gaming enthusiast will be the Paradise Walker Hill Casino that’s hidden in Seoul. Now, expect nothing grand, like the palaces of Singapore and Macau. Since it is designed for visitors only, Paradise Walker Hill is considerably smaller than Behemoths Island, yet still boasts a rather diverse range of table games, including Baccarat, Black Jack, Roulette, Poker and Tai-Sai, as well as some modern ETG terminals.
Changes could well occur in the future, but their size is likely to remain more diminutive until the casinos are available to South Korean clients. At least for now, in the high-tech world, eSports and other types of sport betting seem to take on greater importance. However, others would probably find the more friendly environment in local casinos, where all the guests will be fellow travelers.
The Future of Asian Gambling – Vietnam and Japan
As you can see, Asia’s gambling map is rapidly shifting. Fewer than eight years ago, the Philippines did not boast resorts that could compete with Macau’s or Las Vegas’s grand casinos, though they now have no less than five, and new ones open doors. While legal restrictions still hamper this industry, there are definitely signs that things are a-changing, and some new exotic locations might soon give the gambling fan a good time.
Vietnam appears to be the next country poised to come under the spotlight to follow the likes of Macau, Singapore and the Philippines. There have been trial periods since the beginning of 2017 which allow gambling for a ‘economically eligible’ person. If Vietnamese markets were to open up to local citizens, then international investors would have a tremendous interest that would eventually contribute to the creation of casino resorts that would draw foreign players as well.
In Japan, which is renowned for its complex gambling laws, things seem to be moving slowly – as you well know, gaming prohibitions have contributed to the introduction of Pachinko machines in place of slots. It would seem that the country would eventually require the opening of casino resorts at some locations, but at the time of writing, the Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill is still under heavy scrutiny, so we’ll have to wait a few years before visiting a wacky Japanese casino.