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Gambling in Macau

Many people assume that the gambling industry in Macau, a small island off the coast of China, is a recent development, due to its success over the past five years. Yet gambling on Macau actually has a long history, dating back over 150 years.

The History of Gambling in Macau

The gambling industry was first introduced to Macau in 1847 by Portuguese traders. At the time, the practice was still considered illegal, although certain games were allowed, so long as they were in keeping with Chinese traditions. Once the government recognized that the practice could actually bolster the economy, however, they opted to legalize gambling for revenue purposes. Shortly thereafter, hundreds of gambling licenses were doled out to early versions of the modern day casino, which began to spring up all over the island.

Gambling Control Changes Hands

For many years, casinos were required to pay a certain percentage of their earnings to the Chinese government as a kind of gambling tax. In the 1930s, the Tai Xing Corporation attempted to assume control of the entire gambling industry in Macau, and the government temporarily relinquished its oversight, but not for long--Tai Xing soon went over and control wen to STDM, another high-profile gambling company based in Hong Kong and Macau.

After STDM took control of the gambling business on the island, the industry began to grow even faster, bringing in more patrons and more money. STDM's investors also introduced Western casino games to the island's rapidly growing industry, which further enhanced its success as a tourist trade as well as a local attraction.

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