Macau is one of the hottest gambling spots in the world, with the game of baccarat serving as its major customer draw. The slot machine, by comparison, has always played a much smaller role in the area's gambling landscape. Indeed, slot machines have never been the region's star attraction. That trend may soon be changing, however, thanks in part to a large slot jackpot won on the Cotai Strip last November. The jackpot, a whopping $3.2 million USD, was claimed by an unnamed Hong Kong gambler and represents a turning tide in the former Portuguese colony: The growing popularity of the Macau slot machine.
Notable Slot Machine Jackpots
The mammoth $3 million jackpot was won on November 17th at the Sands Cotai Central, a resort not to be confused with the Chinese Sands and aptly located on the Cotai Strip. Nestled between the islands of Taipa and Coloane, the Sands Cotai Central is a luxury resort and casino that opened its doors to the public less than two years ago, in April of 2012. According to the Macau Post Daily, the $3 million booty was the largest slot jackpot ever to be won in the gambling Mecca of Macau.
Just one month earlier, a gambler from Thailand won a head-turning $2 million jackpot at the Venetian. These recent jackpots could represent a new trend in gambler activity. Over the month of October, in fact, the slot payout at the Sands, Venetian, Plaza, and Sands Cotai Central added up to an impressive $83 million.
The breathtaking jackpots didn't get their start in 2013, however; in February 2012, a Chinese player from the Heilongjiang province set the initial record by winning $2.7 million on a 5 Dragons slot machine at the Venetian. Indeed, Sands general manager Geoff Andres put it best at the beginning of 2012 when he said that Macau is the "best place" to hit a mega slot jackpot.
Slot Profits: A Drop in the Bucket
Prior to the magnificent Macau slot jackpots of 2013, slot intake accounted for only 4.1 percent of casino revenue in the Chinese gambling Mecca. This small percentage translates into $1.3 billion, a mere drop in the bucket when compared to the area's overall gambling revenue. Interestingly, the total number of slot machines in Macau actually slipped 10 percent this year due to the attrition of old machines and mandatory coding changes. Nevertheless, the popularity of slots in Macau has been predicted to increase.
More Slots On the Way
A new batch of approximately 10,000 machines is expected to be added to Macau's slot coterie in the next several years, according to professor Zeng Zhonglu of the Polytechnic Institute. When the attrition of old machinery is taken into consideration, Zhonglu expects to see the addition of approximately 5,700 new slot machines per year over the next four years. This increased availability will be a boon to slot gambling, according to Zhonglu, one of the major speakers at a recent gaming summit in Macau.
Zhonglu: Chinese Tourists Gravitating Toward Slots
Zhonglu maintains that the increase in slot availability, coupled with the fact that Macau's most recent slot regulations mandate a higher payout percentage, have prompted tourists to gravitate more readily toward the slots. While older machines paid out only about 70 percent of the time, new-regulation machines pay out 80 to 98 percent of the time. Even with the recent closing of five local slot parlors in the area, natives have been finding their way to the slots thanks to a new, free shuttle bus system sponsored by casino license holder SJM Holdings.
The Best Slots in Macau
In general, Macau has a reputation for loose, albeit sporadic, slot machines. Some casinos feature better slot opportunities than others. Here are some of the most popular slot play locations in the area:
- The Venetian Macau - This luxury resort, owned by Las Vegas Sands, is located on the Cotai Strip. Boasting over 3,000 slot machines, the Venetian has the highest saturation of slot machines in the region.
- The Sands Macau - The western-themed Sands Macau has its roots in the United States and, in true American fashion, offers its patrons close to 1,500 slots.
- MGM Grand Macau - This facility has around 1,000 slot machines. Like the Sands and Venetian, the MGM Grand is inspired by its cousins in the Western hemisphere. This casino's gambling fare is not quite as elaborate as some of Macau's larger gaming facilities.
- The City of Dreams - Located on the Cotai Strip, this property is managed by Melco Crown Entertainment and features over 1,500 slot machines.
For Those Who Can't Make it to China
Macau, a Chinese administrative region located near Hong Kong, is simply not accessible to people in many parts of the world. Thanks to ever-expanding digital technology, however, Macau slots simulations can now be played from the comfort of home in many locations (click here to play).
Free iPad/iPhone App
In July of 2013, the app Macau Slots Free by Silicone Sapphire was introduced for the iPad, iPad Mini, and iPhone 5. The app is downloadable in numerous languages including English, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese. Critics have made positive remarks about the app's huge payouts and beautiful graphics, although few thorough reviews have been offered yet.
Free Android App
A Google Play download simulating Macau slots is available for Android phones and tablets of version 2.2 and higher. The app is free and features Macau-like imagery and exciting graphics. A link to this download can be found at the region's Slot Machine HD Facebook page.
While the gambling mecca of Macau is traditionally associated with baccarat, slot machines have always had their special place in the area's casinos. Today, consumer choice seems to be leaning more toward slot machines than ever before in this booming city.