Las Vegas has been a synonym for gambling in our minds for many years. Being the world’s premier gambling destination for more than half a century, Sin City boasts giant casinos, hotels, and all types of entertainment. However, these attractions aren’t limited solely to Las Vegas.
Over the past decade, the autonomous region of Macau in Asia has taken over the coveted top spot. This gambling hub has grown immensely and has surpassed its American counterpart in terms of profitability. Statistically, gambling revenue in Macau is over three times greater than in Vegas.
With that in mind, let’s compare these two gambling hotspots and help you decide which one to choose for your next gambling trip.
Number of Casinos
Both cities are home to world-renowned casinos and have unrivaled gambling scenes. According to Nevada Gaming Commission data, there are over 150 casinos in Las Vegas, 31 of which are on the Strip, generating nearly half of the state’s gambling revenue.
- The biggest LV casino is Wynn and Encore, featuring a 191,424-square-foot casino floor, 1800 slot machines, and 180 gaming tables.
- MGM Grand Resort and Casino offers a similar experience, with its 170,000-square-foot casino floor, 1700 slots, and 159 tables.
The smallest land-based gambling venue in LV is Slots-A-Fun Casino, with the lowest betting limits and the cheapest food and drinks in the state.
Macau has over 50 casinos on the island, and 33 of them are located in the city. There are six major operators:
- MGM China Holdings
- Sands China
- Wynn Macau
- Galaxy Entertainment Group
- Melco Crown Entertainment
- SJM Holdings
Brands like Wynn, MGM, and Venetian are present in both cities.
Gambling Culture and Popular Games
Of 42.9 million people who visit the Sin City every year, 69% end up gambling. Macau, on the other hand, attracts over 30 million visitors, 74% of whom gamble.
Las Vegas is known for its slots and a more entertainment-based culture, while Macau is built around serious gambling. Offering more than 160,000 slot machines, Sin City is an excellent choice for every electronic game enthusiast.
In comparison, Macau may have only 10,775 slots, but it is a perfect destination for sophisticated table-style gaming, particularly for high-rollers.
Furthermore, Macau has more beneficial tax laws. A jackpot won in Las Vegas is taxed at 25% – 30%, while in Macau, all gambling winnings are tax-free.
Beyond casinos, both cities are gourmet paradises, boasting delicious cuisine and restaurants run by some of the world’s top chefs.
Macau combines Chinese and Portuguese cuisine with numerous fine-dining restaurants and street food stalls. It is home to 18 Michelin-star restaurants, but it is best known for its street food, which includes:
- Egg tarts
- Minced pork dishes
- Pork chop buns
- Egg rolls
Additionally, restaurant prices in Macau are 34.17% lower than in Las Vegas.
The Sin City culinary scene evolved a lot throughout the years, and you can enjoy any type of food imaginable. Plenty of four- and five-star restaurants are dotted around the city, some run by world-class chefs, such as Gordon Ramsey’s Hell Kitchen or Thomas Keller’s Bouchon.
Also, hotels and casino resorts feature buffets with various delicious foods. The following buffets stand out with their exquisite offers:
- The Bacchanal buffet at Caesars
- The Drag Brunch buffet at Señor Frog’s Restaurant & Bar
- The Cosmopolitan’s Wicked Spoon
According to statistics from 2021, Las Vegas has over 350 hotels totaling around 150,000 rooms. This means there are plenty of options to suit every budget and preference. The most famous hotels on the Strip include:
- Caesars Palace
These huge resorts have casino floors, pools, shops, fine and casual dining restaurants, golf courses, and many other amenities.
Hotel-wise, Macau offers a lot of bang for your buck with 123 operating hotels and guest house establishments. You can find several 5-star hotels at reasonable prices or with seasonal price steals throughout the year. The following hotels are worth checking out:
- Venetian Macau
- Mandarin Oriental
- JW Marriott
- Sofitel Macau
Las Vegas truly lives up to its name as the world’s entertainment capital. It is the perfect spot for parties, and its nightlife scene is famous worldwide. Offering 24-hour entertainment, the Strip is a must-see, whether you are there to gamble or not.
Vegas’ daytime attractions cater to all types of visitors. For instance, you can enjoy Mandalay Bay Beach or, if you are into something more thrilling, ride the Apple Coaster or FlyOver Simulator. In terms of nightlife, there are plenty of bars, but you can also attend concerts and festivals. Plus, this city attracts big-name entertainers like Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Adele. And if you are more into nature and hiking, the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park are only a few hours’ drive away.
Unlike Sin City, Macau isn’t a place for partying, and alcohol is not served at casinos. Even smoking is only permitted in specific lounges. In LV, you can often see casinos with:
- Integrated bars
- Retail shops
- Wellness centers
- Entertainment spaces
This is not the case with casinos in Macau, where people come solely for gambling. The entertainment scene in Macau is more upscale, and cigar and wine bars are more common sights than nightclubs.
Demographics of Visitors and Income
Regarding demographics, one-fourth of Macau’s visitors are from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and two-thirds are from China. This is understandable since China has a population of around 1.4 billion people.
Conversely, 49% of Las Vegas tourists come from the US, while 19% come from Europe. Since many people go to Vegas for sightseeing and make occasional bets along the way, this gambling Mecca earns much less revenue from tourists than Macau — $28.94 billion GGR (gross gaming revenue) in Macau vs. $6.4 billion GGR on the Strip. Interestingly, of Las Vegas’ total GGR, only 34% is generated by casino games.
However, in 2022, Sin City beat Macau for the first time since 2006, earning $692 million in gaming revenue, while Macau generated $439 million.
Bottom Line — Which One is Better?
This is an ongoing debate, and there is no definite answer. Both cities have been in the gambling industry for decades and have their fair share of casinos. Ultimately, it all comes down to your preferences. Macau is your dream getaway if you prefer a relaxed, slow-paced city with higher-stakes gambling.
On the other hand, if you are all about entertainment, Las Vegas is the place to be. Aside from plenty of gambling options, this city is more crowded and touristy and offers something for everyone.
So, which one is your favorite?