Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just like Vegas?

So, while we were in Macau we did partake in a little of that gambling that they are known to have there. This link on Macau is probably what we should have included when we first posted, but eh, those of you with the initiative would have looked it up anyway.

But, although we spent most of our time in Macau hiking up to lighthouses and convincing Tina to take shortcuts through junkyards (here I would have liked to have spent some time just perusing), we also decided that we should maybe at least wander into one of the casinos. It would be like a trip to Vegas where you walk the strip and take a tour of Hoover dam, but never set foot inside the Tropicana...

The first casino we walked into was an old Macau casino/hotel, and although we knew that it was going to be different then Las Vegas we wern't quite prepared for how different. You walk into an entrance that is like the entrance of a hotel in Des Moines, Iowa. Quiet, clean, maybe a little more elaborate then Iowa but not a casino. There's a little sign pointing to an escalator that simply reads "Casino -->". Two flights up and your at an entrance to a casino, we can see gambling tables inside, but you need to walk through a metal detector first. The guard stops us and asks to see our membership cards - huh? He points to a simple desk and tells us you just need to hand in your passports to become a member. Maybe it's us, but we don't carry our passports around, so we ask if all the casinos are like this - "Yes, every one. You need to be a member for all the casinos on the island."

Wow, that seems crazy, no way we people are going to carry around 5-6, maybe 12, different membership cards. We walked out in disbelief and decided to try the Wynn Casino. An American casino would do things like they do in America, right? Right?

Well, sort of. The casino is still hidden away in the back of the hotel, you need to check your bags in, or at least Tina did, I was OK to bring my camera bag in - so long as the camera stay inside of it, and the water bottle on the outside, no that had to be placed inside the bag. No drinking outside water. After that it's just a casino, except for the silence... anyone that has ever been to Vegas knows the noise associated with the slot machines, which are very few in Macau, are delegated to the back of the casino and without all the bells and whistles.

Then, for more fun, you walk up to a table and plop down a nice thick stack of Macau Patacas (approximately 7.8 MOP to 1 USD) and they tell you "Sorry, we don't accept the local currency. we only play with Hong Kong Dollars." This would be like Las Vegas only accepting Mexican Pesos. But, the change counters will change any currency for you (free of commission) and then you are finally free to be parted from your money in the same manner as you would gambling in the states...


Las Vegas said...

That just sounds like such a difficult experience to gamble in any Macau Casino. Now with the passport would they accept paper copies or do you need the physical passport. The Change counters must be a little annoying because of the money you are constantly exchanging. I would choose a Las Vegas Casino over a Macau casino using your experience as an example.

Mark said...

Actually it was only that first casino that we went to that required you to become a member, all of the other ones that we wandered into afterwards, both local and international, would let you in to gamble with nothing more then the security check.

The change counter isn't too annoying, as once you change to HKD you're fine. You can also use HKD in most places in Macau, albeit at a slight loss, and the ATMs dispense both HKD and MOP.