Macau Tries To Position itself as an Entertainment Town

Posted on August 22nd, 2010

We’ve always been interested in what’s going on in The South China Sea and in Macau in particular. The Chinese gambling enclave (which is now the world’s biggest by betting numbers in any case), is trying to follow in the footsteps of Vegas and position itself as an Entertainment town.

Will this work? Well, we’re not sure. Generally punters stay longer in Vegas (on average 4 days) and Macau attracts the people who would rather spend their time at the tables. But a spate of developments might just help.

A new aquatic acrobatics show at the City of Dreams casino where you can watch a heady mix of gymnastics, martial arts, dance, swordplay and stunts could be the start of a journey for the former Portuguese enclave into a town with a wider appeal, to families AND gamblers.

Macau has big ambitions, to overtake Las Vegas on entertainment revenues as well as gambling revenues (they have already achieved the latter, so you wouldn’t put it past them). They don’t want to be the Chinese One trick pony.

And of course Singapore is already snapping at their heels with the launch of the new Marina Bay Sands casino. The City State has long been known for its family appeal with Sentosa Island and other theme parks. Macau may just have to up its game. In the new mega show in Macau, one of the  many stunts in the “House of Dancing Water” , has dancers diving from the top of a purpose-built arena into pools holding 14 million litres of water, enough to fill 5 Olympic swimming pools
Previously, Macau has struggled to attract people to its shows. Last year, Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson moaned that ticket sales for the Cirque de Soleil show ZAIA at The Macao Venetian were slow.

But most Macau watchers believe that it is just a matter of time. As more and more companies get in on the act, and there is more to see, the overall appeal of the city as an entertainment hub will grow. Entertainment Macau wasn’t built in a day, commented one wag.

The ritzy Ponte 16 resort — part-owned by casino tycoon Stanley Ho — has shelled about US$1 million for Michael Jackson memorabilia at auctions across the world in the past year.

The casino paid US$350,000 for Jackson’s left-handed glove, worn when he dance his first “moonwalk” in 1983, as the linchpin of a gallery dedicated to the late Whacko Jacko.
And Hugh Heffner has revealed plans to erect a Playboy Mansion in Macau: the naked truth is that more and more attractions are starting to come.

Asia’s gambling market could overtake the whole of America’s in 3 years, according to casino watchers. So we think Macau is accelerating its way into reinventing itself as an entertainment hub and a casino mecca.

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