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Macao – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
Asia’s answer to Las Vegas and the true Mecca of gambling, Macao was considered a Portuguese territory up to 1999, whereafter it became an autonomous state of China. Gambling legislation can be traced back all the way to 1847 though, giving the small island state a long and storied history with placing bets. Today the industry provides around 50% of Macao’s economy, which led to it being able to take the gambling revenue crown from Las Vegas back in 2007. While land-based operations are booming, the online sector remains in a state of uncertainty due to the lack of dedicated legislation.
There is currently no Macao legislation that outlines internet-based betting activities, meaning that the market remains an unregulated gray-zone. This means that local operations are unable to provide their services to players via the web, while there is nothing stopping overseas establishments from setting up shop. The negative aspect of this is the number of illegitimate sites that are able to set themselves up, without having to face any governing authority. As such, residents who still wish to play will need to take extra precautions before registering an account with a particular site. Asking yourself a few questions before signing up with a site is a good start to verifying how trustworthy an establishment is.
- Does the casino carry a strong license?
- What do 3rd parties say of the organization?
- Will you be able to play using Macanese Pataca?
- What payment methods are offered?
- Will you be eligible for any promotional offers?
Above are some example questions that you can ask yourself when thinking about signing up for an account. A lot of the answers to such questions can be found by reading our reviews and articles here at GoodLuckMate. Our unbiased writers are veterans of the industry, whose aim is to provide you with concise and up to date information that you can use to get the most out of your gaming experience.
While land-based gambling has been legal in Macao for almost 200 years, there is still currently no legislation for internet-based activities. While many may assume that a lack of law insinuates legality, this is not necessarily the case when taking the region’s legal culture into account. In Macao, regulations equate to legitimacy, which is important for the government to be able to recognize and grant consent to a particular activity or market. The implications are therefore that the operation of online casinos is illegal within the confines of the state, which is why you won’t see any local establishment offering up online platforms. Instead, overseas operations have filled the void left by a lack of regulations, allowing residents to still access many of their favorite games from the comfort of their homes.
Macao operates on the ‘one country two systems’ arrangement with China, just like Hong Kong. As China remains a highly restricted region for gambling, it has led to some online casinos being too intimidate to encroach on the territory. On the other hand, other sites have managed to entrench themselves into Macao, managing to become a part of the state’s booming gambling economy.
Due to the heavy restrictions imposed by China, sites have very little incentive for providing localization features for the people of Macao. Cantonese language options are available, but not common. Local events and targeted promotional material are also spread few and far between, with an exception made to the Chinese new year. This all means that you may have to reach some compromise between finding a good casino for you and managing expectations regarding localization.
Thankfully, you won’t need to stress about making such compromises when it comes to games. While the most popular games in The West primarily consist of Blackjack and Poker, games like Baccarat, Sic Bo and Pai Gow clearly see a lot more play in The East. The majority of casinos do their best to cater to all types of players, meaning that all of the above-mentioned games are commonplace online.
It is unfortunately highly unlikely to find a site that allows you to deposit using the Macanese Pataca. The small adoption rate of the currency and the unregulated nature of the state means that there is very little incentive for sites to set up the infrastructure to support it. US dollars and euros are the usual defaults players can choose from when their local currency is not available. You may also encounter this problem when looking for a site that supports a local deposit method, as their selections will usually consist of internationally available payment methods. Visa and MasterCard, as well as E-wallets, are all widely available and popular methods for players around the world. Cryptocurrencies have also become very fashionable on the scene recently, as more and more casinos have begun supporting the various alternative currencies.
What can we say about the casino traditional industry in Macao that hasn’t already been said? It is the world’s premier destination for gambling and looks to remain so for a long time to come. Prestigious venues like the Wynn Macau, Grand Lisboa and Venetian Macao are just a few noteworthy mentions that add up to make the life-blood of the state’s economy. It is therefore almost sad to see that the online sector is not able to flourish in the same manner. The influence of the Chinese government seems to play a big role in this situation, as it is currently set on a path of increased crackdowns on gambling activities. This combined with the lack of legislation from Macao itself seems to validate the suspicion that not much progress will be made for quite some time to come.