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.
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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.
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. Do you want to learn more about baccarat? check out our expert how-to guide.
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.
A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.
Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.
If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.
The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.
The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.
Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.
The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.
The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.