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Macau is a short ferry ride from Hong Kong.

Macau Basics

The island of Macau is a former Portuguese colony that sits off the coast of China. Since independence in 1999, it’s been a Special Administrative Region (SAR), like Hong Kong, ever since and is under the control of the Mainland government.

It’s a densely populated strip of land where around half a million people pack into just 47 square miles. Most of the visitors, and many of the casino workers, come to Macau from the Mainland and Hong Kong.

Gambling has been legal on the island since 1850 and with gaming revenues around $33 billion in 2011, it’s likely to stay that way. Macau casinos are huge revenue producer for the Chinese government and no one is interested in upsetting the apple cart.


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