For many visitors, the casinos of Macau are sufticient entertainment in themselves. For other, however, there is a surprising variety of activities available; a lot of the sports and nightlife outlets are centred on the larger and newer hotels, but all it needs is a little effort, and some enthusiasm, for the longer-staying visitor to discover the multi-facetted attractions of Macau.
There are ten casinos in Macau, all operated under Government franchise by the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversies de Macau (STDM) and rules are standard in all gaming halls. All casinos are open 24 hours a day, except when storm signals indicate the approach of a typhoon.
Macau's casinos offer the largest variety of casino games anywhere in the world, combining both established western favourites with long popular eastern games of chance. Players can opt for such games as blackjack, baccarat, pai kao, roulette, boule, "big and small", fantan and pacapio, or choose from the array of slot machines (called "hungry tigers" by the Chinese) which are computer-linked for super jackpot pay-outs.
The largest casino is a three-storey complex of public and VIP rooms at Hotel Lisboa. Then there is the Macau Palace on a converted ferry moored in the Outer Harbour, the Jai Alai Casino close to the ferry terminal, the upmarket casinos in the Mandarin Oriental, Hyatt Regency, New Century, Pousada Marina Infante and Kingsway hotels, a smaller gaming hall in the Holiday Inn and the Kam Pek casino which is the only one to accept local money for all games. (Elsewhere Hong Kong dollars are needed.)
Pacapio, a version of keno (a kind of tombola), is played in the Lisboa, Jai Alai and in a hall behind the Sintra Hotel. Punters choose four to 25 numbers from one to 80, and winners are chosen bv computer.
Visitors to the casinos should read the sign at each entrance, urging players to hazard only what they can afford at the gaming tables. Winners are not obliged to tip, but croupiers will usually deduct about 10% of the winnings. There is no entry fee to the casinos, but admission is refused to foreigners under 18 years of age and 21 years for local residents. There is no dress code - it is informal, but highly professional.
There is betting, on and offcourse, at the Macau Jockey Club and dog-racing Canidrome.
The Macau Jockey Club is situated just across the bridge from Downtown Macau on the Taipa Island. It is one of the most technologically advanced racecourses in the Asia Region. Over 900 fine thoroughbreds are in training which are imported from various countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and France.
There are free shuttle buses taking racegoers from Hotel Lisboa and the pier to the racecourse on racedays. Visitors are comfortably accommodated in the airconditioned grandstand where Chinese and European cuisines are served.
Race meetings are held every weekend throughout the year, occasionally on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and also during major festivals such as the New Year, Chinese New Year, Easter, etc.
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