Learning from Las Vegas
How Macau turned a strip of reclaimed land into an economic powerhouse
Macau has a history of constant change. It was first controlled by the Qin then Ming Dynasties, then Portugal, saw an attempted takeover by the Dutch, and now is part of China in a special administrative capacity. The area saw scores of revolutions and wars, and somehow managed to keep its unique identity as a cultural crossroads. In the late 1840s, when the Portuguese decided to boost the region’s economy, gaming was introduced to Macau. This decision laid the groundwork for Macau’s most significant change–from colonial outpost to a major gaming and tourist destination.
In 2002 Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands, again changed Macau when he presented the local government with his vision for the region. He wanted to create a Las Vegas style strip in Macau, one that blended the regional flavors of the city with the glitz of Las Vegas-style gaming and entertainment. The Cotai Strip was born when the swampy area between the islands of Coloane and Taipa was reclaimed. Although Adleson’s vision for Cotai was modeled after the Vegas strip, Macau managed to eclipsed Las Vegas at every level. Today, Macau’s gaming industry is roughly 7 times larger than its American counterpart. While the two cities have a nearly identical population size, Macau’s total economy including MICE and tourism is worth over 46 Billion USD, the Las Vegas economy was about 11 billion. Macau has become an economic powerhouse that few could have imagined.
Watch the Cotai Strip’s incredible transformation below, or click here.
The Cotai Strip may appear similar to Las Vegas, with familiar marquis hotels like the Venetian and Parisian among others adorning its streets, Macau’s hotels are nothing short of epic. From shopping to gaming especially to its accommodations, Macau has no equal. The Sands® Cotai Central, the center point of the Cotai Strip, boasts an astounding 34,300 square meters (370,000 square feet) of gaming areas. Forbes magazine even called the area “Las Vegas on steroids.” As a point of reference, the largest casino in Las Vegas, The Venetian, has a gaming area of 11,000 m2 (120,000-square-foot).
With four hotels and an array of choices in dining, retail and entertainment options under one roof, Sands Cotai Central is considered a fully integrated resort city. Sands Cotai Central provides a level of affordable luxury and accessibility to Cotai that no one else in Macau can offer. Macau’s ultimate luxury duty-free shopping experience, joins Shoppes at Venetian and Shoppes at Four Seasons to offer over 650 stores to choose from – the most in any one single location in all of Macau. The Shoppes at Cotai Central caters to a broad spectrum of consumers –luxury-minded, savvy shoppers, or those just looking for a nice day out with friends and family.
Additionally, a new addition is the Sands Cotai Theatre. With 1,700 seats, this state of the art venue was built for the highly anticipated Monkey King, a show from the renowned Beijing Huayan Group. Eight years in the making, the stage show combines dance, acrobatics, drama, martial arts, magic, advanced 3D effects, LED screen projections, video mapping and full surround sound, together with creative lighting effects, choreography, music and spectacular costumes. With so much to do in addition to world-class gaming, it’s no wonder the Cotai Strip has eclipsed its US counterpart.