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Macau gamblers are warming up to slot machines
Macau has been the gambling capital of the world for several years now, taking the title from Las Vegas and becoming the destination of choice for a lot of players. The regulations in Macau tend to restrict the action a bit as operators don’t have the same freedom they would get in Nevada but the incredible growth rate of the Chinese city is absolutely amazing, setting a new casino revenue record in October.
Most of the action comes from the tables and baccarat is one of the main attractions for high rollers in Macau. However, due to the table limit imposed for every casino, operators can’t really offer as many tables as they wish and so they also try to promote other games. Slots are the go-to choice since their popularity in the US and in other parts of the world is impressive to say the least.
Slot machines can represent around 70 percent of the income recorded by an average casino in the United States and there are huge rooms filled with one-armed bandits that promise the potential for a big win with every spin.
Record slots jackpots in Macau
Now, after years of not being paid attention, slots are finally becoming popular in Macau and given the number of players in the city, the progressive jackpots are the best way to show this. The Sands Cotai Central recently set a new record of HKD 24.6 million, or US$3.2 million, when a slots jockey from Hong Kong got the winning combination of symbols to land him the biggest slots jackpot ever awarded in Macau. Two months ago, another lucky player won HKD 15.9 million at the Venetian casino, owned by Las Vegas Sands. The casino operator has also mentioned that at least 66 other players have won jackpots of at least HKD 1 million, or US$130,000, while playing slots over the last month. SJM Holdings also has a highlight during October, setting a new personal record of HKD 5.8 million for slots.
In the first nine months of gambling in Macau, slots only represented 4.1 percent of the revenue. While this is quite low, given the huge market, the slice of the pie that represented slot machines was still worth around $1.3 billion. This was actually a 13% increase from last year’s Q3, despite slots traffic dropping 10%.
The regulations in Macau only allow slots to be placed in casinos and are banned from any residential areas. However, more machines are expected to become available on the casino floors over the next several years due to the increase in demand for the game. According to the Macau Polytechnic Institute, an average of 5,700 new slots machines will be added throughout the next four years as new casinos get built in Macau with large rooms destined just for slots.
Changes to the laws require slots to pay out 80-98% of the money going in, representing a huge increase from the 70% of the older machines. This will help tourists warm up to the game and should generate some life-changing jackpots.
Slots video from the 2013 Macao Gaming Show: