Galaxy Casino Opens In Asia’s Gambling Capital

May 20th, 2011 Poker

There are two things a casino gambler can’t stand, according to The Economist: losing a game, and less-than-spectacular décor. Not everyone can win, but Galaxy Macau, in what is widely known as Asia’s gambling capital, is more than taking care of the latter.

Developer Galaxy Entertainment, owned by a lucrative cement company in Hong Kong, says the casino boasts enough gold leaf to carpet 87 football pitches. The total investment was just under $2 billion, the Economist reported.

Macau is a popular destination for poker and casino games enthusiasts, largely because it’s the only place in China (it was given back to the People’s Republic by Portugal in 1999) that legally permits casinos. The gambling business was once controlled by tycoon Stanley Ho, but has evened out as Western competition crept in. Although Ho still has stakes in about half of the industry, big-name casinos have made their presence known: The Sands, the Wynn, and the Venetian, to name a few, each new one grander than the last.

The Galaxy is the obvious scene stealer, however, and if recent trends are any indication, the luxury race may stop there, at least for the time being. Although a satellite of The Sands is under way and four other companies have laid out even bigger plans, the Macau government, believed to be acting on Chinese pressure, recently imposed limits on the number of gambling tables the state can hold.

The initial cap of 5,500 has almost been reached; the Galaxy jacked the numbers up by some 450 tables. Under the law, the limit will be increased by up to 4% every year, divvied up between the major operators. This may render large developments like the Galaxy fewer and farther between.

The good news is that Macau’s popularity among poker players continues to hold–and may even be spurred on by other developments. Asian gamblers can now reach the poker hub in 47 minutes from Guangzhou, China, instead of the three hours it normally takes, thanks to a new high-speed train. Economist Aaron Fischer expects this alone will increase profits by 35%, even as fewer tables are being added.

If anything, developments like the Galaxy will further designate Asia as a poker and gambling hub to reckon with. Experts believe it may push mainland China to legalize gambling in some areas to cash in on the growing popularity, even (or especially) among Western poker enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a unique poker experience, splurge on an oriental treat–you just might play the game of a lifetime!

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