Every night eight casino boats leave the port of Hong Kong to head into international waters where their casinos open and players can gamble all night until the early hours. These casino boats are becoming more and more popular with gamblers who would have previously headed to Macau to visit its casino resorts but who for various reasons find it more attractive not to mention less expensive to gamble on a floating casino. In the first six months of this year, over half a million clients gambled on these casino boats which represents almost a 10 per cent increase in visitor numbers.
However it seems that Macau’s six casino resort operators are not too worried about the competition offered by these floating casinos. They tend to look on them as a different type of experience for players rather than as direct competition for Macau’s land based casinos.Macau has become the world’s leading gambling centre surpassing even Las Vegas. The only region in China where gambling is permitted, Macau’s casino revenue reached 38 billion dollars last year. The hotels in the land based casino resorts in Macau are almost always full so the operators tend to look on the casino boats as a way of relieving the pressure on their hotel rooms.
On the other hand since there is a huge difference in the price between Macau’s hotels where demand has pushed up prices so on average a room costs about 175 dollars for a night and the cost of a room on a floating casino which is around 50 dollars per night.Another reason why visitors from mainland China find the Hong Kong casino boats a good alternative to travelling to Macau to gamble is that a separate visa is not required to go on a casino boat. In addition some Chinese visitors believe that gambling on the casino boats is under less scrutiny than gambling in land based casinos in Macau. There are also advantages for the casino boat operators which include Success Universe and Genting Hong Kong. The floating casinos do not pay tax on their income whereas casinos in Macau are taxed at 39 per cent.