Macau is now the most popular destination for casino gaming even surpassing Las Vegas in attracting gamblers to its enormous, luxurious Las Vegas style casinos such as the Venetian Macau, Sands Macau, MGM Grand Macau and the Wynn Macau. However for those who have attempted to transplant the whole “Las Vegas experience” there has not been the same success as with the Las Vegas style casinos in the Asian market.
In Las Vegas gaming only brings in on average 40% of the city’s income. There are major ancillary attractions besides casinos to occupy players who wish to take a break from gambling. Shows are extremely popular in Las Vegas where the Cirque du Soleil has several shows running including “Love”, “Mystere”, “Ka” and “Viva Elvis”. There are also famous musicals such as the “Phantom of the Opera” and many well known singers such as Celine Dion, Elton John and Rod Stuart sign contracts to appear in certain casino entertainment venues for several years.These shows do not have the same success in Macau where gambling is the main attraction. Gambling is the main source of revenue for Macau’s economy which attracts players from all over Asia but in particular from China (See Article: Macau Casinos Resisting the World Economic Crisis”. There is a cultural difference between the gaming experience in Las Vegas and in Macau. In the former, entertainment such as shows is popular during a stay in the city whereas in Macau players come mainly to gamble and not so much for other entertainment.
The Cirque du Soleil with its spectacular and extremely expensive show “Zaia” has learnt of this cultural divide to its cost. The Cirque du Soleil had signed a ten year exclusive deal with the Venetian Macau to present its show there. However after only three and a half years, the Sands China group has ended the agreement and the show will no longer take place. It’s not just in Macau that shows come up against a cultural difference, two other Cirque du Soleil shows “Viva Elvis “and “Zed” were discontinued in Japan. The show “Zaia” had not been succeeding in filling the theatre more than just over half. It appears that gamblers in Macau were not inclined to spend extra money on a ticket for a show but on the other hand some shows which include the entry price in casino tourist packages seem to be the only ones to survive. In this way the spectacular “House of Dancing Water” show produced by an ex- Cirque du Soleil member has managed to attract a large audience.The attraction of slot machines, roulette, blackjack and other table games is proving stronger to Asian gamblers than the need to relax from gaming by attending a Las Vegas style show.