lthough Macau is one of the world's premier gambling destinations, its newest hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Macau, does not have a casino. Jonas A. Schuermann, general manager of the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, commented: "You're going completely the other way to differentiate yourself."
Potential guests might include families, couples where one person likes to gamble but the other does not, and even celebrities looking for a peaceful place away from the crowds. Many hotel-casinos are built so that guests must walk through or past large, dark, noisy casino areas to reach their accommodations, so the Mandarin Oriental properties also provide a different experience walking in.
Some visitors to Macau may also be more interested in its cultural attractions and unusual colonial history than in games of chance, just as some tourists head to Vegas for shows, restaurants and the Bellagio fountains but leave town without ever placing a bet or playing the slots.
Macau, a former Portuguese colony that is now part of China, is about 40 miles from Hong Kong, reachable via ferry. There are about 60 hotels in Macau and 33 casinos. Its gambling revenue for first-quarter 2010 was over us$ 5 billion, according to statistics from its Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
Las Vegas has 295 hotels and motels, of which 81 have casinos, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. First-quarter 2010 gaming revenue on the Vegas Strip was us$ 1.53 billion, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
Opening a property in Macau without a casino is also much easier to do these days than opening one with gaming. The Macau government is controlling growth by limiting the number of casino licenses available, and officials haven't indicated a desire to license new operators.