What Sports Do Gamblers Bet on in Macau?

Macau Horses and Jockeys With a City Background

Macau is the largest gambling hot zone the world has ever seen. Yet, for many sports bettors, the gambling mecca remains a mystery.

So, what sports do they bet on in Macau?

Doing It Differently

Macau has a remarkable history of gambling. Legal sports betting joined the game in 1998 and became a hit with punters visiting Macau.

However, the sports betting scene is immensely different from what you may expect to find. Sports bettors that have visited Las Vegas are likely accustomed to the enormous casino sportsbooks with walls of high definition screens and posh leather seating.

The casino sportsbooks drive the sports betting revenue in Vegas. This set up is the case for most casino destinations.

Casino sportsbooks draw huge crowds by offering not only plenty of action but also incredible amenities. Visit most casino sportsbooks on any given NFL Sunday. You’ll be greeted by hundreds of fans in their favorite jersey, betting on the games, and enjoying the party.

Imagine your biggest local pub on steroids and with a few more broken hearts. You are imagining a Las Vegas sportsbook.

Las Vegas Red Sportsbook

For any punters visiting Macau casinos, one thing will rapidly become apparent. That’s the lack of any sportsbooks in the casinos themselves.

Not a single casino in Macau offers a sportsbook to draw in customers. Instead, sports bettors are relegated to dedicated betting shops.

All these shops are owned and operated by Macau Slot. Macau Slot is one of the many endeavors of the late Stanley Ho, The King of Gambling.

Ho created a monopoly on sports betting in the region, and his predecessors continue to cap the market. This monopoly is one of the biggest reasons others haven’t attempted to break into the profitable market.

They’ll have a hard time setting favorable lines if your competition holds 99.9% of the business. This has kept many of the significant casinos outside looking in on sports betting in Macau.

That isn’t to say there’s not a ton of large casino companies cashing in on the action.

Online Sportsbooks

As you can easily imagine, online sportsbooks are doing massive business in Macau. Macau gambling laws forbid its citizens from using these online sites.

The online sportsbooks use specific jargon in an effort to place the onus on the customers to know the laws and restrictions in their area.

Sports betting sites stop at nothing short of pandering to attract customers in the region. Most of the top online sportsbooks offering their service are available in Chinese (Macau’s primary language). They will even offer customer support online and via telephone in Chinese.

This makes online sportsbooks incredibly user-friendly for gamblers in the region. Taking this significant step towards building a substantial customer base has paid off.

The lack of casino sportsbooks has driven online sportsbook business through the roof.

Underground Betting Markets

If the offshore sportsbook market is Target, the illegal sports betting scene is Amazon. The amount of money exchanging hands under the table every year is estimated to be in the billions.

In 2014, high-profile poker player and part-time bookie “Paul” Phua was arrested in Macau. The arrest stemmed from an illegal gambling operation allegedly run by Phua out of suites at the Wynn Macau Casino.

Phua hasn’t faced prosecution for his alleged involvement. Still, the arrest shone a light on the depths of illegal sports betting in the region.

Macau isn’t much different from the United States in terms of illegal sports betting. Law enforcement officials don’t seem to be concerned with throwing the book at the individual sports bettors. It seems they are far more likely to go after the large operations providing the action and making the lion’s share of the profits.

It will be interesting to see what the numbers look like in the US as legal sports betting begins to take hold in the country.

I believe there will be a significant dip in the number of dollars placed under the table. Making it legal will also mean it becomes incredibly convenient.

After all, most Americans would instead head down to the local bar for a drink than seek out a moonshiner. So, it goes when prohibition ends.

Macau, however, has legal sports betting options. Why are so many punters using unlicensed bookies?

It’s a simple matter of convenience. Sports bettors are looking for fast and fair ways to place their bets. If caught, the bookies face up to a decade in prison, punters could land in jail for half that time.

Still, there are plenty of legal options available in Macau. Let’s look at what people are betting on the most.

Playing the Ponies

Horse racing is immensely popular in Macau. The Macau Jockey Club was formed in 1989 and has been a staple on Taipa Island ever since.

Every year legions of dedicated punters head to the track for the most extensive racing weekends in China. These enormous races include the Macau Derby, the Macau Gold Cup, and the highest stakes of all in the Chairman’s Challenge Cup.

Macau Jockey Club Race

Visitors to the Jockey Club are greeted by over 200 individual betting windows. There are also 80 off-track betting windows located around Macau for those punters that can’t make it to the track.

Horse racing has been one of Macau sports bettors’ most popular attractions over the last three decades. If you are in Macau and want to fully embrace the culture and have an unforgettable experience, head for the Macau Jockey Club.

The money may stay at the track, but your memories will last a lifetime.

From Horses to Hounds

Greyhound racing has seen a giant surge in Macau.

The main track in the region imports greyhounds from Australia and may have up to 20 heats run in a day on any given race day.

Visitors to the Caindrome pay a small admission and are given one free bet that day. While all the casinos keep most sports outside their doors, there are a handful of Macau casinos that offer off-track betting on the greyhounds.

Telephone services are another top pick for punters. Gamblers can call in their bets and have their winnings deposited directly into their bank account.

The horses and greyhounds are seeing declining numbers in the United States. Still, the sports are going incredibly strong in Macau.

Betting on Basketball

Basketball is among the most popular sports in China, and that translates to the sports betting scene.

Although the professional scene in Macau is pretty bleak, there are a ton of recreational leagues. Many of these aspiring hoop stars are also gamblers.

Macau gamblers hop into the b-ball action for the major international tournaments like the Summer Olympics. Of course, when it comes to betting on professional basketball, the NBA is the king of the mountain.

NBA bets are one of the most significant revenue sources for the sportsbooks in Macau. Most of the games are available to watch via the internet and satellite television providers.

When you have a large percentage of the gambling public playing a sport and following the pro leagues, it makes for a fertile market with plenty of options.

Soccer (Football)

Football has a substantial commercial impact in Asia, outshining all other sports.

You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that soccer is not only the most popular pastime in Macau but also leads the pack for sports bettors.

Macau Slots takes specific measures in offering games to the betting public. Wander into one of their many locations. You can find odds on anything from smaller pro leagues in Italy and Germany to the significant professional associations in the U.K.

Macau Vietnam Soccer Match

The EPL (English Premier League) is the most prestigious football league on the planet. All the best players in the world vie for spots on one of these elite teams.

Teams like Manchester United and Chelsea have loyal followings in Macau. Much like the team’s loyal fanbase in the U.K., fans in Macau will flood the sportsbooks to “show support” for their favorite teams.

Football generates more gambling revenue in the region than all other sports.


Macau is one of the busiest gambling hubs globally and has the most popular sports for betting. While primarily focusing on clients in Asia, more and more gamblers from Europe and the United States are making Macau’s journey.

For now, the sports bettors are far more likely to head to Las Vegas for their sports betting. However, sports betting in Macau could see huge increases in numbers without the addition of casino sportsbooks.