G2E Asia: Macau is more than just a gaming destination Cory Roberts, CDC Gaming Reports · May 24, 2019 at 12:45 pm Having gone to the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas for the past three years, I had a decent idea what to expect from the show in Macau, especially considering that the setting was a Las Vegas Sands-owned expo center. But when CDC Gaming Reports Publisher Jeffrey Compton told me a few months ago that he’d decided to send my wife and I, by ourselves, to this year’s G2E Asia, I suddenly realized that I didn’t have a real idea what to expect of Macau itself. G2E innovation and technology panelMy wife, Lulu, who is also CDC’s Chinese editor, grew up in China and got her undergraduate degree in Guangzhou, a massive city just north of Macau. High-speed rail connects the two cities, and for $10US you can take a 150 km/mph train that’s so smooth an open cup of coffee on a table won’t even splash. Lulu raved about the food in Macau, so that prospect got me excited; I don’t particularly like the term foodie, but I guess I am one.The wall between the slots and the restaurantArriving in Macau is a half-familiar experience, considering the many parallels between the casino buildings in Macau and Las Vegas. I get the feeling, though, that many Americans expect Macau to essentially be a Chinese Las Vegas. That expectation will set you up for disappointment. Macau is the biggest casino market in the world, but the tone is much more serious on the Cotai Strip than it is on the Las Vegas Strip. Walking around the main floor of most casinos in Macau, you find that instead of the standard banks of bright slot machines beckoning you to take a seat, there are walls separating the gambling area from the rest of the lobby and restaurants. I was heading to a restaurant one day and accidentally took an escalator that went straight to the casino floor. I only realized I’d gone the wrong way when I found myself walking through a metal detector and getting asked for my passport, which you need to show the guard just to be able to enter the slot machine floor. I’m sure people have a lot of fun in Macau, but it’s quite the culture shock if you’re only really familiar with Las Vegas casinos and their general atmosphere of barely controlled chaos. Facade of the old church at the Ruins of St. PaulWhat made me really like Macau was going to Macau Island and walking around the historical district near the Ruins of St. Paul, which comprises the restored façade of a 17th-century Catholic church and the crypts of the Jesuits that built and maintained it. Once you get off the touristy stretch, Macau is a city full of very friendly locals, interesting shops and little restaurants, fantastic parks, and lots of culture. And yes, we ate a lot. Once we arrived at the Expo Center at the Venetian Macao, things started feeling a bit more familiar. G2E Las Vegas is a very well-run show, and G2E Asia mirrored that quality – the press room was run efficiently and well-stocked with snacks and coffee throughout the day, there were plenty of panels discussing pertinent issues. Many of the vendors had large booths, albeit not as big as the ones at G2E Las Vegas. A slot machine and the Aristocrat boothThe word for this expo, at least for CDC, was networking. We began publishing in Chinese just a few months ago, soft-launching the site to a small subset of our larger mailing list. This being our first G2E Asia, Lulu and I introduced ourselves to every vendor that had a booth on the floor and found a warm welcome from many who expressed interest in receiving our Chinese language newsletter. We also met many press friends along the way from Clarion, GamingKorea, and Inside Asian Gaming, and made some new friends from outlets like Asia Times and Macau Business.While we didn’t produce any specific content from the floor this time, CDC had a very successful first G2E Asia. We look forward to getting back to the show next year and to growing our Asian presence in the years to come. Cory Roberts is the associate publisher of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.