The Chinese love of gambling is well known; yet what is less well-known is that there are few casinos operating anywhere in China, including Hong Kong. The government of China has a somewhat negative attitude towards casinos, and gambling more generally, and discourages it wherever possible. Therefore, Hong Kong casinos get around this official prohibition in a number of ingenious ways.
Although there are no officially sanctioned Hong Kong casinos, gambling in Hong Kong is actually remarkably easy. The most obvious method of gambling is to go to nearby Macao; the former Portuguese enclave is only a short hydrofoil ride away, less than an hour from Hong Kong. In Macao, gambling is not only permitted, but it is the prime attraction for tourists visiting from Hong Kong and elsewhere. There is an official age limit of 21, and passports are required for the journey, but otherwise, Hong Kong gamblers will find the trip to Macao more than worthwhile - always provided they win, of course!
There are a large number of casinos in Macao that cater to every type of gambler, whether they are playing for high stakes or low, and however dressed. China is well aware that many people come to Macao for the gambling, including thousands of tourists from Hong Kong, and so China is happy to permit the sport to continue. Indeed, Chinese people are well known for their addiction to gambling of all sorts, and consequently, the casinos are almost always full.
Another aspect of the Hong Kong casino scene is offshore gambling, which allows Hong Kong tourists to gamble on board specially appointed cruise ships and boats in international waters off the coast of Hong Kong, thus getting around the rules that prevent the existence of Hong Kong casinos . Publicity for these cruises rarely features gambling very prominently, but nonetheless, there are many operators offering voyages that include the opportunity to gamble at leisure in an onboard casino. Of course, these journeys also offer the chance to enjoy spectacular views of Hong Kong harbor when entering and leaving the former colony. As a result, these voyages are extremely well subscribed to and growing in popularity every year. They are an enjoyable addition to the usual itinerary of the visitor to Hong Kong, and accordingly, there are plenty of opportunities for tourists visiting Hong Kong to enjoy the excitement and glamor of visiting a casino and indulging in this most Chinese of pastimes.