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Putting The Strip' in Cotai Strip

I used to frequent a popular Hong Kong chat board. (RIP Icered.com) While I met many great people chatting and joking, there was a forbidding section marked nightlife. Everyone knew the contents of that section, partly because we understood the code words. The section was almost exclusively dedicated to detailing, sometimes graphically, the "massage parlors" of Macau.

What made it infamous however was its singularity. Nowhere, and especially in English, was the ratings of parlors, and even specific girls, so recounted so another punter could recreate that night. Macau's "adult entertainment", much like the strip clubs in Vegas, is a factor in its fame. Unlike Vegas however, such offerings were never a selling point, not even through the somewhat veiled references you can find on Vegas travel shows. In short Macau's officials, if not its citizens, would be, to paraphrase Capt. Renault in Casablanca "Shocked! Just shocked! To find such things in Macau."

Then came Sheldon Adelson.

Getting most of the attention is Sands's relationship with Playboy. A Playboy club was unveiled at the top floor of the Macau Sands. They have their own Youtube channel if you want to see the glossies. Yet for a more realistic example of what its like, see this:

In addition, there will be a "Playboy Mansion" attached to the "three dominos" across from the Venetian. I am unsure what that would be in practice. I doubt it would a stand along mansion, since the buildings were already built and up to the property lines already, but I would wager it would be a club/pool combination akin to the "daylife" offerings in Vegas. (The Hard Rock Macau seems to have been a bit successful in its weekend pool parties.)

OK, perhaps none of that is surprising. How about something that crosses the line even for Vegas? Coming soon, in the middle of the family friendly Venetian, will be the topless club Tantra Macau serving up a western style strip club experience! The clubs seems large from the website and what descriptions I can find on the Internet. Tantra will have four stages, VIP rooms, and more interesting a "hostess club" area. The interesting thing is "hostess club" is one of those aforementioned code words in Asia.

Personally, I venture parts of Tantra will be DOA in Macau. First most gamblers in Macau who want such entertainment do not want titillation, they want to get "business" done and over with. An amusing side complaint is the smallest and most common bill in Macau is the HK$100, or about US$13, smaller is usually in coins (HK$10 coin largest) G-strings might get a little expensive or heavy. The "hostess club" part, assuming that its all on the up-and-up as Venetian will swear it is, has lots of competition from many, many other places that offer more...um...extensive services. One price list I found had lap dances at HK$200 or about $30 and dancer's drinks are HK$100. As I understand it, after a few dances and drinks you have equaled a "very nice" somewhere else. (To put a lot of thought into a few words, I do think there are some workable ideas, but I do not think it justifies the floor space.)

Oh, for those of you thinking about western things like mixed groups, groups of women, or couples going to a strip club for the spectacle, I got a crotched gravy boat to sell you. Despite the prevalence, such a place would be incongruent with the demure standards the average women there are supposed to uphold. (The Playboy club might be different due to its strong brand identity).

A final related story. Last month Sheldon's place got busted. In a move many found unprecedented in Macau, the Venetian last month was raided for prostitution. Police came into the casino and rounded up the girls. This is odd. The hookers roaming the Lisboa in packs, literally, are almost a tourist attraction. However, perhaps the Venetian let it get too out of hand. There was a section of casino floor space even the casino staff called "Hooker Isle". Not that the casino staff was involved.

Uncle Sheldon, I think you got to be very, very careful with this trend if you want to maintain that license.

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