Bloggish contributor Orit Arfa went on a press junket to Shelden Adelson’s (the Sands) new Venetian resort-casino in Macao, China and filed this report for the Jerusalem Post:
As I wandered alone through The Venetian casino on my first night, my personal fantasies of Vegas-style fun, however, begin to slip away. Slots don’t flash jackpot numbers amid sounds of coins clanking. No scantily clad cocktail waitresses strut by tables, doling out free booze. Macao apparently doesn’t need such casino gimmicks to lure players. Gambling is a Chinese obsession. Players sat at the tables, mostly baccarat, looking focused and serious.
I scoured the tables for blackjack, my favorite, but I heard absolutely no English and players hardly made eye contact with me. While aces and face cards are a universal language, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat deaf and mute and I always like to schmooze while I play. There’s nothing like the communal cheer when the dealer busts or the communal moan when the dealer hits 21. I call it quits before I start.
But the Zionist in me was comforted as I watched people’s chips dwindle. Without their knowing it, Asians are indirectly contributing to Israel. Macao initiatives, gambling revenues included, have made Adelson the third richest man in the US, according to Forbes. Israel and Jewish causes have benefitted from his riches. Adelson is a key contributor to Taglit-birthright israel, Yad Vashem and other educational institutions in Israel and Las Vegas.
Still, I went to sleep in my fluffy bed missing the true Las Vegas vibe, so for breakfast I took comfort in the Starbucks near the lobby . . .