Casinos are often associated with the former Portuguese colonies in Asia because Portugal was one of the first European powers to establish a presence in the region and introduced gambling to its colonies.
Portugal’s colonization of Asia began in the early 16th century, with the establishment of a trading post in Goa, India in 1510. From there, Portugal went on to establish colonies in other parts of Asia, including Macau (in present-day China) and Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor).
In Macau, which was a Portuguese colony from the 16th century until 1999, gambling was legalized in the 1850s as a way to generate revenue for the colony. In the 1930s, the colonial government twice re-awarded the monopoly concession, and Western games of chance like baccarat were offered for the first time. Macau’s casino industry grew rapidly in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and it is now one of the world’s largest gambling destinations.
In the mid-19th century, the Portuguese government legalized gambling in Goa, and in the following decades, a number of casinos were established in the region. However, it was not until the 1970s that leisure and amusement became a significant industry in Goa, and this was largely due to the influx of tourists who began visiting the region.
Post-colonial Goa amended Indian laws to again legalize gambling in the 1990s as a way to boost tourism and generate revenue. The state now has several casinos, both on land and offshore. Portuguese exited Goa in the 1960s.
Overall, the association of casinos with old Portuguese colonies in Asia can be traced back to Portugal’s early presence in the region and its introduction of gambling to n in few colonies. Today, many of these former colonies continue to have a strong casino industry, with Macau in particular being a major gambling destination.