Tim Simpson, "Betting on Macau: Casino Capitalism and China's Consumer Revolution" (U Minnesota Press, 2023)


A comprehensive look into how Macau’s recent decades of gambling-related growth produced one of the wealthiest territories on the planet.

Betting on Macau: Casino Capitalism and China's Consumer Revolution (U Minnesota Press, 2023) delves into the radical transformation of what was formerly the last remaining European territory in Asia, returned to the People’s Republic of China in 1999 after nearly half a millennium of Portuguese rule. Examining the unprecedented scale of its development and its key role in China’s economic revolution, Tim Simpson follows Macau’s emergence from historical obscurity to become the most profitable casino gaming locale in the world.

Identified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and renowned for its unique blend of Chinese and Portuguese colonial-era architecture, contemporary Macau has metamorphosed into a surreal, hypermodern urban landscape augmented by massive casino megaresorts, including two of the world’s largest buildings. Simpson situates Macau’s origins as a strategic trading port and its ensuing history alongside the emergence of the global capitalist system, charting the massive influx of foreign investment, construction, and tourism in the past two decades that helped generate the territory’s enormous wealth.

Presented through a cross section of postcolonial studies and social theory with extensive insight into the global gambling industry, Betting on Macau uncovers the various roots of the territory’s lucrative casino capitalism. In turn, its trenchant analysis provides a distinctive view into China’s broader project of urbanization, its post-Mao economic reforms, and the continued rise of its consumer culture.

Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He is the author of Community Media Representations of Place and Identity at Tug Fest: Reconstructing the Mississippi River (Lexington, 2022). His general area of study is on media representations of people and place at festivals and celebrations. He is currently working on his next book where he conducted research on an annual canoeing and kayaking event that takes place on the Upper Mississippi River. To learn more about Michael O. Johnston you can go to his website, Google Scholar, Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or by email at johnstonmo@wmpenn.edu.

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Michael Johnston

Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University.

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