Oceanus is a rare bird for Macau because it's only a casino. There's no hotel part attached to it anywhere on the premises. But unlike the other two places in the city that meet this description (the Babylon and Paradise Kampek), Oceanus puts their sole dedication to gaming to good use. In my opinion, it can hold its own against any other casino in the city, bar none.
One of SJM's newer properties, Oceanus opened a year and a half ago in December of 2009.
Oceanus (and its neighbor Jai Alai) is the first call for gamers on the eastern side of the Amizade strip. Ferry terminal passengers need only walk five minutes to reach the doors of the aquatic gameland.
SJM deserves major props for what they've managed to accomplish pretty anonymously out by the ferry terminal. It's something no other company in Macau has done to this point, although I hope more of them follow suit in the future. Quite simply, they've constructed a real, honest to goodness casino for the people. For low rollers like me, it's the ultimate combination: a whole bunch of different games on a whole whack of $100 and $200 tables. Sure the Sands and the Venetian and the Wynn etc. may offer one or two more games on the whole, but you'll be betting $300 a hand for the casino's trouble. At Oceanus though, it's a different story — the low limit tables are everywhere.
While it's true the casino won't win any awards for the way it looks, its simple appearance succeeds nonetheless. The walls are decorated with pictures of fish and aquatic scenes along with curious columns of blue circles, meant to signify floating bubbles. The gaming floor is pretty run of the mill except for the rows of thick glowing pillars, with each level a different color: blue on the ground floor, purple on the first and red on the second. What stands out above all else though is the space available in the casino. There's plenty of it everywhere you look, especially on the second floor, which holds only 20 tables. They could easily add another 50 more seeing as the ground and first floors comfortably manage 86 and 67 tables respectively, without any difficulty.
Slot lovers will feel right at home at Oceanus, with most machines located on the first floor. In total, I counted around 300 in all with minimums ranging from 5¢ to $1. Electronic versions of sic bo and roulette are also available with their customary low minimums ($10).
Perhaps the only complaint I can think of is the lack of a smoke-free gaming section anywhere in the casino.
Why not go all in Oceanus? Add a craps table, and Three Card Poker and have it all. One thing's for sure, you definitely have the space for it. Here are the games they do offer:
Oceanus takes care of business in the promotion department, as they offer both a player card and a dead chip program. In addition, they always seem to run two or three general gaming promotions, making them three for three in the area of player love.
Player Card — Gamers can accumulate points on their player card through slot or table play. As is the rule in Macau, no casino staff would reveal the rate of point accumulation, if they even know what it is at all. If you ask me, that's pretty bush, because such information should be transparent.
On the ground floor of the casino there's a section displaying the products available for redemption. Nothing too fancy, the prizes include bottles of liquor (741 to 1026 points), wallets (207 points), money clips (131 points), lighters (103 points), and key chains (84 points). Players can also buy these products outright using cash if they prefer, or use a combination of points and cash if their points aren't enough.
Premium Program — Oceanus's VIP tables are now located in their own section on the first floor. Table minimums are all $1,000. They had been on the second floor but that area now belongs to the independent CCUE 168 club, which opened on June 5th. That club, by the way, returns 1.25 percent with and initial buy in of $50,000 required to open an account. Not very big at all, the club is composed of six $1,000 tables to the right of the escalators.
The Oceanus program meanwhile returns less than CCUE 168. That's something I find quite strange, but its very much the norm in Macau. Very very rarely will a casino return better than the VIP clubs operating on its premises. The only one I can think of that does in the Grand Lapa's Jimei casino, which offers 0.1% more than their on site junket operators. You'd think the casino would want to be the top dog on its own turf, returning the best value, but it doesn't work that way at all. Maybe the security of rolling with the casino makes up for the 0.3 or 0.4 percent whales lose by not going with a private operator, who might not be there tomorrow, or who may suddenly experience cash flow problems when it's time to pay, because that's the only reason I can think of to take the inferior deal. All things being equal, I'd jump on the higher return ten times out of ten.
The commission structure at Oceanus is as follows:
|Oceanus Deap Chip Program|
|Front Money||Net Turnover||Commission||Comp Allowance|
|$100,000||$100,000 - $199,999||0.80%||0.03%|
|$100,000||$200,000 - $299,999||0.90%||0.03%|
|$100,000||$300,000 - $4,999,999||1.00%||0.03%|
|$100,000||$5,000,000 - $9,999,999||1.00%||0.00%|
|$100,000||$10,000,000 or above||1.00%||0.08%|
|$200,000||$200,000 - $299,999||0.90%||0.03%|
|$200,000||$300,000 - $4,999,999||1.00%||0.03%|
|$200,000||$5,000,000 - $9,999,999||1.00%||0.05%|
|$200,000||$10,000,000 or above||1.00%||0.08%|
|$300,000||$300,000 - $4,999,999||1.00%||0.03%|
|$300,000||$5,000,000 - $9,999,999||1.00%||0.05%|
|$300,000||$10,000,000 or above||1.00%||0.08%|
The comp allowance can be used in the casino bars and restaurants, as well as for purchasing goods like cigarettes ($100) and bottles of whisky and wine ($1,800 and $2,000). Hotel rooms can also be had at Casa Real ($1,000 Sunday to Thursday and $1,200 Friday and Saturday), the Lisboa ($1,100), and the Grand Lisboa ($2,000 Sunday to Thursday and $2,800 Friday and Saturday).
$50 free slot voucher — Newly signed up Oceanus members get a free $50 slot voucher with their player cards. Other casinos usually make new members gamble awhile before giving out free slot money, but Oceanus hands it out right away, making it a very excellent promotion.
I took my $50 straight to the video poker machines and within fifteen minutes had it up to $400. Then at the most crucial moment, it all went wrong. I was dealt three fifths of a royal flush and as I studied the screen thinking my time was about to come, thinking the royal was on its way, I made a rookie mistake. In my excitement I held the wrong card and threw away the Queen, ruining my chances of attaining video poker glory. That was the turning point right there. I couldn't recover. Twenty minutes later I walked away broke and busted, but having learnt a very important lesson. You got to keep it together at all times when playing video poker!!
Double slot points — From 5 PM to 7 PM and 10 PM to 1 AM daily, slot players will earn double slot points.
Birthday Celebrations — Spend your birthday at Oceanus and be rewarded with a $100 gambling voucher, as well as a free bowl of Shanxi noodles and a jug of famous Chinese tea. Make sure to bring your ID with you though.
Slot Player Big Rewards — Every two points earned through slot play can be redeemed for a coupon that gets entered into a draw with the following prizes:
This promotion is set to end mid-September. The other three seem to be staple promotions, which means they're always on.
Cheap eats are plentiful at Oceanus, with most dishes at both restaurants under 50 patacas.
Treasure House — Main course meals at Treasure House involve a lot of rice and meat combos, with prices ranging from $35 to $50. Noodles are $25 with each additional ingredient $6. Beverage prices are identical to Jackpot Noodles, with pop $15 and beer $25 to $30. Treasure House is located on the first floor.
Jackpot Noodles — A wide range of Shanxi and Cantonese styled noodles are available at Jackpot Noodles with bowls ranging from $28 to $70. If you're in the mood for something else, Cantonese congee is $35 to $38 and gourmet dumplings are between $15 and $25. Beverages are a respectable $15 for soft drinks and $25 to $30 for beer. Jackpot Noodles can be found on the second floor.
Oceanus has two bars which have the same menu and offer the same deals.
Good Luck Corner (GF) and Kingpin Bar (2F) — I'd say both places are just as much restaurants as bars, so I'll focus on the food menu. Sandwiches are $35 to $45, while appetizers like salad, garlic bread, and onion rings are $15 to $25. Chicken wings are a little pricier though, coming in at $40. Two different Western set meals are available throughout the day — the first from 2 PM to 7 PM, and the second from 7 PM to 11 PM. The first deal costs $20 and comes with free tea. The second deal is 5 patacas more, $25, and patrons this time get one free beer. Dessert dishes, finally, are $20 or $35.
If you're thirsty, drink prices are identical to the ones found in the two restaurants.
Both bars open at 2 PM.
Oceanus has a small entertainment stage located behind the Good Luck Corner bar on the ground floor. Earlier in the year, they had singing and dancing shows that began daily from 6:30 PM, but they've since been discontinued. Now, the only show they count as entertainment is the drawing of the coupons from the Slot Players Big Rewards promotion. Maybe when that ends they'll get back to the business of putting on some legitimate shows, but when they do, don't expect too much. The shows I saw earlier in the year were strictly small time stuff.
Oceanus hits all the right notes for me. Game selection, especially lack thereof, is my biggest pet peeve with 75% of Macau casinos, but there are no such problems at Oceanus. They bring the goods with 9 different games and a ton of slots, including a few video poker machines. While that's not uncommon in Macau, the amount of $100 and $200 tables that accompanies the outstanding variety is. Personally I love it. It's nice not to have to bet $300 all the time when you don't really want to lay that much.
Oceanus also excels in other areas. They care enough to offer a player card with a good comp system as well as run three or four different promotions at a time. The VIP card for high rollers returns a decent but not great 0.8 to 1%, which could be better but is right around average. The drink service is good, as is the customer service at all the bars, restaurants and with the desk staff. My experience at the casino really left nothing to be desired. (Except maybe for the disturbing lack of a craps table).
Regardless, my full compliments to the Oceanus casino. Good job!