By its own hell-raising standards, Macau's last Saturday night of revelry under Portuguese rule was eerily quiet. Torrential rain, plunging temperatures and tight security helped lend a ghost-town feel to the casinos, clubs and streets which normally throng with gamblers and tourists. Also notably absent were loansharks, pimps and prostitutes, though the weather would hardly explain their absence. An official clean-up had apparently been ordered. Officials over the border had also not been allowing mainlanders into Macau for several days, to reduce the chances of trouble. For what must be the first time in years, the basement corridors of the Lisboa Hotel, a well-known haunt for dozens of working girls from the mainland, were deserted. A lone security guard stood bemused as punters shuffled in, then back out into the cold, wet night. Upstairs in Macau's biggest casino, dealers and croupiers sat arms folded at five empty gambling tables. The place is normally packed after midnight on most nights - and most of all on Saturdays. The rattle and hum of the slot machines was muted and even the VIP rooms were distinctly roomy. Bruno Gianelli, from Milan, in town to witness the handover on his way back to Italy from a business trip to Taiwan, said: 'I suppose it's a terrible night outside but it's not exactly Las Vegas.' Across town, Canidrome marketing and public relations manager Brian Murphy sat in the $35 million refurbished grandstand surrounded by journalists. It wouldn't be exaggerating to say it was the busiest section of the stadium. 'This is a terrible night,' he said. 'I put it down to the weather and the fact that people must be saving themselves for handover night. Our turnover is usually between $1.5 and $2 million a night. It'll be a fraction of that tonight. 'I'm not too worried. I think the handover will be good for business all round. One night like this, I can put up with,' said Mr Murphy, whose greyhounds were running their last race for the night as Jiang Zemin and Jorge Sampaio were at the handover banquet. Some saunas and bars shut early for the night with not a working girl in sight. 'They had a clampdown over recent weeks, sending back all the mainland girls without permits. It must be for the handover,' one subdued customer said. Back in the lobby of the city centre casino hotel Kingsway - close to where the PLA will initially be stationed - the lack of commotion was all too much for one officer of the law. Slumped on an easy chair with his polished hat as a pillow, he snoozed his shift away.