Macau Gambling King Stanley Ho passes away aged 98
Stanley Ho, the godfather of Macau gambling who transformed the island from a remote place into the “Las Vegas of Asia,” passed away at age of 98.
Widely known as the “King of Gambling,” Mr. Ho dominated the gaming and gambling business in Macau, which was once a Portuguese colony, after he won a monopoly licence in 1961. After trying his luck in several diverse businesses, he entered the arena of casino business and made a big fortune. Before his death, he controlled twenty casino resorts on the Chinese island and his construction business spanned North Korea and many other countries of the world.
Confirming her father’s death, Pansy Ho, one of his 14 surviving children, said, “My father has passed away peacefully just now at around 1pm at Hong Kong sanatorium and hospital. As Stanley Ho’s family member, we are really sad to inform you of this.”
Mr. Ho’s SJM Holdings mainly started flourishing after the government of China opened the country’s economy to other countries, creating a flood of tourists and wealth with a great passion for gambling. He was widely considered as a philanthropist, but some local reports suggested that he had once relation with smugglers. However, he and his family members repeatedly denied the allegations.
In 1984, Mr. Ho won a licence to operate a casino in the European country of Portugal and he opened the Casino Pyongyang in North Korea in 2000 at a cost of US$30 million. His Macau gambling business monopoly expired in the year of 2001, just a couple of years after China regained control of Macau from Portugal. Chinese authorities then granted licences to a number of rivals, such as Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts. Rather than adversely affecting Mr. Ho’s business, the bigger competition coupled with booming economy boosted the island’s growth, and Mr. Ho’s fortunes swelled. By 2018, Mr. Ho was personally worth more than $7 billion (£5.7 billion).
Mr. Ho fathered seventeen children with four wives. When he retired in 2018, he passed some of the top positions at SJM Holdings to his heirs. For example, his daughter Ms. Daisy Ho was appointed as the chairman and executive director, while his fourth wife Mrs. Angela Leong became co-chairman of the company. However, long-simmering family squabbles over his large casino empire are still going on.
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