Founder of SJM Holding and the man attributed with helping to turn Macau into a gambling destination has passed away.
Macau.- Gambling mogul Stanley Ho died at the age of 98, his daughter Pansy Ho has confirmed to the press.
Ho has been receiving medical care at the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital and was said to be in a critical condition.
It is believed he passed away surrounded by family including his second wife, Lucina Lam King Ying, third wife, Ina Chan Un Chan and fourth wife, Angela Leong On-ke.
Ho was the founder of SJM Holdings Ltd one of the largest casino operators in Asia with more than 20 properties across the region.
Known as the King of Gambling, Ho is seen by many as playing a crucial role in transformed Macau from a commercial backwater to one of the largest gambling destinations in the world.
In doing so, he amassed a personal fortune estimated to be US$3.1 billion by Forbes.
Ho was born Nov. 25, 1921, into a wealthy Hong Kong family of Chinese and European descent and attended university in the city.
His family’s circumstances changed during World War II, when the Japanese invaded the British colony.
At age 21, he fled to neutral Macau where he got his start trading everything from kerosene to airplanes, at a time when the island was best known for fishing and producing fireworks and incense.
“I took Macau as a second home, they treated me so well — with 10 dollars in my pocket, I became a millionaire in one year, in one year’s time, imagine, during the war years,” he told once to CNN.
When Portuguese rule ended in 1999, the incoming administration decided a shakeup in the industry was needed.
In 2002, it broke up Ho’s monopoly, awarding three new licenses which subsequently morphed into six through a series of sub-concessions.
Ho said he welcomed the added competition, though his company has been steadily losing its dominant market position, with Sands China taking the top slot in recent years.
Ho’s fourth wife, Angela Leong On Kei, is the Managing Director and largest shareholder in SJM Holdings, while his son Lawrence Ho heads up Melco Resorts & Entertainment, another of Macau’s six concessionaires.
The company operates the City of Dreams, Mocha Clubs, and Studio City in Macau and the City of Dreams Manila in the Philippines.
Daughter Pansy Ho is Co-chair of MGM China and its biggest single shareholder with a 22.5 per cent stake.
Pansy, one of Hong Kong’s richest people, is also Executive Chairman of Shun Tak Holdings Ltd., which runs most of the ferries between Hong Kong and Macau.