Casino billionaire Stanley Ho passed away at the age of 98

The absolute King of Gambling died on May 26, 2020, at the age of 98, in a hospital in Hong Kong. Stanley Ho was the largest gambling magnate in the world and, at the time of his death, owned 19 casinos in, mainly, the Chinese gambling city of Macau, including the Lisbao Casino and Hotel, the Grand Lisboa and the Golden Dragon Casino.

In addition,  Stanley Ho’s company, SJM Holdings Limited, owned real estate, shops and an airport. These activities ensured that Stanley Ho, and his immense family became wealthy. Several members of the Ho family own billions.

From poor smuggler to The King Of Macau

Ho’s life story reads like an exciting boy’s book. He was born in Hong Kong on November 25, 1921, to a prominent and wealthy family, the Ho Tung Dynasty. World War II brought the Ho family from heaven to hell. When Japan occupied the city of Hong Kong in 1941, the family was forced to flee to Macau.

Stanley Ho smuggled luxury goods from China into the Macau Peninsula and set up a lucrative, albeit clandestine, trade. In 1962 Ho managed to get a gambling license to run casinos in Macau, at least until 2001. Ho started building one casino after the other and with great success: Mainland Chinese gamblers flocked to find the many baccarat tables, leaving behind billions of dollars every year.

Even after the first permit had expired, the Ho family was allowed to continue the activities. The intensified competition from parties such as Sands and Wynn also meant that the casinos of the Ho Dynasty became bigger and more beautiful to make sure players would choose the Ho casinos over the competition.

In 2007, the flagship casino of the SJM Holdings Limited beautiful Hotel Casino Grand Lisboa was opened, a 48-storey, beautiful casino in the shape of a Lotus flower. The hotel has 431 rooms, including 45 suites for the real high rollers.

Epicurean and philanthropist

Stanley Ho was not only an extremely successful businessman, he also enjoyed sharing his money. He donated millions to charities and tried to share the wealth within his family as fairly as possible. That was quite difficult, if you have 17 children, one wife and three ex-wives.

In 2009 Stanley Ho became seriously ill after a fall and because no clear replacement had ever been appointed, a fierce power struggle followed within the family. After years of arguing, fussing with shares and mutual reproaches, everything settled down. Ho had realized through his illness and the subsequent troubles that, in order to guarantee the survival of the company and the mutual relationships, it was essential to close the ranks and make clear agreements about his succession. The family issued a joint press release immediately after his death, indicating that they are united in their grief and appreciate all respect for his legendary achievements.