MACAU - Stanley Ho, the visionary who put Macau on the global map, the casino mogul who created a gambling destination that overtook Las Vegas in revenue (in 2006), and the entrepreneur who was one of Asia’s richest men for many decades, has died at 98.
He was born and grew up in Hong Kong, but mention Macau’s casinos, and it’s impossible not to bring him to mind. His casino monopoly lasted 30 years, from 1961 to 2001 before gaming licences were opened up to competitors, and his success at transforming the territory into a gaming Mecca made him a household name.
A name that locals and visitors alike will be able to visit into the future as he was the first ever living Macanese to have an avenue named after him: Avenue Dr Stanley Ho is the busy route that runs between Nam Van Lake and Sai Van Lake on Macau Island.
Allan Zeman, non-executive chairman of competitor Wynn Macau and chairman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group, remembers him as a “very kind and passionate person,” and said, “It’s the end of an era.”
One of 13 siblings, Ho is survived by 16 out of his 17 children, three out of his four ‘wives’, and a legacy as the king of gambling and the godfather of modern Macau.
He established the first helicopter service between Hong Kong and Macau? And his life inspired gambling mafia movies Casino Tycoon and Casino Tycoon 2, and a video game of the same name.
His personal fortune was estimated on his retirement at 96 years old at US$6.4 billion, and his company, SJM Holdings Ltd, still oversees 20 casinos.