Economy

Casino Stanley Ho passes away at the age of 98

Casino Stanley Ho passes away at the age of 98”

Macau gambling king Stanley Ho (何鴻燊), who built a business empire from scratch in the former Portuguese colony and became one of Asia's richest men, died yesterday at the age of 98. He passed away at the Hong Kong Sanatorium Hospital in Hong Kong.

The flamboyant tycoon, who loved to dance and advised his nearest and dearest to shun gambling, headed one of the world's most lucrative gaming businesses through his flagship firm, SJM Holdings, which is valued at about US$6 billion (S$8.5 billion). Ho's daughter, Pansy, for example, is the primary owner of MGM Macau, while his fourth wife, Angela Leong, and other children have similar holdings. The former kerosene trader played a key role in helping Macau bypass Las Vegas to become the biggest gambling hub in the world.

Ho was born on November 25, 1921, into the Hotung family, one of Hong Kong's wealthiest and most powerful.

He spearheaded what is known in Macau as the junket VIP system, whereby intermediaries act on behalf of casinos by extending credit to gamblers and taking responsibility for collecting debts.

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Ho had been keeping a low profile after a serious fall in 2009 at the age of 87 which left him requiring brain surgery. He spent seven months in the hospital and was rarely seen in public afterward, usually in a wheelchair. Now billionaire and the richest of hong Kong, as the local media have nicknamed' the inheritor of a rebel " is a francophile of long standing: honorary president of the French chamber of commerce of Macao, which she founded in 2008, is very involved in the cultural exchanges franco-chinese ambassador of the Louvre in China since 2012, she has been decorated as a chevalier of the Legion of honor in June 2018. Generous philanthropist and patron repatriation of works looted by the Western powers in the Nineteenth century, representative of hong Kong to the people's political consultative Conference chinese, Stanley has also managed to morph into the "contractor" patriotic " in the eyes of the authorities of the continent.

But Ho's family fortune does not end here. His son Lawrence Ho is leading Melco International Development and his worth is estimated at around $2 billion. But having a fortune doesn't mean that the "King of Macau" did not like to spend it as well.

Stanley Ho was born in 1921 in a wealthy Hong Kong family - the Hotungs. Fluent in English and Chinese, he was working as a telephone operator for British forces when the colony fell to Japan. In an interview from 2001, Ho commented on this hard moment: "I had to throw away my uniform and run to Macao as a refugee".

In the following years while the conflict was still going, he earned his living with various smuggling and trading up the Pearl River Delta. Ho even had an encounter with pirates which he luckily survived. In more recent times, Portugal transferred the sovereignty over Macau to China in 1999. Few years later in 2002, Ho's monopole was discontinued and overseas operators were allowed to enter the market.



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