The man behind it all, Stanley Ho, has sadly passed away at the age of 98, Reuters has reported. Mr. Ho won the moniker “king of gambling,” as he became one of the pioneers of the industry in the region. He established SJM Holdings which would spearhead his casino empire in 1961.
Pansy Ho, daughter to the late Mr. Ho, said that her father had passed quietly at 1 PM at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital. Mr. Ho’s beginnings are humble, but he quickly cut a high-profile for himself in Macau’s post-Portuguese era.
After Portugal gave up on its ambitions in Macau, a number of private gaming giants landed in the state, including SJM Holdings as well as Galaxy Entertainment Group, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, Sands China, Wynn Macau, and MGM China Holdings.
Yet, despite the overseas interest, SJM Holdings has remained an immovable local player, owning 20 out of the 38 local casinos. Interestingly, the man himself wasn’t interested in gambling.
In an interview dating back to 2001, he told the Associated Press that gambling wasn’t designed to help players make money. “It’s for the house,” he argued, and added that he didn’t have the patience to sit down and gamble.
Ho never made any forays into the cryptocurrency market per se, as his eye was fixed on the land-based segment. Following in his father’s footsteps, Lawrence Ho, was recently trying to acquire a stake in Crown Resorts Australia, a move that promoted regulatory investigation, and forced Ho to sell his stake and give up on his efforts to secure a foothold in the Australian casino market.