Casino Mogul Stanley Ho Dies at 982 months ago
Asian gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, one of the gambling industry’s richest and most powerful men, has passed away at age 98 from undisclosed causes. Ho died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, May 26, according to a brief statement from his family.
The family statement listed no official cause of death, though Ho had been in frail health for over a decade. In 2009, Ho suffered multiple injuries in a fall and underwent brain surgery. The medical crisis forced him to relinquish most of his business duties, including direct oversight of what is now 19 major casino properties, mostly in Macau, owned and operated by Ho’s SJM Holdings corporation.
The Hong Kong-born Ho, often described as the “king” or “godfather” of Macau gambling, was the driving force in establishing Macau as what is today the world’s richest gambling destination. Ho, who garnered his initial fortune as a smuggler of luxury goods between Macau and mainland China, led a conglomerate that outbid a fierce rival in 1961 to win Macau’s initial -- and for 40 years, the only -- gambling operator’s license for Macau. During his corporate reign, Ho was alleged to be linked to various Asian organized-crime triads by officials in several countries, including Canada, the Philippines, and the United States.
Ho and his family and several business partners cumulatively became billionaires many times over by 2002, when Ho formally surrendered his official monopoly over Macau’s gambling rights. The move opened the door for international gambling operators to invest in Macau properties, though Ho and his family still wielded enormous influence. 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 polygamous Ho fathered 17 children by four different wives.
Ho’s personal fortune was estimated at $14.8 billion as recently as last year. The vast wealth also included Shun Tak Holdings, a huge Hong Kong-based conglomerate owning most of Ho’s non-gambling business interests. Between he and his family’s various business interests, Ho was crediting with employing nearly a fourth of Macau’s entire working-age population.
It is likely that intrafamily warfare over Ho’s wealth will now erupt. Though fourth wife Leong is the managing director of SJM Holdings, Pansy Ho and City of Dreams owner Lawrence Ho are among the five children of Ho’s second wife, Lucina Laam.
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