Stanley Ho: The Story Of The Macau Gambling Industry Founder

Stanley Ho: The Story Of The Macau Gambling Industry Founder

Stanley Ho was a billionaire from China who has contributed to the massive development of the gambling industry in Macau. He created a business in Southeast Asia almost from scratch, made a huge fortune, and gained serious influence in Macau and outside of China. By the end of his life, his fortune reached $2.5 billion.

Stanley Ho managed 19 casinos and many companies, but his brainchild is SJM Holdings, which he was managing almost until his death. All establishments are located in Macau, one of the most popular among them is the luxurious Grand Lisboa Hotel.

NameStanley Ho
Date of BirthNovember 25, 1921
Place of BirthBritish Hong Kong
Date of DeathMay 26, 2020
Place of DeathHong Kong

In addition to one of the most expensive and largest casinos in the world, there is a hotel and more than a dozen of restaurants. Almost a quarter of the Macau population worked In the enterprises owned by Ho.

One of the biggest Macau casinos
The Grand Lisboa skyscraper is the tallest building of the city.

Story of Success: From Clerk to Macau’s Most Powerful Man

Stanley was awarded a huge number of government awards from China and from a number of other countries. For example, a billionaire had the Order of the British Empire and the Legion of Honor.

Stanley Bosman, as he was called in childhood, was born in 1921 in Hong Kong. At that time, the region was a colony of the British Empire. At the local school, Stanley was not very successful: he studied in a class where the children with the weakest academic performance were gathered.

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Ho began building his career in the 1940s. At first, he was a white collar worker in one of the Japanese companies based in Macau. The office supplied various goods for export and import, and even then, Stanley showed his entrepreneurial flair. He made his first serious money smuggling expensive goods across the border from Macau to China. Due to them, Ho opened a construction company and a company that produced and supplied kerosene in 1943.

This went on for 20 years, and Ho made a good fortune. Already by the 1960s, he gained a huge influence in Macau. In 1961, Stanley and his business partners won a government tender. They got the green light for the development of gambling and other entertainment and tourism in general. Their casinos were not the first in Macau, but they were serious competitors to the influential Fu family, who had been already working in that area.

Stanley Ho \
Stanley Ho was one of the most powerful and wealthy people in Macau

At the same time, Ho renamed his main company into Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM). At the same time, he expanded his activities and worked to ensure convenient casino logistics and accessibility for people from other regions. Stanley opened a new company that provided air service between Macau and Hong Kong which was called Shun Tak Holdings Ltd.

Stanley Ho didn’t limit himself to hotels and casinos, he also increased his influence in other areas, including public policy. In the period from 1960 to 2018, the billionaire was holding high positions.

In BusinessIn Other Areas
Chairman of the Board of Seng Heng BankPresident of the Hong Kong Real Estate Developers Association
Chairman of iAsia Technology LimitedChairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Educational Development and Research
Director of Shun Tak Shipping CompanyMember of the Council and Court at the University of Hong Kong
Founder of the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM)Member of the Council of the University of Macau
Chairman of the Hong Kong Chinese Leisure ClubMember of the Board of Trustees of the Better Hong Kong Foundation
Chairman of SJM Holdings LtdFounder of the Medical Development Foundation

The gambling tycoon did not lag behind in politics either. He managed to work as:

  • Member of the Committee of the First Government of the Hong Kong Administrative Region.
  • Member of the Basic Law Advisory Committee of CAP Hong Kong.
  • Member of the Joint Advisory Committee.

One of the turning points in Ho’s life came in 2009 when he suffered a stroke. After a complex brain operation, he couldn’t return to his former life and sat in a wheelchair. In 2010, being already a billionaire, he handed over his companies to the management of trustees, with only partial control of affairs.

Stanley had a huge family – 4 official wives gave birth to his 16 children in total. It was predictable that some of them would begin to divide the inheritance among themselves before their father’s death. Because of this, a person in a wheelchair had to constantly visit the courts, as relatives could not resolve the conflict peacefully.

The Macau gambling king died on May 26, 2020. Most of his inheritance went to Pansy Ho — the eldest of his daughters.

Pansy Ho, Stanley's daughter
Pansy Ho inherited most of the billionaire’s fortune after his death

Pansy faithfully continued her father’s work by further developing gambling in Macau. Pansy is also a chief executive of the tycoon’s first company, Shun Tak Holdings, and co-chairman of MGM China.

Publication Author
Donald Peterson
Author of articles
Donald Peterson is an avid gambler from Edmonton, Alberta, who also writes about his experience with casinos. He’s been in the business for over 10 years, following the ever-changing industry landscape. His articles are aimed at helping beginners with choosing casinos, suitable games, and strategies.
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