Stanley Ho, Macao Gambling Industry Founder Dies at 98
by Glenn Baird - May 26, 2020
Stanley Ho, considered by many to be the father of large scale gambling in China has died today aged 98.
The multi-billionaire, known by many as the “King of Gambling” turned Macao into China’s gambling capital, building an empire of casinos as he monopolised the industry in the country.
He was a big spender, a ballroom dancer and has alleged ties to organised crime in China, making him one of the country’s most notorious figures.
He was the father of 17 children to 4 different mothers, a family make up that led to some high profile, media frenzied in-fighting.
Ho, never gambled himself, understanding that the only guaranteed way to make money in the industry was to be the one dealing the cards. He had this to say on the matter in a rare interview in 2002:
“I don’t gamble at all. I don’t have the patience. Don’t expect to make money in gambling. It’s a house game. It’s for the house.”
And his reach in Macau went far beyond gambling. He was one of the most influential people in China, holding shares in businesses that ranged from shopping, hotels, ferries and race-tracks.
In 2009, after undergoing brain surgery he rarely made any public appearances and if he did he was always in a wheelchair and it was this reduced state of physical health that led to a family spat in 2011 over control of Macao casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd.
Stanley Ho will be best known for taking what was considered a backwater in Macau and turning it into the Las Vegas of Asia.