One of the key men responsible for transforming Macau into the world’s premiere casino hotspot, Stanley Ho Hung Sun (pictured), reportedly passed away at a Hong Kong hospital early this morning at the age of 98.

According to reports from GGRAsia and Inside Asian Gaming, Ho was born in British-controlled Hong Kong in 1921 and began his business career during the Second World War by trading essential commodities between his home city, which was then occupied by Japanese forces, and neutral Macau.

Post-war prominence:

GGRAsia reported that Ho subsequently established a kerosene wholesale firm and benefitted as the entire region underwent a post-war construction boom. He purportedly used some of his new-found wealth to establish Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macao (STDM) in 1962 before going on to win the monopoly for the operation of all casino gambling in Macau.

Beneficial bequest:

This state of affairs reportedly lasted until 2002 and saw STDM via its SJM Holdings Limited successor grow into an entity that last year recorded an annual profit of approximately $411.9 million via the ownership of 22 of Macau’s 41 casinos, which include the iconic lotus-shaped Casino Grand Lisboa. Although this Hong Kong-listed enterprise is now just one of six licensed operators in the former Portuguese enclave, it managed to garner 14.1% of the local market’s gross gaming revenues in 2019 including a 10.4% share of its lucrative VIP business.

Influential individual:

Ho officially retired from the casino business in 2018 although he was said to have effectively relinquished hands-on control some nine years earlier after undergoing three brain operations following a fall in the bathroom of his Hong Kong residence. Nevertheless, the source detailed that the former magnate purportedly remained an important figure as three of his 17 children, Pansy Ho Chiu King, Daisy Ho Chiu Fung and Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, went on to claim senior positions with Macau casino operators MGM China Holdings Limited, SJM Holdings Limited and Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited respectively.

Ho’s legacy in the Macau casino industry moreover reportedly stretches to two of his four consorts with Ina Chan Un Chan and Angela Leong On Kei currently serving as executive directors for SJM Holdings Limited, which is furthermore responsible via its Estoril-Sol SGPS SA subordinate for gambling-friendly venues in the Portuguese communities of Lisbon, Estoril and Povoa de Varzim.

Promoting philanthropy:

Ho was presented with the Visionary Award at the 2009 edition of the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia exhibition and used his acceptance speech to proclaim that ‘gaming should never be a win-lose proposition.’ The horseracing and ballroom dancing fan was purportedly a willing philanthropist and is also said to have used his address to extol the virtues of corporate social responsibility.

Ho reportedly declared…

“From society, to society. This is my long-term vision. Although I’m not a gambler, I would wager that this is one of the best bets that you can make.”