MACAU, China, 27 May 2020: Known as the godfather of Macau’s tourism and gambling industries, Stanley Ho died Tuesday at the age of 98, Chinese and English language dailies in Hong Kong reported.
He was the founder of SJM Holdings Ltd, one of Macau’s current six casino concessionaires and opened his first casino the Lisboa in the early 1960s. After enjoying a 40-year monopoly on gambling in Macau, the group continues to own and manage 19 casinos that compete with foreign casino operators.
Around 25% of the working force of Macau is employed by SJM Holdings or subsidiary companies.
For decades Ho’s casino monopoly financed Macau’s tourism including the tourism promotion board’s annual budget that paid for the territory’s promotions when it was still under Portuguese administration. In addition, he owned hotels, shipping firms, ferry services, aviation companies, banks, entertainment and land tour agencies.
His empire at one time expanded as far as Thailand, where he had a financial stake in the first Holiday Inn located in the capital Bangkok.
In the past few years, he had been involved in litigation with his sister, Winnie Ho, concerning the ownership of the Macau casinos. Having suffered a stroke in July 2009, followed by a long period of recovery, Ho began steps in late 2010 to devolve his grip on his financial empire to his various wives and children.