Hong Kong tycoon Stanley Ho has died at the age of 98. Ho enabled Macau to become the world's gambling capital through his lucrative gaming businesses.
The 'King of Gambling' Stanley Ho passed away around 1PM at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital. His daughter Pansy told reporters outside of the hospital that he died peacefully in his sleep last Tuesday.
Since 2009, Ho has battled several health problems, including one where he had to undergo brain surgery. During such time, Ho had to take a break from running his businesses. He also overcame a bitter public family feud over his health.
Ho's casino business started in Macau when it was granted a government monopoly license back in the 1960s. Since then, the world's lucrative gaming business, SJM Holdings, dominated the market. He further expanded his business by building residential and office buildings in Hong Kong.
At present, Macau is known as the 'Las Vegas of Asia.' Ho established the Sociedade de Jogos de Macau for which he was best known as a prime casino and hotel operator.
Ho also operated casinos in countries like North Korea and Portugal. The tycoon died with an estimated net worth of 14.9 billion USD upon his retirement in 2019, a month before his 97th birthday.
According to reporter Martin Yip of BBC News Chinese, Ho had a substantial business leadership influence in Macau and Hong Kong. His passing was mourned by several Chinese state media outlets who referred to him as "a patriotic entrepreneur."
The reporter claimed that the growth of Macau from being a small fishing town into a wealth gambling centre was inspired by Ho. He developed the gambling business into a world-class centre and boost the business connections of Macau to the rest of the world.
Ho also owns helicopters and speed ferries. He introduced a faster and more efficient means of transport from Macau to Hong Kong during the early days, even before Las Vegas gambling giants joined the market. He also heralded the opening of the renowned Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
Ho grew his business by adopting world-class business strategies that outbid the strongest business tycoons. Apart from his gambling business, he was also well-known for his property developer expertise. The developer may not be as significant in the market as Li Ka-shing. Still, his family continues to hold strong ties across the Pearl River Delta.
Since the success of his businesses, Ho has achieved legendary achievements, including consistent charitable donations to Hong Kong and Macau. He was also an honorary chairman of Hong Kong's Shun Tak Holdings. The business was a leader in investments, real estate, and business span transportation networks.
Ho also developed a strong relationship with Beijing and even sat as a member of China's top advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Despite his successful gambling businesses, Ho once revealed that he knows nothing of gambling and does not engage in the pastime. He then noted that he got into the business of gambling, not for sport, but because the venture was challenging for him.