One of the most prominent names in the casino industry, Stanley Ho Hung-sun passed away on the 26th of May at the age of ninety-eight. He was a prominent Macau and Hong Kong businessman as well as casino magnate responsible for a number of the most iconic Macau-based casino facilities. Stanley Ho was also the chairman and founder of the SJM Holdings company which today owns and manages twenty-two Macau casinos including its flagship Grand Lisboa.
Stanley Ho was commonly referred to as King of Gambling and Godfather due to the Macau government-granted monopoly that he had on the gambling industry in Macau for almost seventy-five years. Besides founding the SJM Holdings company, Stanley Ho was also the chairman and founder of the Shun Tak Holdings company which also owned a variety of businesses including air transport, real estate, shipping, tourism, and entertainment.
Stanley Ho and SJM Holdings
Stanley Ho Hung-sun was born on the 25th of November in 1921 in Hong Kong. He studied in Hong Kong at Queen’s College. Later on, he attended the University of Hong Kong after receiving a scholarship. Unfortunately, his college years were abruptly cut short following the World War II outbreak. Several years later, he made his very first fortune by smuggling luxury items across the country while in 1943 Stanley Ho set up his kerosene and construction company.
When it comes to his fruitful career in the casino gambling industry in Macau, Stanley Ho alongside his partners Henry Fok, Teddy Yip and Yip Hon won the public tender for the former Portuguese enclave’s gaming license back in 1961. That same year, his company was renamed to STDM or Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau.
Nine years later, the Casino Lisboa venue owned and operated by his company opened its doors. Built in the late sixties, the complex featured almost one thousand rooms before the complex was enriched with over one thousand new rooms. The company which owns and manages the property was founded fifty-eight years ago in 1962. After its gambling monopoly in Macau was broken, twenty-two of forty-one casinos are owned by the STDM firm.
Fruitful Career Which Has Spanned Decades
As previously mentioned, Stanley Ho made his first fortune by smuggling luxury goods during World War II. He started by trading goods between his home town and Macau which at the time was neutral while Hong Kong was occupied. His company STDM won the monopoly over the Macau casino gambling industry back in 1962 before being broken in 2002 when the government of Macau finally started issuing more licensing to other operators.
Today, the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau firm is one of six fully licensed gambling operators in Macau. While it does not hold a monopoly over the industry, it has still managed to garner over fourteen percent of the local gross gaming revenues last year including a massive ten percent share of the industry’s most lucrative VIP gross gaming revenues.
Stanley Ho was definitely one of the most influential individuals in the world of casino gaming who is responsible for transforming the former Portuguese enclave into one of the most popular gambling destinations in the world. He retired from the gambling industry two years ago even though he has relinquished control over his company and related businesses some nine years ago when he suffered brain damage.
After three complex brain operations, Stanley Ho remained the most important figure in the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau firm while three of his seventeen children Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, Daisy Ho Chiu Fung, and Pansy Ho Chiu King claimed senior positions at Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited, SJM Holdings Limited, and MGM China Holdings Limited respectively.