One of the most famous names in casino gaming, Stanley Ho, has retired as chairman and executive director of his SJM Holdings company at the age of 96.
Ho has built a chain of casinos in Macau but his name remains with the company as his daughter Daisy Ho has now taken over the helm.
She faces competition from some major casino companies in the form of Sheldon Adelson and Lui Che Woo.
Stanley Ho, who was born into an affluent family in Hong Kong, went from riches to rags and back to riches again as he and his family survived the Great Depression and the invasion of Hong Kong by Japan in the Second World War. He went into business but entered the casino industry in 1962, when he was at the head of a consortium that won the only gaming licence in Macau from the government. The city was a Portuguese colony at the time.
Ho had the exclusive rights over gambling in Macau for 40 years up to 2002, when Macau was opened up to foreigners and attracted names like Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn.
Among Ho’s casinos was the landmark Lisboa, opened in 1970, and the Grand Lisboa, opened in 2007. His other business interests included shipping, property and hospitality
Ho has had four wives and fathered 17 children, of whom four are running companies on his behalf. Daisy Ho is taking over her father’s role at SJM, but Pansy Ho is taking over as chair of Shun Tak Holdings and is co-chair at MGM China Holdings. Stanley’s son, Lawrence, heads Melco International operating the City of Dreams, Studio City and Altira Macau.
Of immediate concern for Daisy Ho is the projected Grand Lisboa Palace casino resort, opening in Cotai. She has been a director of SJM for a year, but has also been deputy managing director and CFO at Shun Tak Holdings since 1999.
Stanley Ho has now been named as chairman emeritus of SJM. The group now operates 20 casinos with over 1,700 gaming tables and 2,400 slots.