Is Stanley Ho, The Casino King of Macau, Easing into His Slippers?

Posted on January 7th, 2011

Multi Billionaire and Casino King Stanley Ho has transferred the control of a big slice of his gambling empire in Macau to his 4th wife, Angela Leong.

Ms. Leong is the new managing director of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau SA, which owns the gambling license for Hong Kong-listed SJM Holdings Ltd., Macau’s biggest casino player by revenue.

Ms. Leong’s appointment was approved by the board on December 30 and was effective straight away. This marks the latest step in a transfer of power in the gambling giant that owns 20 casinos controlled by the 89-year-old, who enjoyed a 40 year gambling monopoly until 2002 and whose health has been deteriorating. Since that time, gambling revenue in Macau has been soaring as rich Chinese head to the former Portuguese enclave to bet. Macau now eclipses Las Vegas in revenue. In 2010, gambling revenue went up an astonishing 58% to 188.34 billion Macau patacas ($22 billion). Las Vegas companies like Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands Corp. now earn more of their revenue in Asia and are concentrating ever more on Asia. The future of gambling is looking redder and redder.

Ms. Leong is an executive director of SJM Holdings and has her own business empire as well. She plans to spend $1.3 billion building a family-friendly theme park to diversify Macau´s offerering beyond baccarat and sic bo.

Earlier, Mr. Ho transferred a 12% stake in property firm Shun Tak Holdings Ltd., to a company controlled by his three daughters—Pansy Ho, Daisy Ho and Maisy Ho—each of whom own 20%.

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