Ho, after having secured a monopoly licence as far back as 1961, completely transformed the regional city of Macau, a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, into the popular gambling destination and high-rollers heaven it is today. Ho famously wasted no time becoming the pioneering gambling figure he had been up until his recent passing, and, following the issuing of the mentioned casino licence, laid a solid foundation for his SJM Holdings’ business activities in all of Macanese territory.
Gambling Man – But No Gambler
Ho had been furnished the licence to develop a casino/gaming venue towards the end of Portuguese rule in Hong Kong in the early 1960s. SJM Holdings, along with other well-known now-global gambling groups; including the Galaxy Entertainment Group, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, Sands China, Wynn Macau and MGM China Holdings; had each at the time received one or more licenses. Ho’s SJM Holdings today operates 20 of the 38 casinos doing business in the Chinese administrative region.
Ironic however is that Ho during a rare interview granted a few years back, proclaimed himself not a fan of gambling – or at least not from a gambler’s perspective. To Ho, the casino industry was strictly business, and knowing that gambling is a house game and that the house generally won, instead of engaging in games himself, was what had interested Ho in the industry in the first place.
A Complicated Family Life
In fact, Ho had a keen interest in business and investments in general. His privately-owned Sociedad de Turismo a Diversoes de Macau (STDM) owns investment shares various local businesses. These include luxury hotel line the Macau Jokey Club as well as several helicopters and transportation and conveying ferries.
Ho is survived by three prominently known children but reportedly leaves behind as many as 17 in total, born to 4 women he would apparently regularly refer to as his wives. His family life was not without its ups and downs, prompting the casino mogul to in 2012 embark on a complete restructure of the majority of his companies so as to ensure his ongoing ownership and executive directive.