Macao’s Billionaire ‘King of Gambling’ Stanley Ho Passes Away at 98

Stanley Ho, nicknamed the “King of Gambling,” a multi-billionaire, philanthropist, and the force behind the world’s largest gambling empire on the island of Macau, has died at 98.

“My father has passed away peacefully just now at around 1pm at Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital,” Ho’s daughter Pansy told reporters via BBC News.

Why this matters: Ho was born into one of Hong Kong’s most affluent clans, the Hotung family, and was of Eurasian descent. However, the family later fled to what would become Asia’s Las Vegas because of WWII turmoil. From there he started with little to nothing (only 10 Hong Kong dollars) and worked as a smuggler where he made his first million dollars at the age of 24, and gradually fell into the gambling business.

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What they’re saying: Although it hasn’t been confirmed what the gambling tycoon may have died from, he suffered from health complications since a fall in 2009 that resulted in brain surgery and his noticeable removal from the public eye.

  • A known polygamist, Ho had four wives and a total of 17 children, who were at one point in 2011, vying for stakes in the family fortune.
  • The casinos continue to pull a substantially high cash flow and contribute to “over 80 percent of Macau’s revenues, AFP reports.
  • With the “King” of said empire passing, tensions are estimated to revamp for the $14.9 billion fortune, Bloomberg reports.

Despite his reputation, Ho was not a gambler himself, according to Reuters.

“I have always told my children and my good friends: ‘For God’s sake, never gamble heavily and if you can avoid it, don’t ever gamble,’” he said.

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Feature Image via Getty

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