Meet Stanley Ho, Macau’s King of Gambling


Stanley Ho, a towering figure in the world of casinos and entertainment, is often referred to as the “King of Gambling.” As the patriarch of the Ho family and the founder of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM), Ho played a pivotal role in transforming the small fishing port of Macau into the “Las Vegas of Asia.” With his astute business acumen, charismatic personality, and remarkable entrepreneurial spirit, Stanley Ho left an indelible mark on the gaming industry.

Early Life and Education

Stanley Ho Hung-sun was born on November 25, 1921, in Hong Kong. He hailed from a wealthy and influential family of Chinese and Portuguese descent. His father, Charles Henry Maurice Bosman Ho, was a renowned businessman and owner of a well-established shipping company. Ho’s early years were shaped by the affluence and cosmopolitan atmosphere of Hong Kong.

Ho’s education took him to Hong Kong University, where he studied commerce. However, his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. During the war, he fled to Macau, seeking refuge from the conflict. It was in Macau that Ho’s entrepreneurial journey would begin.

The Rise of the Casino Empire

After the war, Stanley Ho seized the opportunity to transform Macau’s fledgling gaming industry. In 1961, he secured a government-granted monopoly on all forms of gambling in Macau, establishing STDM. Under Ho’s leadership, STDM became the driving force behind Macau’s transformation into a thriving hub of entertainment and casinos.

Ho’s flagship casino, the Lisboa, opened its doors in 1970 and quickly became a symbol of luxury and extravagance. The Lisboa set the standard for casinos in Macau, offering a diverse range of games, high-quality entertainment, and world-class hospitality. Its success laid the foundation for Ho’s subsequent ventures and cemented his status as a gambling magnate.

Expansion and Diversification

With the success of the Lisboa, Stanley Ho continued to expand his empire, adding several more casinos to his portfolio. He developed partnerships with international gaming companies and attracted high-profile investors, further bolstering Macau’s reputation as a premier gambling destination. His ventures included the Casino Lisboa and Oriental, the Hotel Estoril-Sol, and the Casino Jai Alai.

Recognizing the potential for growth beyond Macau, Ho ventured into other regions. He established a presence in Australia, where he operated the Crown Perth and the Crown Melbourne casinos. Additionally, Ho expanded his reach into the Philippines, Vietnam, and North Korea, solidifying his status as a global gaming tycoon.

Philanthropy and Legacy

Stanley Ho’s success in the gaming industry allowed him to engage in philanthropic activities and support various charitable causes. He established the Stanley Ho Foundation, which focuses on educational, medical, and cultural initiatives. Ho also donated significant amounts to universities, hospitals, and other institutions.

Ho’s contributions to society extended beyond philanthropy. He played a crucial role in the development of Macau as a Special Administrative Region of China, working closely with the government to ensure its continued success as a global gaming hub. His entrepreneurial endeavors and vision transformed Macau’s economy, making it one of the wealthiest regions in the world.

Challenges and Retirement

Stanley Ho’s career was not without its challenges. In 2009, he suffered a severe fall and was hospitalized for several months, leading to speculation about his health and the future of his empire. In subsequent years, his health continued to decline, prompting him to step down from his positions within STDM and its subsidiaries.

Despite his retirement, Stanley Ho’s impact on the gaming industry and Macau’s development remains profound. His entrepreneurial spirit, strategic vision, and unwavering determination have left an enduring legacy. Today, Macau continues to thrive as a global gaming destination, attracting millions of visitors each year and contributing significantly to the region’s economy.


Stanley Ho’s journey from a privileged upbringing to becoming the “King of Gambling” is a testament to his remarkable business acumen and unyielding ambition. His entrepreneurial endeavors transformed Macau into a world-class gaming and entertainment hub, putting it on par with renowned destinations like Las Vegas. Beyond his business achievements, Ho’s philanthropic efforts and dedication to his community solidify his legacy as a visionary leader and a driving force behind Macau’s success.

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Isaac covers the gambling industry and works hard to cover everything from the Vegas scene to various gaming options available through the internet.


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