Macau Gambling Tycoon Stanley Ho Dies at Age 98

Stanley Ho, the man credited with transforming Macau from a sleepy former Portuguese colony into one of the world’s gambling meccas, has died at the age of 98. His daughter, Pansy, said Ho died Tuesday at a hospital in his native Hong Kong. The son of a once-influential and wealthy Hong Kong family who lost their fortune in the Great Depression of the 1930s, Stanley Ho escaped to Macau during World War Two when Japanese forces captured Hong Kong.  He built his fortune smuggling luxury goods from Macau to China, turning that into a successful trading company.  Ho’s gambling empire began when he successfully bid for a casino monopoly from Portuguese authorities in 1962.  He built a harbor to ferry high-stakes gamblers from Hong Kong to his casino, and also had stakes in numerous businesses in the enclave, including department stores, luxury hotels and horse racing tracks.   By the time China gained control of Macau and opened it to foreign competition in 2002, Ho had become notorious not only for his wealth but his flamboyant lifestyle, his love of ballroom dancing and the 17 children he fathered with four wives.  He was forced to restructure his business in 2012 after a legal battle broke out within the family. Ho was also dogged by allegations that he had ties to Chinese criminal gangs known as triads, which he denied.  


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