The stunning success of gambling and casinos in Asia can be attributed to the efforts of one man, Stanley Ho, who single-handedly transformed Macau into the Las Vegas of the east. However, his triumphs did not come easy.
The future tycoon was actually born (1921) into a wealthy family, but the fortunes of his family suffered greatly in the 1930s, as the depression that began in the United States affected the rest of the world. By 1934 the Ho family was bankrupt, and their father abandoned them, and Stanley was left alone with his mother and two sisters, as his two brothers killed themselves.
The future king of gambling began on his road to success by achieving excellence in school. He got a scholarship, and learned to speak several languages, including English, Japanese and Portuguese. In 1941, he left Hong Kong for Macau and began working for a trading company.
On one business trip, their ship was struck by pirates, and Ho’s associates were murdered. However, he not only managed to kill all the robbers when he got one of their guns, but he was able to sail back with the products intact. For this act of bravery, he was awarded a million dollars.
Stanley Ho used the money to get into construction and then he used the money he earned there to get into casinos. Correctly sensing the potential for Macau to be a gambling and entertainment center, Ho teamed up with other businessmen in a bid to turn Macao into the gaming capital of Asia.
Since his casino and gambling empire began in the early 1960s, Macau has indeed become the one stop location for all gamblers, tourists to high rollers, in Asia. In the process he became one of the wealthiest men in the world, with a fortune estimated at over $8 billion.
Yet he has not rested on his laurels; In 2007 alone the gross revenue for all casino activities in Macau topped over $10 billion, a majority of which came from his conglomerate companies, and he is continuously expanding his operations.
The works of Stanley Ho have encouraged other businessmen to get into the same venture, and as a result gambling in Asia is growing, with most analysts predicting a yearly rise of 15% in casino growth from 2005 up to 2010. Even Singapore, known for its strict policies, has seen the income potential from this resource, and has announced plans to develop several mega resort casinos.
Since 2005, other Asian countries have followed Stanley Ho’s lead, with businessmen from Taiwan and South Korea relaxing their stance against gambling, as governments realize that not only will this bring in additional revenue, but also generate employment.
Even with the arrival of competitors, the gambling empire of Stanley Ho continues to thrive. As Macau continues its ascent to new heights, expect Asia’s casino king to be right up there at the top.