Ailing Ho turns over casinos to family

Jan 24, 2011 4:55 PM

Four decades of gambling dominance in Macau have come to an end as Stanley Ho, chairman and CEO of SJK Holdings, announced on Monday that he has given up most of his "attributable interest" in the company to members of his extended family.

The change was not unexpected since the 89-year-old gaming mogul has never fully recovered from brain surgery that followed a serious fall in June of 2009.

Read more Casino Industry stories.

Despite the announcement that the transfers would not affect the operation of the company, shares on the Hong Kong exchange fell sharply during Monday’s trading.

Benefiting from the transfer is Lanceford Co., which becomes the single largest shareholder in Sociedade de Tourismo e Diversoes de Macau. The company is 50.5 percent controlled by Chan Un-chan, Ho’s third wife.

Chan’s five children – Pansy, Daisy, Maisy, Josie and Lawrence – split the remaining 49.5 percent.

Last month, Stanley Ho gave his fourth wife, Angela Leong, a major share of his financial holdings and appointed her managing director of SJM Holdings.

One analyst said Monday’s action was consistent with Ho’s recent moves to get his affairs in order.

SJM Holdings’ casino flagship, Grand Lisboa Hotel, which was featured in the James Bond film, "The Man with the Golden Gun," continues to dominate the Macau gaming scene. In all, the 18 casinos operated by SJM Holdings hold 32 percent market share of the world’s biggest gaming venue.