Macau Future Uncertain; Ho Undergoes SurgeryPublished September 14, 2009
87-year-old casino tycoon is in stable condition after undergoing surgery in August.
Octogenarian entrepreneur Stanley Ho's battle with poor health has increased speculation about the future of the Macau casino industry.
The 87-year-old has dominated the casino industry in the Chinese Special Administrative Region, but has recovered to a stable condition since undergoing surgery in August after reportedly tripping and hitting his head at home.
As his health has deteriorated, so have shares in his casino firm Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, and it has also led to speculation amongst industry experts about a change in Asia's casino haven.
Zeng Zhonglu, a locally based expert in the casino industry, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: "Since Macau opened its markets to foreign investors the era of Stanley Ho has been diminishing gradually.
"I don't think there will be another figure like Stanley Ho - that time has gone."
According to AP, SJM's share of Macau gaming revenue decreased from 74.7 percent in 2005 after the first foreign-run casino on the peninsula opened, to 39.9% in 2007.
However, these numbers are still significant in what is arguably the biggest casino haven on the planet. After opening its doors to foreign casino operators, Macau overtook Las Vegas in the number one position in 2006 to take in an estimated $6.87 billion in total.