Macau’s gambling community is mourning the recent death of 98-year-old Macau business mogul and casino billionaire Stanley Ho, who not only famously became known as the ‘King of Gambling’, but also proved a tremendously quaint study in irony when he in a rare interview granted to a major news broadcasting network a few years ago, boldly proclaimed himself a gambling man who had never in his natural life ever gambled even a single cent on cards, slot
Ho’s voyage seems remarkably similar to that of the late Clement Freud, at least in terms of giving up some of life’s small pleasures. Throughout his literary career, Freud contributed opinion and popular socioeconomic culture articles to the Observer. Freud famously wrote in a 1964 column that if a person resolved to quit smoking, drinking, and loving, he or she would not truly live longer than the average person – it would only appear that he or she had.
Preserved By Love
Who knows how much longer life on earth must have appeared to Ho, who ran the race all the way to age 98 without placing a single wager? On the other hand, with four wives and seventeen (or even nineteen!) offspring, 98 years could have felt like a matter of months to the beloved non-gambling-casino monarch.
A plethora of divergent opinions have been circulating on the Internet and social media regarding the specific factors that made the legendary Stanley Ho the undisputed monarch he was until his recent demise. There is, however, a single silver thread that runs through the entire melee, and that is the story of a man who, having been born the ninth of 13 children and having been bankrupted along with the rest of his family by the Great Depression, was forced to overcome life’s many obstacles and forge a path for himself and his future family.
How Kings Are Created
But what would have motivated Stanley Ho to accomplish the level of incredible wealth and success that he did? In 2004, Ho gave outsiders a rare glimpse into a life created from ashes and heartache when he revealed that two of his brothers had committed suicide and that the pain he endured and the lessons he learned from these tragic events had inspired his own desire and determination to stand on his own two feet, ensure that he received an education by improving his grades, and eventually earn a scholarship to Hong Kong University.
Despite his determination to accomplish all of these goals, Ho was compelled to abandon his studies at the Hong Kong University he had fought so hard to enter in 1941, when Japan was invaded by the British on Christmas. Ho saw no alternative but to escape to Macau, which he did accordingly.
And it was in Macau that Ho discovered his passion for casinos, business, and entrepreneurship. During the early years of World War II, he made a fortune transporting luxury goods across the border between China and Macau. Eventually, he established a construction business that flourished during the post-war Hong Kong building and construction boom.