Controversial Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho transferred nearly his entire ownership stake in his Macau casinos to family members, giving up control of the gaming operation.
In a filing Monday with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, SJM Holdings said Ho, 89, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, no longer has an “attributable interest” in the casino company.
International law enforcement authorities have long alleged that Chinese organized crime triads influenced the Macau casinos operated by Ho.
The billionaire had a government granted monopoly on Macau gambling activities for almost 40 years until the Portuguese colony control was transferred to China at the end of 1999.
Mr. Ho held a decades-long monopoly on Macau’s gambling market until the industry was opened to competitors such as U.S.-based operators Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. in 2002. But his company is still the largest player in terms of revenue, consistently garnering more than a 30% share. Macau generated four times the gambling revenue of the Las Vegas Strip in 2010.
Check out Steve Wynn’s opening ceremony for the Wynn Macau: