Even as 85-year-old Macau gambling mogul Stanley Ho is in hospital undergoing treatment for constipation and an injured rectum, the word is out that Macau has overtaken Las Vegas as the world’s biggest casino draw. Macau’s 22 casinos raked in over US$7 billion last year while Las Vegas’ 40 casinos lagged behind at US$6.6 billion.
A few hours away, Singapore has also placed its bets on the gaming market. In 2005, the government lifted a 40-year ban on casinos, attracting $6.6 billion of investment from Las Vegas Sands and Malaysia’s Genting after a highly competitive bidding process. To fund the construction of its resort in the southern island of Sentosa, Genting announced a partnership with Stanley Ho which would give it a foothold in the Macau market and Ho an indirect stake in the Singapore resort — a move which upset Singapore’s squeaky clean authorities, ostensibly for his links to the underworld and money laundering. Ho is also an avowed polygamist with four wives and 17 children.
After Singapore’s casino regulator voiced its displeasure and publicly announced that the issuance of a casino license was a “separate matter” from winning the rights to develop an “integrated resort”, Genting shares plummeted before it eventually announced it would end its partnership with Stanley Ho.
One wonders if that had anything to do with the old man’s constipation?
Image of Macau casinos from maddestmouse.