Last month Stanley Ho, the Hong Kong-born gambling magnate, announced plans to tear down his flagship Lisboa casino and hotel and build his biggest and most opulent showcase yet, at a cost of $1.54 billion. The amazing 86-year-old also pushed through a long-delayed initial public offering for the company he controls, SJM Holdings, raising $494 million.
Since 2002, when this former Portuguese colony allowed others to break into Stanley Ho’s longtime monopoly here, Las Vegas heavyweights have had massive casinos built.
The combined gambling revenue for all Macau’s casinos increased 80% to $10.3 billion between 2005 and 2007, making it bigger than Atlantic City and the Las Vegas Strip combined.
Over the same period, revenue at SJM’s operating subsidiary, Sociedade De Jogos de Macau, fell to $4.1 billion from $4.3 billion, as business dropped off at its older, comparatively cramped casinos.
SJM owns 19 of Macau’s 29 casinos and 29% of the market’s gambling revenues. Las Vegas Sands, which owns two casinos, is close behind with 21%.
SJM and Stanley Ho, its chairman, are now going on the offensive.