This year marked the end of a long partnership between Lawrence Ho and fellow casino tycoon James Packer. Crown Resorts, of which Packer is the largest shareholder, confirmed in May that it was selling off its stake in Ho’s Melco Resorts & Entertainment for about $987 million. Ho is claiming responsibility for the split, saying in a statement: “Despite our positive history with Crown, I made the strategic decision to terminate the joint venture arrangement and allow Melco to pursue Japan alone. This highlights our confidence in and commitment to, identifying and evaluating new markets which will drive long-term shareholder value.”
Ho, 40, is the scion of Hong Kong’s first family of gambling but grew up in Canada, attended the University of Toronto and worked in investment banking before taking over the family business, Melco Group. His father, Stanley Ho, has been nicknamed “The King of Gambling,” referring to the government-granted monopoly he held on the Macau gambling industry for 40 years. When Melco Crown Entertainment publicly listed on Nasdaq in 2006, it was the fourth-largest IPO in the U.S. that year. Melco Group owns several other gaming companies in addition to Melco Crown, through which it builds and operates gambling resorts across Asia and beyond. In late November 2015, another Ho-controlled company, Summit Ascent, opened its first Russian casino, the $500-million Tigre de Cristal in Vladivostok. The company says it is evaluating potential future development spots in Spain and Cyprus.
Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017