Several casino tycoons and entrepreneurs with Asian gaming interests have seen shrinkage in the estimate of their worth, according to the annual wealth-ranking list published on Tuesday by U.S.-based magazine Forbes.
Forbes said it was the “second year in a decade” that the number of global billionaires and their total wealth had shrunk in the face of economic headwinds. Those among Asia-Pacific’s rich took the hardest hit, with “60 fewer 10-figure fortunes”. The latest count by the magazine put the number of billionaires worldwide at 2,153, compared to the tally at 2,208 a year ago.
Sheldon Adelson (pictured in a file photo), chairman and chief executive of casino developer Las Vegas Sands Corp, which operates venues in Macau and one in Singapore as well as in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States, remained the richest among the world’s gaming billionaires, despite falling three positions in the overall ranking.
Mr Adelson ranked 24th among billionaires worldwide in the Forbes 2019 World’s Billionaires list with an estimated net worth of US$35.1 billion. It was a US$3.4-billion decrease – or 8.83 percent – on his 2018 estimated net worth of US$38.5 billion.
Lui Che Woo, founder and chairman of Macau gaming operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, remained in second spot among the richest gaming billionaires, with an estimated US$14.6 billion, down from US$20.1 billion last year. Mr Lui’s ranking in the global list declined from 50th last year to 82nd this year, according to Forbes.
Johann Graf, founder and an owner of Austrian gaming equipment maker Novomatic Group, is again ranked as the third-richest gaming billionaire in the world. Mr Graf is worth an estimated US$8.1 billion, positioned 181st in this year’s overall list, up from 186th in 2018.
Members of the Ho gaming dynasty – Pansy Ho Chiu King and her younger sibling Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, both saw their wealth shrink, according to this year’s list.They are children of Stanley Ho Hung Sun, who formerly had a monopoly position in the Macau casino market prior to market liberalisation in 2002.
Ms Pansy Ho, co-chairperson of Macau casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd, was ranked 413rd in this year’s Forbes list, worth about US$4.6 billion, down from US$5.3 billion last year. She was ranked 365th in last year’s global list.
Mr Lawrence Ho, chairman and chief executive of Asian casino operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, ranked this year in 1008th place with an estimated US$2.3 billion, compared to 965th place and US$2.5 billion in 2018.
Angela Leong On Kei, fourth consort of Mr Stanley Ho and a director of SJM Holdings Ltd, appeared in 478th place in this year’s overall list, up from 606th place last year. She is worth an estimated US$4.1 billion, compared to US$3.7 billion in the 2018 list, said Forbes.
Global gaming investors
Chen Lip Keong, founder, chief executive and controlling shareholder of Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp Ltd, saw his ranking soar to 355th in this year’s list from 703rd last year. The Malaysian businessman is worth an estimated US$5 billion, compared to US$3.3 billion last year.
Lim Kok Thay, chairman and chief executive of Malaysia-based gaming group Genting Bhd, ranked 436th this year, worth of an estimated US$4.4 billion, compared to US$4.7 billion last year.
James Packer – one of the largest shareholders in Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd – ranked 597th in the Forbes list this year, worth of an estimated US$3.6 billion, as compared to US$4.1 billion last year.
Steve Wynn, who resigned last year as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd and of Macau casino developer Wynn Macau Ltd amid allegations of sexual misconduct – denied by him – saw his wealth slide from US$3.4 billion in 2018 to US$3 billion this year. He was ranked 745th in this year’s Forbes list, compared to 679th place last year. Mr Wynn’s ex-wife, Elaine Wynn, saw her ranking in the list fall to 1,116th place this year with an estimated worth of US$2.1 billion.
Japanese casino and pachinko mogul Kazuo Okada saw his net worth decrease to US$2.0 billion, from US$3.0 billion in 2018. Mr Okada saw his ranking plunge to 1,168th this year, from 791st place in last year’s list.
Teddy Sagi, co-founder of Playtech Plc, a provider of software and content for the online, mobile and land-based gaming industries, ranked 546th this year with an estimated worth of US$3.8 billion, up from 679th place in last year’s Forbes list.
Cui Li Jie, chairwoman of Saipan casino investor Imperial Pacific Holdings Ltd, and who was on the 2018 Forbes list, is absent from this year’s rankings.
According to Forbes, Jeff Bezos, founder and boss of online giant Amazon.com Inc, remained at the top of the 2019 list. Mr Bezos’ fortune stood at US$131 billion, up from US$112 billion last year.
Microsoft Corp founder Bill Gates remained in second place, with an estimated wealth of US$96.5 billion, up from US$90 billion last year. U.S.-based investor Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, ranked third with an estimated US$82.5 billion, a net worth that has actually shrunk from US$84 billion last year.
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"We made that decision… to move away at this point in time from a permanent resident show, to a… variety of shows"
Chief executive of Macau casino operator MGM China