Whether through a decline in stock prices or falling revenues in Macau, the world’s biggest single-jurisdiction casino gaming market, a number of casino tycoons and entrepreneurs have slipped in the latest wealth rankings from U.S.-based magazine Forbes. Among them are several billionaires linked to Macau’s gaming industry.
Sheldon Adelson (pictured), chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp, fell out of the top ten of the 2015 Forbes’ Billionaires’ list, according to the rankings released on Monday. Mr Adelson, who will become CEO of Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd from Friday, plunged 10 places to 18th spot as his net worth dropped by US$6.6 billion to an estimated US$31.4 billion, Forbes said.
Lui Che Woo, founder and chairman of gaming operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, fell more than 50 places to 82nd in this year’s list. His net worth dropped from an estimated US$22 billion last year to US$13.5 billion this year, Forbes said.
Mr Lui’s fortune plunged as Macau’s casino stocks were hit by falling revenue in the city’s gaming industry. Galaxy Entertainment’s stock fell 36 percent in 2014 from its value as of end-2013, according to data from Reuters.
Mr Lui is the 5th richest person in Hong Kong, according to Forbes’ list.
Cheng Yu Tung is now the highest-placed among Hong Kong entrepreneurs with sizeable casino interests, with a net worth estimated at US$14.4 billion putting him as the 71st richest person in the world, according to Forbes.
Mr Cheng’s wealth is more diversified, although he also saw about US$1.8 billion swiped from his fortune since last year. Mr Cheng, who heads Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd, has shown interest in investing in a casino resort in South Korea.
Members of the Ho family – Pansy Ho Chiu King and Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, children of Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung Sun – also saw their wealth shrink in 2014.
Pansy Ho, co-chairperson of Macau casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd, lost an estimated US$1.4 billion and was ranked 309th in this year’s Forbes’ list, worth about US$5 billion.
Lawrence Ho, co-chairman and chief executive of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, was ranked 949th with an estimated fortune of US$2 billion.
Angela Leong On Kei, fourth consort of Stanley Ho and a director of SJM Holdings Ltd, showed up in 1,118th place, worth an estimated US$1.7 billion, down by more than US$1 billion from the previous year.
Also with hefty investment in Asia’s gaming industry, Steve Wynn, chairman of Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts Ltd and of Macau casino developer Wynn Macau Ltd, dropped more than a hundred spots in this year’s list. Mr Wynn’s net worth fell by US$400 million to an estimated US$3.4 billion, which places him in the 512th spot.
Billionaire James Packer, a partner in Hong Kong-listed Melco Crown and chairman of Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd, fell to 291st place, with a fortune of US$5.2 billion.
While most entrepreneurs with casino interests fell in this year’s list, heading in the other direction were two businessmen from the Philippines.
Henry Sy, patriarch of the Philippines’ richest family, climbed a few positions and was ranked 73rd in the 2015 Forbes’ Billionaires’ list, worth US$14.2 billion. Mr Sy is a partner – via one of the subsidiaries of his SM Group – in the venture that officially opened the City of Dreams Manila casino resort in February.
Industrialist and tycoon Enrique Razon, who heads Manila-based casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp, saw his wealth increase by an estimated US$1 billion to US$5.2 billion, which places him in 291st in this year’s list, said Forbes.
The wealth of Mr Razon and that of Mr Sy is more diversified than many of the other casino investors included in the list.
Also making the rankings was Pollyanna Chu Yuet Wah, chief executive of Hong Kong-listed Kingston Financial Group Ltd, with an estimated US$1.6 billion. Financial services firm Kingston in 2005 bought the Casa Real casino hotel on Macau peninsula. It also operates the Grandview on Taipa. Both are run via the gaming licence of SJM Holdings.
Japanese casino and pachinko mogul Kazuo Okada also made the cut, with an estimated fortune of US$1.3 billion, according to Forbes.
The ranks of the world’s wealthiest expanded to 1,826 people this year, including 290 new billionaires, Forbes said. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp, stands atop Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s richest people, with a net worth of US$79.2 billion.
Mexico telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim Helu ranked second, worth US$77.1 billion, while Berkshire Hathaway Inc chief Warren Buffett was third, at US$72.7 billion.
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings