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Stricter Government Gambling Policies and Covid-19 Restrictions Affect Hong Kong Billionaires’ Wealth in 2021 and 2022

Recently, Forbes revealed that the wealth of several Hong Kong billionaires, who have been known for their close connections with casino resorts in Macau, has been reduced by various factors, including travel and tourism restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak and the downward pressure on the stock prices of Macau casino companies.

According to reports, on September 15th, 2021, the so-called market cap (a.k.a. aggregate market capitalization) of Hong Kong-listed entities associated with the 6 casino license holders in the special administrative region had declined by a total of 26%, or over $18 billion. The market cap reduction coincided with the proposed changes to the gambling legislation framework that were officially unveiled on the previous day, September 14th, and so far have not managed to compensate for the lost market value.

As CasinoGamesPro previously reported, the governments of both mainland China and the special administrative region of Macau have been considering the implementation of stricter measures to tackle the negative impact of the local gambling industry, including a ban on casino credit lending practices of Macau junket operators. The more restrictive policy of the local governments has undoubtedly affected the wealth of most casino and gambling moguls in the region.

As mentioned above, the proposed changes and the losses revealed by the companies also saw some negative effects on the wealth of a number of Hong Kong billionaires.

An Array of Hong Kong Billionaires Suffer Net Worth Decline Since the Beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Earlier this year, Forbes released its “Hong Kong’s 50 Richest” list, according to which several billionaires in the region have seen their net worth shrink considerably.

Henry Cheng Kar Shun and his family are still the third richest in this year’s Forbes list, with their overall net worth being estimated at $26.4 billion. The Cheng family is widely known for its holding of various businesses and investments, which range from hospitality and property development to jewelry. The family is also known as an investor in casino resort projects in Australia, Vietnam, and the Bahamas.

At the time when the list was published, it became clear that the net worth of Galaxy Entertainment Group’s chair, Lui Che Woo, has fallen by 5 billion from $17.8 billion a year earlier to $12.8 billion. Mr. Lui, who is also the chair of the Hong Kong-listed property developer K. Wah International Holdings, fell from the fifth to eighth position by net worth in just a year but still remains the richest one of the Macau casino entrepreneurs based in Hong Kong.

Another Hong Kong billionaire, the co-chair of MGM China Holdings – Pansy Ho Chiu King – also saw her net worth decline over a year, from $4.1 billion to $3.4 billion. While occupying the 25th position in the list in 2021, she is now 28th. Ms. Ho is the daughter of the late Stanley Ho – one of the most popular tycoons in the gambling sector and a former Macau monopolist. She also chairs Shun Tak Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed hospitality, property and shipping conglomerate that holds investments in various real estate projects and hotels in Macau and used to run ferry services between Macau and Hong Kong before the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fourth consort of Stanley Ho that currently co-chairs SJM Holdings – Angela Leong On Kei – who is also a Macau lawmaker, has been ranked 33rd in the 2022 Forbes list, with a net worth of $2.9 billion. She also saw her wealth decline over the past year, as her net worth was estimated at $3.3 billion in 2021.

Melco Resorts’ Downfall Drags Down Laurence Ho’s New Worth

The CEO and chair of Melco Resorts and Entertainment – Laurence Ho – has also been affected by restrictions on the tourism and travel restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. He occupied the 46th position in the 2022 “Hong Kong’s 50 Richest” list of Forbes after his net worth declined from $1.99 billion a year ago to $1.25 billion.

Once made extraordinarily rich by the iconic Melco Resorts, Lawrence Ho, who is a son of late “King of Gambling” Stanley Ho by his second consort, has now almost lost his billionaire tag.

According to the latest financial filings of Melco Resorts, Laurence Ho owns about 813 million ordinary shares in the Macau casino group, which is almost 56% of the entire outstanding shares in the company. Unfortunately, the overall fortune of Mr. Ho has been greatly devalued since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak and that is understandable, considering the fact that no other casino market has been hit harder than Macau by Covid-19. The company’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) fell from $36.5 billion in 2019 to only $7.5 billion in 2020, which represents a staggering 80% decline. In 2021, the company’s performance was slightly better, with its overall gross gaming revenue totaling $10.8 billion.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.