CO-CHAIRMAN AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
SJM Holdings Ltd
MANAGING DIRECTOR AND CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A.
POWER SCORE: 2,097
POSITION LAST YEAR: 6
CLAIMS TO FAME
• De facto gaming industry representative in Macau Legislative Assembly
• Stanley Ho’s fourth wife
• Owns largest individual stake in SJM Holdings
IF safety in numbers was universally applied to Macau’s gaming industry then SJM Holdings – the casino operating vehicle of Stanley Ho’s Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, SA (STDM) – would still dominate market share.
Of the 41 casinos currently operational in the Macau SAR, 22 come under the SJM umbrella including its flagship property, Grand Lisboa, plus three “self-promoted” casinos – Casino Lisboa, Casino Oceanus at Jai Alai and Casino Taipa – and 18 satellite casinos which are run by outside entities under SJM’s license.
But SJM’s lack of a Cotai presence continues to bite.
More than 20 months since MGM became the fifth of Macau’s six concessionaires to open its flashy new Cotai resort, SJM continues to lag behind on completion of the long-awaited Grand Lisboa Palace. And there isn’t any immediate reprieve in sight either, with the company having announced in early September that opening of the HK$39 billion property – the cost having been revised up from HK$36 billion – has now been pushed back to late 2020.
The result has been the continued loss of market share, with analysts reporting SJM had slipped to 14.1% as of 2Q19, down from 15.5% a year earlier and well below its one-time peak in the low-to-mid 20s.
There is also the small matter of how SJM’s leadership structure will look once Grand Lisboa Palace does get up and running. In January, Pansy Ho – one of Stanley Ho’s five children to second wife Lucina Laam – led the formation of a five-way alliance between STDM shareholders which ensured a combined 53% stake in STDM and subsequent majority rule over the fortunes of SJM, of which it in turn owns 54%. Representatives of the alliance subsequently secured six of the 10 seats on SJM’s board.
Yet, potential power plays aside, Angela Leong – Dr Ho’s fourth wife and for many years one of the region’s most influential women – still holds significant sway within both SJM and Macau as a whole.
Already SJM’s largest individual shareholder, she continues to guide the company’s day-to-day direction as Co-Chairman and Executive Director – a role she assumed in 2018 following the retirement of her husband.
Leong also holds plenty of influence when it comes to local politics, having been a directly-elected legislator since 2005 where she is currently serving her fourth term.
Her influence politically, combined with her local Chinese roots, remains one of SJM’s strongest assets and will remain so in the coming years as the company looks to wrestle back some of Macau’s lucrative gaming revenue pie.
Keep an eye, too, on Lisboeta, the HK$5 billion IR being developed by Macau Theme Park and Resort Ltd – a company run by Leong and her son, Arnaldo Ho.
Scheduled to open alongside Grand Lisboa Palace by late next year, Lisboeta’s attractions are said to include a zipline, indoor skydiving operation and cinema offering the first IMAX and MX4D theater in Macau … but don’t be surprised to see gaming tables populating the interior in the not so distant future.
For the full list of 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.