Aside from the 50 people that made our final list and the many others we considered, a handful stood out as particularly worthy of mention. These are the people whose star is on the rise, are in a company worth keeping an eye on or in some cases have very much remained in the news in recent months.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER – JAPAN DEVELOPMENT
Galaxy Entertainment Group
A FORMER HIGHLY RATED Melco Resorts executive, Ted Chan now leads Galaxy Entertainment Group’s efforts to win a Japan IR license. Those efforts appear to have been substantially enhanced by COVID-19 which has not only thinned the field but highlighted Galaxy’s superior balance sheet. We might hear a lot more from Galaxy in Japan when the time is right.
CO-CHAIRMAN AND NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Macau Legend Development Ltd
DAVID CHOW has taken a significant step back from the company he founded back in 2006. Early last year he stepped down from the CEO role at Macau Legend Development and in December sold down his interest from around 30% to just under 10% – part of a takeover by Tak Chun Group boss and now Macau Legend CEO Levo Chan. Chow remains on the board as Co-Chairman, alongside Chan, and is said to remain interested in banking and development opportunities in Cape Verde.
Melco International Development
A FORMER INVESTMENT BANKER and M&A specialist, Clarence Chung has been part of the Melco team for almost 20 years now. Joining Melco International Development in 2003 before becoming a director in 2006, he is also a director of Melco Resorts, Melco Resorts (Philippines) and Studio City International. Previously Chairman and President of the company’s Philippines entity overseeing City of Dreams Manila, he is now back in Macau and was this year handed the task of overseeing Melco’s interest in a multi-billion dollar mixed-use residential, entertainment hospitality Zhongshan, complex in Guangdong Province.
LI CHI KEUNG
Macau Jockey Club
A LONGTIME POWERBROKER within Macau’s gaming industry, Li Chi Keung is perhaps best known for his role overseeing Macau Jockey Club, and as the man behind Macau SLOT Co Ltd – the sole licensed sports betting operator in Asia’s casino hub. But his interests spread far and wide. Closely tied to SJM Holdings, he is a principal shareholder in secretive junket operator Golden Group and is said to hold stakes in multiple satellite casinos, including Macau Legend Development Ltd, of which he owns 18%.
EVP AND CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER
A MACAU LOCAL, Virginia Lam was one of the first female executives of a Macau casino concessionaire with stints at Sands China, Crown and StarWorld in the mid-to-late 2000s before returning to Sands in 2010 and working her way up the corporate ladder. She is the driving force behind the loyalty club of Macau’s market share leader with a heavy focus on the premium segments. With the Macao SAR Government having clearly stated its desire to develop pathways for talented locals, Lam is a prime example of that strategy in play.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER
ONE OF THE PUBLIC FACES of Suncity Group alongside its CEO Alvin Chau, Andrew Lo is the driving force behind the group’s international integrated resort expansion efforts, including its flagship property Hoiana in Vietnam. Lo, who studied in Canada, is an Executive Director and Deputy Chairman of Summit Ascent Holdings – the majority owner of Tigre de Cristal in Russia – and was this year appointed to the board of Suntrust Home Developers Inc, Suncity’s Philippines-listed firm currently developing a US$1 billion hotel and casino project in Manila.
CEO and MANAGING DIRECTOR
A LONG-TIME GROUP CEO of development giant Lend Lease, Steve McCann will be hoping he hasn’t bitten off more than he can chew following his appointment as Crown Resorts CEO and Managing Director in May. One of his first tasks was appearing before a Royal Commission in Victoria where he outlined his plans to overhaul Crown’s corporate culture. Clearly the company sees him as the man for the job: in August he was also appointed CEO of Crown Melbourne after predecessor Xavier Walsh fell on his sword following his own Royal Commission grilling.
ASSISTANT CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
THE SON OF STANLEY HO and Angela Leong is Assistant COO for SJM and a director of Macau Theme Park Resort Ltd, which earlier this year opened the US$1.5 billion Lisboeta Macau, located alongside SJM’s Grand Lisboa Palace. Lisboeta is currently a non-gaming property with an indoor skydiving facility, a zipline and some retail, but the company has flagged the likelihood of adding gaming in the near future. Watch this space.
HUMAN RESOURCES AND ADMINISTRATION DIRECTOR
Galaxy Entertainment Group
GALAXY’S Human Resources and Administration Director Eileen Lui is also the daughter of GEG Chairman Lui Che Woo and sister of Vice Chairman Francis Lui. An accomplished businesswoman in her own right, her portfolio is wide-ranging and Ms Lui would often find herself the most senior family member in the building – important for a business which is ultimately a family affair. She is also a member of the Zhuhai Committee of the 7th Chinese People Political Consultative Conference.
NG MAN SUN
CHAIRMAN AND CEO
Century Entertainment International
AN INFAMOUS FIGURE in the history of Macau gaming, Ng Man Sun played a key role in shaping the junket industry during its early and some would call dark days. He later held a controlling stake in Greek Mythology Casino at New Century Hotel via his company Amax International Holdings although the casino has since been shuttered amid a dispute with operating entities. Amax has since changed its name to Century Entertainment International while Ng Man Sun has shifted focus to Cambodia where he plans to open a new casino within the Chinese-backed Dara Sakor development.
CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR
SRI LANKA’S richest man owns three of the nation’s five casino licenses, operating Bally’s Colombo, Bellagio Colombo and MGM Colombo, but his plans to build a US$200 million integrated resort in Queensbury were knocked on the head by the government in 2017. That shouldn’t faze him too much given how much he has on his plate. Perera currently has interests in at least 23 large companies in Sri Lanka covering everything from manufacturing to finance.
Alliance Global Group
FOUNDED BY Andrew Tan in 1993, Alliance Global Group is majority owner of Resorts World Manila operator Travellers International Hotel Group. It is also in the process of branching out on its own when it comes to gaming, with plans to develop a casino-resort on the holiday island of Boracay. Meanwhile, subsidiary PH Resorts Group is developing an integrated resort in Cebu, Emerald Bay, due to open in early 2023.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
Lotte Tour Development Group
A FORMER EXECUTIVE with Melco Resorts during its Melco-Crown days, where he oversaw Altira Macau, Lawrence Teo has been charged with bringing much-needed gaming experience to South Korea’s Lotte Tour Development. His focus since arriving has been Jeju Dream Tower, a US$1.4 billion development that held a soft opening last December and added a new casino in June this year. Opening into the teeth of COVID-19 may not be ideal, but Lotte Tour is backing the luxury element of its property, including a 5-star Grand Hyatt Hotel, to drive the island’s recovery.
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
A FORMER HIGH-RANKING Sands China executive, having served as CFO, Executive Vice President and Executive Director from June 2010 to April 2016, Toh enjoyed a brief stint with Shangri-La Asia Limited before being snapped up by SJM late last year. He was Chief Operating Officer (Finance & Development) of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, S.A. – the SJM subsidiary that holds SJM’s Macau gaming concession – for only three months before being tapped for the CFO role of its larger parent. With SJM seemingly poised for a makeover in the coming years after finally opening its US$5 billion Cotai IR, Grand Lisboa Palace, expect Toh to be front and center.
AN OLD PAL who backed Stanley Ho’s first foray into VIP rooms, Albert Yeung was rewarded with a satellite casino operated under Ho’s concession, and he has made the most of it. Yeung’s Grand Emperor Hotel has long enjoyed a superb location on the Macau peninsula, around the corner from Ho’s flagship Lisboa complex. Emperor Entertainment has a contract with SJM to run the casino at Grand Emperor until June 2022 but what will become of Macau’s satellite operators after that time remains to be seen.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CHAIRMAN
PERHAPS Success Universe’s biggest move this year was to invest a few million dollars into Bitcoin. But if the world’s most famous cryptocurrency can’t deliver, Macau integrated resort Ponte 16 is a decent option to fall back on. Despite suffering like everyone else in the industry during COVID-19, the unique Inner Harbour property has a history of outperforming against the might of Macau’s Cotai giants. Ponte 16 benefits from some unique geography, with its 2.3-hectare space offering an outdoor pool, a fitness center and sauna, a high-end spa, nine restaurants, cafes and lounges and seven multi-purpose meeting rooms, plus 93 gaming tables as of 30 June 2021.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Hard Rock Japan
THE FORMER SANDS CHINA PRESIDENT AND CEO is now Hard Rock International’s CEO of Asia, tasked with expanding the company’s regional portfolio including the No 1 target of Japan. While that opportunity looks lost for now, word on the street says Hard Rock hasn’t given up the ghost just yet. And with the governor of its preferred location of Hokkaido suggesting Japan’s northernmost island might also be keen to revisit IRs in the future, expect Hard Rock to be ready and waiting.
ONE OF SRI LANKA’S casino “kings” with two of its five casino licenses in his control, Rank Holdings Chairman Ravi Wijeratne has long been one of the country’s most powerful men with interests in everything from real estate and finance to hydropower, logistics and shipping terminals. The 61-year-old purchased his first casino, Star Dust – also Sri Lanka’s largest – in 1994 before building a second called Casino Marina Colombo soon after.
THE POWERFUL CHINESE-FILIPINO MOGUL has his stamp all over the Philippine gaming industry, particularly in junket operations at the Midas casino, and offshore-facing online operators such as Oriental Game among his Eastern Hawaii group of companies. Testament to his influence is his avoidance of serious fallout from Chinese media scrutiny of Oriental Game’s operations, and from the Bangladesh central bank e-heist at the New York Federal Reserve. Some US$81 million was channeled to VIP rooms in Manila, including Wong’s. He later returned millions to the government, staring down probes by the Senate and the AML council. The Philippine online industry is in some turmoil, but Wong remains a useful indicator of where it is heading.
CHAIRMAN AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
IT’S BEEN a rough few years for those operating on the Korean holiday island of Jeju – none more so than Landing International and its Jeju Shinhwa World IR. Still, Chairman Yang Zhihui has shown himself to be a master at escaping from tricky situations, having been secretly detained by Chinese authorities for three months before suddenly reappearing in 2019 and avoiding a reported takeover attempt in 2020. COVID-19 has been challenging, and the disappearance of US$13.4 million from a VIP room at Landing Casino in January – allegedly stolen by an employee – hasn’t helped much either.
ON THE RADAR
In addition to the 75 people in the combined BIG 50, The Next 5 and the Ones To Watch, we also have a list of over 30 people who we consider “On The Radar”. This list is not published, but we use it each year to check for potential new people on the Power 50. If you think of a name you don’t see amongst the 75 published in this issue who you think should be on our radar for future years, please email our Managing Editor Ben Blaschke on [email protected], and we’ll consider adding them to our “On The Radar” list if they’re not already there.
For the full list of 2021 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.