February 23, 2024 3 min read


Melco Resorts CEO Lawrence Ho Exits Hong Kong’s 50 Richest

Macau’s economic downturn and Melco’s difficulties in adapting to the region’s new economic realities led to Ho dropping out from Forbes’ prestigious list

Lawrence Ho, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Melco Resorts and Entertainment, has lost his position in Hong Kong’s 50 Richest list published by Forbes. The 47-year-old casino magnate and the eldest son of Macau’s late gaming pioneer Stanley Ho had been a regular on the list for the past ten years. However, macroeconomic pressures have taken a toll on Melco’s business.

Melco Faced Significant Difficulties in 2023

Forbes previously estimated Lawrence Ho’s net worth at around $1.2 billion. However, a decrease of roughly 50% in Melco’s share price over the last year significantly impacted that figure. While China’s broader economic slowdown is partially to blame, Melco’s ongoing difficulties are in no small part due to Macau’s ongoing post-pandemic reforms.

According to Forbes’ newest report, Beijing’s crackdown on VIP junkets, once major revenue generators for Macau’s casinos, significantly impacted Melco’s bottom line. While regional operators have made significant efforts to diversify their revenue streams by investing in non-gaming ventures, such investments can take very long to pay off.

In Q3 2023, Melco Resorts reported operating revenues of $1.02 billion, marking a 7.4% increase from the previous quarter. The company, which manages integrated resorts like City of Dreams and Studio City, has been undergoing a $1.3 billion expansion program, including opening a new hotel, Epic Tower, and a water park on the Cotai Strip in 2023.

Macau’s Resurgence Bodes Well for the Operator

Apart from his role in Melco, Lawrence Ho is involved in private ventures, including his investment firm, Black Spade Capital. Recently, Black Spade Capital joined forces with the owner of the prominent Hong Kong nightclub Dragon-i to establish a high-end entertainment company. In 2023, Black Spade Capital merged with Vinfest, a Vietnamese electric vehicle maker, resulting in a $23 billion listing on Nasdaq.

Despite Black Spade’s success, most of Ho’s wealth remains concentrated in Melco, explaining his fall from Forbes’ prestigious list. However, the casino magnate has a substantial chance of reclaiming his position in future editions as Macau’s gambling and hospitality sector approaches 2024 with cautious optimism.

Industry analysts believe Macau’s casino revenue may surpass pre-COVID levels for the first time in 2024. Factors such as increased outbound Chinese travel and robust Lunar New Year break performance contribute to this optimistic outlook. If Melco capitalizes on these trends, the company has every chance of bouncing back and helping its founder regain his position in the limelight.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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