MGM Macau Billionaire Pansy Ho Eyeing Brazil for Integrated Casino Resort

Posted on: October 15, 2019, 12:12h. 

Last updated on: October 15, 2019, 12:29h.

Pansy Ho, one of Macau “King of Gambling” Stanley Ho’s 17 children, says Brazil has all the basic requirements needed to warrant an integrated casino resort investment.

Pansy Ho Brazil casino resort MGM China
It’s not Japan, but Brazil and is a viable location for a casino resort, says Macau billionaire Pansy Ho. (Image: Wikipedia)

Ho, 57, is worth an estimated $4.3 billion by Forbes, and chairs her family’s Shun Tak Holdings shipping and hospitality empire. She also owns a 29 percent position in MGM China Holdings Ltd, the gaming subsidiary of Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts.

Brazil has long been mulled by the world’s richest casino billionaires for a potential resort. This week, Ho said she wouldn’t be the only potential gaming tycoon to make a bid for a license should the country authorize commercial gambling.

I’m quite sure there will be some of the existing gaming operators that would be clearly interested,” Ho said at the Macau Global Tourism Economic Forum, as reported by the Macau Daily Times.

She was responding to a question from Brazil’s minister of tourism on the country’s plans to invite investors to develop resorts and theme parks across the largest country in South America and Latin America.

If Not Japan…

The world’s largest casino operators are fixated on Japan, which is in the process of issuing three commercial IR licenses. MGM is dedicated to Osaka, while Las Vegas Sands wants to invest in Tokyo or Yokohama.

Sands and MGM are considered the frontrunners for two of the licenses. Other interested parties include Wynn Resorts, Melco Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment, Hard Rock, SJM Holdings, and Genting. Ho’s brother, Lawrence Ho, is the billionaire CEO of Melco, while her sister Daisy now oversees Stanley Ho’s SJM.

For the companies that don’t emerge successful in Japan, Brazil could be a formidable backup plan.

Sands billionaire Sheldon Adelson is said to remain interested in Brazil. The 86-year-old casino tycoon, who is currently battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, has made several trips to Brazil to evaluate the benefits of building one or more casinos.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said in August he’s in favor of legalizing casinos, which is a change from his earlier position on gaming.

Brazil Economy

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) most recent economic assessment of Brazil suggests the country’s recovery from its 2015-16 recessions is sluggish, but is expected to strengthen next year.

No. 9 in terms of gross domestic product, the IMF explains, “Brazil’s economy would benefit from opening up. Brazil is one of the most closed economies in the world due to both tariff and non-tariff barriers.”

Tourism already plays a critical role in Brazil’s economic health. The country welcomed a record 6.62 million foreigners last year.

Along with Sands and potentially Ho and MGM, Caesars Entertainment and Hard Rock are two other interested casino operators with the financial wherewithal keeping tabs on Brazil.

Legislation to authorize commercial gaming has the support of Brazilian politicians, as well as Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella. The second-most populated city in Brazil behind the Sao Paulo capital, Rio is the country’s most visited destination. It welcomes more visitors per year than any other city in South America.