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Kevin Smith

Q & A: Angela Ho

9 May 2005

Being the daughter of the "King of Macau Gaming" has given Angelo Ho a front-row seat to one of the biggest gambling empires in the world and one of the best known brands in the Asian gaming community.

Knowing that a piece of the Asian pie (even a small one) in the online gaming space could bring huge dividends, Dr. Stanley Ho, was one of the first land-based casino moguls to embrace the online world, and the brand's strong following with Asian players gave it immediate leverage among a demographic for which operators were--and still are--fighting and clawing.

Angela Ho has taken an active role in her father's empire by helping develop, promote and expand the business through the Internet. The company is developing and marketing a global gambling site,, that's geared toward players who are unfamiliar with Stanley Ho and the Dr. Ho brand. The site will place a heavy emphasis on educating visitors about the Asian mogul and the huge empire he amassed while holding the gambling monopoly in Macau.

Interactive Gaming News interviewed Angela Ho to get her thoughts on the integration of the land-based brand and the interactive media, what business has been like since Macau opened up its gambling industry to competition and where she sees the company in the long term.

IGN: Using Dr. Ho as a benchmark, how does an operator successfully cater to the Asian customer?

Angela Ho: Obviously we have the Chinese-language site. We have also opened a Korean site and will be launching Japanese in the next two weeks. All our design is created in Asia, so we know that the colors and "look and feel" is right for the market.

The campaigns we do are also slightly different. We can offer things in Macau, for instance, which other online casinos cannot. We also do the marketing slightly different. The idea of just giving bonuses does not always appeal to the Asian gambler so we offer them other things in promotions that we know appeal to them. This may be in the form of presents and such.

IGN: Your live gaming experience is fairly unique to the industry. Do you find a wider segment of users drawn to that feature? What types of players prefer to play the live games?

AH: A wider segment may not be the way to describe our target. It is a more specific target audience. The users who we try to find--and who find us--and market to are people who actually gamble with higher stakes than the random number generator client. We look for long-term customers who enjoy the interaction and details of the games. We do not target the slot machine crowd.

Not that there is anything wrong with that industry. But we like to think that we have savvy customers who prefer to know that the outcome is not generated by a simulated randomness code produced by software developers. The players want to know that the outcome is generated as casino games were developed to be generated, the shuffling of cards, the spin of a ball or the rolling of dice.

Our motto is that "Lady Luck does not live in a machine." I actually enjoy playing our games myself sometimes, even though I am not a gambler, but just to test my skills and see if I can read where the deck is going.

IGN: The Dr. Ho brand is one of the strongest in all of Asia. How do you leverage that brand strength to bring users to the online site?

AH: Obviously we emphasize that you are dealing with a well known operator who has been in the industry for over 40 years. We have the integrity and the funds to pay any winnings those players may incur. It is a comfort for players to know that there is a face and a person behind it that they can actually refer to or write a letter about to the press. Having such a brand name with such reputation gains you a lot of privilege. But it also carries a lot of responsibility. Having our family name and my father's picture on the product means that we must be very careful in the manner we market and how we market in different jurisdictions.

If we were called "," and were hiding behind a corporate veil, we could do anything we wanted, and if we somehow made a bad marketing mistake we could open tomorrow as ""

We try to leverage the brand as well as we can but stick to the rules and regulations of different jurisdictions.

IGN: How much cross promotion is done between the land-based facilities and the online site?

AH: We use the land-based facilities as perks and prizes. At this point, we do not actively market in Macau, as the Macau government has not issued Internet casino licenses yet, and it is therefore not legal to advertise non-Macau licensed gambling activities. This is totally understandable, as they want to protect their local economy. When Macau does issue Internet casino licenses, we will bid, and if we are granted a license, we will of course use the cross-promotion more actively.

IGN: Do you anticipate the Dr. Ho brand growing internationally?

AH: Yes. I think that the industry is in desperate need of a real name brand.

Q & A: Angela Ho is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith