In 1942 Ho married his first wife, Clementina Leitão, a woman from a prestigious Portuguese family – her grandfather was a Lawyer and was Macau's only notary public at the time. They had four children. Leitão was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 1973, and suffered partial memory loss as a result. In 1981, Ho's and Leitão's son Robert and daughter-in-law Suki Potier died in a car accident. Leitão died in 2004.
In the late 1950s Ho met his second wife Lucina Azul Jean Ying née Laam King-ying, whom he legally married in Hong Kong in 1962 via a legal loophole rooted in the Great Qing Legal Code. The marriage resulted in five children including daughters Daisy Ho, to whom Ho ceded the chairmanship of SJM, and Pansy Ho, a 50 percent partner in MGM Macau; son Lawrence Ho, CEO of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, another Macau-based casino company; and Josie Ho (何超儀), a rock singer and award-winning Actress.
Ho, along with partners, including Hong Kong tycoon Henry Fok, Macau gambler Yip Hon and his brother-in-law Teddy Yip, bid for Macau franchises. By bidding high and promising to promote tourism and to develop infrastructure, they won the public tender for Macau's Gaming monopoly at a cost of approximately (US?)$410,000, defeating the longtime Macau casino barons, the Fu family. In 1961 the company was renamed Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, S.A.R.L. (STDM). Business at its flagship Lisboa Casino Hotel blossomed, the hotel later to become well-known internationally. In the same year, Ho also set up Shun Tak Holdings Ltd, which was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Through a subsidiary, TurboJET, it owns one of the world's largest fleets of high-speed jetfoils, which ferries passengers between Hong Kong and Macau.
Ho has 17 children born to four women. Ho refers to his children's mothers as his wives. Polygamy remained legal in Hong Kong until 1971.
In 1984, Ho was awarded an honorary doctorate of social sciences from the University of Macau in 1984. In the New Year Honours 1990, Ho was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) "for services to the community in Hong Kong" In 1995, the Portuguese government appointed Ho to the Grã-Cruz da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique (Great Cross of the Order of Prince Henrique), the highest honour for any civilian, for his contributions to society. In 1998, Dr Stanley Ho Avenue in Macau was named, the first Chinese person to be so honoured in Macau during their lifetime.
Ina Chan became Ho's third 'wife' in 1985. Ho's first wife Clementina Leitão needed constant nursing care following her car accident, and Ina Chan was one of the Nurses brought in to look after Leitão. Ho and Chan have three children; Laurinda Ho, Florinda Ho, and Orlando Ho.
Fourth 'wife' Angela Leong On-kei, with whom Ho has had four children, met Ho in 1988 as his dance instructor. Ho and Leong's children are Sabrina Ho, Arnaldo Ho, Mario Ho and Alice Ho.
Ho's Investments in Macau are diverse. In 1989, after STDM took full control of the Macau Jockey Club, Ho became its chairman and chief executive officer. In 1998 Ho became the first living Macanese resident to have a local street named after him. He also launched Asia's first football and basketball lottery called SLOT.
Ho was also named by the Canadian Government, citing the Manila Standard newspaper, as having a link to the Kung Lok Triad (Chinese mafia) and as being linked to "several illegal activities" during the period 1999–2002. Ho's alleged ties to Chinese organized crime have also been reported by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, citing a U.S. Senate committee and several government agencies, when the state investigated his ties to American casino operator MGM Mirage.
In 2003 Ho received the Gold Bauhinia Star from the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Tung Chee Hwa, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the community, in promoting education, Sports and other community services for youth. In 2008 Ho received the Medal for Business Entrepreneurialism from the city of Cascais and the street running adjacent to the Estoril Casino was renamed as Avenida Stanley Ho. It was the first road in Portugal to be named after a living Chinese citizen. In June 2009 he received the Visionary award at the G2E Asia conference, organised by the American Gaming Association; the award was delivered by Macau SAR Chief Executive Edmund Ho. In November 2010 Ho was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal the highest under the Hong Kong honors and awards system, reserved for those making a lifelong and highly significant contribution to the well-being of Hong Kong.
Over the years, dancing has been one of Ho's favourite hobbies, achieving excellence in tango, cha-cha-cha, and waltz. He often danced for televised charity fundraisers and has sponsored numerous dance performances in Hong Kong and Macau, including the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Macau Arts Festival, promoting the art of dance. He has also invited internationally renowned dancing groups, such as the National Ballet of China, to perform in Hong Kong and Macau. Ho is a patron of the Hong Kong Ballet, the International Dance Teachers Association and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Dance. A thoroughbred racehorse owner, one of Ho's runners, Viva Pataca, named after the currency of Macau, won several top Hong Kong races in 2006 and 2007.
In 2003, Ho donated a Qing dynasty bronze boar head to China's Poly Art Museum, a state-run organisation dedicated to develop, display, rescue and protect Chinese cultural relics. The boar head is part of a collection of 12 looted from the imperial Summer Palace in Beijing in 1860 when it was sacked and burnt by French and British armies. On 21 September 2007, Ho donated to the Chinese government a Qing dynasty bronze sculpture of a horse's head originally taken from the Old Summer Palace. Ho had reportedly just purchased it from a Taiwanese businessman for US$8.84 million.
Ho suffered a fall late in July 2009 at his home and required brain surgery as a result. For seven months Ho was confined to the Hong Kong Adventist Hospital and, later, the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, making only one public appearance on 20 December 2009, when he travelled to Macau to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Macau's return to Chinese sovereignty. Ho was discharged from the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital on 6 March 2010 and has since used a wheelchair.
In late January 2011, a dispute erupted among his wives and children involving the transfer of ownership of his private holding company, Lanceford. On 27 December Lanceford allotted 9,998 new shares, representing 99.98 per cent of its enlarged share capital, to two British Virgin Islands companies: Action Winner Holdings Ltd, wholly owned by third wife, Ina, holding 50.55 per cent and Ranillo Investments Ltd, equally held by each of Laam's five children, holding the balance. The allotment document filed with the Registrar of Companies was signed by Laam's daughter Daisy.
Amidst confusion caused by conflicting statements from Ho and his wives and children about the state of the dispute, Ho, through Oldham – who had been allegedly sacked and rehired within the space of a few days – said he had been pressured to make public statements and sign legal documents without him being fully apprised of their contents. What was to become a saga of soap-opera proportions ensued including official video postings of statements on YouTube.