Gambling might be a vice, but casino executives sometimes offer valuable lessons on work ethics. One golden rule is: none of them gamble. Manufacturers of slot machines, cards and chips, as well as people who manage casinos, say they only observe how others gamble, but they never do it themselves. Gaming mogul Stanley Ho Hung-sun has shown that honesty and hard work can make a difference. Eighty-four years old and the father of 17 children, Ho still cuts ribbons, attends meetings and signs agreements. At a recent press conference on his new project, Oceanus, Ho insisted on translating - from Cantonese to English - questions by the media directed at French architect Paul Andreu. He could have waited for his two translators, who were present at the briefing, to do the job. But he decided to 'lead from the front' as any top businessman would do. I came across an article headlined 'Stanley Ho retiring in four years?', which was published in the South China Morning Post 32 years ago. Mr Ho told a travel magazine in September 1973 that he started to work when he was 19, and would like to retire by 55. He certainly could have, but he chose not to. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the opening of the Sands casino, Ho's first competitor. Over the past year, he has repeatedly said that he did not fear the American newcomer or any others who wanted to set up gaming centres in the former Portuguese enclave. In November 1983, Ho commented on his participation in a public tender to run Casino Estoril, Portugal's biggest casino at the time. 'Why shouldn't we tender, since I love competition and feel very happy each time I win?' he told reporters. If Mr Ho loved competition 22 years ago, I believe he still does, judging by his repeated statements which seem to be sincere. We might not gamble at a casino, but we take risks in other ways every day. Some people try out new jobs, while others experiment with study methods. Some buy the lottery, others speculate on the stock market. Perhaps we will become better 'gamblers' in life if we are also prepared to put in the hard work and avoid the temptations of overnight fortunes.