Packer’s Crown says high-roller turnover sinks on China case

Billionaire James Packer’s Crown Resorts Ltd. said high-roller casino revenue halved last fiscal year after Chinese authorities clamped down on the promotion of gambling on the mainland.

Crown’s VIP program- play turnover in the year ended June 30 slumped 49 percent to AUD33.3 billion (USD27 billion), dragging down revenue at its Melbourne and Perth resorts, the company said in a statement Friday. Profit excluding one-off gains fell 16 percent to AUD343.1 million.

Crown’s high-roller business has been rocked since Chinese authorities arrested a group of its staff in October and Chairman John Alexander said Friday the results “reflected difficult trading conditions.” Since then, the company has sold out of a Macau casino venture, closed almost all its Asian marketing offices and handed back cash to shareholders.

Crown rose 0.3 percent to AUD12.80 at 11:10 a.m. on Friday after it extended a stock buyback, taking the gain since the October detentions to about 15 percent. The company will purchase up to 29.3 million more shares, currently worth AUD375 million.

Crown is now focusing on its domestic resorts in Melbourne and Perth, and the construction of a AUD2 billion luxury hotel and casino in Sydney.

A Shanghai court in June convicted 19 current and former Crown staff of illegally promoting gambling on the mainland and handed out jail terms of as long as 10 months. Angus Whitley, Bloomberg

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