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Crown Casino: the great Australian export

With a space equivalent to two city blocks devoted to hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, and one of the best and brightest casinos in the world, the Crown Casino complex in Melbourne is a hell of a way to promote a brand.

And that brand, Crown Ltd, has been going from strength to strength – so much so that, despite the recent downturn and in the face of continued economic uncertainty, Crown Ltd has been one of Australia’s modern success stories.

46% owned by James Packer – son of the late Kerry Packer – Crown Ltd has interests that spread around the globe in the gaming industry.

These include a massive development in Macau’s Cotai Strip, and shares in the Hong Kong Galaxy Entertainment Group. In the US, Crown is linked with Cannery Casino Resorts, and with Stations Casinos, Caesars, Gateway Casinos and Fontainbleau Resorts.

In the UK, where Crown recently had a trademark application refused, the firm nonetheless has interests in Aspinals and in Aspers (which currently runs three UK-based casinos, with a fourth on the way).

Here in Australia, Crown Casino Melbourne was recently ranked as the nation’s most popular tourist attraction (in a survey by Euromonitor International), with more than 10 million customers crossing its threshold every year.

Behind the airline companies, Crown Ltd is the biggest player in the Australian tourism industry, with AU$700million a year in turnover coming from high-end customers jetting in from Asia, and from China in particular.

And James Packer, the Chair of Crown Ltd, has been speaking to the Australian press this week about his plans for expansion into the growing Chinese market. He said that he and other Australian businessmen had let opportunities in a growing China pass them by, but that China’s growth could only benefit the Australian economy.

The Melco Crown Entertainment development in Macau, he said, ‘may well be the largest business that any Australian company has in China as we sit here today’, and suggested that with the market for jobs growing quickly in China, more opportunities may well be on the horizon.

You can be sure that Crown Ltd will be well-placed to make the most of those opportunities when they do come. Packer this week described his strategy in China as ‘triple long’: combine that with applications for trademarks in the UK and with maturing interests in gaming venues in the US and Asia, and you have a picture of an Australian gaming firm with a very bright future indeed...

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