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Crown Casino Shows Strong Growth in 2012

It has been another good year for the Crown Casino Group, with profits rising. The owners of Crown Casino Melbourne and the Burswood complex are in a strong position in the Australian Casino market.

They do of course they face tough competition, both from other high-quality casino resorts in Australia, and from online casinos like Spin Palace Casino and 32Red (and of course the mobile casinos that are picking up customers all the time). There aren’t any casino owners better placed to face the intense competition in the Australia-Pacific region than Crown, though, thanks to a portfolio of internationally-recognised casino destinations.

First amongst them is Crown Melbourne, a city block of bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and casino facilities that has a claim to be the best in Australia (and one of the best in the world). With events like the Aussie Millions Poker Tournament (and the WSOP arriving next year), Crown Melbourne has cemented its place at the top of the casino tree.

Then there’s the development planned for Crown’s Burswood site, which will include a six-star hotel for visitors to Perth to enjoy. Expect to see a total overhaul of the casino facilities there, too, and expect them to be world-class. Crown has a good idea of what it takes to compete in the international casino market, thanks to a share in Crown Melco in Macau, the busiest casino hub in the world.

So things are going well in Crown’s world, with normalised profit (that’s without taking into account the ups and downs of the really high rollers) up 22% for the year up to June 30th. Crown is Australia’s biggest casino operator in terms of market value, and turned over a massive AU$2.8billion last year. But the feeling within Crown is that the year has been one of mixed fortunes:

‘during the year, we saw reasonable revenue growth at both properties, although in some areas this was offset by higher operating costs,’ Rowen Craigie, Chief Executive, tells us.

‘At Crown Melbourne, in particular, we saw a softening of activity in some segments of main floor gaming and non-gaming operations in the second half of the year, as well as the effects of refurbishment disruption on operating margins. We continued to see some evidence of weak consumer sentiment, which has affected some segments of the business, particularly in the second half, while the premium markets maintained their strength.’

Crown has in recent months and years been aggressively pursuing the ‘whales’ coming out of China and from the rest of the world, hoping that these extreme high-rollers will be the key to future success. Of course, that inevitably means less focus on the needs of the ordinary Australian Casino-lovers crossing the thresholds of their casinos every day.

It could well be that those casino-loving Australians have been finding their thrill at online casinos instead – traffic at online casinos has been climbing all the time. Throw the mobile casinos into the mix, and Crown has some serious competition for the bets of the Australians that have helped to make it a success. Without doubt, there is profit to be had in drawing overseas tourists to Australian cities and the excellent casino resorts in them, but it’s also true that a casino that can’t bring in customers from closer to home isn’t on quite the right course...

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