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Crown Casinos looking golden after 2011

2011 was a busy year for the Crown Casino group, which is looking more and more like the king of the Australian Casinos. It wasn’t all good news, with serious competition appearing in the form of Singapore’s two new casino resorts, and a growing challenge from the newly-refurbished Star in Sydney, but Crown ended the year in profit.

The group faces stiff competition from rivals in Australia and throughout Asia, as well as from online casinos that are taking their Online Pokies mobile. All that makes Crown’s growth more impressive, and bear in mind that it’s in the face of a sluggish economy and some soft consumer sentiment across the board...

Figures posted last month by Crown showed net profits of close to AU$300million, which represents an increase of more than 10% on the previous year. Revenue for the second half of the year was up a massive 25%. Those are some heartening figures for James Packer, Crown’s owner, but it’s good news, too, for fans of Australian Casinos.

It suggests that Crown’s ambitions will pay off, and that Australia will stay at the forefront of the international gaming industry. Part of the success has been due to investments in overseas ventures like the Macau casino hub, but Australians have been responding to Crown’s investments at home, too, and the Australian Casinos continue to be the group’s priority.

2011 saw some serious work being done on the site that will be Crown Perth, and that was formerly the Burswood Casino complex. In line with Crown’s stated ambition to provide Australia with the best integrated casino resorts in the world, Crown Perth will boast – in addition to spacious gaming facilities – restaurants and bars, entertainment venues, luxury accommodation and a golf course.

The intention is to draw the ‘whales’ from the Chinese gamblers market to Australian Casinos: in fact, some of Crown’s success last year can be attributed to a small number of high-stakes gamblers who walked away from Crown casinos slightly less rich than they’d arrived. But it’s not just about the VIPs – Crown Chief Executive Rowen Craigie is keen to focus attention on the increase in revenue from the main gaming floors of Crown’s Australian Casinos, which suggests that he values the custom of Australians who make the journey to his casinos.

As he explained last week: ‘overall, the results for Crown's wholly owned Australian Casinos, Crown Melbourne and Burswood, were reasonable, given the challenging operating environment and the state of the consumer economy. Across the Crown Melbourne and Burswood properties, main floor gaming generated revenue growth of 5.5%.’

That sounds to us like he’s playing down the success that Crown is having with gamblers at home, but we were pleased to hear that Crown’s priority will continue to be their investments here in Australia. It only seems right that Australia’s biggest casinos operator has its sights set firmly on the customers here.

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