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Australia's Crown profits hurt by high-roller revenue plunge

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SYDNEY  -  Australia's Crown Resorts has been hit by a plunge in high-roller revenue, annual results showed Friday, in the wake of the arrests of its employees in a Chinese crackdown on gambling promotions.

The global casino operator recorded a net profit of Aus$1.87 billion (US$1.49 billion) in the year to June 30, a 96.7 percent increase from the previous period boosted by the sale of the last of its stakes in a Macau venture.

But normalised profit, which excludes significant items like the sale, fell 15.5 percent to Aus$343.1 million, hurt by a weakened performance from its Australian resorts, where VIP revenue sank 48.9 percent.

"Crown's Australian operations' full-year result reflected difficult trading conditions," executive chairman John Alexander said in a statement.

"Total normalised revenue across Crown's Australian resorts declined by 12.7 percent.

"This decline was due primarily to the reduction in VIP program play revenue in Australia, which was down 48.9 percent on the prior comparable period."

Several Crown employees were jailed earlier this year after being charged for promoting gambling in China. Gaming is illegal in China and companies are not allowed explicitly to advertise gambling.

While Crown operates casinos across Australia and the world, the firm has this year undertaken a restructure amid China's crackdown which has driven away many big-spenders and hurt revenues.

Shares in Crown were down 3.29 percent to Aus$12.35 in afternoon trade in Sydney.

The profit announcement came a day after Australian billionaire James Packer rejoined Crown's board.

Packer stood down in late 2015, a few months after quitting as chairman, but remained involved in a senior executive role.

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Muslim Global: Australia's Crown profits hurt by high-roller revenue plunge
Australia's Crown profits hurt by high-roller revenue plunge
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