Australian casino operator Crown Resorts says it has suffered a 46% decline in VIP turnover during the first three-and-a-half months of the 2020 financial year, negatively impacted by the global downturn in premium play.
The decline, taking in play from 1 July to 20 October 2019, was revealed by Crown’s Executive Chairman John Alexander during a presentation to shareholders on Thursday. While actual win was not revealed, Alexander did add that theoretical VIP win rate was up on the same period in FY19 (the Australian financial year ends on 30 June).
Revenue from the main gaming floor through 20 October was up 2% year-on-year with non-gaming revenue described as broadly flat.
Meanwhile, Crown’s wagering and online social gaming revenue declined 4% on the previous period, with revenue declining for both Betfair Australasia and DGN, Alexander said.
The Crown boss also took the opportunity to swipe an ongoing media campaign by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, taking particular umbrage at a story published last week in which the newspapers cited allegations by a former limousine driver that Crown has overseen a culture of drugs, prostitution and violence against women by VIP clientele.
The article included a quote from the publishers that they had been unable to verify the driver’s claims, prompting Alexander – himself the former Editor-in-Chief of The Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review, to question the quality of journalism involved.
“There are a number of interests and activists who continue to pursue an anti-Crown agenda,” he said.
“As someone who has 50 years’ experience in journalism and media management … I have never seen a quality news organization publish a story it openly admits it hasn’t been able to verify.”
Alexander also addressed recent claims by the media outlets that Crown had been able to fly VIP clients into the country without having them undergo standard customs checks, pointing to evidence given to a Senate estimates hearing last week by the Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Mike Pezzullo, who said, “No-one can come to Australia without a visa, so the suggestion that people come uncredentialled is wrong.”