The hits keep coming for Australian casino giant Crown Resorts with the company reporting a loss of AU$120.9 million (US$87 million) in the six months to 31 December 2020, down 155.4% year-on-year.
In the midst of its battle to retain its casino licenses in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia following the release of the Bergin Report last week, Crown’s 1H21 financial results (Australian 30 June financial year), published Thursday morning, showed revenues falling 62.1% to AU$581 million. EBITDA also fell 99% to AU$4.4 million.
While Crown has been in the crosshairs over the past year as the focus of an inquiry by the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, it has also been the hardest hit of all Australian casino operators by COVID-19, with its flagship Crown Melbourne closed from March to November 2020 thanks to Victoria’s mid-year outbreak. Crown Melbourne only reopened to the public on 25 November with capacity limits lifting further from 9 December.
Crown Melbourne reported revenue for 1H21 of AU$91.5 million, down 92.2% year-on-year, with Adjusted EBITDA down 99.8% to just AU$700,000. Revenue at Crown Perth – which was open throughout – fell just 0.4% to AU$409.2 million although EBITDA grew 35.4% to AU$162.9 million on reduced costs.
In a statement accompanying Crown’s half-year results, Executive Chairman Helen Coonan addressed recent events rather than financials, noting that, “Despite the uncomfortable reading at times, Crown has welcomed the Commissioner’s report of the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority Inquiry. We see it as an opportunity for a complete and comprehensive corporate re-set.
“We recognise the need for immediate and swift action and I would like to reiterate my commitment to driving the necessary ‘root and branch’ change that is required. Crown has committed to working constructively with ILGA to advance reforms necessary to allow it to give effect to the Restricted Gaming Licence in Sydney.
“Crown also continues to work cooperatively with the Victorian and WA regulators as it works to restore public and regulatory confidence in its operations.
“With Ken Barton stepping down from his role of CEO and Managing Director earlier this week, I assumed the role of Executive Chairman on an interim basis to provide leadership stability as we undertake a search for a new CEO and implement Crown’s ambitious reform program. I want to be clear I do not see myself as Executive Chairman for an extended tenure. We have already commenced a global search for a new CEO.
“The resignations of Guy Jalland and Michael Johnston as Directors of Crown and the termination of the consultancy arrangement between CPH and John Poynton mean CPH is no longer separately represented on the Crown Board. Further, Andrew Demetriou has resigned as a Director of Crown.
“Their decisions have helped to accelerate our plans for Board renewal, which had already commenced with the appointment of Nigel Morrison subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals. Nigel will bring to the Board gaming industry experience throughout Australasia and Asia. Nigel’s appointment will also enhance our Board representation in Melbourne where he is based.
“As interim Executive Chairman, I am determined to provide the leadership required to drive change. My job is to lead Crown to become a stronger company, a more transparent company and a more respected company. A better company.”