Packer's Crown Says High-Roller Turnover Sinks on China Case

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire James Packer’s Crown Resorts Ltd. said high-roller casino revenue halved last fiscal year after Chinese authorities clamped down on the promotion of gambling on the mainland.

Crown’s VIP program-play turnover in the year ended June 30 slumped 49 percent to A$33.3 billion ($27 billion), dragging down revenue at its Melbourne and Perth resorts, the company said in a statement Friday. Profit excluding one-off gains fell 16 percent to A$343.1 million.

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Crown’s high-roller business has been rocked since Chinese authorities arrested a group of its staff in October and Chairman John Alexander said Friday the results “reflected difficult trading conditions.” Since then, the company has sold out of a Macau casino venture, closed almost all its Asian marketing offices and handed back cash to shareholders.

Crown rose 0.3 percent to A$12.80 at 11:10 a.m. on Friday after it extended a stock buyback, taking the gain since the October detentions to about 15 percent. The company will purchase up to 29.3 million more shares, currently worth A$375 million.

Crown is now focusing on its domestic resorts in Melbourne and Perth, and the construction of a A$2 billion luxury hotel and casino in Sydney.

A Shanghai court in June convicted 19 current and former Crown staff of illegally promoting gambling on the mainland and handed out jail terms of as long as 10 months.

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