In the wake of November’s arrests in China of 18 employees of Crown Resorts Limited, fellow Australian casino operator The Star Entertainment Group Limited has reportedly announced that it intends to reduce its reliance on high-stakes gamblers from the giant Asian nation.
According to a report from the Reuters news service, The Star Entertainment Group Limited made the revelation as part of its first earnings update since the arrests and additionally revealed that a “freakishly good” win rate during the six months to the end of December had masked a sharp downturn in income from Chinese high-rollers.
“At this time we’re not taking any risks by calling on customers we don’t know,” Matt Bekier, Chief Executive Officer for The Star Entertainment Group Limited, reportedly told analysts on Thursday. “We don’t respond to customers we don’t know.”
The Star Entertainment Group Limited reportedly explained that its six-month net profit had risen by 135% year-on-year to $109.1 million thanks to a near doubling of its win rate although turnover from overseas visitors on gambling junkets, which mainly constituted wealthy Chinese, had slumped by 27% in the final two months of 2016 and was continuing to drop.
The Brisbane-based firm, which operates casinos inside The Star Sydney, Jupiters Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane developments, reportedly detailed that its half-year net profit had been over 20% higher than analysts’ predictions while normalized profit had decreased by 17.7% year-on-year to $82.3 million.
The Star Entertainment Group Limited reportedly saw international VIP turnover for the six-month period decline by almost 12% year-on-year to around $16 billion while it has plans to cut the proportion of China-based gamblers among its VIP visitors by around 30% to somewhere nearer 50% and hopes that players from other Asian nations will begin to fill the revenue gap.
“We obviously want to be cautious because we just don’t have all of the facts on the table right now,” Bekier reportedly told analysts concerning the fallout from the arrests of the Crown Resorts Limited employees.