Crown windfall – $450m in losses from Victorian pokies players
It is for the first time that the Crown Resorts have made their profit public, those acquired from the machine revenue. According to their reports, the Crown’s 2682 poker machines gained $450 million dollars, which the gamblers had lost and in addition to this, $265 million was acquired in Perth in the financial year of 2017 – 2018.
Advocates against gambling have been continually lobbying the Crown to release their profits and data to better identify their play in the harm caused by gambling. The data they released was for the entire year as they reported a profit of around $555 million, although that has reduced by 70% as compared to the previous year.
Charles Livingstone, who is a professor of Public Health and a researcher for gambling stated that the profits made by the pokies via the gambling machines meant that the Crown Melbourne had been making around $170,000 per machine in the year and this is almost 1.7 times higher than the average made per machine in the Victoria State. He commended the Crown Melbourne for being ‘extremely good at extracting money’ from the people.
The casino license of the Crown Melbourne was renewed on Friday despite a review conducted on them for falling behind the expectations of the community as far as running a casino is concerned. According to the review, the Crown Melbourne had failures of risk management and governance and had to be more innovative in implementing strategies in the upcoming financial year.
Livingstone also mentioned that the casino had to implement innovative technologies as per the review, one such way was to implement a face recognition technology to identify problem gamblers and the other was to have a robust database system which could analyze the gambling habits of its customers and determine who is addicted or not.
Tim Costello who is the director of the Alliance for Gambling Reform appreciated the move by Crown Melbourne to release their profits, but he also stated that the harm from pokies in Australia was much worse than expected or anticipated. He went on to claim that the government released figures of the losses of margins were wrong, in fact, it was $3.145 been including the losses contributed by the machines of Crown Melbourne.
Anna Bardsley, one of the victims of the harm by pokies told reports that she was shocked by the loss scales as reported by the Crown Melbourne. She went on to call Crown Melbourne to cut down the pokies revenue to less than $400 m by implementing the suggestions from the review committee. She also suggested a loyalty program for gamblers who continually face losses in the game.
On the other hand, the Crown chairman executive, John Alexander was pleased with the increase in VIP play in Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth. This happened after a major loss incurred during the last year when the Chinese Government had conducted a major crackdown on gambling. As a result of this, the high rollers belonging to China put off the jaunts of gambling situated in the abroad countries. The result was not done. This crackdown also resulted in the suspension of Crown employees in the later months of 2016 under the violation of conducting gambling offences and it resulted in the sale of the company’s Macau branch.
Lastly, Crown has reported a dividend offered of 30c per share and this being franked at 18c. Due to the profits, the shares of the Crown also went up by close to 4% as on 22 August.