When Australian casino mogul, James Packer invested over $650 million in redeveloping his Crown Casino in Perth, many said that he was taking a gamble.
But Packer was convinced that the investment was needed in order to attract "whales", high roller Chinese gambles who plow millions into Australian casinos on games such as baccarat.
Packer was in for a rude surprise, however, when the recent figures were published by the Gaming and Wagering Commission of Western Australia last week.
It was shown that revenue from baccarat, which is the key game played by rich Chinese gamblers, had dropped by a dismal one third in the last financial year.
In the 2015-2016 period, baccarat pulled in $330 million, while the latest figures showed that takings at the Crown on this game were only $212 million.
As a result, overall gaming revenue for the Perth-based resort dropped from $742 million in the 2015-2016 period to $622 million in the last year.
Attendance Falls at Crown Casino
There was a significant fall in the number of visitors that came to Crown in Perth over the past four years. Numbers dropped 7.6% in this time period, another worrying aspect for Packer take into account.
Other details from the report that emerged:
- Baccarat is no longer the biggest source of revenue for Crown.
- Electronic gaming machines are the biggest cash spinners, generating $266 million in turnover.
- The popularity of roulette and blackjack declined on the casino floor.
Lottery Sales Also Take a Hit
It wasn't only Crown that reported poor numbers in WA. The state's LotteryWest showed that a sluggish economy affected the demand for lottery games, and sales had dropped 7.7% or $62 million.
Lotterywest chairwoman also blamed the growing popularity of Australian online sports betting on reduced numbers.
"The rise of online sports betting and synthetic lottery providers also made for a challenging year," noted Heather Zampatti. "As a result, Lotterywest sales were down 7 per cent on the previous financial year, consistent with national lottery industry trends."