The international casino industry woke up to the shocking news today that James Packer, the Australian casino mogul has resigned suddenly from his position as director of the board of Crown Resorts.
An announcement issued by Consolidated Press, the billionaire's private investment company, which owns just under half of Crown Resorts, stated: "Mr. James Packer today resigned from the board of Crown Resorts Ltd. for personal reasons. Mr. Packer is suffering from mental health issues. At this time, he intends to step back from all commitments."
A short statement from the board of Crown Resorts did not elaborate further on the reasons behind Packer's decision to leave. Crown Executive Chairman, John Alexander added only: "We have appreciated James' contribution to the board and respect his decision to step down."
Turbulent Private and Professional Life
James Packer is one of the most colorful characters in Australia, with his private and professional life coming under much scrutiny by the local and international press - and not without good reason.
The twice divorced packer was in the public eye in recent years for several reasons - from his very public breakup with the equally-attention-seeking Mariah Carey, to the conviction of Crown Resorts employees in China for breaking gambling promotion laws in the Asian country.
During the time of the arrest of Crown employees in China, Packer was not a member of the board. The crackdown led to Crown exiting the flourishing Macau gambling scene and the closure of many of its offices in Asia. The group said at the time that it would be focusing more on its Australian business. Packer returned to the board just seven months ago.
Packer Under Pressure
It may come as no surprise that James Packer is suffering from mental issues, after being under so much pressure for such a long period of time. He recently said in an interview that the arrests in China "shook me to the core." He also said in the interview that he was seeking a "simple life" and had become almost reclusive on his remote Argentinean estate.
Packer summed it up in the interview: "It has been a tumultuous four or five years for me."