Casino giant Crown Resorts narrowed its financial loss last year to $199 million as costs related to improved compliance measures and pecuniary penalties outweighed profit.
The Blackstone-controlled operator, which is preparing to pay a $450 million fine for falling foul of counterterrorism and antimoney laundering laws, boosted revenue 44 per cent to $2.7 billion in 2022-23.
It was not enough to offset a $3 billion expense bill bloated by investment in compliance and remediation measures and operational costs related to the opening of Crown Sydney’s gaming floor.
A Crown spokesman said the result reflected the challenges the hospitality and tourism industry faces.
“During the year, Crown has made considerable progress on its remediation and transformation plan, which has resulted in a significant uplift to the operations and culture of the business,” the spokesman said.
The result is a marked improvement on the $945.4 million loss it suffered the previous financial year, buoyed by a turnaround in revenue across all locations with Melbourne up 59.5 per cent and Crown Perth up 16.1 per cent.
Crown Sydney, which started its gaming operations in August 2022, made $271 million, a significant jump on the previous year. Crown Sydney was forced to close one of its two gaming floors in August because of low visitor numbers.
Financial provisions for FY23 include a $450 million AUSTRAC penalty for historical breaches of counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering laws.
Crown, once owned and operated by billionaire James Packer, has come under major financial pressure since a 2019 investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 Minutes showed it was facilitating international crime. The revelations led to three government inquiries, which all ruled it unfit to hold casino licences.
The company overhauled its board, management and oversight to gain a conditional licence for Crown to operate its Barangaroo casino on Sydney’s Darling Harbour, which was granted last year. The conditional licence is valid until December 31.
In July 2022, Blackstone officially acquired the business, paying $8.9 billion and pledging to commit significant capital.
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