Ciarán Carruthers, the new chief executive of Australian casino group Crown Resorts Ltd, says the company will not be chasing the “old junket model” for its casino business.
Mr Carruthers (pictured) took over as Crown’s CEO earlier this week, after more than five years as chief operating officer of the Wynn Macau property, part of the portfolio of Macau casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd.
In a series of interviews with Australian media on Tuesday, Mr Carruthers said Crown was not banking on Chinese VIPs returning to Australia to boost the group’s casino and hotel businesses. Crown is now controlled by entities linked to United States-based private investment firm Blackstone Inc.
“I think there’s probably been an overreliance on the Chinese tourists in Australia; they’ve been such an easy target for some of the casinos of the past,” he said in an interview with The Age newspaper.
He reportedly added: “Though I have great confidence tourism will return as the international borders continue to open up, Crown will not be going down the path of the old junket model.”
The new CEO said Crown would continue to cater to international tourists seeking accommodation, hospitality or entertainment.
Mr Carruthers will have to continue efforts to reform Crown, as regulatory inquiries in the three Australian states where it has a business presence, found it unsuitable for a casino licence. The company was able to continue to operate under stricter oversight by regulators in those places.
Public inquiries by state regulators heard allegations that Crown had displayed inadequate oversight of its junket partners for VIP gambling and had exposed itself to money laundering at that property.
Crown has reportedly committed itself to terminating junket operations, as part of deals to retain its gaming licences in Australia, and to restore gaming licensing for its new Sydney project at Barangaroo, in New South Wales.
The group opened on August 8 the casino at its Crown Sydney complex, located in Sydney, capital of the state of New South Wales and the country’s largest city.
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