Crown Resorts VIP play down 46% July-Oct.

Crown Resorts said its VIP program play dropped by 46 percent in the July to Oct. 20 period, compared with the prior calendar year due to difficult trading conditions in the international VIP market.

Executive Chairman John Alexander provided a trading update for shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting. He said the actual win rate was above theoretical.

Main floor revenue was 2 percent higher, while non-gaming revenue was flat, he said. Wagering and online social gaming was down by 4 percent.

Alexander said the company is working on improvements in Melbourne and Perth to improve profitability, including investment in new premium gaming areas in Melbourne and looking at new technology for marketing. 

In Sydney, the construction of the group’s new six-star VIP-only resort is on schedule. The tower elevator core has reached level 52, while the fit-out of guestrooms and suites is advanced.

Alexander said pre-opening activities have begun and a dedicated management team is being formed ahead of the opening, which is scheduled for the first half of 2021. 

Total project cost is expected to be about $2.2 billion. 

According to local media reports, many investor questions at the meetings focused on allegations of wrongdoing by the company related to fast-tracking visas for high rollers.

Alexander took the opportunity of his opening address to once again deny the allegations, which he called sensationalist and unproven.

“Let me be clear – Crown does not tolerate any illegal activity by its employees,” he said.