Australian casino operator Crown Resorts now has a new boss in Ciarán Carruthers. As he gets started in just his first official week, the former Wynn Macau executive has reiterated that working with junkets is a thing of the past.
As a previous part of Wynn Resorts’ Asian operations, Carruthers knows the trouble junkets can bring. A Macau court told Wynn Macau last year that it was responsible for the six-figure debt its junket partner, Dore Entertainment, owed a gambler.
Before that, Wynn had already begun reducing its interaction with junkets. Carruthers is now going to continue that mindset as the new head of Crown.
Out With the Old
Carruthers, who was the CEO of Wynn Macau for five years, confirmed the company’s position in an interview with Australian media this week. He told The Age that it’s time to usher in a new era of business.
The “old junket model” is dead. Now, instead of focusing extensively on wealthy Chinese high rollers, Crown wants to attract tourists from everywhere. Carruthers also feels that the new business model should not rely as heavily on gambling. Instead, it should consider other reasons, such as entertainment and lodging, that travelers may want to visit the properties.
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. 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,” said new Crown CEO Carruthers.
Crown is still the subject of increased scrutiny in Australia for its previous practices. Money laundering, creative accounting and operational mismanagement across the country led to its downfall. It also opened the door for Blackstone to come in and purchase its assets, as well as to tap Carruthers to be its leader.
The company’s lack of internal integrity, as well as that of Star Entertainment, also led to the creation of new gaming regulators. These new bodies are watching Crown and Star closely to ensure they are fulfilling their promises to clean up their act.
Crown had already agreed to break up with junkets. This was part of its attempt to show regulators that it was not the same company as before.
Not Out of the Woods Yet
As much as Crown wants to show that it is a reformed company, it’s still not getting everything right. A recent incident involving Wayne Carey and a white powder is a good example.
Carey, a former Australian Football League star and Hall of Famer, was at a Crown Perth gaming table last week. A bag of an unknown white substance fell out of his pocket and onto the table. Carey reacted quickly, telling casino personnel that the powder was only an anti-inflammatory.
That concluded any investigation, although Crown gave the former North Melbourne star a two-year ban. Because of the fallout, Carey has stated that he is considering suing Crown.
The head of the Western Australian Police, Commissioner Col Blanch, isn’t happy with the way everything transpired. He told a local radio station today that Crown had an obligation to confiscate the bag and contact the police. Because it didn’t, the property failed miserably.
Carey has a history of cocaine use, although he has previously stated that he no longer consumes. While Blanch would like to know what was in the bag, there is no longer any physical evidence police can investigate. As a result, any attempt to find out would only lead to a dead end.
If Crown wants to continue to show that it is serious about being a reformed company, incidents like these aren’t helping.
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