Crown Resorts Shifts Focus from Gaming to Entertainment Revival Amid Regulatory Scandals


Crown Resorts, the Australian titan of casino entertainment, is eyeing a fresh epoch, confidently leaving behind a tarnished history marked by a tumultuous trail of regulatory scandals and government probes. Whispers of change fly through the hushed boardrooms and resonate within the high-roofed gambling halls, reverberating the collective hopes of company chiefs and investors for a rebound devoid of any corporate mire.

As the company emerges from a shadowy season, it aspires to turn the corner. It daydreams of the fresh patronage of non-gamblers, envisioning its casino resorts as a magnet for such clientele. Crown’s visionaries are ready to dip into the company’s deep pockets, drilling considerable investments into their resorts far beyond the gleaming casino floors in the coming years.

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The New York-based private equity juggernaut, Blackstone, emerged as the puppet master when it let slip this week that Crown’s focus would dim on casino gaming. With an optimistic twinkle in their eye, they narrated a vision of an invigorated Crown, clad in newly-polished attire of enhanced hospitality and top-tier entertainment. The trajectory of Crown, company heads confided to Australian media, would divert from their traditional table games and slot machines – fondly coined ‘pokies’ in the Australian vernacular.

Crown’s recent helm-taker, Ciaran Carruthers, harked back to Las Vegas’ glorious trajectory over the past decades – the non-gaming revenue streams had swelled to unprecedented levels, taking center stage in the buzzing desert city. Carruthers noted how global integrated resorts have trended toward comprehensive service offerings and hospitality-centric approaches, docked from sole reliance on the gaming anchor.

However, Carruthers was quick to admit that Crown had been slow off the mark, trailing behind in pivoting towards non-gaming attractions at its three coastal jewels – Crown Melbourne, Crown Perth, and Crown Sydney.

Even with storm clouds of government inquiries and subsequent findings of myriad regulatory lapses looming over Crown Resorts, the company managed to cling on to its precious gaming licenses across Australian states. Investigations in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia deemed Crown unsuitable for holding a gaming license due to lamentable oversight of monetary movements linked to its casino cages. Yet, Crown was thrown a lifeline under the condition it upended its operations to respond to anti-money laundering safeguards and allowed government-appointed supervisors to watch doggedly over its businesses.

The company embarked on a radical transformation, with sweeping changes in its executive suite and boardroom composition and consistent updates to its gaming operations. Looking to the future, the casino company, the brainchild of billionaire James Packer, set its sights on lucrative projects outside its staple gaming havens.

Carruthers kept mum on the actual size of the financial pie Crown might pour into its three flagstone properties, doing nothing more than hinting at hundreds of millions of dollars. Potential avenue-expansions include live sporting events, wellness offshoots, a ramp-up of entertainment catalog, and an elevation in their food and dining experiences – transforming the plain Jane casino industry into a more well-rounded Alexandrian one.

Carruthers, an industry veteran who carved his career starting from being a table game dealer to climbing up the bipolar rungs of the global gaming market to its acme, carries forward the onus of steering Crown Resorts to a better tomorrow.

Blackstone, too, flexes its muscles with a portfolio commanding more than $1 trillion in assets under management. Rescuing Crown Resorts with a towering investment of over $6 billion amid threats of losing its gaming license and following up with organisational fines and updates, Blackstone solidifies its position as a heavyweight champion in the global gaming industry. Known as the affluent landlord to various premiere Las Vegas establishments leased to MGM Resorts International, Blackstone’s former reign included ownership of the celebrated Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand.