Gaming insights Gaming

Actions speak louder than words for Packer in Macau

Written by Ben Blaschke

It’s been a tough 18 months for Macau’s casinos, but declining revenues clearly haven’t shaken James Packer’s confidence in the Macau gaming industry if his latest career move is anything to go by.

The Melco Crown co-Chairman announced late last week that he was stepping down as Chairman of Crown Resorts – the Australian arm of his global gaming empire – in a move that surprised many given its long standing as the Packer family’s flagship business.

But while speculation as to his reasoning has covered everything from spending more time with his Los Angeles based children – which no doubt played some part – to his new relationship with singer Mariah Carey, it is in fact more of a sign as to which gaming markets he considers the priority.

Notably, his role as co-Chairman of Melco Crown in Macau – which operates City of Dreams and the soon to open Studio City – remains unchanged and he will continue to oversee the development of his ambitious US$4 billion Alon project in Las Vegas. Packer will retain a position on the Crown Resorts board.

It was also widely speculated that Packer’s announcement was in reaction to a 41.3 percent slump in Crown’s profits in the last financial year due in part to falling revenues in Macau, but the evidence suggests Packer still has big expectations for Macau in the coming years.