Oz Casinos Post Strong Revenue

Casino operator Echo Entertainment Group posted a net profit of A$70.2 million from total revenues of A$908.2 million for the six months to December.

The group operates The Star in Sydney and three in Queensland – Jupiters on the Gold Coast and Townsville, and The Treasury in Brisbane.

There is no comparative profit figure for the prior corresponding period as Echo was part of gambling group Tabcorp Holdings at that time.

Echo said it is attracting more high-roller VIP gamblers to The Star and Jupiter Gold Coast.

As The Star’s A$870 million expansion reaches 85 percent completion on time and on budget, Echo CEO Larry Mullin expects The Star’s revenue to grow in the second half.

It plans to open a 1,200-capacity Marquee nightclub (with USA’s Tao Strategic Group, which will model it on its Las Vegas club of the same name) along with extra VIP gaming salons and suites.

Echo will spend A$625 million redeveloping its Queensland casinos. Echo will open a $20 million Jupiters Theatre in April on the Gold Coast marked by two weeks of A-list international entertainment.

James Packer’s Crown Ltd. announced a 79 percent increase in profits for the same period to A$277.4 million, with revenue up 24 percent to A$1.49 billion. Crown operates Crown Casino in Melbourne and Burswood Casino in Perth, and has a 33 percent stake in Melco Crown Entertainment, its joint venture with Lawrence Ho that includes the City of Dreams casino in Macau.

Crown also doubled its stake in Echo Entertainment to 10 percent, the ceiling imposed by Queensland and New South Wales regulators, at a cost of A$257 million. Packer had asked for a seat on the Echo board but was rebuffed. Packer had unsuccessfully suggested to Echo a joint venture for the VIP stakes.