New Crown Resorts Boss Says ‘No’ To Junkets

Posted on: September 7, 2022, 07:19h. 

Last updated on: September 7, 2022, 02:24h.

Australian casino operator Crown Resorts has a new boss. In his first week as Crown’s CEO, Ciarán Carruthers has made it clear that working with junkets is a thing of the past.

Crown Resorts CEO Ciarán Carruthers
New Crown Resorts CEO Ciarán Carruthers stands in front of the company’s emblematic crown. Carruthers says partnering with junkets isn’t in Crown’s future. (Image: The Australian)

The “old junket model” is dead, according to Carruthers. Instead of focusing extensively on wealthy Chinese high rollers, he says Crown wants to attract tourists from everywhere. Carruthers, who was Wynn Macau’s CEO for five years, confirmed Crown’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.

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.

Carruthers also believes the new business model shouldn’t rely heavily on gambling. Instead, he says, it should consider other factors, such as entertainment and lodging, that may attract travelers to the properties.

Before that, Wynn had already begun reducing its interaction with junkets. Carruthers is continuing in that direction as the new head of Crown.

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.

Under Scrutiny

Crown had already agreed to break up with junkets as part of its attempt to show regulators that it isn’t the same company as before.

But the company remains 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, and to tap Carruthers to be its leader.

The company’s lack of internal integrity, and similar actions by Star Entertainment, led to the creation of new gaming regulators in Australia. These new bodies are watching Crown and Star closely to ensure they fulfill their promises to clean up their act.

Not Out of the Woods

Recently, Crown found itself in a new incident involving Wayne Carey. A bag of white powder fell from his pocket to the table last week while the former Australian Football League star and Hall of Famer sat at a  gaming table.

Carey claimed the powder was an anti-inflammatory drug. But Crown banned Carey from any of their establishments. Carey now says that he’s considering suing Crown.

Today, the head of the Western Australian Police, Commissioner Col Blanch, told a local radio station that Crown was obliged to confiscate the bag and contact the police. Crown, however, did not follow this protocol. 

Because the Crown did not confiscate the baggie, there is no physical evidence for the police to investigate what was really in it.