The West Australian Government has released its annual Gaming and Wagering Commission report, revealing gambling revenue is down 11 per cent at the states only casino, Crown Perth. The report also cited a three per cent decline in the number of visitors to the Burswood entertainment complex, suggesting the drop in revenue is due to dwindling patronage.
While the figures are troubling for the Packer owned Crown Group, this certainly doesn’t signal the end of days for Crown Perth. The casino still brought in $742 million in gambling revenue during the 2015-16 financial year, however this figure represented an 11 per cent drop on the $835 million it brought in during the previous financial year.
Attendance numbers during the 2015-2016 financial year was 8.1 million visitors, compared with 8.3 million during the 2014-2015 financial year, and 8.5 million in 2014-2013.
The gambling revenue figures showed a decline in money spent on electronic games like the pokies, with electronic gaming revenue down at $278 million. It’s the VIPs and high rollers that continue to bring in the most gambling revenue, with baccarat remaining Crown Perth’s biggest source of revenue, bringing in $329 million last financial year. Despite that huge figure, this still represents a drop of 14 per cent in baccarat takings.
In comparison to the previous financial year, Crown paid an additional $5 million in taxes to the government, despite the dramatic drop in revenue. All up, Western Australia raised $64.8 million in casino taxes for the state during the 2015-2015 financial year.
WA’s Gaming and Wagering Commission revealed a total annual gambling expenditure of $1.5 billion, which broken down equates to $794 per capita, an increase of $22 per person compared to the previous year. With Crown revenue down but gambling expenditure up, these figures may suggest more players are choosing to gamble at their local pokies lounge instead of heading out to Burswood to play on the casino floor.
The rise in per capita gambling expenditure now puts Western Australia ahead of South Australia, ACT and Tasmania, yet remains overshadowed by New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
While the report doesn’t take into consideration online gambling expenditure, we can only speculate that a drop in Crown Perth’s revenue may also be linked to the accessibility and convenience of online casinos. Many Australian blackjack players now prefer the comfort of playing 21 for real money online, as opposed to spending the extra time, money and effort heading out to the blackjack tables of their closest land based casinos.