Brisbane has great potential to attract more high-rolling gamblers from China, says James Packer's casinos operator Crown.
Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie says Perth is attracting about five times the volume of business from VIP gamblers that Brisbane does despite Brisbane being a comparable city.
Crown operates casinos in Melbourne and Perth and is in the final stage of negotiating with the NSW government to build a $1.3 billion resort and VIP-only casino in Sydney.
Crown’s rival, Echo Entertainment Group, operates Sydney’s only casino at present, The Star.
Echo also operates casinos in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Townsville in Queensland.
‘‘Brisbane is clearly an opportunity,’’ Mr Craigie told reporters on Friday.
‘‘The more options that Australia can give the Chinese high-roller, the better - it is about critical mass.
‘‘If Australia is going to compete against Las Vegas and Singapore and Macau, it needs to have multiple, high-quality offerings (casinos), not just one.’’
Mr Craigie said that Australia had such a small share of the VIP market that it was possible to increase VIP numbers at all casinos simultaneously.
He said Crown was participating in the Queensland government’s consultation process over the future for casinos development.
The Queensland government had foreshadowed that it may call for expressions of interest towards the end of the year, he said.
‘‘Our view remains unchanged that Brisbane is currently under-performing and is not capturing its fair market share of the international and interstate market,’’ Mr Craigie said.
Crown has seen its profit fall more than 20 per cent amid weak consumer confidence and losses from the sale of its stake in rival Echo.
Crown made a net profit of $396 million in 2012-13, down from $513 last year.
The result was affected by a near $70 million loss on the disposal of Crown's investment in rival Echo Entertainment along with nearly $26 million of refinancing and development costs.
Revenue was up 3 per cent at $2.89 billion while earnings before interest and tax were down 12 per cent to $514 million.
However, shares in Crown soared 7.3 per cent to $14.56 - its highest in nearly six years after beating analyst forecasts as VIP gaming revenue increased 3.3 per cent.
Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie said its resorts in Melbourne and Perth had been hit by weak consumer sentiment and the company was focused on controlling costs at both properties.
"Overall, the results for Crown's wholly-owned Australian resorts, Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth, were mixed as we continue to see evidence of weak consumer sentiment, particularly in Melbourne," he said in a statement.
Reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) at Crown Melbourne were down three per cent, while reported EBITDA from Crown Perth was down 11 per cent, mostly due to a lower than expected win rate against VIP gamblers.
Revenue from main floor gaming in Melbourne rose less than one per cent during the year while revenue from its lower-margin VIP business rose 9.2 per cent.
Main floor gaming revenue in Perth rose 9.7 per cent while VIP gaming revenue increased 3.3 per cent, though the Casino's overall profit margin fell due to costs associated with the rebranding of the Casino and the launch of a new gaming floor.
Crown also reported a $175 million profit from its stake in Macau-based Melco Crown entertainment group.