Crown Melbourne: That's entertainment, sports and entertainment: Melbourne Storm sponsorship pays off


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Melbourne Storm wins the NRL grand final...

Melbourne is celebrating its second NRL Premiership after beating the Bulldogs 14-4 in the NRL Grand Final at a packed ANZ Stadium.
In a fiery match that was marred by a biting allegation, the Storm held on with an impressive defensive performance to keep the Bulldogs scoreless in the second half. It was just three years back, when the Melbourne Storm rugby league team was at its lowest point, James Packer's Crown group stepped in big time to become major sponsor the ambitious team. The rise to the top wasn't without scandal. Who can forget the sports betting scandals that plagued the league, including Storm, but they weathered the storm and rose to the top based on talent, training and hard work - not just money being thrown at them - but there is no doubt the team is more cashed up that most and has a vast reserve of resources. In August this year, Crown renewed its sponsorship of the Storm for another year, putting up a reported $1.5 million for the deal. Bottom line - the support and the hard work have paid off big time with the NRL premiereship. As Crown Limited top dog James Packer would agree - winners are grinners. Bulldogs fans - there's always next year but good luck - you will need it.

Baccarat deals big profit for Crown...

James Packer's strategy to lure Asian high-rollers to his revamped Crown Perth entertainment complex appears to be paying off in spectacular style after the casino's gross gaming revenue leapt 25 per cent to a record $634 million last financial year.
And it was baccarat, a card game wildly popular with Asian gamblers and the game of choice for so-called "whales", or wealthy high-stakes punters, that was almost solely responsible for the bumper result. Figures contained in the Gaming and Wagering Commission's annual report, tabled in State Parliament this week, shed light on Mr Packer's Perth gambling operation that is not provided in Crown's reports to the Australian stock exchange. They showed that gross revenue from gaming machines, blackjack, roulette and other casino games was only marginally up in 2011-12 compared with the previous financial year. Attendance at the casino and the number of gaming machines and tables were virtually unchanged. But gross revenue from baccarat exploded, doubling to $245 million. The record gaming revenue delivered $106 million in gambling taxes to State Government coffers. Crown did not comment on the figures, but casino operators in Las Vegas and Macau have relied increasingly on baccarat, a game of chance, to land the "whales" that can make or break a casino gaming operation. The Gaming and Wagering Commission, which regulates the operation of Crown Perth, will soon be asked to decide on Crown's application for an extra 500 gaming machines and 130 gaming tables, an application the State Government has indicated it will not oppose as part of a deal for Crown to build a new 500-room, six-star hotel. (The West Australian)

More trouble for Star City Casino owners' board...

ALAN KOHLER, PRESENTER: More ructions at the Echo Entertainment company, the one that owns the Star City casino in Sydney. Another board member, Brett Paton, quit this week and CEO Larry Mullin will leave in January. It looks to be falling apart, that place. And James Packer mustn't be able to believe his luck. So why was - what happened with Larry Mullin? Got sacked? ADELE FERGUSON, COMMENTATOR, THE AGE AND SMH: Well it appears to be so, despite the spin around it. They had a meeting on the Tuesday and the decision was made with - it was unanimous except for one director that he should go and the one director that was backing him resigned on the Wednesday. ALAN KOHLER: So is it good for Packer or not? ADELE FERGUSON: I think it is good for Packer because he's been pushing the line that Echo isn’t run very well, it hasn't got control of its finances - they had to have a big equity raising recently. So, yes, it sort of plays into Packer's hands, disruption, board unstable. There was a piece in the newspapers saying dysfunctional board. ALAN KOHLER: Yes. But Packer's obviously playing a long game to become the casino operator in Sydney as well as in Melbourne, right? IVOR RIES, SENIOR RESEARCH ANALYST, WILSOM HTM: Australia's casino king. ALAN KOHLER: Australia's casino king. He's patient. I mean, he could just launch a takeover offer for Echo, but he doesn't want to pay the money. ADELE FERGUSON: Well he’s - at the moment he's applied ... ALAN KOHLER: He’s applied, yes. ADELE FERGUSON: ... to go to 25 per cent. He has to get permission for that. So he’s not going to be screaming out, "I want to make a takeover bid" because the share price would go right up. So he's putting out that - a joint venture, and maybe that’s one of the options. If that doesn't work, then there possibly would be a takeover bid. IVOR RIES: And trying to go past 25 per cent, doesn't there have to be some sort of Government inquiry or something into whether he's allowed to do that or not? ADELE FERGUSON: Well, there’s already the Government inquiry into him going to 25 per cent. Any time they have to go above in 5 per cent increments ... IVOR RIES: So it’s not going to be resolved overnight. It’s going to take a - be a long, slow process. ADELE FERGUSON: That’s right. And he would not want the share price to be running away. (ABC)


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