Shares in billionaire James Packer’s Crown Resorts fell hard after allegations in federal parliament that the gaming company tampered with poker machines.
A short time ago, the shares were down 4.9% to $11.175.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie tabled in parliament allegations by former Crown employees that machines were tampered with to allow illegal continuous play.
“Although the allegations focus on Crown in Melbourne, they could also suggest a broader pattern of behaviour in the poker machine industry which would obviously have grave implications for people right around Australia,” says Wilkie.
However, Crown rejected the allegations. “Crown calls on Mr Wilkie to immediately provide to the relevant authorities all information relating to the matters alleged,” the company said.
Crown in August posted a 7.5% fall in annual revenue to $3.34 billion, dragged down by fewer VIP players making big bets at Australian casinos.
Statutory net profit after tax was up 96.7% to $1.86 billion but this included $1.55 billion in one-off gains including the sale of shares in the group’s troubled Macau holdings. Normalised profit was $343.1 million, down 15.5%.
Packer has returned to the board of directors to take a more hands-on approach to his 48.2% holding in the gaming business.