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Baccarat deals big profit for Crown
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.