Crown Sydney’s Casino Truly is for VIP Players

Crown Sydney's casino is truly for VIP customers with a minimum bar spend of $10,500 required just to step foot in the venue.

Crown Sydney is the brainchild of James Packer. The billionaire former Crown Resorts owner dreamed of a hotel and casino aimed solely at VIP players from all corners of the world. Packer is no longer part of Crown Resorts but his vision has born fruit. Crown Sydney in Barangaroo opened the doors to its VIP casino on August 8, and there is no denying its focus. Entry into the luxurious casino is exclusive; mere mortals need not apply.

The Crown Resorts management team fought tooth and nail to open its Sydney casino. The Australian casino giant spent $2.2 billion building the complex in Sydney, only for the government to deny the opening of the lavish casino. Gaming regulators put Crown Resorts through the wringer, leaving the hotel’s patrons unable to play casino games. The casino opened its doors on August 8, albeit with many restrictions, but the casino floor is not awash with your typical clientele.

Crown Sydney is a true VIP paradise. A basic room, if there is such a thing, costs from $799 per night. Book an Opera Tower Suite, and you do not receive change from $2,300. Those are eye-watering prices for most people, but not for the customers Crown has in its sights.

Crown Sydney Casino Restricted to Rich VIP Customers

It is not unusual for casinos to have special VIP areas on the floor. Wealthy patrons often prefer gambling for high stakes in private. They do not want to play $3,000 a spin on roulette games with dozens of the prying eyes on them. Playing in private comes at a premium, especially at Crown Sydney.

Crown Sydney’s marketing brochure highlights Packer’s dream of a VIP gambling haven. It certainly stays true to its promise of building a playground for the world’s high rollers. For example, a $10,500 bar tab is required just to step through the doors of the VIP gaming room. Enjoying a few pints of Victoria Bitter or a bottle of rose wine does not cut it here.

There are 30 private booths for VIP gamblers, but gaining access to them is not cheap. Crown requires members to reach Platinum status to gamble privately. Spending $45,000 across its bars, hotel, and restaurants attains this lofty level. Crown Sydney has a Black VIP level, but this is invite only. Nowhere does Crown state the level of gambling required to hit and retain its various statuses.

Is Targeting the Rich a Viable Strategy?

It is a risky strategy to only allow the mega-rich to frequent your casino. Their overall spend it extremely high compared to a normal punter, but these VIP players are relatively few and far between. Crown Sydney has 160 gaming tables, 30 private booths, but only 66 electronic tables. Crown Sydney is not permitted to run pokies at the venue, and poker machines are big business in New South Wales, especially at The Star Sydney where they are permitted.

Star Sydney recently revealed pokies revenue is running at 129% of pre-COVID levels. It estimates pulling in $115 million for pokies. No slots at Crown Sydney means no games like Mega Moolah, and these EGM make up a huge part of any casino’s bottom line.

VIP players flock to Crown Melbourne during the various golf, tennis, Grand Prix, and horse racing festivals. Attracting these players does not take too much effort. It will be a different story in Sydney, at least according to one industry expert.

“They always attracted that tier one player and probably didn’t have to do as much as what Star needed to do to attract those players to this market. Crown had the advantage on that part of the business, but it’s worth remembering it’s not the best part of the business. The grind, that’s where you make your margin. That’s 80% of your profit.”

Where Will The Rich Customers Come From?

Targeting high rollers is one thing but getting them through the door presents a legitimate issue. Crown no longer uses junkets to attract Chinese VIP players to the hotel and casino. These junkets offered non-traditional casino deposit methods to the super-rich. Those methods were often underhand and are one of many reasons Crown’s name has been dragged through the mud of late.

The type of player Crown Sydney wants should be relatively safe from the effects of sky-high inflation and the possibility of a recession. However, these people are highly intelligent and are unlikely to splurge a couple of million dollars at a time when some of their business interests are enduring difficulties.