In the latest hoopla surrounding Australian casino operator Crown Resorts, billionaire honcho James Packer has stepped down as director of the company.
In a brief statement to the Australian Securities Exchange last month, Executive Chairman John Alexander said, “We have appreciated James’ contribution to the board and respect his decision to step down from his role as a director at this time.”
A spokesman for Packer’s private investment company, Consolidated Press Holdings, added that Packer is “suffering from mental health issues. At this time he intends to step back from all commitments.”
It’s been a tough couple of years for Packer, son of late Aussie media giant Kerry Packer, whose estimated net worth—A$3.9 billion (US$3.1 billion)—makes him one of the 10 wealthiest people in Australia.
Victoria’s gaming regulator has launched disciplinary action over Crown’s trial of “blanking buttons” on its poker machines, a violation that could lead to penalties up to and including a revocation of the company’s license in the state.
In October 2016, Chinese authorities arrested 19 Crown employees in Shanghai for promoting the company’s casinos to high rollers on the mainland—a violation of China’s strict laws about gambling. The detainees were not released for almost a year—a disastrous year in which Crown shares tumbled, domestic VIP business dried up, and enraged shareholders filed a lawsuit alleging the operator’s marketing practices caused the stock to plummet.