10 Things You Didn’t Know About James Packer

James Packer is an Australian billionaire, media mogul, and international businessman who is perhaps most known for his contributions to the gambling and entertainment industry through his company, Crown Resorts. He’s made headlines for his entrepreneurial and philanthropic blockbusters, as well as his occasionally stormy private life. Yet, behind the glitz and glamor, there’s much more to Packer’s story. In today’s piece, we dive into 10 surprising facts about this larger-than-life personality.

1. His Astronomical Wealth

James Packer stands as one of Australia’s richest persons but the extent of his wealth may be surprising. As of 2021, according to Forbes, his net worth is estimated at an astounding $3.6 billion USD.

Packer’s fortune primarily comes from his inherited media empire and real estate investments. His grandfather, Sir Frank Packer, laid the foundation of their immense wealth by establishing Australian Consolidated Press and the Nine Network. After his death, ownership passed onto James’s father, Kerry Packer, who further expanded the holdings.

2. Leaning Toward Zen Buddhism

Packer was raised in a secular environment but he has disclosed that he identifies with Zen Buddhism. A deeply personal encounter with this eastern philosophy came after the sudden death of his father, profoundly impacting his outlook on life and business.

He traveled to Israel to study the teachings of Zen Buddhism and reportedly uses its principles to guide his professional decisions. This spiritual journey provides an interesting contrast to the often cut-throat world of business he inhabits.

3. Passion for Polo

James Packer is a passionate polo player and has been playing the sport for more than two decades. He owns Ellerstina, one of the most successful polo teams in Argentina.

His love for the game is so profound that it influenced his real estate decisions. He purchased a property in Argentina, primarily because it has multiple polo fields. Packer also hosts an annual polo event, attracting the best teams from around the world.

4. Subscriber to Scientology

At a certain period in his life, Packer was a high-profile member of the Church of Scientology, an organization shrouded in controversy. He formed a close friendship with Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise, a prominent member and representative of the Church.

This affiliation came during a challenging time in Packer’s personal life, and he credits Scientology, along with Buddhism, with helping him confront his challenges and maintain his mental well-being.

5. Historic Property in Sydney

Packer doesn’t just invest in property – he transforms them into notable landmarks. In Sydney, he owns the grand Ellerston property, formerly known as Cairnton, where he has built a private golf course, regarded as one of the world’s finest.

Packer’s other signature properties include estates in Argentina, flashy mansions in Palm Beach, and a stunning penthouse in Barangaroo, Sydney, regarded as Australia’s most expensive apartment.

6. Philanthropic Causes

Despite his extravagant lifestyle, Packer has never shied away from his philanthropic responsibilities. Through the Crown Resorts Foundation, he has donated millions to various causes, particularly for the welfare of Indigenous Australians.

The Packer family’s legacy of giving extends to the arts, medical research, and education. They’ve funded scholarships, commissioned public artworks, and set up endowments for hospitals. Packer personally also supports veterans’ causes.

7. His Bond with Hollywood

Packer’s connections with Hollywood run deep. His former fiancé, Mariah Carey, is a major figure in the music industry. He also co-founded RatPac Entertainment with American director Brett Ratner, which financed successful films like Gravity and The Lego Movie.

His association with Hollywood and global celebrities have brought an extra sheen of glamour to Packer’s public image.

8. Struggled with Mental Health

Packer openly acknowledges his struggles with mental health. He shared his experiences with depression and anxiety, hoping to start a conversation and change the societal perception surrounding mental health.

His openness about seeking help, including strategic withdrawals from professional life, offer a different perspective on the pressures faced by top-level entrepreneurs.

9. A High-Stakes Gambler

True to his casino empire, Packer is known as a ‘whale’ in the gambling parlance, referring to high-stakes gamblers. Reports suggest that his single-hand bets at blackjack tables often reach multiple millions!

10. His Brief Stint as a Chairman of a Professional Rugby Team

Rugby union is one of Australia’s favorite sports and Packer has had his share in its history. In 1995, he attempted to form a global professional rugby union tournament, being the chairman of the Australian Rugby Union Team.

However, the venture did not materialize the way he had hoped. Despite its short life, this event is considered a landmark moment in the history of professional rugby.

James Packer’s Crown Resorts
Forbes Profile – James Packer
Bloomberg Profile – James Packer