Nineteen Crown Resorts’ employees were sentenced 9 to 10 months in prison, after pleading guilty to charges of illegal promotional casino activities in China, trying to attract Mainland China players in the Australian casino.
The nineteen defendants, among who three Australians, were accused of gambling promotional activities in China. All of them pleaded guilty and were jailed for 9 or 10 months, including a fine, which will be paid by the Crown Resorts, estimated to be 8.62m yuan ($1.3 million). The wrongdoers were organizing “gambling trips” abroad for 10 or more people, with the clear idea to attract high rollers to their casino.
Under Article 303 and 25 of Chinese criminal law, this is seen as a promotional gambling activity, which is illegal in the country. Even though such illicit practices are often “masked” as a trip overseas, this time the wrongdoers were caught red-handed. It became clear that among the Australian wrongdoers appear the name Jason O’Connor, who is Crown’s Head of International VIP Gambling.
He received a harsh slap on the wrist of 10 months in a Chinese prison. The other two O’Connor’s compatriots are said to be Pan Dan and Jerry Xuan, who received a 9-months sentence from the day of detention. The offenders were detained in the late fall last year, and more accurately on 14th October. The other 16 of the companion were also taken into custody for 9 to 10 months and only 3 of them were released prior to this period on bail.
For years, gambling activities are outlawed in China, with Macau as an exception, being the Chinese “Las Vegas”. Pursuing the penal code of the country, any casino-related advertisements and promotions are forbidden within the territory of the country.
After the case, Australia’s Crown Resorts experienced a significant drop in revenue and shares cost over a very short period of time. Thus, the casino operator started to consider saving measures, which include the selling of a plot of land in Las Vegas, which was said to be the place for the next Crown-owned casino. Furthermore, it appeared on the surface that Crown Resorts already sold its stake in Melco Crown in an attempt to cut its costs.
Crown Resorts paid an unreasonably high price for its attempt to attract Chinese high rollers to spend their bankrolls in the Australian casino. The reputation of the formerly thriving casino operator is suffering, witnessing even a players withdraw. Experts explain that this may have irreparable harm for Crown Resorts. The future of the casino operator now is at stake, as the considerable decline of players, shares cost and revenues may continue to sink.