16 Crown Resorts Casino Employees Jailed in China
Today the Melco Crown Resorts case was heard in a Shanghai Court. The trial resulted in 16 Crown Resorts casino employees jailed in China. They were all sentenced to 9-10 months in prison. All had pleaded guilty as charged.
The casino employees had been arrested on 14th October 2016 and their time already served in prison will count toward their sentences. Fines were also levied.
There were originally 19 defendants in the court case but three were released last November. They worked for the sales and marketing department and they were not fined or sentenced to jail.
The defendants were charged with organising casino gambling trips involving 10 or more people, which is illegal in China. Casino gambling in China is also illegal. The case against the Crown Resorts casino employees came about as the Chinese Authorities had a campaign to crack down on gambling and official corruption.
What Crown Resorts said
Crown Resorts said in a statement that the casino employees had been convicted of organising gambling parties and being engaged in gambling as a main business. In China the maximum sentence is 3 years for such offences so it appears some lenience was involved in the sentencing.
Crown Resorts also said in a statement today that they remain respectful on the sovereign jurisdiction of the Peoples Republic of China.
The destination for the Chinese gambling tourists could have been Crown Resorts Casino in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and possibly Aspinalls in London. Some of the high rollers were avoiding Macau due to the corruption crackdown. Perhaps Macau was little too close to home. The Chinese Authorities at the time were trying to stop the flow of Chinese money into foreign casinos. Read more about Chinese Gambling Holidays
The word “corruption” spells out all sorts of scenarios. Spending money at a foreign casino would be a great way hide the existence of monies obtained by corruption.
The publicity this case received will have increased awareness of the Chinese Government crackdown on corruption. Perhaps that will have more of an effect than the apparently lenient sentences given and the low fines levied. Was a lesson delivered or not?
Update: 12.7.2017 – China releases 10 Crown Resort employees.
Update: 12.8.2017 – China releases Jason O’Connor who was Crown Resorts head of VIP gambling in China. The remaining four colleagues who were jailed during October 2016 will also be released tomorrow