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18 Crown Resorts staff, including 3 Aussies, detained in China

Sat, Oct 15, 9:42am by Staff Writer

At least 18 Crown Resorts employees, including at least three Australians, have reportedly been detained in China.

The precise reasons for their detention have not been revealed, but the Australian Financial Review has reported that the staff are from the gaming group’s sales and marketing team in China.

“Crown believes that a number of our employees in China are being questioned by local authorities and at this time we can provide no further details,” a Crown spokesperson told the AFR.

At least one of those arrested is said to be a senior executive of the company, which is headed by James Packer, who owns around 49 per cent of the company.

The Australian Government has been made aware of reports of three Australians being detained and is working to find out more information.

“Consular officials are seeking to confirm these reports with the relevant Chinese authorities,” a government spokesman said.

Crown operates two casino venues within Macau, the Altira Macau and the City of Dreams. Macau is the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.

It is illegal to promote or advertise gambling anywhere within China, while there has been a corruption crackdown in the past two years which has put additional pressure on the casino business in Macau.

That included an edict that government officials were ‘prohibited from organising and taking part in any gambling activities’.

The decision led to a two-year slump in gambling revenues in the former Portuguese colony, at the precise time that Crown had invested heavily in the region.

The issues with the Asian gaming division of the businesses led Packer to move to split up Crown Resorts into two sectors, with the Australian casino businesses in Melbourne and Perth, and future businesses in Sydney separated from Melco Crown, which is focussed on international business, especially Macau, Manila and Las Vegas.

The slump in Macau has began to ease in recent months, with growth in visitors and revenue rising slightly in August and September.

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