One of 18 Crown staff released from Chinese prison

One of 18 Crown staff released from Chinese prison

Crown CasinoCROWN Resorts has confirmed that one of the 18 employees that were arrested due to strict anti-gambling laws in China was released from detention.

Crown employee Jenny Jiang, a person dubbed a ‘junior official’ by a source close to Crown, was released on bail on Thursday, but the company is yet to release an official statement.

The 18 Crown staff members were detained without charge back in mid-October under strict anti-gambling laws that President Xi Jinping has been trying to enforce.

Anti-corruption laws in China dictate that it is illegal to promote overseas gambling in the country, but offering deals and inducements on hotels that contain casinos or facilitative gambling products is within the bounds of legality.

The detention of 18 Crown staff, three of whom are Australian nationals including its head of international VIP gambling, has sparked concern about the impact on Australian casinos that rely on wealthy Chinese gamblers.

Back in October Star Entertainment chief executive Matt Beiker told investors that the grey area around what is and is not legal in terms of resort promotion is not a line the company is prepared to walk after the Crown arrests.

“The situation in China has, understandably created some uncertainty and potential impact on revenue is not clear at this point given the limited information available,” Bekier said.

Despite the fact that VIP gambling delivered “less than 30%” of revenue at Crown, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said the arrests threaten a revenue stream that worldwide casino operators bank upon.

“It may well be part of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign involving government officials,” Minister Bishop said.

“I am sure every casino operator around the world is watching this case closely.

“This will have implications but until such time as we know precisely what they’re facing, it would be counterproductive of me to speculate.”

There is still conjecture over how long the detained members of staff will be held in China.

The Australian government believes that under local law China has 37 days to formally charge the detained employees.

The 18 members of staff were detained on October 14.

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