Australian Crown Resorts employees sentenced

Jason O'Connor, the head of Crown Resorts global VIP programs was sentenced to 10 months in prison, and Australian-Chinese dual nationals Jerry Xuan and Jenny Pan received sentences of nine months' imprisonment, Meehan said.

In an unrelated South Korean case, employees of casino operators Paradise Co.and Grand Korea Leisure Co. were arrested in June 2015 for promoting gambling on the mainland.

The Australians and other defendants pleaded guilty, according to Meehan.

Jason O'Connor, the head of Crown's International VIP programs, was sentenced to ten months behind bars, and Australian-Chinese dual nationals Jerry Xuan and Jenny Pan were each sentenced to nine months. O'Connor is due to be released on August 14th.

The hearing was held behind closed doors, but the court schedule showed the 19 were on trial for "suspected gambling".

The accused arrived at the Baoshan District Court in Shanghai in the morning and a tribunal officer told AFP that a verdict may be issued later on Monday, but it was up to the judge.

The 19 defendants were formally charged earlier this month, having been first detained late a year ago, and the trial at Baoshan District Court in the north of Shanghai is expected to reach a fairly swift conclusion.

Three of the accused, believed to have been junior staff, had been released on bail.

The sentences would run from the date the employees were first detained on October 14 previous year, meaning they would only have a couple of months left to serve, the consul said.

The employees were taken into custody by Chinese authorities last October but were charged earlier this month.

Crown didn't immediately reply to a request for comment.

Chinese also are known for their extravagant gambling appetites outside China and coveted by foreign casinos.

The case - part of a wider crackdown on gambling in China - has forced Crown to tear up its strategy of luring wealthy Chinese to the casino hub in the Chinese territory of Macau and instead shift its focus back home.

Crown Resorts shares fell to a year-low of $9.71 following the detentions in October, but were up six cents at $12.81 at 1501 AEST.

  • Carolyn Briggs