Crown Resorts Says Charges Filed Against Employees Held in China

By Mike Cherney Features Dow Jones Newswires

Crown Resorts Ltd. (CWN.AU) said charges have been filed against its employees who were detained in China last year, the latest development in a case that sent shockwaves through the casino industry.

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In a statement Tuesday, Crown said charges related to the promotion of gambling had been filed against employees who are currently detained, as well as those released on bail. The cases have been referred to Baoshan District Court, it said.

Crown said no further comment would be made given that the matter is now before the court.

The Wall Street Journal last month reported Chinese authorities handed over the criminal cases of 18 Crown employees to the district-level prosecutor's office, which suggested the charges could be less severe than if the cases were being handled in a higher jurisdiction.

The detainees include Jason O'Connor, an Australian who helped oversee Crown's international VIP business.

Under Chinese law, foreign casinos aren't allowed to directly advertise gambling in China. Still, casinos have become increasingly dependent on Chinese high rollers in recent years.

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After the detentions in October, casino companies in Australia and New Zealand reported declines in their VIP businesses, an indication the incident had kept some foreign customers away from their operations.

Crown has also scaled back its ambitions in China and focused more recently on its assets in Australia.

Write to Mike Cherney at mike.cherney@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 12, 2017 20:43 ET (00:43 GMT)