Crown Resorts VIP executive Jason O’Connor released from prison

  • In June, 19 Crown Resorts employers were given prison sentences for allegedly illegally promoting casinos in China
  • Latest news sees individuals, including VIP executive James O’Connor released

China’s president Xi Jinping’s crackdown on reported breaches of Chinese gambling laws has come to an end for 19 of James Packer’s Crown Resorts members of staff, as a number of the sentenced have been released from prison with the highest profile of them VIP executive James O’Connor.

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It is reported that part of O’Connor’s sentencing included the inclusion of a clause that he would be deported back to his homeland of Australia immediately upon his release.

Saga now over for Crown Resorts

In October, last year, O’Connor, along with 18 other members of James Packer’s Crown Resorts employers were detained by Chinese Authorities and charged with organising gambling parties and being “engaged in gambling as one’s main business for the purpose of making profits”.

In June, O’Connor was sentenced to ten months in prison (back dated from his detainment date) and fined $390,000, along with other high profile members of James Packer Crown Resorts including Jerry Xuan and Jenny Pan (who were both released in mid-July after being handed nine month sentences). Australian O’Connor will be reportedly taken from Shanghai No. 1 Detention Centre straight to the airport, where it is not known whether he will fly home to his native Melbourne where he has a wife and two children.

The release of O’Connor means that all 19 arrested staff members have now been released from prison in an episode that allegedly saw Crown Resorts’ Australian VIP sector reporting a 50 per cent loss on the previous year.

Chinese Government mean business

The crackdown from Chinese president Xi Jinping was a show of strength from the government, which had previously warned that it will not tolerate foreign companies trying to lure gamblers offshore – it provides a stark warning to anyone attempting to follow this path.

Land-based casino gambling and the promotion of casinos is illegal in China except for special administrative regions such as Hong Kong and Macau. However, many involved in the Chinese Casino industry have often found ways around the ban by touting gambling trips as destination packages.

That said, the Chinese government continue to take a strict hard line approach to any flouting of China’s gambling laws and there will likely be more cases coming out of the country over the next few years.

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