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>> It's a high stakes gamble which has well and truly backfired. 19 current and former staff of Australian casino empire, Crown, on trial in Shanghai on Monday, pleading guilty to their vaguely-defined charges of gambling crimes. Among them, VIP gaming executive Jason O'Connor and international marketing director Jerry Xuan.
Both admitting to hunting down high rollers in China and luring them to Crown's casinos in Macau and abroad, a dangerous game in a country where promoting gambling is illegal. They've been sentenced to ten and nine months jail, respectively, but with time already served will soon be free. Most of the Crown employees have been behind bars since last October, arrested during Beijing's sweeping anti-corruption crackdown.
The case has been nothing short of humiliating for Crown's operations. In 2013, billionaire boss, James Packer, declared investing in China would be one of the best decisions he's ever made. Words he's now come to regret, having sold off his stake in the world's biggest casino hub.