Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop (pictured), says the detention of people linked to Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Ltd in mainland China could have implications for the global gaming industry.
“I am sure every casino operator around the world is watching this case closely,” Ms Bishop told public broadcaster the ABC, in comments on Sunday.
“This will have implications but until such time as we know precisely what they’re facing, it would be counterproductive of me to speculate,” Ms Bishop said. “It may well be part of President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign involving government officials,” she added.
Ms Bishop told the media outlet that the Australian authorities still do not know why the Crown Resorts employees have been detained or what charges they may face. She confirmed that there are four Australians detained and that they will be receiving continuing consular support.
“There are now four Australians involved, three are Crown employees and a fourth person we have learnt is not a Crown employee but is detained along with them,” Ms Bishop told the ABC’s television network.
A total of 18 individuals linked to Australian casino operator Crown Resorts were reportedly detained in mainland China in connection with alleged “gambling crimes”.
An additional 10 people have been detained in mainland China in connection with investigations into the alleged illegal gaming-related marketing activities involving Crown Resorts, reported The Australian newspaper. These were believed to be linked to junket operators, people that organise the recruitment of high value casino players, mostly from China, and also organise credit issuance for gambling and arrange for collection on gambling losses.
Australian market rival The Star Entertainment Group Ltd said last week it was “closely” monitoring developments concerning the detention of Crown Resorts employees. “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,” chief executive Matt Bekier told shareholders at the annual general meeting on Friday.
New Zealand-based SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd stated a fortnight ago that the financial impact on the industry regarding the Crown Resorts arrests remained “highly uncertain”, but was “likely to be adverse over the short-to-medium term”. SkyCity Entertainment also runs gaming operations in Australia.
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Aggregate number of licensed junkets in Macau as of January 2022