Three Australian employees of casino group Crown Resorts have been jailed after pleading guilty to illegally promoting gambling in China.
Jason O’Connor, a senior executive in charge of attracting Chinese high-rollers, was sentenced to 10 months by the Baoshan District Court in Shanghai.
Jerry Xuan and Pan Dan received nine-month jail terms. All are likely to be freed soon after time spent on remand.
Casino gambling, and promoting gambling abroad, are illegal in mainland China.
The fate of 16 other current and former Crown staff who are also on trial, all believed to be Chinese citizens, is currently unclear.
The arrests took place in October last year, after a police operation believed to target Crown’s marketing activities.
Crown Resorts is controlled by Australian billionaire James Packer.
Like other casino groups across Asia, it sees wealthy Chinese gamblers as an important part of their business.
International high-rollers, known as VIPs, gambled $46.8bn (A$61bn) in the last financial year in Crown’s Melbourne and Perth casinos.
Crown said that Chinese gamblers only made up half this total, and counted for just 12% of total revenue for the business.