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Australia Seeks Access to Crown Resorts Exec Held in China: Macau Fears Grow

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Oct/18/2016

Australia Consular officials on Tuesday visited two of the Crown Resorts executives being held by Chinese authorities, including Crowns’ VIP International executive vice-president, Jason O’Connor.

“They are in good health. Their wellbeing is looked after,” foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

They were hoping to gain access to another of their top executives in the coming days.

18 Crown workers were picked up late last week with no charges filed as of yet.  Chinese officials have only said they are being investigated for various gambling related improprieties.  Charges must be filed within 30 days of detention under Chinese law or else the individuals must be released.

“It might be some time before we know what charges, if any, they are facing,” Bishop said. “In the meantime, our concern is to ensure that they are being appropriately treated.”

Meanwhile, fears over the future of the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, including Crown, continue to mount.  A number of companies with exposure in Macau have seen their shares plummet since news of the detentions. 

Gambling revenue has just starting to rebound after two years of declines in Macau’s $29 billion gaming market, according to Reuters News. The question is whether that nascent recovery can survive a renewed focus on foreign casino operators that market in China, they write.

“The Crown incident is raising concerns in Macau’s gaming market,” said Ben Lee, managing partner at Asian gaming consultancy IGamiX. “We expect the direct VIP and premium mass market will dive over the next several months.”

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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