In October 2016, 19 Crown employees –including Crown Resorts' head of VIP operations Jason O'Connor– were arrested in China for illegally promoting gambling.
News were reported by The Australian with the Morgan Stanley expert discussing the state of the casino industry with local casino operators Crown Resorts and its rival The Star Entertainment Group and the junket operators that bring VIP customers to the properties.
The reason behind the comeback has to do with the release of Crown employees from prison. In October 2016, 19 Crown employees –including Crown Resorts' head of VIP operations Jason O'Connor– were arrested in China for illegally promoting gambling.
Almost a year later, in August, O'Connor was released from a Shangai prison after completing a 10-month sentence for gambling-related offences. He was the last of three Australian Crown employees to be released.
“Specifically, junket operators spoke to a material improvement across both Crown’s Melbourne and The Star’s Sydney properties in recent months versus the VIP volume lows seen in 2017,” Morgan Stanley's Rooney said in a client note that was made public by The Australian report.
“Since the Crown detentions in October 2016, Australia’s share of the VIP market has halved from 6 per cent to 3 per cent as at 30 June 2017,” she said.