International edition
June 23, 2021

Direct promotion of gambling activities strictly prohibited in China

Packer's Chinese middleman to VIP high-rollers among those arrested in Crown scandal

Packer's Chinese middleman to VIP high-rollers among those arrested in Crown scandal
A Chinese businessman known for bringing high-rollers into James Packer's Crown Towers VIP gaming salons has been arrested for gambling crimes in China.
China | 11/07/2016

A Chinese businessman known for bringing high-rollers into James Packer's Crown Towers VIP gaming salons has been arrested for gambling crimes in China.

T

ian Di was one of 18 Crown Casino employees - including four Australians - detained last month on suspicion of illegally promoting and organising gambling activities for large groups in China, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. 

The 58-year-old junket operator makes money by bringing wealthy clients into high-stakes gambling suites at Crown Towers Casino in Melbourne, but friends said he 'disappeared off the face of the earth' after returning to China a few weeks ago.

The group, including Crown Towers' head of VIP operations Jason O'Conner, are believed to have been detained in a series of coordinated raids across China following a crackdown on corruption in the gaming industry, the ABC reported.

Direct promotion and marketing of gambling activities is strictly prohibited in China, with those arrested facing up to ten years behind bars if prosecuted.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Tian owns a grand seven-bedroom property in Templestowe, a suburb in Melbourne's north east, and a 140-acre horse stable near Chelsea Beach, south east of the CBD, for six million dollars in 2013

His daughter Sisly runs the prestigious Nine Dragons Horse Club, while Mr Tian is also known to help wealthy Chinese horse buyers purchase thoroughbreds at local auction.

Ms Tian has been seen flaunting a one million dollar chip from James Packer's Melbourne casino while visiting the private and highly-exclusive VIP salons her father frequents nestled on the 39th floor.

He is afforded a premium suite while schmoozing high-rolling clients - who reportedly have no qualms betting as much as $30 million - and uses the Towers' private helicopter to transport his guests from the Chelsea horse club to the casino for evening activities, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

A VIP services manager revealed wealthy clientele are also offered meals cooked by Cordon Bleu chefs, free access to five-star penthouses and jets, as well as an unlimited supply of luxury champagnes like Cristal and Krug at exclusive events.

'They had access to free activities, VIP tickets to shows and special events, a choice of private parties, and the opportunity to meet and greet celebrities that nobody else could get near,' the manager told Exclusive Style.

'The casino could flex its muscles and get them whatever they wanted, just as long as they extended their stay and continued to gamble'

The practice, known a 'duchessing', also involves helping visitors successfully apply for Australian visas to gamble. Mr Tian is reportedly not formally employed by Crown Towers, but receives money for brining in clientele. 

Those detained are expected to be formally charged with crimes relating to the promotion of gambling activities within the next three weeks.

 Mr Packer - the primary stakeholder of Crown Towers - said he has made every effort to contact and support the casino employees currently detained in Shanghai, the ABC reported.

'Crown will do whatever it can to support our employees and their families at this difficult time,' he said in a statement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been granted access to the Shanghai detention centre and are providing Australians with consular assistance.

 

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