Executive Goes To Shanghai And Wins The Chinese Fail Bet Crown

Jason O Connor China

Crown Resorts, owned by Australian cartoon character James Packer, has been pushing its luck in China, riding the phantom steed of corporate supremacy cowering behind pedantic legality, but their luck finally ran out this week as its employees in the country were arrested and face lengthy sentences for promoting gambling in a country where it is illegal leaving at least one executive probably wishing he worked for Bet365 instead.

“Fascism,” said the fat Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, “should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” It is a quotation that has been argued over since it surfaced in the early thirties, but one that is no less alarming in an age of Citizens United and the legalized bribery and corruption of paid lobbyists. Corporate power is at an all time high, their impunity now manifest. However that doesn’t equate Chinese and Australian gambling laws, although I bet Crown wishes it did.

Chinese Gambling Arrests

  • Shanghai
  • Crown Resorts employees
  • 15 Chinese
  • 2 Chinese based Australians
  • 1 visiting Australian executive

With corporations like Google, Amazon and Apple now so rich and influential they can flout laws of taxation, it is unsurprising that many corporate entities of a certain stature consider themselves above the hoi polloi, untouchable by mere mortal means. I bet Crown felt this way until 18 of their employees were arrested in China for what the Foreign Ministry in Beijing called “gambling crimes” earlier this week. This included three Australians, including Crown’s VIP International Team’s boss Jason O’connor.

What’s The Bet Crown Couldn’t Continence O’Connor’s Capture?

Want to bet Crown Resorts is a little surprised? I will. Their operations in China were designed to lure high-rollers from the country to its casinos in Australia and Macau, however that is illegal in China (where gambling itself is verbotten) so it was disguised as an effort merely to boost tourism. Anywhere else and Crown would just throw a bunch of lawyers at this and make it go away, their mealy-mouthed plausible deniability twisting their clients free, but if you’re Australian gambling news of O’Connor’s release from China will emerge soon, don’t hold your breath.

Courtroom in China

It’s looking more likely that Mr. O Connor will be found guilty (photo:

China is unlikely to be swayed by the smooth talk of expensive legal representation, the state willing to bet Crown were guilty even if they were smart enough to avoid amassing any evidence of being so, and far less willing to allow corporate entities to challenge its grip on power. Crown’s employees are likely to be made an example of, if only to demonstrate that whilst the rest of the world is willing to accept corporate law breaking the Chinese aren’t. Corporatism won’t be allowed to challenge the Chinese state.

Online gambling at Bet365 Safer Than Working For Crown In China

You can bet Crown will have a fun old time at their annual general meeting which rolls around soon, the entire strategy of trying to attract high-rollers likely to be questioned, particularly by those who know O’Connor and fear he could be facing a Beijing gambling jail sentence of up to 10 years. However the problem Crown will have is that their staff ARE guilty of promoting gambling in a nation where it is illegal, their lawyers’ pedantry and disingenuous legitimizations simply unlikely to work.

Crown Resorts

  • Altira Macau – Macau
  • City of Dreams – Macau
  • Crown Perth – Perth
  • Crown Sydney
  • Crown Ent. Complex – Melbourne
  • Cannery Casino Resorts – USA

Xi Jinping began a crack down on corruption in China that has severely damaged the gambling markets in the region, but whilst until now that has tended to focus on Chinese officials the arrests in Shanghai seem to indicate that the authorities in Beijing won’t be afraid of arresting foreigners pushing their luck and brazenly breaking the law. This leaves Chinese who like to bet on sports in Australia better off doing so online and Jason O’Connor probably wishing he worked for Bet365 instead.

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