Crown's China staff have now been charged

Gambling in Macau. Aaron Tam/AFP/Getty Images

The 18 Crown Resorts employees arrested in China have now been charged with offences related to the “promotion of gambling”.

The company this morning announced that its detained employees, as well as those released on bail, have been charged.

Their cases have been referred to the Baoshan District Court.

“As the matter is now before the court, no further comments will be made,” Crown said in a statement.

The employees, including three Australians, were arrested in several Chinese cities in October last year.

Gambling, and the promotion of gambling, is unlawful in China.

Analysts say the arrest of the 18 could impact the flow of high rollers to Australia.

Crown Resorts, controlled by billionaire James Packer, in February posted a 75% rise in net profit to $359.14 million for the six months to December.

However, normalised net profit after tax was $191.3 million, down 9.1%. This excludes a gain from significant items of $176.3 million, mainly from the sale of shares in Melco Crown Entertainment, which has the troubled Macau gaming holding.

Crown Resorts has an agreement with Melco International Development, controlled by Lawrence Ho, the son of gambling pioneer Stanley Ho, for the sale of 13.4% of Melco Crown Entertainment at $US6 a share. Crown’s shareholding will be reduced to 14% from 27.4%.

The deal will bring in $1.6 billion, which Crown will use to cut debt and return funds to shareholders.

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