UK Gambling
Gambling in casinos and the promotion of betting, are illegal in mainland China iStock

Three Australian employees of casino group Crown Resorts have been jailed by a Shanghai court after pleading guilty to illegally promoting gambling in China.

Jason O'Connor, a senior executive in charge of attracting Chinese high-rollers, was sentenced to 10 months by the Baoshan District Court in Shanghai.

Jerry Xuan and Pan Dan received nine-month jail terms. All are likely to be freed soon after time spent on remand.

Gambling in casinos and the promotion of betting, are illegal in mainland China.

It total seventeen current and two former Crown employees were convicted by the court for illegally promoting gambling, according to a statement from the Melbourne-based casino operator.

Sixteen of the 19 staff held since late October were fined a total of 8.62m yuan ($1.3m, £1m), which Crown said it would pay.

Crown Resorts is controlled by Australian billionaire James Packer, the son of the Australian media mogul Kerry Packer.

Like other casino groups across Asia, Crown sees wealthy Chinese gamblers as an important part of their business.

However, the trial comes at a time when the Beijing is cracking down on all kinds of currency outflows.

The Australian group said: "Crown remains respectful of the sovereign jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China and does not intend to comment further at this time."

Crown has sold out of its venture in Macau, a region on the south coast of China, and closed most of its offices across Asia, since the Beijing crackdown started some months ago.