Australia's Crown says China releases one of 18 detained casino employees

November 13, 2016 12:33 AM EST

Traffic passes by the Crown Casino complex in Melbourne, Australia, March 19, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File photo

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia' top casino operator Crown Resorts said on Sunday that one of 18 staff arrested in China in October for suspected "gambling crimes" had been released from detention. Crown gave no more details.

The detention of 18 Crown staff, three of whom are Australian nationals including its head of international VIP gambling, has sparked concern about the impact on Australian casinos which rely on wealthy Chinese gamblers.

The Australian Financial Review reported that Jenny Jiang, who worked in administration for the gaming company in Shanghai, was released on bail on Thursday.

Analysts have linked the detentions to Chinese laws banning casinos from advertising or promoting gambling in the Chinese mainland, such as offering credit to high-spending clients.

VIP gambling delivered "less than 30 percent" of revenue at Crown, with 80 percent of that derived from VIP junkets from Asia, Star Chairman John O'Neill said in October.

Australia's No. 2 casino company Star Entertainment Group Ltd SGR.AX warned of uncertainty around future revenue from China following the Crown arrests.

(Reporting by Harry Pearl; Editing by Michael Perry)

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