Shanghai (AFP) - A Chinese court opened a trial on Monday for 19 current and former employees of Australia's Crown Resorts company who were charged with promoting gambling, including three Australians and a Malaysian.
The accused arrived at the Baoshan District Court in Shanghai in the morning and a tribunal officer told AFP that a verdict may be issued later on Monday, but it was up to the judge.
The court schedule showed they were on trial for "suspected gambling".
The marketing employees, including an executive in charge of luring rich Chinese to Australia, were detained in raids across China in October as Beijing cracks down on high-roller gambling promotions.
Crown Resorts said in a statement on June 13 that the employees were charged with "offences related to the promotion of gambling".
The company declined to comment on Monday.
The Australians who were detained include Jason O'Connor, the executive vice president of a Crown division called VIP International.
They are suspected of arranging junkets overseas for wealthy Chinese gamblers.
A Malaysian executive, identified by Australian media as Alfread Gomez, was also detained.
Two of the 19 facing trial are former staff members. Three current employees were granted bail, while the rest remained in detention.
Gaming is illegal in China and companies are not allowed explicitly to advertise gambling.
Crown operates casinos across Australia and the world, although this year it has undergone restructuring amid China's gambling crackdown, which has driven away many big-spenders and hurt revenues.
Last month Crown sold a remaining stake in its Macau operation to joint venture partner Melco International, after shelving plans late last year for a Las Vegas casino to concentrate on Australian luxury hotel and casino businesses.