But in 2016 Packer’s ailing-advised marketing push into mainland China, where it is unlawful to advertise gambling, landed his staff in jail. Ho called Packer “brother,” and Crown partnered together with his Melco group to open a Batman-impressed casino, whose lavish opening was graced by Packer’s then-girlfriend Mariah Carey. Subsequent inquiries by native regulators showed Packer’s heavy-handed manipulation of the firm – even after he left the board – precipitated a governance crisis that culminated in watchdogs labelling the company unfit to carry casino licenses. The company turned more and more reliant on third-party “junket” operators to arrange travel and credit score for wealthy Chinese language gamblers. Though Melco continued to work with junkets and VIPs, Ho favoured direct gross sales to gamblers and vacationers, avoiding hefty commissions. Crown’s cosier relationships with the junkets price shareholders in other ways. That stung; Australian belongings may have helped hedge in opposition to the downturn in Macau.
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