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Friday, April 30, 2010

Media Man Australia: Wrestling Legend Ric Flair Expands Gambling Deals, by Greg Tingle - 1st May 2010

Professional wrestling living legend, 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair, has expanded on his gambling and gaming deals. Enter South Carolina Education Lottery.

As Media Man and Gambling911 have long suspected, there is a cross over audience in wrestling fans and punters, be it lottery, poker, casino, online and offline. We've also noticed an increase in PKR (3D) poker advertising on a number of Wrestling News Media and sports car - lifestyle websites, but that's another story. Flair didn't miss long time nemesis Hulk Hogan doing business with a Native American tribe via The Hulk-a-Mania Experience slot machine, but Flair's opted for "softer" gambling (thus far) via being a face of lottery tickets in the Carolina's.

Flair took a life gamble some 30 years ago when when his bleached his hair blond an transformed his image into a somewhat modern 'Gorgeous George' inspired character, known for his jet flying, limousine riding, wheelin', dealing, son of a gun antics. Flair became the thinking man's wrestler, and quite the entrepreneur in the process.

His biggest wrestling related pay days came around the time of his signing with World Wrestling Entertainment and 1991, soon after having his first match with Hulk Hogan. Today Flair still wrestles the occasional match against Hogan and his mates in WWE rival, TNA Wrestling, but Flair remains on the lookout for worthwhile business deals to help maintain his lifestyle and fuel his considerable expense account which experienced an increase with family matters and the like.

'The Man' is one of Charlotte’s best-known celebs, and one of the world's most famous wrestlers, will be showcased on 'Woooooo!' South Carolina Education Lottery tickets, kicking off next week.

Flair will be in the think of the action with the $5 scratch-off ticket, starting Monday, according to Flair management and of the South Carolina Lottery.

Some six months ago Flair fronted that $5 scratch-off lottery ticket in North Carolina. The Flair tickets were among the state’s best-selling lottery items. The ticket sale was pushed along by television commercials featuring Flair, which later became a bit of a viral hit on the YouTube website portal via Media Man creation American Gaming News.

Paula Harper Bethea, executive director of the South Carolina Education Lottery, said Flair will also help promote the ticket sales in the Palmetto State.

"We look forward to hosting Ric Flair in South Carolina at various events and anticipate an increase in ticket sales to generate more funds for education," Bethea said.

She also advised he is scheduled to appear on behalf of the lottery on 8th May at NASCAR’s Southern 500 racing mega event in Darlington; and again June 5 at the Sun Fun Festival in Myrtle Beach.

The South Carolina Education Lottery (SCEL) began in 2002. South Carolina is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), best known for Powerball. Like most US lotteries, on January 31, 2010, it participated in the cross-sell lottery expansion, adding Mega Millions.

Pro Wrestlers Connection

Other pro wrestlers who have an interest to get involved in gaming of the gambling variety include Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Snuka and Piper also already in a number of traditional video games. Kevin "Big Sexy" Nash from TNA and NWO fame has some gambling links on his official website. Rumors persist of PartyGaming and / or Australia's NextGen Gaming developing an Andre The Giant online slot game, which would be certain to be a hit with punters down under in Australia, and around the world. Andre toured Australia a number of times including in the 70s and later in the mid 80's with the then World Wrestling Federation.

Punters, into wrestling? Check out the Media Man website network... interviews, articles, profiles et al of many of the world's greatest and most colourful wrestling stars. No pro wrestling slot games... the closest is The Incredible Hulk online slot. Hogan came to terms with Marvel Entertainment a couple of decades ago to the turn of a few million dollars. Captain Cooks Casino is understood to have a 'My Slot' game which can be customized, so if you want to incorporate pro wrestling stars, you can. All we have to say is have fun and Woooooo!

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*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Wrestling News Media is a Media Man creation

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PartyCasino Wins Casino News Media Online Casino Of The Month Award - April 2010

PartyCasino.com has once again won the Casino News Media - Media Man - Online Casino Of The Month Award.

The award is based on a number of factors including game range, game play, ethics, affiliate offerings, customer service, innovation and public and player feedback.

PartyCasino.com fought off some tough competition this month, but there can only be one winner - that's PartyCasino.com

Congratulations to PartyGaming's PartyCasino.com

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Zealand And Australian Casinos Expect Changes, by Greg Tingle - 30th April 2010

Australian and New Zealand casino bosses, top brass and insiders expect significant changes to the Asia pacific casino, club and gaming sector.

The gaming sector down under in the land of Kiwi's, New Zealand, points out the substantial financial and other contributions they make in the community, while anti gaming campaigners say casinos, clubs and the like overstate their contribution. We cross over to the Tasman as Media Man and Gambling911 continue their probe for truth, justice and the American, Kiwi and Australian way...

It's time the true contribution of gaming machines to the New Zealand economy was recognised and acknowledged...that's part of the key message from conference participants at the 2010 New Zealand Gaming Expo.

The venue...the beautiful SKYCITY in Auckland, New Zealand.

Chief Executive Officer Gaming Technologies Association (GTA), Ross Ferrar, advised revenue from gaming machines benefited many...charities, schools, community bodies and sporting groups, to name but a few. The machines also returned a large proportion of their earnings back to the government in the form of compliance costs and taxes.

"Gaming machines are designed to entertain and the casino, and gaming rooms in pubs and clubs exist so people can do this in a safe, controlled and regulated environment. There are just under 20,000 gaming machines throughout New Zealand which contribute over $300 million to deserving groups around the country. The government earns around $242 million annually from the machines," points out Mr Ferrar.

SKYCITY CEO, Nigel Morrison, echoed the message in his opening address to the conference that the 2003 Gambling Act focused on harm minimisation and ignored the economic contribution gaming made to the economy.

Mr Morrison advised the gaming industry was struggling to grow within a tightly regulated framework and there continued to be uncertainty about the operating environment.

"We still don't know what the New Zealand reaction is going to be to the Australian Productivity Commission's report into gambling. There seems to be a focus on pre-commitment and we are concerned about the recommendations to limit player expenditure on gaming machines.

"We anticipate change within the industry and it's unlikely that the three main casino players in Australasia, SKYCITY, Crown and Tabcorp will remain as they are in the next two years."

Change was also the message from Chief Executive Pub Charity Mr Martin Cheer who told delegates the anti-gaming lobby had switched from its position of highlighting harm to challenging the integrity of the Trusts.

"Accusations of harm from gaming machines have run their course, largely because the claims can't be substantiated. The move now is to attack the gaming machine Trusts. This makes it important that everything they do is above board. The debate needs to come back to the centre because it's been one-side for too long. The gaming industry needs to participate and become more involved in taking charge of its own future."

The CEO of Hospitality Association Of NZ, Mr Bruce Robertson who told conference delegates gaming machines were a significant fundraising business which was slowly being strangled.

"The Department of Internal Affairs unfortunately has a single minded focus on optimising returns through cost minimisation. If the Trusts don't present a cohesive face to the industry the Department of Internal Affairs will be able to pick them off one by one. This will continue to weaken the industry."

Mr Robertson added that the current rules being applied to the sector were not sustainable. "The result will be a reduction in the money that goes to the community.

Minister of Revenue and Associate Minister of Health, Hon Peter Dunne told delegates that gaming machine operators needed to continue to find new and better ways to work with communities.

"The whole premise of charity gaming in New Zealand is that the proceeds are returned to the local community. The implicit partnership has always been that gaming machine proceeds were available for distribution for the betterment of local communities.

The call from the CEO of the Community Gaming Association, Mr Francis Wevers was the need for the industry to work together to protect its interests.

"The benefits of gaming to the local community are often overlooked in the welter of criticism but steps are being taken to bridge the gap between the anti-gambling sector and the Class 4 venues. We work in a market that has a unique set of parameters and we need to stop apologising for it."

Mr Ferrar reiterated that the gaming industry sector should be proud of the economic contribution it made.

"Gaming is good for the community because it can make a positive difference."

Should the Aussies follow the Kiwi ways and follow like sheep, or should the sheep follow the Aussie Kangaroos, or should both animals look further afield to the American eagles?

We think sustainable solutions and answers are likely to be found by looking globally, not just in our own backyards. Certainly there's many success stories in America with the Native American Indians being able to nurture and support communities thanks to gaming and casino tourism. Many tribes also have plans to suitable incorporate online poker and online casino ventures, rather than see it as a threat to their enterprise. If Las Vegas and Atlantic City was able to better embrace the online world perhaps they wouldn't be in the mess they are in, but that's another story. The late Charles Darwin famously pointed out that adapting to change was vital for the species who are to survive.

Media Man is currently in liaison with Australian based GenerationOne and other government bodies as to how best go about employing a couple more Australians (qualified and trained up Indigenous Aussies), whilst minimizing red tape. Australian mining magnate, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest and Aussie casino king, James Packer (Crown Limited) are driving forces behind the GenerationOne initiative.

Media Man and many of their business partners, associates and friends in the media, new media and interactive entertainment space are concerned that some of the online (internet filter) and offline censorship initiatives from Australia's Rudd government are going to cost Australian's jobs and international trade opportunities. In addition newspapers and magazines are forecast to become further censored. Companies set to be adversely effected in their trade with Australia and New Zealand include Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Sony, Sega, Playboy, AussieBum, Marvel Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Virgin Enterprises Limited, UFC, Hasbro, EA, MTV and News Corporation. Media Man recently documented some of their concerns to the United Nations, Virgin Unite, Reporters Without Borders and MP Tony Abbott's office, as was thanked for their contribution... no, not a 'Casino Jack' monetary contribution! No, we didn't have to play golf with any of the top brass concerned either.

Tell us what you think in the forum, and as our friends at New Corp - Fox say, keep it fair and balanced... can we trust you with that. Know the odds, and keep it fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a bakers dozen of industry sectors they cover.

*The writer is a shareholder in Crown Limited, Virgin and a pro active member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, and Richard Branson's Virgin Unite

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Australian Sports Betting Scandals: NRL Football Cricket Next?, by Greg Tingle - 27th April 2010

It's been a bad news and bitterly disappointing week for the world of Australian sports and sports betting. First the NRL with the Melbourne Storm, now other clubs and being dragged into to it, and today more revelations that the integrity of Australian and Indian cricket is being questioned. It's enough to make your throw up your curry. Media Man and Gambling911 extend their tentacles to India - Bollywood and it's underworld, certainly not restricted to Australia's Underbelly or the U.S Sopranos.

Indian tax officials have denied issuing a paper naming at least 27 cricketers, including a "famous Australian"... let us guess...for spot-fixing during last year's Indian Premier League.

The news broke via Mumbai's Mid-Day paper last Friday, quoted an income tax report as stating, "during IPL, the match fixing and betting racket has scaled new heights." It added that suspended IPL commissioner Lalit Modi "is apparently deeply embroiled in both generation of black money, money laundering, betting in cricket" and accused "superstars of Indian cricket and even an international player, who is a captain of one of the teams" in fixing matches!

Additional reports on NDTV and the Times of India strongly suggested cricket matches were compromised during early round IPL matches played in Cape Town. Both organisations have distanced themselves from the earlier reports.

An official from the Indian tax office notified some Australian press that no report had been released alleging impropriety on the part of 27 IPL players.

Shane Warne's name has also come up in the discussions. Warnie's management has also strongly denied suggestions that the "famous Australian" mentioned in media reports last Friday was the Rajasthan Royals captain.

Cricket officials have expressed concerns about the integrity of the IPL due illegal bookmakers. Last year's tournament was conducted without the presence of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security unit.

This was linked to Modi arguing at the time that the groups $1.2 million operating costs were over the limit already.

Insiders and whistle blowers advise illegal bookmakers and the like have become more daring and pro active in their devious approaches to cricketers following their apparent success in infiltrating Twenty20 tournaments such as the IPL.

Two Aussie's were approached during last year's tour to England. One at the time of the World Twenty20 and the other during The Ashes. To their merit, they immediately reported the matter to the teams team management.

Indian news media reports have "credible information" that two bomb blasts outside an IPL match in Banglaore on 17th April were related and "linked" to underground gambling operators.

"There are signs that the IPL betting racket wanted the semi-finals to be held in Mumbai," Karnataka state Home Minister Acharya said. "We have received credible information from intelligence sources that the betting racket is behind the blasts. We are carrying out investigations. It could be a betting lobby that is behind moving the semi-final matches out of Bangalore or some other lobby. We had assured them that we would take control of the stadium and ensure safe conduct of the tournament. They did not listen to us."

Gambling911 and Media Man are hopeful that the world's sporting scandals, most of which are linked to sports betting, get extinguished before any more damage is done to the integrity of sports, with or without sports betting. It's just not in the spirit of the game. Punters and fans want so see real winners, and can do without Underbelly-like and underworld involvement. Let's get sport back to being fun again, anything else is just not cricket.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Media Man also publishers the Australian Sports Entertainment website portal

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Australian Gambling Device Or Just Technology, by Greg Tingle - 26th April 2010

As our beloved internet and technology becomes more advanced, increasing questions are being asked about such matters in Australia such as when is a gambling device not a gambling device, but just a computer, and visa versa... you get the idea punters. Internet enabled mobile phones can access gambling and gaming by nature on the web, needless to say internet kiosks and computers sitting at the ready in an internet cafe can do the same, at least in free countries. In the meantime passionate web surfers, journalists and gamblers have started to mask their website surfing via proxy. Media Man and Gambling911 investigate...

Computer Terminals Strategically Place At Aussie Pubs And Hotels...

Manufacturers of a touch-screen computer kiosk offering internet access, which gambling authorities seized from a Melbourne pub as a "suspected illegal betting device", advise they have given up waiting to be potentially prosecuted and are seeking a court to order for the device be returned so they can roll truck loads more!

The situation gives prominence to what could be regarded as a real and practical test of outdated gambling regulations in an internet age. In the meantime the Victorian government, which is preparing to award its updated wagering licence, officials from the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation confiscated the computer from the Rising Sun Hotel in South Melbourne over 6 months ago.

The wagering licence, including exclusive retail rights in pubs, is held by Aussie gaming giant Tabcorp, which complained about the machine in question to authorities last year. The new wagering licence is expected to come into play in 2012.

We learn the device does by design showcase and feature access to gambling (and other industry sectors). VenueNet, understood to be a marketing based group, developed the computer kiosks and has a deal with Sportsbet to provide access to Sportsbet and other services through the device, which it's keen to roll out in Australian pubs, hotels and the like nationwide.

A magistrate is due to hear the case tomorrow but it is uncertain if the hearing will proceed at this stage.

VenueNet's chairman, John Thompson, advises delays in prosecuting the matter had cost his firm millions and he was seriously considering seeking compensation.

Mr Thompson is ready for war it appears, based on his preparation of information. Makers of the hard drive and equipment contained in the kiosk have provided sworn statements stating the machine is no different to other computer kiosks they supply, likes ones found at airports. It allows customers, via the web, to access Sportsbet's website and use a Sportsbet betting account, but the computer terminal itself doesn't accept or record bets.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation lodged an appeal with the Victorian Supreme Court to stop Sportsbet being heard in the magistrates court, as a third party in the case, on legal issues relating to the seizure warrant.

The commission is understood to be seeking access to more material from VenueNet before laying charges.

Smart cookies from Deloittes have examined the machine for the commission to determine how it operates.

The commissioner, Peter Cohen, advised he thinks the machine was illegal. "The (commission) is still of the view that it is an unauthorised instrument of betting," he said.

Mr Thompson said VenueNet was not willing to try the machine in other states until the Victorian case had been determined.

"I think we'd face something like that until this is resolved. Everyone's focusing on this."


iPhone "Gambling" Apps On Aussie Mobiles...

iPhone applications down under feature simulated poker machine games (pokies) were irresponsible and should be outlawed, says passionate anti gambling campaigner Nick Xenophon.

Slot machines applications can be accessed and downloaded for free and are identical in payouts and features to machines in most clubs, pubs and casinos.

The games offer a number of options. One game allows the user to change the interface and use photographs on their iPhone as the jackpot symbols. You can even switch between five and six reels, and alter the success of the payouts from low, medium or `dream'!

"There needs to be a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling laws because otherwise we will see a new wave of problem gamblers as soon as these kids turn 18," Senator Xenophon said.

One application is produced by Big Fish games, based in Seattle, Washington, with offices also in Canada and Ireland. They also sell a downloadable version of the game online.


Australian Web Surfers Learning How To Hide, Mask, Internet Tracks Via Proxy...

Born and trained from a somewhat surprising source of mischief making, Exit International (Euthanasia body), "Hacking Masterclass" has punters keen to learn more. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but these "old dogs" are teaching mums and dads, journalists and passionate gamblers "new tricks", and we thank them for it.

The group is now holding "Hacking Masterclass" seminars around Australia to teach people how they can defy the federal government's proposed internet filter (and in the process obtain suicide information)! Jesus, do we need more gamblers to know about this based on Gambling911 and Media Man reports over the past few months... read on... we know you want to...

Exit International advises its "Hacking Masterclass" will show the elderly and dying how to use proxy servers and virtual networks so they can slip past the filter and find information on "safe suicide".

Word is spreading to the gaming and gambling community of their educational course and we understand they may be expecting a younger, more gaming savvy bush tacker bag of new students next semester. Enrollments are understood to be filling fast.

It was divulged last year that the government plans to block access to certain websites discussing euthanasia and assisted suicide (which is currently illegal in Australia) in addition to websites devoted to pornographic and other illegal activities! Sounds good hey?

The federal government and Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy have been widely criticised for their censorship agenda, by the United States government among others. Last week Media Man tipped off the United Nations, The Elders and Virgin United, and was thanked for the information. By the next day Australian newspapers had reported on the Australian Government changing details of Australian human rights policy and detail, we kid you not!

Exit International brainchild, founder and director, Philip Nitschke advised 100 people had signed up to the first five-and-a-half-hour "Safe Suicide Workshop" to be held in Perth, Western Australia. Follow up workshops have also been conducted in Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, and Brisbane. Canberra gets their education on April 30) and Sydney siders on lucky May 7).

The good doctor Nitschke said the seminars would teach people how to circumvent the proposed internet filter so they could access information designed to end their lives quickly and painlessly.

"It certainly shows how you can go about bypassing the filter using proxy servers or setting up your own virtual network, and we will be going into that. In fact, it's so easy to get around - according to the information we've received - you wonder why the federal government is pursuing it with such vigour. We can only assume it's because they are intending on making a statement, rather than being too concerned about the actual practicalities of the issue."!

Dr Nitschke said among those who had already signed up, only a few were terminally ill.

"These are rational people making rational decisions, and obstacles shouldn't be put in their path ... which is why I think the numbers of people attending these sorts of safe suicide workshops is increasing. Suicide is not a crime in this country."

Dr Nitschke said the Hacking Masterclass was devised after a similar workshop in Sydney on April 1, spearheaded by Newcastle-based internet expert David Campbell.

About 80 seniors, many with laptop computers, attended and learned.

"The class will be in plain language that everyone can understand," Dr Nitschke said.

A spokeswoman for Senator Conroy said contrary to popular belief, euthanasia would not be targeted by the proposed internet filter.

"Discussion about euthanasia is not content that would be deemed refused classification," she said.

Philip Nitschke's book 'The Peaceful Pill' was found to be refused classification

Wrap Up

Punters, there you have it. Fun and games with computer terminals, mobile phone applications and ways to get around the Aussie internet filter, thanks to the good doctor.

Keep up the good fight. We salute Aussie diggers, The Anzacs, who yesterday celebrated and remembered Anzac Day, and we remind readers to stay vigilant as Governments of the world attempt to fight freedom of speech loving citizens and journalists. Be your own super hero (until the Aussie government may try to ban Marvel Entertainment icon Iron-Man), and American friends, keep an eye out for fellow freedom fighter (or hero, or both) 'Captain America'. Punters are reminded that a range of Marvel super hero themed games (free and pay) can be found at good casinos like PartyGaming's PartyCasino, and Virgin Casino, and steps are on the way to see internet casino games become legal in the United States. Most online casinos remain easy to access in both Canada and Australia. Virgin does not currently offer a service to Australians, however their 'A World Of My Own' (AWOMO) may change that in the near future. Still got the Anzac spirit or a bit of fight in you? Captain Cooks Casino offers 'Bomber Girls' and PartyCasino 'Top Gun', 'The Terminator' and 'Mission: Impossible'. Rumors persist of a major game maker developing an online slot game featuring anti censorship themes. NFL, AFL, TNA UFC, Ned Kelly, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Watchmen and The Avengers online slot game whispers also persist. Media Man and Gambling911 say bring it on. James Packer 50% owned Betfair is aiming to soon offer Australians an online casino and online poker service. Australian media and horse racing identity, Alan Jones, continues to snap the whip at the Aussie racing sector calling for unity, as Jones' for one is aware that there's room for improvement in the Australian gaming and racing landscape. The igaming industry continues to move at lighting speed, which is about as quick as the speed of news! Good punting, happy hunting, and don't do anything we wouldn't do. Most importantly, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen industries covered.

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

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Anzac Day

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I. It now more broadly commemorates all those who died and served in military operations for their countries. Anzac Day is also observed in the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.

History

Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand. This is a rare instance of two sovereign countries not only sharing the same remembrance day, but making reference to both countries in its name.

The Gallipoli campaign

When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a Federal Commonwealth for only thirteen years. In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, under a plan by Winston Churchill to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The objective was to capture Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish Army commanded by Mustafa Kemal (later known as Atatürk). What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stale-mate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers died. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in war.

Though the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives of capturing Istanbul and knocking Ottoman Empire out of the war, the Australian and New Zealand troops' actions during the campaign bequeathed an intangible but powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as an "Anzac legend" became an important part of the national identity in both countries. This has shaped the way their citizens have viewed both their past and their understanding of the present. (Credit: Wikipedia)

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Australian Sports Betting Scandal: Melbourne Storm NRL, by Greg Tingle - 23rd April 2010

Sports betting scandals, rorts and the like, are nothing new, however the latest scandal to hit Australia's NRL footy via the Melbourne Storm team, linked in with major Australian sports betting bookies is one of the darkest days ever in Australian sporting history.

The warning signs came on Wednesday evening when a couple of punters placed bets with bookies on Melbourne to win the 'wooden spoon'.

Storm busted for a massive $1.7 million salary cap breach.

Two NRL premiership titles appear so tainted that no one wants to own them!

Media Man and Gambling911 probe the situation as we dig into what happened, how, why, the fallout, and what next.

Australian Rugby league has entered its greatest crisis in history with premiers the Melbourne Storm stripped of their two premierships after being caught out for a massive $1.7 million salary cap breach.

It's a terrible day for fans and the game, and its going to likely taint the NRL forever. 2010 will go down as the darkest year ever for the game.

The Melbourne Storm has been accused of executing a systematic plan to cheat their way to four successive grand finals and two premierships - in 2007 and 2009. The cheating system is understood to have been running since 2005.

The Storm were yesterday stripped of the two premierships they claimed against the Manly Sea Eagles in 2007 and the Parramatta Eels last season.

Disgraced and shamed, Storm were also stripped of their three minor premierships in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and fined a considerable $500,000 for salary cap breaches totalling $1.7 million over the past five years. They will also return $1.1 million in prizemoney.

Sports Betting Feeding Frenzy!

Wednesday night a couple of bets were placed with bookmakers on Melbourne to win the 'wooden spoon' (last place).

Come yesterday morning, alarm bells rang off the hook as an increasing amount of bookies took bets on Storm coming last in the 2010 NRL season.

Early yesterday morning, leading bookmaker Sportingbet shut down its 'wooden spoon' market, after fielding several bets at 250-1, with three punters standing to win $10,000 each.

"We took three bets to win $10,000 and another to win $8000 for the Storm to win the wooden spoon, all within 10 minutes of each other," tells Sportingbet Australia spokesman Bill Richmond. "You don't take a series of bets like that unless someone knows something."

SportsAlive and Sportsbet followed soon afterwards. TAB Sportsbet spokesman Glenn Munsie said he didn't think much of the first bet until further bets followed. "The spark starts, becomes a brushfire, becomes a bushfire," Mr Munsie said. "It all started in a couple of places this morning, and they're now coming from everywhere."

By high noon, it was evident something huge was about to happen (and it wasn't good for the game). A number of betting agencies admitted they had been stung.

Mr Munsie said he intended to honour all bets taken on the Storm to win the wooden spoon and it is understood the agency is looking at a payout of just under $100,000.

Mr Munsie said he took a bet of $200 at 200-1 on the Storm to win the 'wooden spoon' on Wednesday night, but didn't suspend the market until 1pm yesterday.

"(Wednesday) night just slipped through to the keeper - every now and then you get crazy bets," he admitted. "The alarm bells started to ring about 11 o'clock, when people were just trying to back them."

Sportingbet Australia said it was facing a payout to backers exceeding $40,000. It reacted by slashing Melbourne's wooden spoon odds from $250 to $1.01, which it claimed was the biggest betting move in history.

"Melbourne has gone from $251 to no betting in the space of six hours, which has to be the biggest shortener in betting history," Sportingbet spokesman Michael Sullivan said.

The Storm had been one of the favoured teams to win the title alongside St George Illawarra and Parramatta

Shame Of The Game In Australian Sports Betting History Ever Says Insiders And Fans

The revelations end Melbourne's dominance and dynasty, leaving what's left in shame.

No team in 102 years of Australian rugby league has ever been stripped of a competition title.

Melbourne Storm chairman Dr Rob Moodie last night apologised to the team's fans with many of them stripping themselves of their Storm colours in a sign of disgust.

"We are appalled and angry but we accept the referee's decision," Dr Moodie said. "We are devastated. This is the lowest day for our club. We have betrayed the trust of the Australian people. We haven't played by the rules."

News Media, Police And Legal Consequences Tipped

Police will be called and civil or criminal charges may be made against Melbourne employees who were aware.

3 sports betting agencies suspended betting yesterday after word leaked out of the impending punishment.

Investigation into which players benefited from the illegal payments.

Sources claim a former Melbourne worker, now understood to be at an AFL club, had turned whistle-blower.

Five Melbourne Storm employees have been stood down with News Limited, owners of the Storm and publisher of The Daily Telegraph, pointing an accusing finger at former Melbourne chief executive Brian Waldron, being the "architect" of the fraud. Acting CEO Matt Hanson has also been relieved of his duties.

"There are a couple of rats in the ranks," News Limited chief executive and chairman John Hartigan said.

News Limited advised that the systematic rorting had been concealed from the company over the past five years. "News Limited had no knowledge," Dr Moodie said.

Mr Hartigan said he only became aware three days ago.

NRL CEO David Gallop said salary cap auditor Ian Schubert found a second salary cap book containing details of the extra player payments in a separate room at on club premises.

"They went to elaborate lengths to hide the payments," he said.

"There were two sets of books. It was quite extraordinary. These payments allowed Melbourne to recruit and retain the best players in the game."

Senior Melbourne Storm officials signed statutory decs annually stating the club had remained under the game's $4.1 million salary cap.

It is understood some former Melbourne players are prepared to come forward and admit they were illegally paid.

Mr Hartigan said he felt "angry and very disappointed" due to Melbourne's deliberate campaign of "collusion". "I feel sick in the stomach," he said. "News Limited will not tolerate behaviour like this. It is a regrettable day in the history of the game.

"I don't think there will be a league fan anywhere who is not outraged by what appears to be a highly orchestrated, deeply deceptive fraud in which there was systematic and deliberate concealment of unlawful payments to certain players over an extended period."

Mr Hartigan questioned whether Mr Waldron should remain in his new job as CEO of the Melbourne Rebels' Australian Rugby Union franchise.

"It is only early days but he appears to be the architect of this whole shooting match," Mr Hartigan said.

Quizzed how Manly and Parramatta fans would feel about the situation, Mr Gallop said: "I feel sorry for them. It is a massive blow to everyone in the game."

Parramatta CEO Paul Osborne said last night: "I'm shocked."

Melbourne players will not not be asked to return their premiership rings.

Melbourne Storm players were in shock last night with five-eighth Brett Finch saying: "It is disappointing for everyone."

Yesterday's revelations were the biggest scandal to hit the game since Canterbury was fined $500,000 and deducted 37 competition points in 2002 for salary cap rorting.

Media Man and Gambling911 will continuing digging for dirt (and truth) on what most people agree is the biggest scandal in Australian sports and sports betting history.

These scandals are not the only ones. A few weeks ago Full Tilt Poker was busted for having sponsorship on the shorts of Easts Roosters and 888 Poker were outed in the Australian newspaper as being illegal. Last week Shane Warne, 888 Poker front man, tweaked about signing up for some free money to his followers to play.

Ethical and trustworthy online gaming and poker firms such as PartyGaming - PartyCasino, PartyPoker and PartyBets, BetUS and Virgin's Virgin Casino - Virgin Poker, have not stooped to such levels. Betfair is also staying out of trouble, and is hoping to soon offer Aussie's a casino and poker product, in addition to their sports betting portfolio (which has endured minor scandals over the years... compared to Melbourne Storm!)

Bet with your head, not over it (if you feel like having a bet after this read). There's always online casino slots and online poker, if you don't feel like a bet today. We understand.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

*The writer is an Easts and Manly fan and has conducted b2b with Betfair, PartyGaming, Virgin Games and others. His former client is Betezy. He is not involved in the scandals, other than reporting!

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Crown Casino king James Packer and his 'World Of Entertainment' empire have been telling folks that they're in the tourism, lifestyle and entertainment business for a few years now. Tonight, Mr Packer and Billionaire Inc get to prove their point once again, with even Australian politicians on hand, and of course a bush tucker bag of celebs.

Media Man and Gambling911 probe the situation and learn that indeed Packer is transforming the Crown experience to world class levels all the way.

Packer's been hitting the phones again. Not for GenerationOne on this occasion, but for his own in-house baby... the Crown Metropol.

Tonight's the night, and there's no missing this one...TV chef celeb Gordon Ramsay and Victorian Premier John Brumby will join Packer for the grand opening of Crown's third luxury hotel in Melbourne.

The red carpet event kicks off at 5.30pm, and those that can't attend (most of us), can check out the Fairfax Media and News Limited websites more more info. The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald are tipped to get some snazzy multimedia and shots from the powers that be at Packer's Crown.

The Crown Metropol is estimated to have cost $300 million, almost pocket change for 'Our James', based of the revenues he's pulling in from Crown Macau, Burswood and other enterprises.

The hotel is going to play home for Ramsay's premier Aussie restaurant maze and maze Grill, and rumours of a reality TV show are circulating.

Ramsay is having a hard time living town his verbal war of words with A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw at last year's Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show. Just get a few beers and wines in ya Ramsay, you'll be right (we hope), or it might be the plastic handcuff treatment for you... just kidding, we think. Ramsey, one of the Burswood bouncers hurt the arm of a patron recently and it became a legal affair, so you've be forewarned. Once bitten, twice shy, or maybe not?

Other celebs pitched to be at tonight's gig include Eddie and Carla McGuire, Anthony Pratt, Neil Perry, Deborah Hutton, and Shane Warne (888 Poker Twitter "Nut") and wife Simone.

A cocktail party will following the official opening, and that's when the real fun begins. Media insiders are almost hoping for a GenerationOne "sponsored" plastic handcuff battle royal... aw well, we can always hope. Footballers, cricket legends and poker players will be well aware that the media is just waiting to pounce on them if the drinks and whatever get too much, but it's a wait and see situation. There's also versions of "eyes in the sky", so not much will be missed.

The venue comprises of a massive 658 rooms, a sky-high residential day spa and a rooftop bar offering 180-degree views of Melbourne's skyline. Plenty of scope to look out for 'Underbelly' action (if its not already happening on the premises).

Crown's hoping to lure in some 250,000 guests in its virgin year, and given many wear ready to write off Packer for broke a few years ago, don't bet against this man. As Kerry Packer famously said, "I'll toss you for it".

Sydney's Star City Casino looses tonight's casino battle for media, PR, dolphins and whale VIP's, but keep those warheads and Gulfsteam jets warmed up. There's always tomorrow.

So punters, are you ready to "Wear The Crown", as the tag line says?

Stay glued to Gambling911, and we will forgive you on this occasion if you slip on over to The Age, News Limited and Media Man websites at around 6pm for some smashing highlights. Cheers, and have a drink for me.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Google Government Requests Tool To Highlight Government Tools, by Greg Tingle - 21st April 2010

Internet, news media and data giant, Google Inc, has launched... get ready for it.... Google Government Requests Tool.

Personally, Media Man and Gambling911 reckon they might be sticking it to Governments of the world in a very public fashion.

The Google blurb accompanying the Google Tool (including map of the world) reads...

Like other technology and communications companies, we regularly receive requests from government agencies around the world to remove content from our services, or provide information about users of our services and products. The map shows the number of requests that we received between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, with certain limitations.

We know these numbers are imperfect and may not provide a complete picture of these government requests. For example, a single request may ask for the removal of more than one URL or for the disclosure of information for multiple users. See the FAQ for more information.

We’re new at this, and we’re still learning the best way to collect and present this information. We’ll continue to improve this tool and fine-tune the types of data we display.

The tool is located at http://www.google.com/governmentrequests (not the other tools located in the tool shed at Australian Parliament House)

We remind our readers of some wise words from folks in the know when it comes to government spooks and the like...

"The Internet is getting super powerful now, and that is what the government has to control next" (Jesse Ventura)

"Infobombs, because there is a war on for your mind!" (Alex Jones)

"The More You Watch the Less You Know" (Danny Schechter)

Folks, enjoy your poker and online casino while you still can. Media Man and Gambling911 are advising folks to sign up for a few casino, poker and sports betting accounts as back up. In addition we will soon be releasing some specifics about ways to beat Internet censorship including special devices to plug into, proxy features and benefits, and more.

The Epic Battle Of The Tools Heats Up... my money's on the Google Tools. No one owns the internet, Google and the Australian Government included! The internet was designed to withstand a nuclear war, something that may not totally surprise Australian Prime Minster Kevin Rudd or Communications Minister aka "Minister Of Censorship" Stephen Conroy at this point in time.

Reporters Without Boarders, an organisation which concerns itself with matter such as freedom of the press, remains highly critical of governments who attempt to censors its citizens, journalists et al.

Media Man has recently been in liaison with The Elders, Virgin Unite and United Nations, regarding concerns of Australian freedom of the press, online and offline censorship and human rights concerns of Australia under a system which certainly has some similarities of a dictatorship. Media Man has been thanked in writing from a number of organisations for bringing their concerns to attention. Folks, get ready for World War 4! ... and don't forget to check out the political and superhero profiles at the official Media Man website http://www.mediamanint.com We know you want to. As Marvel icon, real life superhero Stan Lee would say, Excelsior!, and Google, "Don't Be Evil"!

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

*The writer is a pro active member of Virgin Unite and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance

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Australian Racecourse Super Sharks On And Off The Track, by Greg Tingle - 21st April 2010

It's said that the racecourse is a sunny place for shady characters.

We probe Australian racing down under and learn that shady happenings in racing are certainly not restricted to the race track. Racecorse workers superannuation savings have been left in the lurch. Media Man and Gambling911 crack the whip at Aussie racing which already had plenty of challenges before the latest black mark to hit their green and gold place in the sun...

Australian racing and media identity, Alan Jones, recently spoke of challenges, opportunities and the need for unity at the 33rd Asian Racing Conference in Sydney. Little did he know of a new challenge very much related to the employment and sustainably of Australian racing.

The superannuation earnings of hundreds of racecourse workers have been dragged into in a $123 million fraud that may become the biggest super theft in Australian history... the super fraud equivalent of the Fine Cotton Affair and Great Bookie Robbery. With the world's financial markets in the deep end, some being probed by the Australian and United States government, I guess we shouldn't be surprised. There's no 'Underbelly' hype here friends, just the unfortunate facts surrounding the further downward spiral of the racing and financial services industry.

Tabcorp's New South Wales racecourse casuals wagering workers say they have not been advised how much money they are down after their Astarra Superannuation Fund was frozen by financial regulators in October last year.

A staff member for 33 years, Rosemary Walker, 72, who works at Randwick Racecourse, asks how Tabcorp could have approved Astarra as a suitable company for her superannuation.

"I'm puzzled as to why we started off in a reputable fund when we were with (former employer) AWA and ultimately we finished up in Astarra," she said.

The losses are understood to be in the region of 10,000 superannuation investors after their investments were placed with Albury-based fund manager Trio Capital. Trio
managed more than $400 million in investments including the Astarra Superannuation.

Last Friday New South Wales Supreme Court justice, George Palmer, ruled that a separate offshore hedge fund managed by Trio Capital had all the signs of a "fraudulent scam" as he detailed "inherent vices" in Trio Capital's business model.

The hedge fund entitled Astarra Strategic moved some $123 million in "investments" through the British Virgin Islands using companies based in obscure Caribbean tax havens including Belize, Nevis, St Lucia and Anguilla.

Justice Palmer advised to wind up the scheme and wrote of the matter "If one wants to conduct financial operations dishonestly or illegally - then it is to these jurisdictions that one goes to incorporate puppet companies with puppet directors in order to operate fraudulent schemes and to move money around the world in secrecy.".

As of time of publication regulators have been unable to locate any funds, nor have charges been laid upon perpetrators.

Interestingly, Astarra Super is not the corporate superannuation fund used by official Tabcorp staff.

Tabcorp spokesman, Bruce Tobin, advised the company had written to all staff affected and was working with the union.

Justice Palmer said these sobering words of the matter "that there was a very high prospect that the funds would simply disappear into the ether - as has almost certainly happened in this case".

He said the use of the tax havens had not been disclosed in Trio Capital's statements to investors.

Superannuation losses from Astarra Strategic would represent the largest superannuation fraud or theft since current super laws were put in place 1993.

James Packer 50% owned Betfair will be glad this isn't a mark on their name. The matter may potentially assist seeing additional (quality) companies enter the Aussie racing and financial sector, be it PartyGaming or Virgin. Certainly the current mix is not quite right, based upon the latest scandal. Word of the street is its time for some "new blood" to shake things up and put the old guard and crooks on notice.

It's unfortunate the late 'Big' Tim Bristow and George Freeman of 'Underbelly' fame are not around to sort out these crooks who have attacked everyday Australians. Bristow aka 'Earthquake' would have likely seen them off at what he called 'The See You Later Club', understood to be have somewhere off the heads of Palm Beach on Sydney's northern beaches...something about concrete blocks at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean!

The crooks are not totally off the hook yet... the matter happening to the lifeblood of Australian horse racing is going to put some noses out of joint. Some of those effected are bound to have some very strong industry connections... both on the light side and the dark side. "Fixers" and "Can Do" types are part of the industry, and there's certainly motivation for the out of pocket racing staff to call upon extra powers of persuasion if needed. Add this to the 'Catch Me If You Can' file, already bursting at the seams with Aussie Daniel Tzvetkoff, Canadian Calvin Ayre, and Yankee Howard Lederer jockeying for position. All good fodder for an Australian and international themed version of 'Underbelly'. Ya wouldn't be dead for quids. Good hunting and happy punting.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

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Movie Box Office Futures Betting Market Proposal Moving Forward, by Greg Tingle - 21st April 2010

Gambling and Hollywood do apparently mix, based on the proliferation of branded slot games found in online casinos and the Hollywood movie betting proposals currently being shuffled around the desks of Hollywood money men, legal eagles and bean counters.

Much of the Hollywood - gambling action started with the adaption of Hollywood titles from the likes of Paramount Pictures, StudioCanal, Warner Bros and Marvel Entertainment, later to find them in the likes of PartyGaming's PartyCasino and Virgin's Virgin Casino, it would certainly appear so, however that's not the end of the story.

Media Man and Gambling911 do a follow up probe of Hollywood, AussieWood and Bollywood, learning that proposals are moving forward. Hollywood must need the money!

Despite numerous attempts to stop the proposals, a second exchange proposing box office-based commodity trading has won preliminary go ahead by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The CFTC on Tuesday advised the proposed Cantor Exchange has green lighted in a review of its online technology and innovation et al.

The commission has previously approved similar technical underpinnings of the proposed Trend Exchange, which many budding gambling and internet entrepreneurs are grinning about.

The CFTC also must rule on product details of the exchanges, which the major film studios are opposing.

To get readers up to speed you you get a handle on it, the first two decisions have gone against Hollywooders, the MPAA and other industry groups continue to battle against the proposals.

Cantor Exchange and Trend Exchange had planned to begin trading as soon as this this week! The dates have been delayed pending final regulatory review procedure.

Cantor proposes to allow direct access to its online exchange, where users would purchase contracts selling box office projections, be it long or short, from six months prior to films' wide releases through the first four weeks movies screen in theaters. Trend Exchange would utilize brokered trades and halt trading once flix hit theaters.

In addition to lobbying the CFTC, Hollywood has recently opened a second front in its fight against the proposed exchanges in Congress.

A Hollywood-backed amendment was also added to the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act...a financial-reform Senate bill...to prohibit boxoffice commodity exchanges! The amendment is set for discussion this Wednesday by the Senate Agriculture Committee. There is a clear sense or urgency on this matters, and everyone is looking to make an extra dollar our of show business, but gambling entrepreneurs and Hollywood whales and wheeler dealers have different views as to how to go about it.

This Thursday, a House subcommittee that oversees the CFTC also will review the two exchange proposals.

We reckon Lew Wasserman from 'The Last Mogul' fame would love this stuff, however these happenings are leaving a significant paper trail, where as Wasserman basically left none!

Media Man birdies tell us that the likes of Google (Ventures and Enterprise), PartyGaming - InterTrader, Virgin Enterprises Limited inc Virgin Games and James Packer, Australian casino king - 50% owned Betfair, are watching this space very closely, as are Australian iconic actors and film entrepreneurs, Paul "Hoges" Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) Shane Jacobson (Kenny) and Mel Gibson (Mad Max). Australian talent agents and professional business spruikers, Harry M. Miller and Max Markson are also understood to have recently become aware of these happenings via Media Man and Gambling911 reports, and are finding the developments "interesting". Media Man plans to incorporate b2b elements of this specific sector into its business model.

Cantor Exchange and Trend Exchange, putting extra Business in Show Business. Without the Business, there is no show. If anyone gets a cut, including yours truly at Gambling911 and Media Man, we reckon its "deal on" for Deal Or No Deal, and just a case of Show Me The Money!

*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and intenet portal development company. Gaming is just one over a dozen industry verticals they cover

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited, Virgin, and has conducted b2b with Crown, Virgin, PartyGaming, Betfair and others.

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Media Man Casino - Virgin Casino And Virgin Games Profile And Review

Virgin Games - Virgin Casino is one of the greatest online casinos on the planet. The only real drawback is at present they don't accept Australian or U.S players, and those from a number of other countries. Richard Branson and his team got this right, and they are currently looking at further international expansion with initiatives such as AWOMO (A World Of My Own), their virtual worlds project in association with GDI (Game Domain International). Cleopatra, Marvel Slots, King Kong, Elvis, Wheel Of Fortune, Monopoly, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and over 100 different games available, most of which can be played for free or played for money. Virgin also offer exclusive V*Points, which can be exchanged for a wide variety of goods and services. Because its Virgin you know it value for money and fun. Virgin Games are a Media Man Online Casino Of The Month finalist. Media Man rates Virgin Games 4.5 stars. Media Man has done b2b with a number of arms of Virgin Enterprises Limited, including Virgin Games, as they have with dozens of companies in the gaming, igaming, media and entertainment business sector.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

PartyGaming News: AB Groupe to join PartyGaming’s French Poker Network

19th April 2010

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PartyCasino.com PartyPoker.com PartyBingo.com WPTPoker.com WPTCasino.com

PartyGaming, the world’s leading listed online gaming company, today announces its second B2B deal in France with an exclusive multi-year agreement to provide a white label online poker service for AB Groupe, one of the country’s leading TV broadcasters.

The new service will be branded ‘LuckyJeux’ and will join PartyGaming’s French poker network which will also include www.partypoker.fr. Once PartyGaming obtains the required licence and is operational, players on the network will benefit from a shared pool of player liquidity operating on a single platform.

AB Groupe has approximately 52 million paid subscribers and offers 15 subscription channels in France and other French speaking countries, including RTL9, AB1 and AB MOTEURS. The new LuckyJeux poker service will be extensively promoted across the AB Groupe network both on air and online.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Jim Ryan, Chief Executive Officer of PartyGaming, said:

"AB Groupe is a first rate addition to our French poker network and is consistent with our stated strategy of combining B2C and B2B offerings in newly regulated markets. Together with our recently announced alliance with PMU, we are in great shape ahead of the market opening and are excited about our prospects."

Editor’s Notes

About PartyGaming:
PartyGaming Plc is the world’s leading listed online gaming company. The Group is a constituent of the FTSE 250 share index with its shares listed on The London Stock Exchange under the ticker: PRTY. In the year to 31 December 2009, PartyGaming’s Continuing operations generated revenue of $446.2m and Clean EBITDA of $135.0m. PartyGaming’s principal brands are www.PartyPoker.com, one of the world’s largest online poker rooms, www.PartyCasino.com, the world’s largest online casino, www.PartyBingo.com, www.PartyGammon.com, www.PartyBets.com, www.InterTrader.com, www.FoxyBingo.com, www.GetMinted.com, www.Gamebookers.com and www.WorldPokerTour.com. None of the Group’s sites accept real money customers located in the US.

PartyGaming is regulated and licensed by the Government of Gibraltar and by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and it is also certified as a responsible gaming operator by GamCare, the leading UK authority on the provision of advice, practical help, support and counselling in addressing the social impact of gambling. PartyGaming’s shares are also a constituent member of the FTSE4Good Index Series, which enables investors to identify companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hollywood vs. The Volcano: Ash disrupts celebs - 18th April 2010

A volcanic cloud of ash hovering over Europe is causing quite a scene in Hollywood and beyond.

The ash spat out by an Icelandic volcano that has left thousands of air travelers stranded is also affecting celebrities, filmmakers, musicians and even pro-wrestlers.

With almost two-thirds of Europe's flights grounded, cancelations and postponements were popping up across the entertainment landscape on Saturday as Icelandic scientists warned that volcanic activity had increased and showed no sign of abating.

Organizers of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., tweeted that some acts were forced to pull out of the weekend event. British musicians The Cribs, Bad Lieutenant, Delphic, Talvin Singh and Gary Numan as well as Scottish rockers Frightened Rabbit and Chicago brass group Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, who were on tour in Europe, weren't able to make the lineup.

"I can't tell you how disappointed we all are," Numan posted on his Web site Saturday.

Bad Lieutenant announced Saturday it was also canceling concert dates through Wednesday in San Francisco, Chicago and New York because of flight disruptions.

"We're stuck in Manchester," said band member Bernard Sumner in a statement. "We were hoping that conditions might change at the last minute and we'd be able to come and play for our fans. Obviously, this is a situation out of everyone's control, and we are crushed that we won't be coming to America for these dates."

Whitney Houston was forced to ditch a plane for a ferry across the Irish Sea to perform in Dublin. The R&B diva, currently in the middle of her "Nothing But Love" world tour, opted for the not-so-glamourous boat ride after no-fly orders shut down airports across Europe. Houston is scheduled to perform the first of three shows Saturday at the O2 arena in London.

The ash cloud also grounded several other musicians in Europe. Welsh indie pop band Los Campesinos! canceled their Friday appearance at the Culture Shock Festival in Purchase, N.Y., as well as their Saturday concert in Hoboken, N.J. Pop singer Mika postponed his Friday concert in Lisbon, Portugal, after unexpectedly finding himself stranded in Paris.

"Volcano freak out," he tweeted. "This is bad."

Scientists were indicating that travel chaos could extend into the new week, increasing the threat to New York's Tribeca Film Festival, which begins Wednesday.

Festival organizers said that some early arrivals — those scheduled to fly in Monday to help promote their films — had already been grounded. Tribeca is to feature films from nearly 40 countries, with many filmmakers from Europe expected to attend.

The cloud situation was also causing havoc for World Wrestling Entertainment, the professional wrestling organization nearing the end of a two-week European tour.

Several wrestlers and crew members traveled for nearly 17 hours in buses and ferries to make it from Lieven, France, to Belfast, Ireland. The trip normally takes about an hour and a half in a plane.

WWE spokesman Kevin Hennessy said Friday it was unclear if everyone would arrive in time for Monday night's scheduled "WWE Raw" event at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. He said the WWE wrestlers and crew normally "fly commercial, but we are booking a charter just to be safe." Hennessy added that "Sunday is normally a simple travel day — very easy."

Worldwide press junkets for two of the summer season's most anticipated films — "Iron Man 2," starring Robert Downey Jr., and "Robin Hood," starring Russell Crowe — also were still scheduled as planned next weekend in London, according to studio officials.

Some U.S. book publishing executives were forced to cancel plans to attend next week's London Book Fair because of the disrupted air travel. But organizers said Friday the three-day gathering will proceed as scheduled.

Back in Hollywood, "A Single Man" director Tom Ford wasn't on hand to accept his trophy for outstanding wide release film at Saturday evening's GLAAD Media Awards, which honor gay representations in the media. Ford's partner, Richard Buckley, accepted the award on Ford's behalf because the filmmaker and fashion icon was marooned in London.

Saturday's blue-carpet world premiere of Disneynature's "Oceans," at the El Capitan Theatre also hit bumpy waters. The film's French director, Jacques Cluzaud, and producers didn't attend the debut of their Disney documentary narrated by Pierce Brosnan. They were stuck overseas.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Australia's Own Bonnie And Clyde Pokie Bandits Caught, by Greg Tingle - 18th April 2010

Down under in Melbourne, Australia, a real life Bonnie and Clyde have been finally nabbed, after causing pokie hangout clubs and pubs hell. Australia's casinos can also relax a touch more now that the couple have been locked up.

Media Man and Gambling911 continue to probe the ever apparent connection between gambling and crime, not suggesting the readership does anything untoward.

Melbourne, Australia, was home to a real life, modern day Bonnie and Clyde! The pair went on a Pulp Fiction - Underbelly natured armed crime spree across the city, fessed up to their acts last week.

The Bacchus Marsh cunning couple, Raylene and Antony Szarvak, pleaded guilty to a lost list of armed robberies of pub and pokies venues in Melbourne's western suburbs. Crown Casino is said to be pleased the couple were caught.

Ms Sarvak, a 29-year-old mum described in court as a "homemaker", rode into town on a mean green motorbike with her hubby Antony and wielded a .357 Magnum revolver as the outlaws staged hold ups in the suburbs.

In one month the pair robbed five venues, crabbing $33,000 cash in the process.

Venues nabbed in their 15 tally score board include Glengala Hotel in Sunshine West, St Albans Sports Club, Deer Park Hotel, the Rifle Range Hotel in Williamstown, and Yarraville's Victoria On Hyde Hotel.

The County Court learned they frequently wore balaclavas, scarves and motorbike helmets.

Not to mince words on one hit Raylene warned "Don't touch it" as Antony pointed the loaded 30cm handgun at her. Other warnings she used included "I've got a gun, give me all the money or I'll shoot. This is not a joke."

The Armed Crime Taskforce nabbed the pair in August 2008 as the outlaws expanded into the eastern suburbs.

It was their Bakers Arms Hotel attempted heist job where the law caught up with them.
Two men attempted to run away but were tasered after Antony threw the Magnum gun into a garden bed.

The married bandits said their crimes were motivated by gambling, drug and unemployment issues.

Raylene initially pleaded not guilty in court but had to change her plea after her husband admitted his crimes to police.

She pleaded guilty to five counts of armed robbery, one attempted armed robbery and one conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

He pleaded guilty to six counts of armed robbery, one attempted armed robbery and one conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

The pair are due to be sentenced at a later date and Gambling911 will stay on the trail.

Prosecutor Jim Shaw recommended a range of 11 to 13 years for Raylene with a non-parole period of 8 to 11 years.

He recommended a range of six to eight years for Antony with a non-parole period of five to six years.

Readers, please don't getting any funny ideas if you watch Underbelly or Bonnie And Clyde. Happy hunting and good punting.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

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Underbelly Hype Says Australia's Ibrahim Family, by Greg Tingle - 18th April 2010

Underbelly: The Golden Mile - explosive TV featuring mobsters (Aussie style), drugs, guns, gambling, hookers, crooked coppers, rock n roll, good times and some very bad times - how much is or was real, and how much is hype?

Media Man and Gambling911 embed themselves in Sydney's underworld to bring you news from the mean streets down under.

From the get go, let's just say that over the years crooks, gangsters, mobsters or whatever you care to call them, have usually enjoyed quite the love - hate relationship with the public and the media, and in some cases, even the police.

Aussie's love a good yard (story - true or false), as does much of the world, and crime based TV (and movies) has proven to be some of the most popular ever... from The Godfather, The Sopranos, Goodfellas, The Untouchables, Casino, Growing Up Gotti, CSI, Gangs Of Oz, to everyones (almost) Underbelly.

Criminals by nature are a colourful lot, with some very bright in the mix, and some not so smart ones to boot.

Our old mate and sometimes associate, Tim "Earthquake" Bristow was always good for a story and mixed in interesting company. Big Tim called himself "retired gangster and Godfather of Sydney" where yours truely quizzed him about his role only weeks before his (natural) death.

Some very smart operators were in and around the clan, and a few knuckleheads for good measure. Bristow has a ton of connections, man power, power, money, influence and information at his disposal. He talked it up, but his contacts and inner circle was the whose whose, and it included judges, police detectives, politicians, news media, celebrities and you get the idea.

We're not exactly certain of the connection and / or relationship our friend Bristow had with the late George Freeman, as witnessed on Network Nine's Underbelly, but its fair to say that they co-existed... neither fell prey to the other, and there was plenty of good times and money to go around for all.

Let's probe Sin City Sydney, Australia...

Fadi Ibrahim is now hitting back (no, not that type of hit) at police and news media attention on his family, claiming the focus on his family's life was "just hype" and would end after Underbelly stops screening.

The only main problem with Ibrahim Jr's argument is that Network Nine are going to keep pumping out 'Underbelly's', albeit it with more of the action taking place in the Gold Coast - Surfers Paradise region, near the NSW - QLD boarder, for our out of town readership.

The brother of Kings Cross well known identity John Ibrahim was shot five times in his Lamborghini last last year and is currently on strict conditional bail after being charged with conspiracy to murder.

But he claims the focus on his family's life was "just hype".

"I think it's all hype and it will calm down when Underbelly is finished," Mr Ibrahim told Rupert Murdoch's The Sunday Telegraph. Media Man can back up many of the media reports as numerous first hand and some second hand reports are regularly being e-mailed into the office.

'The Cross' has been in face targeted by police in recent weeks with uniformed, plainclothed and riot-squad officers patrolling the streets. While news media may have added some hype and color to the situation, it doesn't change the facts.

Numerous police sources advise there was continuing intelligence the Bandidos and Comanchero bikie gangs may confront rival gang Notorious, which is associated with the family of nightclub owner, John Ibrahim aka "King Of The Cross".

He remains the focus of the current Underbelly television series and it is feared Ibrahim's enemies and dark forces may plan to take advantage of his leaving the country for Dubai last week, while the series is being screened.

Operation Eaglehawk continues to gain intel in the meantime which has been targeting licensed venues in and around 'The Cross' and Sydney for over a month.

Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli said Operation Eaglehawk was not a one-off operation and police would continue targeting anti-social behaviour and violence, regardless of the publicity generated by Underbelly.

"We have police on the streets 24 hours a day, 365 days a year targeting criminal, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related crime," Mr Mennilli said.

"Police constantly run these operations in Kings Cross, as well as in Oxford St, the CBD, The Rocks and other areas where there is a high density of people and alcohol.

"The public can rest assured police have been targeting Kings Cross for years and will continue to do so, regardless of some passing publicity generated by a TV drama."

Last week, coppers from Operation Eaglehawk made 11 arrests, conducted 46 person searches, inspected 56 businesses and issued 72 traffic infringement notices, reports News Limited.

Some more impressive (real life) numbers ... Operation Eaglehawk has investigated 294 businesses, conducted 286 person searches, issued 117 traffic infringement notices and made 73 arrests.

Fadi Ibrahim, his bodyguard Neil Cummings, and his fiancee Shayda Bastani said Underbelly was not an entirely accurate account of events, but they had watched the first episode and enjoyed it.

Mr Ibrahim said actor Firass Dirani was doing a great job playing his brother. "He's like a Lebanese John Travolta. He's doing a top job."

David Freeman, who joined Mr Ibrahim at Randwick Racecourse yesterday for the Doncaster, did not comment on the portrayal of his father George in Underbelly's first episode. Some say the races in Australia is a "sunny place for shady persons", but no one is currently commenting on that well known expression.

Fadi was bailed out after he and his younger brother Michael were charged with conspiracy to murder. Police allege it was in retaliation for the attempt on Fadi's life.

Aussie readers, its you're lucky day (technically night). Underbelly is on Channel Nine tonight - that's right, its Sunday... you wouldn't want to miss it for quids. Starts at 8.30pm, and it might warm you up to a bit of Kings Cross gambling action later in the week. Betfair Pink Pigeon birdies tell us if you have a want, need or desire, 'The Cross' is still the place to go. If you're out of luck and can't find it, you can always hope a cab and swing on over to Sydney's Star City Casino, and high rollers, if that still doesn't do it for you, Mr James Packer and co at Billionaire Inc - Crown Casino Casino in Melbourne, have those Gulfsteam jets ready and engines fired up for those who are financially qualified. Of course, you can stay at home and even play the pokes. PartyGaming even offers 'The Godfather' and Captain Cooks 'Hitman'. We know you're keen for an Underbelly and UFC slot game and the powers that be have been tipped off. Just be grateful that Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy and their bible bashing conspirators were not successful in their miserable attempts to ban your beloved Underbelly.

Enjoy the show, some of which is available for preview on the NineMSN website portal, and some of which may be getting leaked to YouTube and elsewhere.

In this world we live, information can be key, be it gambling, TV, legal, internet or whatever, and Gambling911 and Media Man are delighted to continue to bring you the news and info you won't find anywhere else. Underbelly - the verdict: Fact is stranger than fiction, but also keep in mind it's also produced to entertain the audience and bring in big numbers to advertisers and sponsors...something it is doing a smashing job of. Over 2 million Australia's are expected to tune into again tonight.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company, gaming being just one of over a dozen industries covered

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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