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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Australia - Asia Pacific Gaming And Casino News Update, by Greg Tingle - 15th June 2010

Australia and the Asia Pacific region remains a hot bed for casino, online casino, gaming, political and internet censorship news. Media Man and Gambling911 have been busy on the phones and pounding the pavement, as we take you on a voyage of casino news discovery that even explorer Captain James Cook may have been proud of.

FIFA World Cup...

Public thank you for your efforts to Australia's Socceroos and congratulations to Germany, who kicked Aussie ass 4-0. It was all that funny soccer balls' fault... just kidding, maybe it effected the Aussie's just a tad, but Germany simply outclassed the convicts. Kangaroos, we wish you better in your next match. Betting and sports experts advise Australians betting on the World Cup will reach roughly $300 million, but insiders tell us the vast majority of Aussies are betting on Australia to loose, of course.

An estimated 2.9 million (16.5%) Australians almost always or occasionally watch FIFA World Cup on TV according to the Roy Morgan Research sports data.

When you take a closer look at the FIFA World Cup viewers, 71% are male. They are also 63% more likely than the average Australian to agree with the statement ‘I love to do as many sports as possible’, and 95% more likely to participate in team sports compared to the general population.

This is an important and valuable group with 28% being in the AB Quintile (top 20%) and 42% being Big Spenders.

Mildura Jewel Casino Proposal Still Alive; Gaining Support ...

The proposal by the Mildura Development Corporation to build a land based casino continues to garner community, council, government and news media support. Victorian Premier John Brumby does however advise more paperwork and consultation is required. Casino and property developer John Haddad has secured a letter from Premier Brumby indicating support for his $400 million plan. Brumby's letter restates his position has not changed and that there is no legal restriction on building a casino more than 150 kilometres from Melbourne. He went on record with "Nobody has ever been interested in building one. He's interested. There's no process in place to do it and all I've said publicly is that it would need to enjoy, firstly, strong community support,". Mr Haddad has responded by saying he has not yet been able to meet Mr Brumby to pass on the indications of support he has received. The local council agreed at its latest meeting that the casino presents a major investment opportunity and asked Mr Haddad to prepare more information on his plans. "That's all I needed and that letter is a very strong letter for me to go back to the Premier in addition to the letters I have from the Mildura Development Corporation and the Mildura tourism body," Mr Haddad said.

Internet Censorship - Australia - Asia Pacific - Indonesia - Philippines - Singapore...

Australian and Singaporean Internet-filtering strategies are not appropriate for Indonesia, a blogger says in response to a government proposal to investigate how other countries regulate the web. Singapore has rigid regulations on Internet censorship and imposes heavy criminal penalties on perpetrators, noted blogger Enda Nasution said on Monday. “They can do so because they already have a solid legal infrastructure in place, including [laws] banning pornography and defamation of the government,” he told the The Jakarta Post. “They don’t have freedom of speech in Singapore,” he added. Internet censorship regulations were still under public scrutiny in Australia, he said. Communications and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring said on Sunday he would seek to limit Indonesia’s access to pornographic web sites. “We need to make the same regulation as Australia, the same as Singapore, but not like China, I think,” he told The New York Times. “I think today the people understand the usefulness of that type of regulation.” The minister’s statement came in the wake of a scandal involving local pop singer Nazril Ilham, known as Ariel, and his girlfriend, actress Luna Maya. A homemade video that allegedly features the pair spread on the Internet earlier this month and was followed by a second sex video that allegedly features Ariel and television presenter Cut Tari. The video has spread across Indonesia and schools have inspected students’ mobile phones for the pornographic videos. The country needs rules that ban negative web content, Tifatul said last week. The ministry previously proposed regulations aimed at filtering multimedia content. The idea died after a public uproar, which included opposition from the burgeoning online community. Critics said the regulation would have killed the content provider industry in Indonesia. “The regulations fatal mistake was that (it made) content providers responsible for content, when the creators, writers or those who upload the content (should be accountable),” information technology analyst Onno W. Purbo said in February. The draft regulation also said that multimedia service providers be banned from distributing, transmitting and making accessible content deemed pornographic or that violated public decency. The regulation also proposed prohibiting online gambling or “carrying lies and misleading information” on the Internet. Content providers who failed to remove such content could have had their permits revoked. Tifatul said that the sex-video scandal was “a good reason” to revive the regulation. Bottom line, internet censorship is a form of censorship, and goes against the free flow of information as described re human rights and the United Nations!

The Indonesian comms and information technology minister said sex videos allegedly featuring celebrities made him "feverish", adding that the country needed a rule to ban "negative" content on the web. In the absence of such a ban, Mi-nister Tifatul Sembiring said he would summon Internet service providers to help stop the spread of the clips, Antara news agency reported. He said he hadn’t seen the video but a report on them from his subordinates made him "feverish". "Why would anyone tape such a private thing?" he said.

Centrebet Limited Gets Chartwell Games Platform...

("Centrebet") is the latest international gaming brand to select the Chartwell Games Platform ("CGP") to power its online flash casino. Established in 1992, Centrebet has grown into an established brand in its core market of Australia, Greece and Scandinavian regions with over 60,000 active customers. Their competitive advantage comes from highly experienced management in the field of gaming and wagering, highlighted by a broad product offering. Centrebet is well positioned to continue to increase market share in a strong and growing Australian online wagering market. Centrebet listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2006 and since then have achieved a 23% compounded annual growth rate in wagering turnover. In 2009 they reported total revenues of $66.2M and EBITDA of $11.8M and of that the online casino contributed 21% of total revenue at $13.8 M. "Choosing Chartwell to provide our latest Casino platform was an easy decision, the range of content, flexibility, power of CGP and their plans for the future were defining factors. We are looking forward to working with them closely as we continue to grow our business." Comments Chris Bowler, Head of Europe for Centrebet LTD. Centrebet commenced operations in 1992 and in 1996 was the first licensed bookmaker in the Southern Hemisphere to offer online sports betting. Centrebet is now a leading International online wagering and gaming operator offering fixed odds betting on a wide variety of Australian and International sporting, racing, entertainment and political events, as well as online poker and casino products. Online poker and casino products are not offered to Australian residents due to regulatory considerations. Centrebet is a publicly traded company on the Australian Stock Exchange and trades under the symbol "CIL".

Betfair Cleans Up On FIFA World Cup Betting Down Under...

Industry insiders say that up to 65% of sport bets placed on the World Cup by Australians have gone through Betfair. Betfair is 50% owned by James Packer. Huge congratulations Betfair. Tabcorp's PR was putting a word out around town that they had taken about half of all Aussie bets, but we're told it was "spin based". Just maybe Betfair and / or Packer may like provide some extra resources to the Socceroos next time around, as something was a miss, and it was more than that funny soccer ball. Australian sports is known to be not well funded in compassions to many other sporting nations, while Packer's casino and gaming empire is regarded as one of the world's most successful and profitable.


Aussie Casino King James Packer Invests In Marketing And Communications: Photon...

Keeping us on the edge of our seats,'Our James' has further diversified his investment portfolio.

The Australian Financial Review states Packer has been buying shares in the firm over a number of weeks and has now accumulated a 4.5% holding.

Photon is understood to be one of the largest marketing services companies in the world and insiders reckon they own about 50 companies in Australia and offshore.

The outfit was founded by big media players Hughes and legendary Reg Grundy; Grundy is understood to retain a stake of 23.8% in the powerhouse.

Packer is said to be keen to keep his shareholding "low-key" and will keep his stake below the 5% mark at which he needs to formally announce his presence on Photon's share registry as a "substantial shareholder".

Analysts have commented that the investment in Photon reverses a recent trend of Mr Packer selling out his direct equity investment. Last year the king sold his personal stakes in Challenger Financial Services and property group Sunland, as he was starting to hit his straps and prove the knockers wrong again.

Some background and history as to what's likely driving the changes, with Packer getting into Photon.

Photon has enjoyed a recent appointment of new chief executive Jeremy Philips, who used to work at eCorp. That firm was owned by the Packer family's former media holding company, Publishing & Broadcasting Limited.

Phillips recently worked as senior VP at Murdoch's News Corp, was appointed in May.

The Big P share price is good value...it's fallen from a touch below $4 to just 95c over the last 2 years. The buzz is Packer will likely do very well with his new buy in, just as long as he hangs in there. Closer to home... the Bondi Beach - Maroubra Beach connection...Media Man is working on becoming one step closer to becoming fully investor ready.

Aussie Pokies Manufacture Aristocrat Loosing Out To Foreigners...

Pokie maker Aristocrat is facing a possible threat to its long-held dominance of the local market, with its biggest New South Wales hotel customer considering moving to a rival machine maker.

The big cheese of listed National Leisure and Gaming, Andrew Jolliffe, said he was in talks with Aristocrat to replace 100 Aristocrat video poker machines that were just 1 year old.

Jolliffe advised he was considering returning them to Aristocrat under their lease-style system and replacing them with machines from American firms Bally or Aruze, or even local rival Len Ainsworth.

A move away by NLG to another firm won't be a good look for their former supplier... which would point to 'The Big A' Aristocrat's.

NLG are the "largest player" in New South Wales, and other pokie machine buyers are watching the situation with interest. "It could cause a ripple effect, even an alalance", whispered a Media Man insider.

Fairfax and News Limited leaks advise Jolliffe and Aristocrat top brass Jamie Odell are negotiating in Macau at Asia's biggest gambling conference, as covered by Gambling911.

It should be noted that the new machines have enhanced graphics, games and screens with more options and features than the originals - oldies, Aristocrat's "Generation 7" pokies have not been as hot as the decade-old classic slots Queen of the Nile and Five Dragons.

NLG has in excess of 900 pokies spanning 31 New South Wales pubs and hotels. At least 90% are Aristocrat, but fortune tellers (and the well informed), are tipping a decline, but punters keep playing, despite the world's financial crisis.

Readers, there you have it. We trust that satisfied your fix for red hot gaming, casino, igaming and political news.

More Late News!...

Gamers back Sex Party in push for R18+ And Political Fun And Games...

Resistance to the establishment of an adult category for video games has the gamers and political arm of Australia's sex industry talking turkey.

South Australian small time party Gamers4Croydon, which picked up a decent share of votes in the state's last election, has encouraged its members to support the Australian Sex Party at the coming federal contest. It's focus - campaign to win an R18+ category for hardcore and soft core games.

An insider advised that Gamers4Croydon's leadership was trying to swing its supporters into the Sex Party after its own bid to register for the federal election hit a snag. Mr X said the two contemplated a formal merger, but Gamers4Croydon campaign manager David Doe didn't give it the nod.

"We're telling people about the Sex Party because we think it is one of the more progressive parties running in the federal election, but there's been no call put out to members to actively switch to the Australian Sex Party," Mr Doe said. It looked like they were on the same side because their policies were "very well aligned". Th parties have found political common ground in their effort to have Australia's content classification regime overhauled. Gamers4Croydon focused on getting an R18+ category for games, but it also shares the Sex Party's objection to Labor's internet filtering proposal, as do about 90% of Aussies. Overhauling the regime requires agreement from all states' attorneys-general, but South Australia's former attorney-general, Michael Atkinson, had refused to budge. Other R18+ camps are also keeping up the pressure. Game.com.au and the Pal Gaming Network said they had received support from two federal senators to table an 89,000- signature petition in the upper house in August. British Tycoon and his spies are said to be watching the Aussie internet filtering and political space closely, with the upcoming launch of Virgin Gaming in Los Angeles cum 15th June. A Media Man spokesperson said "PartyGaming, Sega, Google, Marvel Entertainment, DC Comics, UFC and Microsoft are also included in the growing list of international giants watching the Australian government's moves on censorship, some of which have already spoke out against Australia's proposed 'Great Firewall' aka internet censorship. Punters, fear not, check out Proxy.com and a host of others re 'proxy'. Internet publishers have already started backing up websites and have back up websites at the ready in a bush tucker bag of geographic regions".

Mrs Crocodile Hunter Via Croc Vegas Crocodile A Mania Gathering Steam...

Media Man can confirm that a number of switched on business folks have made contact with Australia Zoo regarding Team Terri Irwin's ambitious plans to create a crocodile and nature extravaganza on the Las Vegas Strip. The Rumour Mill is a buzz that pro wrestling legend Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, orginally from Fiji in the South Pacific, is planing to contact Terri. Snuka was part of the main event at WWE WrestleMania and is a genuine wrestling legend. Snuka is also featured in a number of pro wrestling games including 'Legends Of WrestleMania. Snuka has taken note of the success that Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair have enjoyed in the gaming and igaming sector, and we think the Aussie - Las Vegas Strip connection is a bloody riper mate. Long live the Superfly splash, just maybe coming to Las Vegas. Australia's 'Outback Jack', now living in Florida, is keeping a keen eye of the situation. Interestingly, a slot machine is also entitled 'Outback Jack', and we're seen it in action at Sydney's Tabcorp owned Star City Casino. WWE had previously owned a casino in Vegas however didn't complete the project and remarkably sold the building for a profit (that was before Las Vegas started bleeding. Note to Snuka and Team Terri Irwin... "red turns to green" (just ask Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, and UFC's Dana White, who is also linked to the casino industry via Station Casinos). Station Casinos is making progress working through their financial challanges as documented over the past months.

MM Online Casino Of The Month Shortlist...

It's anyone's guess who will win the Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month'. At the moment it could be PartyCasino.com, Virgin Casino, PKR or Captain Cooks Casino. A couple of dark horses and wild cards are also making a strong half month big for the top honors. We will keep you posted and the month draws closer to conclusion. Betfair and Centrebet are fighting it out for #1 Aussie sports betting website, and PartyPoker, World Poker Tour, PKR are on the shortlist for Online Poker Room Of The Month. Mixed reports coming in on both Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, so eliminate those couple from awards this month. Insiders say casino and poker room 'rouge pit' reporters are waiting keenly for word on the worst poker and casino rooms! Think red flag to a bull or to borrow a quote from a Aussie politicion, Dracula running the Blood Bank!

Friendly Reminder To Punters...

We share your passion for gaming and sports betting, but, if you think your passion for the punt may be causing you problems, please seek professional assistance. And...try to avoid mixing drugs and alcohol with wagering.

Know the odds, bet with your head, not over it, and for Christ's sake, 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 including sports betting is just one of a bakers dozen of sectors they cover. Media Man also publish Media Man Asia and Casino News Media

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited and Virgin

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