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Monday, July 19, 2010

Australian Casino Wars: Burswood Casino Takes Aim, by Greg Tingle - 20th July 2010

The world famous Australian casino wars have evolved with James Packer's Crown Limited (Crown Casino and Burswood Entertainment Complex) and Star City (Tabcorp) remaining the main players on the giant casino chess board down under. Jupiters on the Gold Coast remains a relative minor players, but some of Cairns in Northern Queensland still wants to make a major strike into the action. Expect incoming missiles from Perth's Burswood. Media Man and Gambling911 play commando and strap on the bullet proof vests and fire up the rocket launchers with this special report from the war zone down under...

Crown Limited's Burswood Entertainment Complex Expansion...

Not completely satisfied with his casino interests and portfolio down under and in the greater Asia Pacific region, Australian casino and lifestyle king, James Packer, is investing in his "war chest", with Perth based Burswood to get a major boost, in the process become a greater chess piece in the world renown Aussie casino wars.

Crown Ltd advises it now has government support to expand the number of pokie machines aka "One Armed Bandits" at Perth's Burswood casino, also known as Burswood Entertainment Complex, where acts such as Hulk Hogan's Hulk-A-Mania are known to run wild entertaining Western Australians.

Crown had achieved "in-principle" support from the West Australian government to expand the number of gaming machines from about 1,750 to 2,000 and increase gaming tables from approx 170 to 220, it advised.

The gaming giant is currently 40% owned by Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings Ltd, but what may happen in the coming year is open to speculation, as Tabcorp also has the eye of Packer and "Billionaire Inc".

Crown powers that be advised Burswood had agreed to compensate the state government a $20 million "front fee" and to increase the tax rate on additional pokies from 22% to 27% over the next 5 years. Even if the Government leadership changes on state or federal level, the deal would stick.

The Racing Minister, Terry Waldron, says that is a typical business deal.

"Twenty million dollars will be utilised to support problem gambling services also to support the racing industry," he said.

$350 million has been earmarked to invest into Burswood to facilitate developments and VIP gaming and accommodation facilities are at the top of the list for upgrades, expansions and the like. No word on Lear jets at this time, which Crown Casino sports, as does competitor Star City in Sydney. Reef Casino in Cairns operated by
Casinos Austria International and Accor is yet to confirm expansion plans or jet numbers to Media Man.

Cairns is still pitching the idea to have a "Aus Vegas" casino mecca, despite a small but vocal group of detractors, and down south in Mildrua the upcoming development of the Mildura Jewel Hotel and Casino is still a strong possibility.

Perth's Burswood has committed to expanding local gaming capacity, establish new restaurants and bars, and further enhance the Intercontinental Perth Hotel, Crown advised the ASX.

A Crown spokesperson said "The end result will be the creation of a world class, integrated resort that can successfully compete against the other integrated resorts in the Asian region."

The Numbers...

Return On Investment - circa 2013.

450 new jobs in 3 years, some of which earmarked for GenerationOne (an Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest and James "Casino King" Packer and friends initiative).


Mr Barry Felstead, Burswood chief exec advised along with $130 million of capital expenditure already made, Burswood would be investing almost half a billion dollars over a 5-year period.

"The investment will bring significant and sustained benefits to Perth and Western Australia," Mr Felstead told the press.


Mildura Jewel Casino: Victoria Update...

Mildura casino developer, the brains behind the grand plan, John Haddad, has met up with Victoria's political powers that be but says there is no clear direction forward for the $400 million plan. Mr Haddad met with Premier John Brumby, Nationals leader Peter Ryan and Liberal leader Ted Baillieu on the proposed riverfront based casino and entertainment complex. He advised Mr Brumby was happy to receive letters of in-principle support from Mildura Council and tourism and development boards, however he still requires "bipartisan" support. "It is legislation for a casino, which is something that is a bit more sensitive," he said. "It would be foolish for the Government to come out with some sort of direction if they know that issue is not going to have at least any indication of support. I have to step back and just hope the National Party and the Liberal Party ... have no objection to a second casino being issued in Victoria."

The Late News...

Major Australian and Asia Pacific based media and new media companies continue to ramp up their online and offline coverage of the Australian gaming, igaming, casino and sports betting sector. Major media and non casino players include Fairfax Media, News Limited, NineMSN, Yahoo! and Google (Search, AdWords and other) and of course Media Man, now sporting Media Man Games and Media Man Poker, adding to Global Gaming Directory and Casino News Media.

A Media Man spokesperson said "Many major Australian and Asia Pacific based media companies, agencies and internet giants are continuing to increase their coverage and sometimes involvement in the casino, igaming, poker and sports betting world. From Google (search engine results), NineMSN (articles and multimedia) to News Limited and Fairfax, both carrying in-house sports betting brands, to us who cover the sector in a holistic fashion with news, pr, campaigns, articles, content, multimedia and portal development, its all happening. Many of these companies like us target the world and have a global strategy, marketing and media plan, but the Australian region remains on the radar and is an important part of the master plan. Of course, the internet is a global medium and not restricted to any one part of the world, so it ideally covers coverage of the casino and gaming sector, be it content, journalism, publicity of other. Different brands are also handing out casino and gaming awards and commendations following in the eGaming Review path, like Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Award which PartyGaming's PartyCasino and Richard Branson's Virgin Casino have both won over the years. It's an extremely exciting time to be covering the casino and gaming sector, something our friends at Gambling911, CAP, GPWA and eGaming Review can vouch for. Expect Crown Limited, Tabcorp, Centrebet, PartyGaming and Virgin to make waves, and Media Man and Gambling911 to remain in the thick of the action."

Media Man Profiles

Australian Casinos
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/australian_casinos.html

Crown Casino
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/crown_casino.html

Burswood Casino
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/burswood.html

Star City Casino
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/star_city.html

Jupiter's Hotel and Casino, Gold Coast
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/jupiters_hotel.html

Aus Vegas
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/aus_vegas.html

Mildura Jewel
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/mildura_jewel.html

Gaming
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/gaming.html

Portals
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/portals.html

Google
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/google.html

Media Companies
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/media_companies.html

Folks, we hope you enjoyed this special 'Australian Casino Wars' edition. Know something we don't? Tell us in the forum which has been red hot of late. Stay tuned and in the coming days and weeks we will also expand on the coverage with New Zealand and Asia Pacific - Macau components of the war, along with special online casino and gaming reports which remain important chess pieces in the war zone. Check or cheque mate?

*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 bakers dozen of sectors they cover. They also offer political analysis and commentary

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited and Virgin and has conducted b2b with Crown, PartyGaming, Virgin, Fairfax Media, News Limited and Betfair

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