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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vince McMahon defends WWE; Conn. Dems cry tag-team

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Wrestling impresario Vince McMahon — who has largely avoided the role of political spouse and whose World Wrestling Entertainment alter ego has been on hiatus during his wife's Senate campaign in Connecticut — has emerged from ringside in the contest's final days, defending a business empire he says has been trashed because of politics.

Democrats call his actions a late tag-team effort to boost Republican Linda McMahon's campaign as she trails in the polls.

Fed up with what he called "malicious and misleading attacks," the bombastic 65-year-old McMahon recently launched an Internet campaign called "Stand up for WWE," whose past policies and programming have been attacked by his wife's opponents.

He also filed a federal lawsuit this week against the top state election official for suggesting that WWE fans who come to the polls cover up their wrestling clothing or paraphernalia, given Linda McMahon's ties to the company. A judge Wednesday ruled in McMahon's favor.

And on Saturday, the WWE is staging a fan appreciation event in Hartford just three days before Linda McMahon hopes to rally enough voters to defeat Democrat Richard Blumenthal for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd. WWE announced Thursday it will hand out free merchandise near selected polling places on Election Day to "celebrate" its success with the lawsuit.

Vince McMahon says such efforts have been "a monumental success."

"Certain members of the media, they're a little less likely to write untruths. Elitists, a little less likely to be looking down their noses at us. And even government officials, are concerned about the collective power of you, the WWE universe," McMahon proudly tells the fans in a WWE Web message posted this week.
While WWE and Linda McMahon's Senate campaign both claim the "Stand up for WWE" endeavor is strictly a company initiative, state Democrats have sought a federal elections investigation into whether the company has illegally cooperated with the political campaign.

"Linda McMahon's $50 million attack machine is calling in corporate reinforcements with no respect for the law or the voters of Connecticut," said state Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo, referring to how much the candidate has said she'll spend on her campaign.

Vince McMahon has appeared politically only once with his wife since she declared her candidacy last fall — in May, when she won the state GOP's endorsement.

Still, his image and reputation have made an impression in a race where the issues of steroid abuses and the WWE's controversial programming have often outmatched policy discussions.

Political opponents have enjoyed showing clips of Vince McMahon — as WWE character Mr. McMahon — forcing a woman to bark like a dog. They also point to his 1994 trial when was faced charges of conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids to wrestlers. He was later acquitted.

Linda McMahon has touted her 30 years as an executive at WWE, and its past incarnations, in saying she has what it takes to turn around Washington.

Her husband of 44 years acknowledges he doesn't have much use for politicians and politics.

"When Linda mentioned to me that she wanted to give this a run and what did I think, I said, 'Well if you're successful, you'll be the only honest politician I know in Washington D.C.,'" Vince McMahon told The Associated Press.

On the campaign trail, Linda McMahon has mostly been accompanied by her paid campaign staff, appearing at times with the couple's daughter Stephanie, or Stephanie's husband Paul Levesque, the wrestler known as Triple H.

And on WWE's programming, the fictional Mr. McMahon has been incapacitated for months after some renegade wrestlers beat him up in June. McMahon told the AP that he hopes to end the character, saying the performances in the ring have become physically grueling.

"This was not about Vince McMahon, it should not have been about WWE, it was about Linda. The campaign was about Linda McMahon running for Senate," WWE spokesman Rob Zimmerman said.

The McMahons transformed a small wrestling company they bought from Vince's father into the success that it's become today, complete with pay-per-view matches and a planned cable TV channel. Both talk about sharing a desk in the old days, not sure whether they could afford to pay their taxes or their staff.

Vince McMahon acknowledges he underestimated the interest, and scrutiny, the Senate race would bring to WWE and the issues he and the company have faced over the years, such as steroids, wrestler deaths and raunchy programming.

And he's also been surprised by how he's been portrayed as a mythic, all-controlling figure who knew what was really going "back in the day," before the company revamped everything from its programming to drug testing.

"I'm supposed to be this Machiavellian character of some kind ... ," he told the AP. "Oh yeah, I'm extremely aggressive, over the top and real matter-of-fact, and I go for the jugular everyday and have an extraordinary work ethic and what have you, but the stories are legendary."

Credit: Google News, Wires

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Casino News Media: PartyGaming Quarterly revenue rise

Casino News Media: PartyGaming Quarterly revenue rise

Websites: PartyCasino.com PartyPoker.com WPT Casino WPT Poker PartyBingo.com

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World's leading listed online gaming operator PartyGaming has announced its financial results for the third quarter of 2010 showing a 9 percent year-on-year increase in total revenues to €85.3 million.

The Gibraltar-based firm operates popular online poker domains PartyPoker.com and World Poker Tour. They also own and operate leading online bingo websites Foxy Bingo, Mirror Bingo, Think Bingo and Cheeky Bingo and revealed that revenues from its casino businesses grew two percent year-on-year to reach €34.9 million.

It's premier online casino brand is PartyCasino.com and they also own and operate Noble Casino, Casino Las Vegas, Swiss Casino, and a number of others.

Although revenues from poker decreased five percent when compared to the same period in 2009 to €29.6 million, PartyGaming revealed that bingo improved by 36% year-on-year to hit €13.1 million while sportsbetting grew by a massive 86% for the three-month period to reach €5.4 million.

“Total revenues were up by nine percent year-on-year with growth in all products except poker despite the impact of having closed our French casino business at the end of June,” said Jim Ryan, Chief Executive Officer for PartyGaming.

“Excluding our French casino, total revenues would have been up by 12% year-on-year driven by casino growth in other markets, acquisitions and a strong performance in sportsbetting.

“We have been encouraged by the strong start from our nascent French poker network that went live on July 1. A strong performance by PartyPoker.fr in France has been further boosted by the launch of PMU’s poker business in France as well as services for AB Groupe and Aviation Club De France.

“In respect of current trading since the end of September, we have begun to see the normal seasonal upturn in-line with the board’s expectations and we remain confident about the full-year outlook.”

*New PartyCasino.com players get up to $3000 sign up bonus

*Media Man conducts some b2b activities with PartyGaming brands, as they do with dozens of companies in the entertainment, news and gaming sector.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

James Bond Casino Icon Aston Martin Sale Today, by Greg Tingle - 27th October 2010

G'day and tally ho punters, casino lovers and haters, and a big hello today to James Bond 007 enthusiasts. The James Bond franchise has long been a favorite with the casino and poker crowd across the globe, and some experts tip that a few casino millionaires and billionaires are considering adding the famous Bond set of wheels to their private collection. Today, finally, the James Bond DB5 Aston Martin goes up for auction in London.. Media Man and Gambling911 now cross to the action with this special report...

James Bond's 1964 Aston Martin DB5, dubbed the "world's most famous car," by auctioneers, is set to go under the hammer in London and is expected to be sold for over £3 million $5 million AUD) today.

The car, which became a sensation following its appearances in the hit 1960s Bond films Goldfinger and Thunderball, is the sole remaining of the two original "007" DB5's made famous on screen with Sean Connery as the secret MI6 agent.

Wednesday's auction marks the first time the distinctive silver-coloured car has been available to the public to purchase.

Its current owner, American radio broadcasting legend Jerry Lee, bought the car from the Aston Martin Factory in 1969 for just $12,000 and it has rarely been seen in public.

The model comes complete with its "Q-Branch" gadgets including machine guns, bullet-proof shield, revolving number plates, tracking device, removable roof panel, oil slick sprayer, nail spreader and smoke screen.

Several of the gadgets are fully operational, although the machine guns are not real.

Most auctioneers were not prepared to guess how much the Aston Martin may be sold for but some whispered figures of up to $3 million pound.

Casino buffs take note...favorite casino games of Bond include Baccarat Chemin de Fer, Texas Hold'em Poker and Roulette.

Media Man and Bond fans...you may be interested to learn that Media Man is the manager and agent for Aussie - Fijian actor - pro wrestler, John "Vulcan" Seru. Johnno played 'Gabor' in James Bond 'The World Is Not Enough'. Seru also featured in an 'Underbelly' episode alongside up and coming Aussie actor, Firass Dirani.

Stay glued to Gambling911 for more on motorsport, including Aussie legend Mark "The Turkey" Webber. Folks, the names' Tingle, Greg Tingle. Putting the "I" in Bond I Beach!

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Readers... er, punters, how much do you think they will get for the car? Tell us in the forum. As always, if you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God'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. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

James Packer 'Very Clever' TV Raid Says Sen Conroy, by Greg Tingle - 25th October 2010

G'day punters, casino and media billions, those who aspire to be, journalists, politics and one and all. Australian and Asia Pacific gambling and lifestyle king, James Packer, is gaining powerful support in his expanding his empire, with a Network Ten share raid appearing to be a key focus. The move continues to have the attention of the world's casino and media billionaires, and even the Australian Communications Minister Sen Stephen Conroy has been drawn into the excitement, with a rare public comment on friend of sorts, Packer, and no, it didn't take a spot of golf this time around to get the senator to go on record with "Very Clever". Media Man and Gambling911 reach out to you, the loyal and passionate readership with our "very clever" report...

Australian gambling and lifestyle 'king of the castle', James Packer is officially "very clever", at least that's the word from Australian Communications Minister, out friend and yours (satire), Senator Stephen Conroy. The Packer leap sets him up to be one of Australia's, if not the world's, kings of mainstream media. Packer has jumped on (in a smart and friendly fashion) Network Ten in a massive $245 million share raid that also sets him up for next year's AFL broadcast rights, and much more. The move is an exciting return for Packer as one of the Australian media's heavyweights some 4 years after he started selling off his family's famous share in PBL Media, including the main event attraction, the prestigious Nine Network. Analysts now expect the move will spark more maneuvering and "fun and games" in the industry by competitors ahead of key changes to Australian sports broadcast laws, notably the anti-siphoning regime that restricts pay-TV's shadow. Communications Minister, you're friend and ours (satire) Stephen Conroy previously said the purchase of Ten shares was a matter for Packer. Media and gaming insiders have noted its great to see Conroy stop attacking the gaming and media sector, and be balanced and non confrontational once again. Just maybe Conroy may like the fact that Australian television is easier to censors and "filter" than the internet, but that's only speculation.

Ok, we know Packer is a smart cookie and made a "very clever move", but let's dig a little deeper shall we.

'Our James', son of the late gambling and media mogul Kerry Packer, has been named as the mystery buyer of a A$250 million (S$318 million), 18% in Ten Network, one of Australia's 3 major commercial stations. Currently before the famed antitrust watchdog...Woof, Conroy said the investment posed "some issues around competition and concentration".

"But I think James is a very, very savvy businessman and this is a very clever move," Conroy told ABC TV. "I think he's got a foot in all the camps and he likes to have all the bases covered.".

Conroy declined to comment on whether he regarded Packer's stake as constituting a controlling interest in Ten, but said it was "clear... (he) has got more support than just his own holding from all indications." Regulators faced a 'real challenge' in deciding whether or not the move was anti-competitive, he added.

Packer has casino and gaming - gambling - sports betting interests in Australia and Macau but his company Consolidated Media Holdings also holds a 25% stake in pay-TV provider Foxtel and also owns 50% of the Fox Sports cable network. Fox Sports is also tied in with Premier Media Group, where some Media Man top brass once did some work experience. He effectively walked from commercial television 2 years back with the sale of most of his stake in rival Network Nine, an empire founded by his grandfather, Sir Frank Packer, and built up by his late father, Kerry. Packer said he had been lured back to the industry by the surprise success of extra free-to-air channels launched on the new digital spectrum by the major networks, saying he was "happy to be back".

"It's a vote of confidence for free-to-air television," Packer told News Limited - Rupert Murdoch owned The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, in his first public - on the record bit about the Ten share raid. "Multi-channels have surprised everybody with their outstanding success to take advertising dollars from other mediums while pay-TV stays strong."

Since the announcement of Packer's raid on Ten, both Network Ten and Crown Limited shares have continued an upward rise.

Media Man top brass added "James Packer surprises a few folks with his move back into television, Mind you, he surprised a few with his massive bounce back in the casino and gaming sector in Australia and Macau also, as well as his solid exit strategy from the mayhem Las Vegas. Watch for Packer to also ramp up in the online area, with Betfair maintaining a strong position. More online casino game content to hit Betfairs, and I would be totally surprised to see the likes of a Packer do a deal with other leaders like PartyGaming or Richard Branson's Virgin. Packer is friendly with Tom Cruise, featured in a PartyGaming release, and has also been spotted and photographed with Richard Branson over the years, so nothing is impossible for JP - James Packer at this stage of the game. He appears to have the killer instinct and is virtually unstoppable. You really have to give the devil his due. At the same time he is main tainting his friendship with Network Nine boss David Gyngell, so good on his for taking care of the work - life balance, something many media and gaming tycoons struggle with. Packer is starting to turn into a living legend, and we are not talking that up. The record speaks for itself. For anyone that wants to try to step in Packer's way, its game on.!

The Packer camp is expected to make more information available to the press in the coming days, and rest assured Media Man and Gambling911 are onto it.

More details on the Packer - Network Ten Raid...

Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings purchased the 15.6% stake in the network through investment bank UBS, a favorite of JP. A block of some 163.3 million Ten shares was traded in a single transaction at $1.50 a piece, according to the Australian Securities Exchange. Packer mate, David Gyngell, recently purchasing a modest $100,000 or so worth of Crown Limited shares. Numerous in the know sources, leaks et al continued to confirm Packer's company was indeed behind the sale. The move also comes amid heavy speculation Packer is planning to privatise his gaming empire, Crown Limited, in which he has also recently increased his stake, leading by example, say the Packer supporters. Packer and Kerry Stokes began wrestling for Consolidated Media, which holds online and pay television assets in the middle of last year. The move got people talking about Packer moving into position ahead of the next round of AFL television rights that are up for grabs in 2011. They do say the early bird catches the worm, so Packer might be feeling a like a very confident worm as of late.
CMH currently also owns a 25% stake at pay TV operator Foxtel. BBY media analyst Mark McDonnell was prepared to go on record and advised the purchase put Fox Sports into a strategic position for the AFL rights. "It's very interesting, particularly with the AFL rights coming up again next year and, of course, Ten teamed up with Seven and Fox Sports the last time the contract was being renewed. Packer effectively owns Fox Sports and the AFL rights are going to be one of the big stories over the next 12 months." McDonnell said CMH may have also "simply" thought Ten's shares were going for a good price and Packer may have seen potential in the network's future. However he also said every free to air channel wanted the football broadcasting rights and the move positioned Ten into a strong position to again team up with Foxtel. The purchase also coincides with the Gillard Government's review of anti-siphoning laws governing sports broadcasting on Australian television. Both Foxtel and the AFL have been lobbying for changes to the anti-siphoning legislation so pay-TV stations can bid for a minimum of 4 home-and-away matches a week. Packer is surrounded by media and sports on the home front, owning a pad overlooking Bondi Beach, world class pro surfers, favorite of NRL Sydney Roosters, mate Gyngell, the Bondi Rescue (Network Ten inked lads), and much much more. Yeah, Media Man has a pad there too, and Bondi Beach is constantly becoming home to Australia's best entertainment and sporting talent. Warnie, are you here yet mate? Poker in the beach park perhaps or a few slots at Bondi Icebergs Bergs Gaming? Changes to the anti-siphoning legislation could allow the 3 big free-to-air networks to broadcast AFL matches on their digital channels and AFL games on their secondary digital channels. Senator Conroy's spokesman said the anti-siphoning review would be released "shortly". Network Ten declined to comment, while Media Man said "coincidences don't normally happen, be it in gambling, media or the internet business. Packer is smart and clearly his relationship and lines of communication with Sen Conroy are excellent, so you have to give the devil his due."
A number of high profile media and gaming commentators also think its a smart move by Packer ramping up his TV interests, and industry talks says of Packer...fire in the belly, and his passion for news media has certainly bounced back. Insiders also tipped he enjoys seeing the balanced and positive coverage of his Crown Casino empire on Ten News and The 7PM Project, giving him a fair go, when some other Australian media companies choose to go more down the "attack journalism" path. Packer also has plans to offer Australian's a full online casino offering via his 50% owned Betfair, which have noted the success of other online gambling operators servicing down under such as PartyGaming. Interestingly, PartyGaming's PartyPoker last year in a b2b type arrangement directed a number of their online poker players to Packer's poker tournament, Aussie Millions. Packer mate, Shane Warne, is also tipped to have a poker room and / or tourney named after him at Crown Casino, and its speculated other deals are on the radar with even some tipping Media Man, Casino News Media, Richard Branson - Virgin b2b and website portals in the mix. PartyGaming and NextGen Gaming are expected to also pitch to Packer and his team on the new media - internet front, and the brands 'Underbelly', 'Kerry Packer' and 'Casino Jack' keep coming up. Yep, Packer is a busy man and taking on the world and winning by all accounts.

A Media Man spokesperson said "James Packer's latest business plays have been brilliant. It's risk management, brand building, convergent media, relationship leveraging and more all in one. He's also buying entities at the right price, and has a global business model which helps ride out the world's financial storm, while also having an Australian - Asia Pacific focus, which is one of the strongest markets in the world at the moment, away from the chaos of sorts in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. From here on up it should be pretty smooth sailing for Packer and Billionaire Inc. Punters should likely expect some gambling or gaming reality TV shows, as Packer's passion for both having a punt and news media is pretty contagious. Packer is making exciting and smart business moves and has a world class team of advisers around him. He's also spending millions upgrading Crown and Burswood casinos, to help further cement them as the leaders, while Tabcorp tries to chase him with their Star City. Packer once again proves the knockers wrong, and we can't wait to get back down to Crown Casino to congratulate the Packer powers that be in person. From Bondi Beach to Palm Beach, Macau, Perth, the internet, to TV land - the world is his oyster. Watch this space".

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Readers... er, punters, what's your view on the latest? Keep checking daily for updates. If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

Crown Limited Share Price: $8.530

Network Ten Holdings Limited Price: $1.61

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Australian Casino And Gambling News: Huge Week, by Greg Tingle - 22nd October 2010

It's been one of the biggest and most colourful weeks in the history of the Australian casino, gambling and media industry. We've got Crown Limited VS Tabcorp in the Aussie casino war, Tabcorp restructure, Crown's Packer VS Network Nine's Gyngell, politics and gambling, tons of new games hitting PartyGaming and Virgin, the government chasing revenue, money laundering via pub pokie palaces and so much more. Media Man and Gambling911 continue to bring you the hottest news on the planet...

Fake Casino Chips Found At Star City Casino; 'Sin City' Lives Up To Name...

Action by a casino cashier uncovered a rather fishy fake chip scam that saw the arrest of a female (not fem bot) at Star City in Australia's 'Sin City' Sydney. Cops and security nabbed and detained the woman in the early hours of Monday morning after a staffer member alerted them to a batch of high-quality fake $100 gaming chips that had just been handed in at the cashier. The counterfeit chips were allegedly smuggled into the casino on Sunday night. A 27-year-old woman was arrested at roughly 1.15am. It was the first time in a decade that counterfeit chips have been found at the casino. A Star City spokesman said the cashier noticed an "irregular chip" and immediately contacted security. "It is very rare that we see a good quality chip like this but our cashiers are very well trained and fortunately we picked up on it early in the piece," he said. We had a separate set of $100 chips ready to go and they were distributed as quickly as possible. It will not affect those people who took chips home and want to come back into the casino to use them." The arrest was made as part of a wider surveillance operation. The Blakehurst woman was charged with dishonestly obtaining property by deception and two counts of use and possess counterfeit chips in a casino. Police went onto executed a search warrant at a house in Coogarah St, Blakehurst and seized more counterfeit chips, credit cards, computers and $21,840 in cash. A 28-year-old man was arrested and charged with two counts of dishonestly obtain property by deception and two counts of possessing counterfeit chips in a casino. Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said police were keeping a close watch for more fake chips. "Due to the co-operation and fast action by the casino, police have been able to identify and respond to these offences," Supt Katsogiannis said. "Anyone found using such chips will be arrested and dealt with by police."
In April last year, bosses at Melbourne's Crown Casino were forced to check the authenticity of more than $13.7 million worth of $1000 chips after near-perfect counterfeits were detected. More than $36,000 worth of chips were found to be fakes.
The woman charged over the Star City fakes will appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on November 8. The man has been bailed and will appear at Bankstown Local Court on November 16. No fish or vinegar was found with the chips, and before you ask, no, Annie "The Hunt" Duke or "Annette15" were not connected, despite many insiders calling them "sharks", with eyes squarely on Australian fresh meat!

Expert Advisory Panel On Australian Gambling Announced...

We've been chasing this story for a while, but only now can we give you the meaty chunks you've been waiting for on this front...

22 (not 21!) people have been selected to advise the Australian Government on its gambling reforms through a new expert panel. The Ministerial Expert Advisory Group on Gambling, chaired by Professor Peter Shergold AC, will provide specialist and technical implementation advice and assist the Government to deliver gambling reforms.

The Government has invited representatives to join the Ministerial Expert Advisory Group from:
problem gambling counselling and support services;
clubs, hotels, casinos and gaming machine manufacturers;
the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union; and
research and academic institutions that specialise in understanding problem gambling behaviour and harm minimisation measures.

The group will consider key issues such as the implementation of a best practice, full pre‑commitment scheme on poker machines, the roll out of poker machine dynamic warning and cost of play displays and establishing ATM withdrawal limits in venues with poker machines (excluding casinos).

The Government says the group will be guided by the latest evidence on gambling and will seek advice from other stakeholders where necessary and will meet for the first time in early November.

They will provide advice to the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the Assistant Treasurer regularly, through the Secretariat and the Chair.

On Saturday the Council of Australian Government's (COAG) Select Council on Gambling Reform, which includes Treasurers, Ministers responsible for gambling regulation, and Ministers responsible for community services, will meet for the first time to develop national solutions to minimise harm from problem gambling.

The Australian Government has committed to work with the states and territories, industry and the community sector to progress a national response to the recommendations of the Productivity Commission Report on Gambling.

The Productivity Commission estimates that there are between 80,000 and 160,000 problem gamblers in Australia. In addition there are between 230,000 and 350,000 people at moderate risk.
Ministerial Expert Advisory Group Membership
Chair: Professor Peter Shergold AC, Macquarie Group Foundation Professor, Centre for Social Impact, University of NSW.
The Government has invited the following people to join the Ministerial Advisory Group on Gambling:
Ms Cheryl Vardon, Australasian Gaming Council
Mr Anthony Ball, Clubs Australia
Mr John Whelan, Australian Hotels Association
Mr Chris Downy, Australasian Casino Association
Mr Ross Ferrar, Gaming Technologies Association
Mr Rohan Martin, ATM Industry Reference Group
Mr John Duffy, International Gaming Technology
Mr John Bresnan, Crown Limited
Mr David Curry, Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group
Mr Simon Schrapel, ACOSS and UnitingCare Wesley, Adelaide
Dr Mark Zirnsak, Victorian InterChurch Gambling Taskforce
Major Brad Halse, Salvation Army Southern Territory
Ms Rosemary Hambledon, Relationships Australia South Australia
Mr Barry Sheehan, Centacare Toowoomba
Ms Kate Roberts, Gambling Impact Society
Ms Louise Tarrant, Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union
Dr Paul Delfabbro, Associate Professor in Psychology, University of Adelaide
Professor Nerilee Hing, Director, Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University
Professor Alex Blaszczynski, Chair in Psychology, University of Sydney
Mr Ashley Gordon, Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University
Dr Charles Livingstone, Deputy Head, Department of Health Social Science, Monash University

Money Laundering Crime Spree At Australian Pokie Palaces In The Suburbs...

Money laundering via club pokies is big and dirty business in Aussie hotels, but its been a bit of a secret, before Gambling911 and Media Man spread the word worldwide. It usually happens in the middle of the night, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. This is when many of Australia's top pokie palaces are doing the big numbers, in more ways than one. Professional money launderers in Australia are understood to have similar working hours and sleeping patterns to bats, rats, other rodents, and creatures of the night. They often hit several hotels in a night. Winter is understood to be the real festive season for this breed, as it's easier to carry huge wads of dirty cash in a jacket pocket, hidden into the landscape. They frequently use the car parks attached to the hotel, launderers trying to get a spot as close to the door as possible, as they carry large sums of cold hard cash. Being loyal patrons they are sometimes well known to security guards, who nod to them, get them inside, so the fun and games begin. The nod is known in the security trade as "brothel protocol", where familiar and loyal patrons are discreetly acknowledged without mentioning names, and you get the idea maties. Security guards who understand "the rules" make it easier for the pros. A car park is key because the launderers don't want to walk the street carrying thousands of bucks in the dead of night. After they enter the hotel, the pro launderers do what is known as a "recognisance" of the gambling room to check for any threats such as under-cover police officers or prospective muggers or other problems. You can sometimes spot the pros by the long jackets, with large pockets. This folks are daring and usually pretty tough. It's a bugger of a job, but those qualified and willing make a handsome living doing the midnight shifts. Crime gangs often go for Sydney's west and south-west when they need to convert large amounts of cash into funds in the form of a winnings cheque because they offer the top notch car parks and security needed. Pro launderers are almost exclusively male, and they take their profession seriously. Almost always as part of the art, during the initial visit they will play a small amount of cash through a one armed bandit and then reserve it by pressing a "reserve" button, before returning to their car to collect up to $10 grand in $100 notes. They often make several trips to their car to collect more cash, then return to the same pokie. Unlike other automated cash machines such as ticket dispensers, poker machines are not so fussy about how notes are fed into them. This means gamblers can do $10,000 in minutes by feeding 100 $100 notes before the reels start spinning, and the speed of machines means each bet may be seconds apart. The gambler then gets a cheque from the hotel, which is "clean" and appears to tax and other authorities to be a "win". Often they simply feed the money into the pokie without actually gambling it, and then collect a cheque for what they have put in the machine. Sometimes they play a few hundred bucks, or less, before collecting their clean money. The hotel of course gets high turnover through its machines, of which it can legally keep a percentage of the amount, through the profits on its machines, and the government coffers gets a percentage through gaming taxes. About $2 million passes through the pokies in a week at each of the state's top pokie palaces, according to an analysis of figures supplied from friends at the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing. This produces a net profit of about $160,000 a week, or $8.3 million a year for the hotelier. Good business, if you don't get caught. Many launderers don't need to play the machines, they just feed in the cash and press the "collect" button, allowing them to go to the bar or a booth and receive a fat cheque. The rumour mills says some hoteliers say some pubs are so well known to crime gangs that they refer to them as LLs, slang for "local laundries". Hotel industry sources estimate that nationally $2 billion is laundered through hotels, clubs and casino poker machines and gambling chips, and about 40% of this is via New South Wales, the nation's aptly named 'Sin City' Sydney. This is a party of the $14 billion fed through Australia's poker machines in pokie palaces every year. Poker machines are understood to be one of the few places remaining for crims to clean cash due to a crackdown on money laundering at racecourses, the TAB and a few other lurks.
Hoteliers and their staff are supposed to report suspicious transactions as one might guess, but the reporting of customers who feed large amount of cash through machines in return for cheques is not routine to say the least. The nation's anti-laundering agency is trying to crack down on this through the enhanced powers it got in 2006, but not much movement on that front, and there are more than 6000 hotels around the country, making it a tough nut to crack. Under the strict anti-laundering legislation, hotels are supposed to have a "compliance manager" on staff to report suspicious and large payouts, but in reality those who hand out the fat winnings cheques are often young and inexperienced bar staff. Many in the industry say that hoteliers won't be compelled to report all suspicious transactions and stamp out laundering until a hotelier "is made an example of". The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre has been sending out formal questionnaires to hotels and clubs for the past few months, asking hotels to declare who its big "winners" are. There was another round of these quiz's sent to hotels around NSW on 29th September. Austrac is working with the Australian Crime Commission, but no hotels or clubs have been prosecuted for breaching laundering laws, even though there are harsh penalties including jail and fines of $11 million for each offence. George Thomas, a 74-year-old publican from Vaucluse, is the only hotelier to be busted so far by the nation's anti-laundering agency. Austrac forced Thomas's seven companies to appoint an external auditor from the accounting firm Deloittes after they were found to have breached four sections of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. The breaches were related to asking customers for identification, identifying and managing money-laundering risks and lodging reports to the regulator. Austrac said they were "asked a number of times" to comply with the laws which require the hotels to produce evidence it has procedures to address money laundering, but the hotels did not comply until the auditor was appointed. The Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing knows down to the dollar how much cash is going through poker machines in every NSW hotel, because of sophisticated centralised monitoring software that sends data back to head office. It can even identify if launderers are feeding money into machines and pressing collect without playing them! But those in the know reckon it is a state-government body which is mostly interested in gaming taxes, not laundering. No hoteliers were willing to comment on the record about the extent of laundering through poker machines. "The hoteliers think, 'Jesus, if my hotel gets mentioned then the launderers won't come. How much will that impact on my business?" one leaker said. The chief executive of the Australian Hotels Association, Sally Fielke, declined to comment about the extent of laundering through hotels, saying she had no way of measuring it. One of those willing to comment was Paul Mulligan, a risk manager for Risk Consultants Australia, which advises hotels on how to comply with the new laws. Mulligan said hotels wanted to stamp out money laundering but they were finding it costly and time consuming to comply as the legislation was complex. Bankers who fund the hotel industry are also concerned about the extent of dirty money flowing through poker machines that in effect, they part-own. "It is a very delicate matter," said one person in the bank sector, who does not want to be associated with laundering. They are also concerned about the loss of business, and how that will hit the bottom line of hotels. Austrac is also cracking down on poker machines within licensed clubs, as well as bets placed through bookmakers, one may ask is if launderers can't go to hotels, clubs or to the racetrack, where might the money go? Online casinos... the www, underground gambling dens at Kings Cross?

Tabcorp To Ramp Up Queensland Banana Bender Land Based Casinos...

Tabcorp Holdings has tipped even greater investment in Queensland casinos, stating it wants to snatch some of rival Crown Ltd's high-rolling VIP players aka "whales". Tabcorp on Monday announced a demerger of its casinos operations from its wagering, gaming and keno businesses. The company also said it would spend $175 million on upgrading its Jupiters casino on the Gold Coast to create an international entertainment and resort destination. The upgrade will include refurbishment of the main gaming floor, a new private gaming room, dedicated gaming areas for VIP - whale customers, new restaurants and bars, a nightlife venue, a refurbishment of the pool area and a new spa. Construction is expected to start in the middle of calendar year 2011 and be completed in 2014. Tabcorp also said it was in talks with the Queensland government on further expansion of its Gold Coast, Brisbane and Townsville casinos, including the construction of one or two new hotels. Tabcorp already is engaged in a $960 million expansion of its Star City casino in Sydney, which includes a $100 million licence fee to the NSW government. Tabcorp chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper said Asian VIP gamblers visiting Australia would "naturally gravitate" to the Gold Coast and Sydney. But Crown Limited, which operates the Crown Casino in Melbourne and the Burswood Casino in Perth, had more than 80% of the VIP market. Clients are understood to be loyal to the James Packer owned company, as are Media Man and most friends. "If you look at the geography, at the size of Australia, that is not the right mix," Funke Kupper said. "Therefore, we are very confident that by investing in Sydney and the Gold Coast, we can grow the market by creating destinations that people might prefer over Melbourne. "Secondly, we'd like to correct the market share equation where I think we're underdoing it." Funke Kupper said that given the far greater size of Melbourne and Sydney and the large number of tourist arrivals, casinos in those two cities would always be much bigger than casinos in Queensland. He said Queensland was a "stretched out" market along several thousand kilometres of coastline and more suited to a number of very strong local casinos. Tabcorp was pleased with its positioning of casinos at the Gold Coast and in Brisbane and Townsville but needed to grow the market. "We're flagging that we continue to be working with, and discussing very constructively with, the Queensland government on the next round of possibilities," Funke Kupper told the press. "Now that's a much bigger investment, that is a much bigger decision. If it were to be a possibility, then the casinos business will undertake that investment whenever that is - it could be 12 to 18 months out, or further out.". Folks, the Aussie casino wars are still going strong, and we thank each one of your for your ongoing contributions via email and in the world famous forum.

The latest just in...

Packer Eyes Sky TV...

Packer's $250 million-plus raid on the Ten Network is likely part of an elaborate plan that could lead to the axing of Ten's sports channel, One HD, and its replacement with a free-to-air version of Rupert Murdoch's Sky News service! By closing the Ten sports channel, Packer would eliminate a big competitor for the sports channels on Foxtel...the pay TV network that he jointly owns with Murdoch's News Ltd and Telstra. Under Packer's crafty if not cunning plan, Sky News would still be screened by Foxtel but would use one of Channel Ten's new digital free-to-air stations as another distribution point, giving it a much bigger potential audience reach... piece of the pie. Until now Sky News has only been available on Foxtel and its regional equivalent Austar. So as the commercial networks began offering multiple free-to-air channels, the pay television business has been under massive pressure. The management of Foxtel is tipped to battle the Packer move. A second leg to Mr Packer's investment in Ten involves cutting costs by chopping the network's expensive plans to boost its news service between 6pm -7pm, part of which involved installing news and current affairs veterans George Negus and Chris Masters. Packer would rather see a cheap alternative of reruns of programs such as mainstay The Simpsons. Cutting network operating costs would be an essential element to making a return on his investment. But while the theory is sound enough, the execution will put Packer into battle with the management and board of Ten. In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange last night, Packer's private company, Consolidated Press Holdings, confirmed it now owned more than 186 million shares in Ten, or 17.8% of the stock. As the stake might not be sufficient for Packer to push through his plans, he may need to enlist the support of regional TV tycoon Bruce Gordon, who owns 12% of Ten, and Perpetual Investments, which has about 10%. At this stage, Packer has no plan for a full takeover bid. Mr Packer ended his family's association with free-to-air television two years ago when he sold the last of his stake in Nine Network's parent, PBL Media.

PartyGaming VS Virgin Games War Continues...

In a week that sees PartyCasino and Virgin Casino go at it hammer and tong, both online casinos unleash yet more games, with a focus on slots and attractive bonuses. PartyGaming still has a clear upper hand on a global scale, as they are available in many more counties than Virgin at this stage, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In addition, Party is offering up to $3000 in bonuses for new players, while Virgin is only tipping $100. We still love Richard Branson's Virgin, so don't be too hard on them. We know they are trying to get into other counties, but until then, Party wins hands down. Both casinos have previously won the prestigious Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Award. New slots include Unicorn Legend, Crocodopolis, Shark Super Bet, Thunderstruck II, Tally Ho, HellBoy, Pharaoh's Treasure, Snow Business, Alice’s Wonderland and Kung Food. Insiders say more new slots have hit the internet this month, than any other month in history! Well, what are you waiting for. Spin to win and good luck.

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Australia

Australian Casinos

Crown Casino

Network Ten

James Packer

David Gyngell

Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, what's your view on the latest in the Australian casino and gambling landscape? Keep checking daily for updates. If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

Shares

Crown Limited Share price: $8.490

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Network Ten Holdings Limited price: $1.580

CVC price: 0.910

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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Australian Casino And Gambling News: Huge Week, by Greg Tingle - 22nd October 2010

It's been one of the biggest and most colourful weeks in the history of the Australian casino, gambling and media industry. We've got Crown Limited VS Tabcorp in the Aussie casino war, Tabcorp restructure, Crown's Packer VS Network Nine's Gyngell, politics and gambling, tons of new games hitting PartyGaming and Virgin, the government chasing revenue, money laundering via pub pokie palaces and so much more. Media Man and Gambling911 continue to bring you the hottest news on the planet...

Fake Casino Chips Found At Star City Casino; 'Sin City' Lives Up To Name...

Action by a casino cashier uncovered a rather fishy fake chip scam that saw the arrest of a female (not fem bot) at Star City in Australia's 'Sin City' Sydney. Cops and security nabbed and detained the woman in the early hours of Monday morning after a staffer member alerted them to a batch of high-quality fake $100 gaming chips that had just been handed in at the cashier. The counterfeit chips were allegedly smuggled into the casino on Sunday night. A 27-year-old woman was arrested at roughly 1.15am. It was the first time in a decade that counterfeit chips have been found at the casino. A Star City spokesman said the cashier noticed an "irregular chip" and immediately contacted security. "It is very rare that we see a good quality chip like this but our cashiers are very well trained and fortunately we picked up on it early in the piece," he said. We had a separate set of $100 chips ready to go and they were distributed as quickly as possible. It will not affect those people who took chips home and want to come back into the casino to use them." The arrest was made as part of a wider surveillance operation. The Blakehurst woman was charged with dishonestly obtaining property by deception and two counts of use and possess counterfeit chips in a casino. Police went onto executed a search warrant at a house in Coogarah St, Blakehurst and seized more counterfeit chips, credit cards, computers and $21,840 in cash. A 28-year-old man was arrested and charged with two counts of dishonestly obtain property by deception and two counts of possessing counterfeit chips in a casino. Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said police were keeping a close watch for more fake chips. "Due to the co-operation and fast action by the casino, police have been able to identify and respond to these offences," Supt Katsogiannis said. "Anyone found using such chips will be arrested and dealt with by police."
In April last year, bosses at Melbourne's Crown Casino were forced to check the authenticity of more than $13.7 million worth of $1000 chips after near-perfect counterfeits were detected. More than $36,000 worth of chips were found to be fakes.
The woman charged over the Star City fakes will appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on November 8. The man has been bailed and will appear at Bankstown Local Court on November 16. No fish or vinegar was found with the chips, and before you ask, no, Annie "The Hunt" Duke or "Annette15" were not connected, despite many insiders calling them "sharks", with eyes squarely on Australian fresh meat!

Expert Advisory Panel On Australian Gambling Announced...

We've been chasing this story for a while, but only now can we give you the meaty chunks you've been waiting for on this front...

22 (not 21!) people have been selected to advise the Australian Government on its gambling reforms through a new expert panel. The Ministerial Expert Advisory Group on Gambling, chaired by Professor Peter Shergold AC, will provide specialist and technical implementation advice and assist the Government to deliver gambling reforms.

The Government has invited representatives to join the Ministerial Expert Advisory Group from:
problem gambling counselling and support services;
clubs, hotels, casinos and gaming machine manufacturers;
the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union; and
research and academic institutions that specialise in understanding problem gambling behaviour and harm minimisation measures.

The group will consider key issues such as the implementation of a best practice, full pre‑commitment scheme on poker machines, the roll out of poker machine dynamic warning and cost of play displays and establishing ATM withdrawal limits in venues with poker machines (excluding casinos).

The Government says the group will be guided by the latest evidence on gambling and will seek advice from other stakeholders where necessary and will meet for the first time in early November.

They will provide advice to the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the Assistant Treasurer regularly, through the Secretariat and the Chair.

On Saturday the Council of Australian Government's (COAG) Select Council on Gambling Reform, which includes Treasurers, Ministers responsible for gambling regulation, and Ministers responsible for community services, will meet for the first time to develop national solutions to minimise harm from problem gambling.

The Australian Government has committed to work with the states and territories, industry and the community sector to progress a national response to the recommendations of the Productivity Commission Report on Gambling.

The Productivity Commission estimates that there are between 80,000 and 160,000 problem gamblers in Australia. In addition there are between 230,000 and 350,000 people at moderate risk.
Ministerial Expert Advisory Group Membership
Chair: Professor Peter Shergold AC, Macquarie Group Foundation Professor, Centre for Social Impact, University of NSW.
The Government has invited the following people to join the Ministerial Advisory Group on Gambling:
Ms Cheryl Vardon, Australasian Gaming Council
Mr Anthony Ball, Clubs Australia
Mr John Whelan, Australian Hotels Association
Mr Chris Downy, Australasian Casino Association
Mr Ross Ferrar, Gaming Technologies Association
Mr Rohan Martin, ATM Industry Reference Group
Mr John Duffy, International Gaming Technology
Mr John Bresnan, Crown Limited
Mr David Curry, Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group
Mr Simon Schrapel, ACOSS and UnitingCare Wesley, Adelaide
Dr Mark Zirnsak, Victorian InterChurch Gambling Taskforce
Major Brad Halse, Salvation Army Southern Territory
Ms Rosemary Hambledon, Relationships Australia South Australia
Mr Barry Sheehan, Centacare Toowoomba
Ms Kate Roberts, Gambling Impact Society
Ms Louise Tarrant, Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union
Dr Paul Delfabbro, Associate Professor in Psychology, University of Adelaide
Professor Nerilee Hing, Director, Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University
Professor Alex Blaszczynski, Chair in Psychology, University of Sydney
Mr Ashley Gordon, Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University
Dr Charles Livingstone, Deputy Head, Department of Health Social Science, Monash University

Money Laundering Crime Spree At Australian Pokie Palaces In The Suburbs...

Money laundering via club pokies is big and dirty business in Aussie hotels, but its been a bit of a secret, before Gambling911 and Media Man spread the word worldwide. It usually happens in the middle of the night, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. This is when many of Australia's top pokie palaces are doing the big numbers, in more ways than one. Professional money launderers in Australia are understood to have similar working hours and sleeping patterns to bats, rats, other rodents, and creatures of the night. They often hit several hotels in a night. Winter is understood to be the real festive season for this breed, as it's easier to carry huge wads of dirty cash in a jacket pocket, hidden into the landscape. They frequently use the car parks attached to the hotel, launderers trying to get a spot as close to the door as possible, as they carry large sums of cold hard cash. Being loyal patrons they are sometimes well known to security guards, who nod to them, get them inside, so the fun and games begin. The nod is known in the security trade as "brothel protocol", where familiar and loyal patrons are discreetly acknowledged without mentioning names, and you get the idea maties. Security guards who understand "the rules" make it easier for the pros. A car park is key because the launderers don't want to walk the street carrying thousands of bucks in the dead of night. After they enter the hotel, the pro launderers do what is known as a "recognisance" of the gambling room to check for any threats such as under-cover police officers or prospective muggers or other problems. You can sometimes spot the pros by the long jackets, with large pockets. This folks are daring and usually pretty tough. It's a bugger of a job, but those qualified and willing make a handsome living doing the midnight shifts. Crime gangs often go for Sydney's west and south-west when they need to convert large amounts of cash into funds in the form of a winnings cheque because they offer the top notch car parks and security needed. Pro launderers are almost exclusively male, and they take their profession seriously. Almost always as part of the art, during the initial visit they will play a small amount of cash through a one armed bandit and then reserve it by pressing a "reserve" button, before returning to their car to collect up to $10 grand in $100 notes. They often make several trips to their car to collect more cash, then return to the same pokie. Unlike other automated cash machines such as ticket dispensers, poker machines are not so fussy about how notes are fed into them. This means gamblers can do $10,000 in minutes by feeding 100 $100 notes before the reels start spinning, and the speed of machines means each bet may be seconds apart. The gambler then gets a cheque from the hotel, which is "clean" and appears to tax and other authorities to be a "win". Often they simply feed the money into the pokie without actually gambling it, and then collect a cheque for what they have put in the machine. Sometimes they play a few hundred bucks, or less, before collecting their clean money. The hotel of course gets high turnover through its machines, of which it can legally keep a percentage of the amount, through the profits on its machines, and the government coffers gets a percentage through gaming taxes. About $2 million passes through the pokies in a week at each of the state's top pokie palaces, according to an analysis of figures supplied from friends at the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing. This produces a net profit of about $160,000 a week, or $8.3 million a year for the hotelier. Good business, if you don't get caught. Many launderers don't need to play the machines, they just feed in the cash and press the "collect" button, allowing them to go to the bar or a booth and receive a fat cheque. The rumour mills says some hoteliers say some pubs are so well known to crime gangs that they refer to them as LLs, slang for "local laundries". Hotel industry sources estimate that nationally $2 billion is laundered through hotels, clubs and casino poker machines and gambling chips, and about 40% of this is via New South Wales, the nation's aptly named 'Sin City' Sydney. This is a party of the $14 billion fed through Australia's poker machines in pokie palaces every year. Poker machines are understood to be one of the few places remaining for crims to clean cash due to a crackdown on money laundering at racecourses, the TAB and a few other lurks.
Hoteliers and their staff are supposed to report suspicious transactions as one might guess, but the reporting of customers who feed large amount of cash through machines in return for cheques is not routine to say the least. The nation's anti-laundering agency is trying to crack down on this through the enhanced powers it got in 2006, but not much movement on that front, and there are more than 6000 hotels around the country, making it a tough nut to crack. Under the strict anti-laundering legislation, hotels are supposed to have a "compliance manager" on staff to report suspicious and large payouts, but in reality those who hand out the fat winnings cheques are often young and inexperienced bar staff. Many in the industry say that hoteliers won't be compelled to report all suspicious transactions and stamp out laundering until a hotelier "is made an example of". The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre has been sending out formal questionnaires to hotels and clubs for the past few months, asking hotels to declare who its big "winners" are. There was another round of these quiz's sent to hotels around NSW on 29th September. Austrac is working with the Australian Crime Commission, but no hotels or clubs have been prosecuted for breaching laundering laws, even though there are harsh penalties including jail and fines of $11 million for each offence. George Thomas, a 74-year-old publican from Vaucluse, is the only hotelier to be busted so far by the nation's anti-laundering agency. Austrac forced Thomas's seven companies to appoint an external auditor from the accounting firm Deloittes after they were found to have breached four sections of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. The breaches were related to asking customers for identification, identifying and managing money-laundering risks and lodging reports to the regulator. Austrac said they were "asked a number of times" to comply with the laws which require the hotels to produce evidence it has procedures to address money laundering, but the hotels did not comply until the auditor was appointed. The Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing knows down to the dollar how much cash is going through poker machines in every NSW hotel, because of sophisticated centralised monitoring software that sends data back to head office. It can even identify if launderers are feeding money into machines and pressing collect without playing them! But those in the know reckon it is a state-government body which is mostly interested in gaming taxes, not laundering. No hoteliers were willing to comment on the record about the extent of laundering through poker machines. "The hoteliers think, 'Jesus, if my hotel gets mentioned then the launderers won't come. How much will that impact on my business?" one leaker said. The chief executive of the Australian Hotels Association, Sally Fielke, declined to comment about the extent of laundering through hotels, saying she had no way of measuring it. One of those willing to comment was Paul Mulligan, a risk manager for Risk Consultants Australia, which advises hotels on how to comply with the new laws. Mulligan said hotels wanted to stamp out money laundering but they were finding it costly and time consuming to comply as the legislation was complex. Bankers who fund the hotel industry are also concerned about the extent of dirty money flowing through poker machines that in effect, they part-own. "It is a very delicate matter," said one person in the bank sector, who does not want to be associated with laundering. They are also concerned about the loss of business, and how that will hit the bottom line of hotels. Austrac is also cracking down on poker machines within licensed clubs, as well as bets placed through bookmakers, one may ask is if launderers can't go to hotels, clubs or to the racetrack, where might the money go? Online casinos... the www, underground gambling dens at Kings Cross?

Tabcorp To Ramp Up Queensland Banana Bender Land Based Casinos...

Tabcorp Holdings has tipped even greater investment in Queensland casinos, stating it wants to snatch some of rival Crown Ltd's high-rolling VIP players aka "whales". Tabcorp on Monday announced a demerger of its casinos operations from its wagering, gaming and keno businesses. The company also said it would spend $175 million on upgrading its Jupiters casino on the Gold Coast to create an international entertainment and resort destination. The upgrade will include refurbishment of the main gaming floor, a new private gaming room, dedicated gaming areas for VIP - whale customers, new restaurants and bars, a nightlife venue, a refurbishment of the pool area and a new spa. Construction is expected to start in the middle of calendar year 2011 and be completed in 2014. Tabcorp also said it was in talks with the Queensland government on further expansion of its Gold Coast, Brisbane and Townsville casinos, including the construction of one or two new hotels. Tabcorp already is engaged in a $960 million expansion of its Star City casino in Sydney, which includes a $100 million licence fee to the NSW government. Tabcorp chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper said Asian VIP gamblers visiting Australia would "naturally gravitate" to the Gold Coast and Sydney. But Crown Limited, which operates the Crown Casino in Melbourne and the Burswood Casino in Perth, had more than 80% of the VIP market. Clients are understood to be loyal to the James Packer owned company, as are Media Man and most friends. "If you look at the geography, at the size of Australia, that is not the right mix," Funke Kupper said. "Therefore, we are very confident that by investing in Sydney and the Gold Coast, we can grow the market by creating destinations that people might prefer over Melbourne. "Secondly, we'd like to correct the market share equation where I think we're underdoing it." Funke Kupper said that given the far greater size of Melbourne and Sydney and the large number of tourist arrivals, casinos in those two cities would always be much bigger than casinos in Queensland. He said Queensland was a "stretched out" market along several thousand kilometres of coastline and more suited to a number of very strong local casinos. Tabcorp was pleased with its positioning of casinos at the Gold Coast and in Brisbane and Townsville but needed to grow the market. "We're flagging that we continue to be working with, and discussing very constructively with, the Queensland government on the next round of possibilities," Funke Kupper told the press. "Now that's a much bigger investment, that is a much bigger decision. If it were to be a possibility, then the casinos business will undertake that investment whenever that is - it could be 12 to 18 months out, or further out.". Folks, the Aussie casino wars are still going strong, and we thank each one of your for your ongoing contributions via email and in the world famous forum.

The latest just in...

Packer Eyes Sky TV...

Packer's $250 million-plus raid on the Ten Network is likely part of an elaborate plan that could lead to the axing of Ten's sports channel, One HD, and its replacement with a free-to-air version of Rupert Murdoch's Sky News service! By closing the Ten sports channel, Packer would eliminate a big competitor for the sports channels on Foxtel...the pay TV network that he jointly owns with Murdoch's News Ltd and Telstra. Under Packer's crafty if not cunning plan, Sky News would still be screened by Foxtel but would use one of Channel Ten's new digital free-to-air stations as another distribution point, giving it a much bigger potential audience reach... piece of the pie. Until now Sky News has only been available on Foxtel and its regional equivalent Austar. So as the commercial networks began offering multiple free-to-air channels, the pay television business has been under massive pressure. The management of Foxtel is tipped to battle the Packer move. A second leg to Mr Packer's investment in Ten involves cutting costs by chopping the network's expensive plans to boost its news service between 6pm -7pm, part of which involved installing news and current affairs veterans George Negus and Chris Masters. Packer would rather see a cheap alternative of reruns of programs such as mainstay The Simpsons. Cutting network operating costs would be an essential element to making a return on his investment. But while the theory is sound enough, the execution will put Packer into battle with the management and board of Ten. In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange last night, Packer's private company, Consolidated Press Holdings, confirmed it now owned more than 186 million shares in Ten, or 17.8% of the stock. As the stake might not be sufficient for Packer to push through his plans, he may need to enlist the support of regional TV tycoon Bruce Gordon, who owns 12% of Ten, and Perpetual Investments, which has about 10%. At this stage, Packer has no plan for a full takeover bid. Mr Packer ended his family's association with free-to-air television two years ago when he sold the last of his stake in Nine Network's parent, PBL Media.

PartyGaming VS Virgin Games War Continues...

In a week that sees PartyCasino and Virgin Casino go at it hammer and tong, both online casinos unleash yet more games, with a focus on slots and attractive bonuses. PartyGaming still has a clear upper hand on a global scale, as they are available in many more counties than Virgin at this stage, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In addition, Party is offering up to $3000 in bonuses for new players, while Virgin is only tipping $100. We still love Richard Branson's Virgin, so don't be too hard on them. We know they are trying to get into other counties, but until then, Party wins hands down. Both casinos have previously won the prestigious Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Award. New slots include Unicorn Legend, Crocodopolis, Shark Super Bet, Thunderstruck II, Tally Ho, HellBoy, Pharaoh's Treasure, Snow Business, Alice’s Wonderland and Kung Food. Insiders say more new slots have hit the internet this month, than any other month in history! Well, what are you waiting for. Spin to win and good luck.

Media Man Profiles

Australia

Australian Casinos

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, what's your view on the latest in the Australian casino and gambling landscape? Keep checking daily for updates. If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

Shares

Crown Limited Share price: $8.490

Tabcorp price: $7.450

Network Ten Holdings Limited price: $1.580

CVC price: 0.910

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Australian Media And Gaming Wars: Packer VS Gyngell?, by Greg Tingle - 22nd October 2010

The Australian media and gaming wars continues, as we learn that the James Packer swoop on Network Ten puts him at professional locker horns with mate and Network Nine CEO David Gyngell. Is it just business, or with Gyngell and friends take it personally? And, how will this effect both Nine's and Ten's balanced, often positive coverage of the gaming and gambling industry in Australia, and will Channel Seven and others use the situation to their advantage? Packer's move into Ten has the world's casino and media billionaires wondering what's next now that Packer has surly got his passion back from mainstream media, previously having most of his focus on media, while also improving his work - life balance, doing Bondi Beach, Spain, Macau and who knows where else. Media Man and Gambling911 jump aboard the Packer - Gyngell express with the latest from the Australian media and gambling wars down under...

James Packer is now one of Australia's and the world's, kings of mainstream media, but at what cost? ... professionally and personally.

Yesterday Packer leaped into Network Ten in a massive $245 million share raid that also sets him up for next year's AFL broadcast rights, and much more.

Let's see, only today did Network Nine CEO David Gyngell become of his best mate James Packer's share raid on the rival Ten network but he has promised to be a "fierce rival" (but that does not mean personal enemy let it be noted).

It was last night when former television tsar James Packer, whose father Kerry Packer once upon a time owned Network Nine, bamboozled the Australian media industry by snatching $245 million worth of Ten shares at $1.50 a share.

Packer long time friend, Gyngell, was none the wiser of the surprise return to television of the Packer dynasty, as colourful as any in world history.

Network Nine sources say Gyngell would certainly not consider a move to the Ten network in the future, but are they just following the company line? It may be too early to know for sure.

Packer and Gyngell friendly rivals but also ultra competitive. Gyngell signed a 4-year contract in May with Nine's owner PBL Media and "parent" company, CVC Asia Pacific, a very successful private equity firm.

Gyngell has been working at Nine his entire working life, except for a short run at Granada in the United States, and leaks say has "running in his veins".

Numerous tips to Media Man indicate Packer's influence at Ten could very well result in massive cost cuts and would likely see the network put off its high risk and expensive foray into news and current affairs.

Network Ten has bold plans to significantly expand its news offerings and has now hired presenter George Negus, sometimes seen on The 7PM Project, to front a new current affairs show which would be part of a 2.5 hour chunk of news Mon - Fri.

The strategy also would involve moving youth-focused programs Neighbours and The Simpsons to a new multi-channel, Eleven, and broadening the main channel's demographic.

Packer is also a known critic of Ten's failure to capitalise on the ratings success of MasterChef Australia, in fact the most watched television show in Australian history.

Ten's dedicated sports channel ONE has also failed to reach its potential, and is currently only attracting a share of about 1%.

Media buyer - wheeler dealer Harold Mitchell said that the move indicated a growing confidence in the future of the free-to-air industry, which has been given a boost by the launch of several new multi-channels.

"Television, equally, has stopped its fall in free to air," told ABC radio's Breakfast with Fran Kelly.

"Because these new channels that they've got, these new digital channels, they've been very clever because they've broadened the viewing and the audience and therefore the revenue stream. So if this is indeed James picking a market, he's picked the right time to do it, I can tell you that. Well, I don't know what's in James' mind, but there are two things about any media owner that I know, Fran, that are important and they're very simple: in free to air television it's profits, therefore turnover, making sure that a good business is run. And, you know, still Fran, in Australia with the media, it's power. If you're a major owner of a media company, there's plenty of power there. Or, indeed, if you're the ABC. That's what the media is."

Ten has confirmed 15.6% of the network's shares have been sold but said the identity of the purchaser remains under wraps, according to a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange at time of publication, but all should be revealed soon enough.

"Ten Network Holdings Limited notes the media reports overnight indicating that interests associated with Mr James Packer have acquired an interest of approximately 15% of the issued capital of TEN," group general counsel and company secretary Stephen Partington said.

"Ten is also aware that a special crossing of 163,305,048 shares (representing approximately 15.6% of the issued capital of Ten) at $1.50 per share was booked through the exchange after close of trading last evening.

"Ten has yet to be formally advised as to the party that has acquired these shares."

By midday Ten's stock was trading up 9c at $1.50.

The latest just in...

Packer Eyes Sky TV...

Packer's $250 million-plus raid on the Ten Network is likely part of an elaborate plan that could lead to the axing of Ten's sports channel, One HD, and its replacement with a free-to-air version of Rupert Murdoch's Sky News service!

By closing the Ten sports channel, Packer would eliminate a big competitor for the sports channels on Foxtel...the pay TV network that he jointly owns with Murdoch's News Ltd and Telstra.

Under Packer's crafty if not cunning plan, Sky News would still be screened by Foxtel but would use one of Channel Ten's new digital free-to-air stations as another distribution point, giving it a much bigger potential audience reach... piece of the pie.

Until now Sky News has only been available on Foxtel and its regional equivalent Austar.

So as the commercial networks began offering multiple free-to-air channels, the pay television business has been under massive pressure. The management of Foxtel is tipped to battle the Packer move.

A second leg to Mr Packer's investment in Ten involves cutting costs by chopping the network's expensive plans to boost its news service between 6pm -7pm, part of which involved installing news and current affairs veterans George Negus and Chris Masters.

Packer would rather see a cheap alternative of reruns of programs such as mainstay The Simpsons.

Cutting network operating costs would be an essential element to making a return on his investment. But while the theory is sound enough, the execution will put Packer into battle with the management and board of Ten.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange last night, Packer's private company, Consolidated Press Holdings, confirmed it now owned more than 186 million shares in Ten, or 17.8% of the stock.

As the stake might not be sufficient for Packer to push through his plans, he may need to enlist the support of regional TV tycoon Bruce Gordon, who owns 12% of Ten, and Perpetual Investments, which has about 10%.

At this stage, Packer has no plan for a full takeover bid.

Mr Packer ended his family's association with free-to-air television two years ago when he sold the last of his stake in Nine Network's parent, PBL Media.

Rest assured that more surprises, so don't change your dial... or website!


Read the first report on the Gambling911 Packer share raid...

'Australian James Packer Expanding Gambling, Media Interests'
http://www.gambling911.com/gambling-news/10201010248-australian-james-packer-expanding-gambling-media-interests.html

Yesterday a Media Man spokesperson said "James Packer's latest business plays have been brilliant. It's risk management, brand building, convergent media, relationship leveraging and more all in one. He's also buying entities at the right price, and has a global business model which helps ride out the world's financial storm, while also having an Australian - Asia Pacific focus, which is one of the strongest markets in the world at the moment, away from the chaos of sorts in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. From here on up it should be pretty smooth sailing for Packer and Billionaire Inc. Punters should likely expect some gambling or gaming reality TV shows, as Packer's passion for both having a punt and news media is pretty contagious. Packer is making exciting and smart business moves and has a world class team of advisers around him. He's also spending millions upgrading Crown and Burwood casinos, to help further cement them as the leaders, while Tabcorp tries to chase him with their Star City. Packer once again proves the knockers wrong, and we can't wait to get back down to Crown Casino to congratulate the Packer powers that be in person. From Bondi Beach to Palm Beach, Macau, Perth, the internet, to TV land - the world is his oyster. Watch this space".

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Australia

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, what's your view on the latest in the Australian media and casino wars? Keep checking daily for updates. If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

Crown Limited Share price: $8.490

Network Ten Holdings Limited price: $1.580

CVC price: 0.910

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

PartyCasino Wins Media Man Online Casino Of The Month Award, by Greg Tingle

PartyCasino.com Wins Media Man Online Casino Award

PartyCasino.com has been awarded the Media Man and Casino News Media "Online Casino Of The Month".

PartyGaming's igaming suite has grown a custom to winning awards since they first opened for business in 1997.

The competition for the coveted award was intense again this month with massive bids from both WPTCasino.com, Captain Cooks Casino, Virgin Casino, Betfair, PKR and Noble Casino however there can only be one winner... ladies and gentlemen, that's PartyCasino.com

The award follows PartyPoker's EGR Poker Operator Of The Year and PartyGaming also made the shortlist for EGR Operator Of The Year. Recently PartyGaming's PartyPoker.com also won the Casino News Media "Online Poker Website Of The Month".

The Media Man - Casino News Media accolade is based on a combination of elements including user experience, innovation, trustworthiness, customer service, gameplay, affiliate program offerings, newsworthiness and company values.

PartyCasino.com is one of a number of PartyGaming brands.

The most popular PartyCasino.com games of late include Heist, Circus, Rambo, Palladium Slot, The Godfather, Sinatra, Slotbox, Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Mission: Impossible, The Terminator, Cleopatra, Sinatra, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, Monopoly, Resident Evil, Melon Madness, Wheel Of Fortune and Mega Fortune Wheel.

The PartyCasino.com jackpot is currently approaching the $2 million mark. Players can also compete for The Big One and Marvel Hero Jackpot, playing the Marvel super hero themed online slot games.

PartyCasino's most recent game releases include Shaaark! SuperBet, Crocodopolis, Alice's Wonderland, Glamour Puss, Super Cubes, Heist, Palladium Slot and Circus Slot.

PartyGaming CEO Jim Ryan has gone on record advising PartyCasino will soon feature more Hollywood blockbuster themed slots. A few in the know journalists and media agents have been recently tipped off that an all time classic movie adaption will be showcased in the PartyCasino portfolio within 1 month. PartyCasino has the world's most impressive line up of Hollywood themed games, and more are just around the corner.

PartyCasino.com and PartyPoker.com customers can also benefit from rewards and bonuses via PartyPoints and the Palladium Lounge. Be certain to check out the PartyCasino exclusive "Cash Machine" that is being championed as one of the greatest online casino promos ever.

Media Man, Casino News Media and Global Gaming Directory do have a b2b relationship with PartyGaming, as they do with dozens of other companies in the gaming, igaming, media and entertainment industry.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Media Man Website Network Updated

It was another glorious day at Bondi Beach as Summer continues to sneak up on us.

The beach was abuzz today with clear blue skies, 22 degree temperatures, awesome surf, surf comps for pros and the nippers and much more.

As the day moved forward a special vibe swept through the iconic beach. Before long, beach walkers and cafes were chatting about the fact that today was the Bali day of remembrance and that this would also be included in surfing and artistic endeavors.

At roughly 10am a now familiar site, the 'Let's Paint Oprah' artists and models, were seen getting creative with bodypaint up against the famous graffiti art wall which runs between the Bondi life guard towers and the skatepark. One hour later five eclectic models had been bodypainted, and Bondi's resident photographer and noted philanthropist, Peter Carrette, was quick to snap up the action, so Team Human Statue can wire and Facebook the images around the world.

Eva Rinaldi and her human rainbow clan has taken to Bondi Beach like a ducks to water, and Eva has clearly established herself as Bondi's newest and most creative local force.

Today Eva organised 5 models (Jillian Biscara, Benjamin Cao, Dominique Nasr, Alesandra Nasr and Victoria Gorette) to be painted by her collaborative of artists.

The themes were partly inspired by the Bondi Beach graffiti art wall and were entitled 'Breaking Down The Wall To Painting Oprah'.

To date Eva's campaign to paint or do a human statue of Oprah Winfrey have included 'Let's Paint Oprah', 'Dear Oprah', and 'My Want Today Is To Paint Oprah Winfrey' (via Sydney radio), and next up will be 'Walk To Oprah', which will involve a gathering of bodypainted models and iconic Australians walking for a good cause from Circular Quay to the Sydney Opera House in the coming weeks.

As a number of beachgoers said earlier, the mere fact that Human Statue Bodyart did get a return phone call from Oprah's Harpro Productions is evidence that they're on the right track. A large number of people walking past Eva's creations were overhead to say words to the effect of "I know what that is. That's the lady who wants to bodypaint Oprah".

All we can say is keep doing what you're doing, may the world be your human rainbow, and be blessed in your quest to collaborate with Oprah and friends.

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