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Monday, July 18, 2011

Australian Gambling News Update, by Greg Tingle - 18th July 2011

Profiles

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Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment's PartyCasino Maintains Stranglehold On Media Man Award...

PartyCasino, the world's leading online casino brand, and part of the Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment family, is once again leading the pack for the prestigious Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award'. Sinatra, Rambo, Cleopatra and Circus continue to be some of the brands most popular games. Latest new releases from the casino include Aztec Gold, Atomic Fruit, Nags To Riches and Fairies Forest. The casino offers punters the opportunity to play for free or play for money, and a great range of slots, table games, skill games and of course, poker games, can be found across the company portfolio offer. Live dealer and PartyPoints remain very popular with online gaming fans. The company has been established for over a decade and has achieved numerous awards including the EGR 'Socially Responsible Operator Of The Year' award. They are listed on the London Stock Exchange.


Crown Casino Security Under Spotlight; Casino Squad Proposal Buzz...

Should Melbourne's Crown Casino get their good old fashioned "casino squad" back on site? Many insiders think Yes, and that's the vibe in mainstream media and internet media forums, blogs and website portals.

Like it or not, Crown Casino, and other Australian land based casinos, have a habit of attracting criminals and undesirables. No wonder online casinos are becoming more popular with Joe Public is it.

Up until June 2006, an on site "casino squad" with detectives and the works was based at the famous James Packer owned casino.

The word on the street is that a number of crims launder cash and engage in drug deals in and around the casino, with even loan shark deals happening now and again.

Criminals who are banned from the casino as undesirables are still going to try their luck despite being on the receiving end of lifetime exclusion orders issued by the Chief Commissioner of Police. Believe it or now, sweeping powers that were given to police command to ban gamblers with serious crime links from the famous casino have not been used for five long years.

It's also understood that in a six years period no one has been charged under a consorting law which, when it was introduced in 2005, was championed as a powerful tool weapon against organised crime and mafia types.

The Police Association have gone public in attacking the decision to pull back resources as ignoring crime and wasting intelligence-gathering opportunities.

Over the years, the land based casino has proved a quite a catchment area for intelligence-gathering by police investigating the activities of organised crime figures.

It's common knowledge that criminal types, often in groups or gangs, are attracted o the casino, where funny money cash can be "washed" clean on the gaming tables, in the slots et al.

The Baillieu Government says its keen to restore law and order to Melbourne, so what's the hold up on the "casino squad"? Sounds like a comic strip or something by Marvel Studios, but this is real life and a real problem folks.


Crown Casino May Get Security Beefed Up With On Site Police Station...

Melbourne coppers would be able to ban undesirables from Crown casino without legal challenge under new powers being considered by the Victorian Government.

Gaming Minister Michael O'Brien advised the Government did not know of a problem with casino exclusion orders until the Murdoch's Herald Sun reported it earlier this week.

"We're very happy to receive advice from the police about concerns they've apparently got about the way the Act is functioning," he said.

"If the police feel they can't use the current powers because they compromise investigations, there would appear to be a need for change and we are open to that."

The Herald Sun revealed that the chief commissioner's power to exclude undesirables from the casino had not been used since June 2006, when the force's casino crime unit was disbanded.

In the two years before that date, 35 gamblers with criminal connections were served with lifetime exclusion orders.

Acting Chief Commissioner Ken Lay advised police chose not to issue further exclusion orders for fear of being forced to disclose confidential sources.

Lay said those concerns prompted a decision not to contest a challenge to an exclusion order by one of the 35 gamblers banned from Crown prior to 2006.

Lay said the force received legal advice it may have had to reveal confidential information if the challenge had gone to the Supreme Court.

"We weren't prepared to take that risk," he said.

Lay said the problem had not been resolved despite the former government proposing amended legislation in 2009.

Several people still excluded under pre-2006 orders are known to frequent the famous casino, which comes compete with a max penalty of $2440 for each breach.

The 35 underworld figures banned from the casino and most racetracks in Victoria included the late Carl Williams and Tony Mokbel.


One Armed Bandit Pokies Warn Players Of Potential Dangers...

Passionate gamblers will be prompted by poker machines to donate some winnings to charity under a new eight-week trial overseen by the State Government.

And in a bid to keep more wins in the pockets of punters, new poker machines trialled in five surf lifesaving clubs will warn gamblers how much time and money they have spent.

Attorney-General Paul Lucas will today reveal the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation has approved the trial of the machines at Southport, Coolangatta, Kurrawa, Northcliffe and Tallebudgera surf clubs.

Lucas said gaming company Aristocrat Leisure had developed machines that would include state-defined messages and animations that encourage punters to gamble responsibly, a system that allows players to bank wins, an alarm clock that warns players when they have reached their pre-determined time on the machine and an ability to direct winnings to a registered charity.

During the trial the charity will be the surf club.

"This trial is expected to contribute valuable insights and increase the evidence base available to all stakeholders around the effectiveness of various game features, including a pre-commitment option, in encouraging responsible gaming behaviour," Lucas said.

The trial is being undertaken by Aristocrat and the University of Sydney.

Lucas said Queensland had one of the lowest gambling prevalence rates in the nation.

"But one problem gambler is one too many."

It comes as the Gillard Government is preparing to draft new mandatory pre-commitment laws that would mean gamblers would have to determine how much money they were willing to lose - and be locked out once that amount is reached - or play slower machines that suck down less moolah.

And here's the scoop...South Australian Nick Xenophon and anti-pokies campaigner Tim Costello are suing the South Australian and Victorian governments for not enforcing poker machine regulations. One ponders if that's related to the powerful 'Un Australian' ads been ran by Clubs Australia and friends.


Britain's controversial IVF Lottery Eyes Australia...

The brazen organiser of the world's first IVF lottery that gives ticket-holders a chance to "win" a baby wants to bring the controversial raffle to Australia this year.

No chook raffle, but lucky punters can essentially win a baby.

IVF experts have tackled the competition for preying on desperate infertile couples, and "demeaning human life".

Thousands of £20 (about $30) tickets will go up for grabs on July 30 in the UK, giving the winner £25,000 for fertility treatment.

The competition has the approval of Britain's Gaming Commission.

The prize includes accommodation at a luxury hotel, a chauffeur to take the winner to appointments and a personal assistant.

The winner will choose their own fertility clinic, as well as having fertility drugs and complementary therapies paid for.

If the standard treatment is not successful, the winner can choose another way of fulfilling the deal, such as reproductive surgery, donor eggs or a surrogate birth.

Lottery organiser Camille Strachan, who set up fertility support group To Hatch after her own failed IVF treatment, said the competition would help relieve financial pressures on would-be parents.

"Bringing this to Australia this year is at the forefront of my mind because I do get a lot of members from Australia, and infertility is just as big a problem in Australia as it is in the UK," Ms Strachan said.

"You're not picking up a baby from a shelf to give them. You're giving them an opportunity," she said.

"Some people don't have a choice apart from IVF and they should be given an opportunity just as much as anyone."

Fertility treatments in the UK have long waiting lists and are about double the cost of cycles in Australia, which are subsided by Medicare.

Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority chief executive Louise Johnson said although there was no legislation banning the lottery being run here, she found the concept "ethically murky".

What else can we say but good luck to all.


Man Glassed By Mystery Man in Cairns Casino...

Up in Northern Queensland a Cooktown man has been arrested after police said he glassed another man at the popular Cairns casino.

The two blokes were drinking in the smokers section of the Reef Hotel Casino on Wharf Street about 8pm Sunday when the Cooktown man allegedly lunged at a 21-year-old Bayview Heights man and threw a glass at him.

A police spokesman said the victim sustained serious injuries to his face and eye and was taken to Cairns Base Hospital.

The men were not known to each other.

"They were drinking in the same area but not communicating with each other," the spokesman said.

"There was some sort of altercation that has not been determined yet.

"For and unknown reason the suspect lunged at the victim and struck him in the face."

A Cooktown man has been charged with with one count of grievous bodily harm.

He is scheduled to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court today.


Dancer With Roots To Casino Takes Giant Leap...

http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/news/local/news/general/dancer-takes-her-biggest-leap-yet/2228836.aspx

WAGGA dancer Monique Savill has been given the opportunity of a lifetime.
Monique, 18, has qualified to represent Australia at the International Dance Organisation Championships, after winning the jazz and modern contemporary sections of the Official Australian Championship and World Championship Selection Competition at Melbourne's Crown Casino earlier this year.

She has been working towards this moment since she first started competing in the Crown Casino competition in 2001.

Monique has been given the choice of representing Australia in the championships in Poland in December or waiting until next year's competition, allowing her to fit her representation in with her other dance commitments.

"I am over the moon. I have been aiming for it so long. I feel so privileged to be given the opportunity," she said.

"Dancing has been a passion of mine for a long time. I am honoured to take part and won't be taking the opportunity for granted."

During the five-day competition, Monique will be asked to compete against dancers from 90 other countries, with each dancer bringing their own style to the competition.

Monique said she would spend the next couple of months training and perfecting her technique to make sure she had the best chance of winning the championships.

Her training routine will involve working on her jazz and contemporary routines, as well as taking classes in other dance styles and continuing her ballroom dancing competitions.


Goldsack 'should have been fined'...

THE $400 payout Tyson Goldsack's mother received after her son kicked the first goal in last year's grand final replay should have led to a fine for the Collingwood player, according to North Melbourne chairman James Brayshaw.

The fallout from the Magpies' betting scandal has continued with the spotlight falling on a $5 bet Wendy Goldsack placed on her son to kick the first goal in the grand final.

The AFL yesterday cleared Goldsack of any wrongdoing, deciding that because he had not passed on any team information to his mother, there had been no breach of AFL rules.

This was in contrast to Magpies defender Heath Shaw who was suspended for eight matches and fined $20,000 after placing a $10 bet on his captain Nick Maxwell to be the first goalscorer in a round 9 match against Adelaide.

Maxwell was also fined $5000 (with another $5000 suspended) for telling family members he was to move from his usual position in defence to an attacking role. Family members then placed $85 worth of bets on him to kick the first goal.

Brayshaw said Goldsack was lucky to escape punishment.

"You've got the captain of the Collingwood Football Club who has been fined heavily for doing something that 17 games earlier a teammate did exactly the same thing and has been absolved of any responsibility," Brayshaw said on Channel Nine yesterday. "How does that work? He (Maxwell) will be sitting back saying . . . 'a bloke did exactly the same as what I've done and you could argue, more importantly, because it was a grand final and it was a collect, and he's got no case to answer while I'm out of pocket'."

Goldsack said after the match he had joked with his mother that he would kick the first goal but had no way of knowing it would pan out that way.

AFL Players' Association chief executive Matt Finnis yesterday admitted players had been caught unawares in the latest scandal and said the increased focus on certain "grey areas" in the rules would benefit his members.

"I think the education provided by the AFL is as good as any in Australian sport, but it does show more focus is needed on grey areas," Finnis said.

He described the Maxwell incident as the first of a "shift in culture of a well-established practice" in which players have traditionally discussed football game plans and team placements with friends and family.

Maxwell said yesterday it was a lesson learned for all players.

Finnis explained that it was the AFL, not the players union, that was responsible for education programs about rules and regulations such as the gambling code and its racial and religious vilification policy.

"We supported the changes to the rules and the standard player contract to uphold the integrity of the game," Finnis said. "But the players will now need to think twice about the information they receive from their clubs."

Maxwell said yesterday he should have been more responsible for knowing the rules.

"All my family have been shocked and embarrassed by it all," he said on Channel Seven's Game Day.

"We never thought any of this would happen and no one had any intentions of it happening."


Players caught on TAB footage...

CCTV footage of Heath Shaw and relatives of Nick Maxwell brought down the Magpie pair.

Sources last night said the AFL started to investigate following a report of suspicious betting on Nick Maxwell in the Herald Sun.

The AFL started the probe and immediately sought the assistance of wagering giant Tabcorp under the same integrity agreement the NRL used to identify key participants in last year's rugby league betting scandal in a Bulldogs-Cowboys match.

"We were just a tool available to the AFL as part of its investigation," a TAB source said.

"We were asked to provide a report on all bets placed on Nick Maxwell to kick the first goal in the round nine AFL match (Collingwood v Adelaide).

"So our first step was to get a printout of all bets placed on Maxwell and identify the time those bets were placed and how they were placed.

"In this case all the bets were placed using cash and through TAB agencies."

Tabcorp keeps CCTV footage from all of its agencies.

"Once we'd identified how, when and where the bets were placed and notified the AFL, we forwarded the relevant CCTV footage to the AFL.

"It wasn't our job to try and identify any of the individuals on the footage, we just provided it all to the AFL for them to investigate."

The source said that Tabcorp was later notified that Shaw, his flatmate and members of Maxwell's family had been identified.

"From the footage the AFL identified Heath Shaw with what was later discovered to have been his flatmate, who placed the bet.

"Review of other CCTV footage showed Maxwell's brother and his wife's mother also placing bets."

The source said last year's NRL scandal and yesterday's revelation about Shaw and Maxwell simply reinforced how significant a step the AFL had taken by signing an integrity agreement with Tabcorp and other betting agencies.

"Betting on AFL, or sport in general, has grown enormously over the past few years and the AFL acted very responsibly in forming formal partnerships with some wagering operators and appointing its own integrity manager."


1. THE PLAN

Mick Malthouse tells defender Nick Maxwell he will start forward in the May 22 Round 9 match against Adelaide. Heath Shaw tells his flatmate and two other people

$101: ODDS FOR NICK MAXWELL TO KICK FIRST GOAL

2. THE BETS

On May 21, Shaw had $10 in a $20 cash bet with a friend on Maxwell to kick the first goal, at odds of $101. Three bets totalling $25 were placed by people Shaw told. Maxwell family members also placed small wagers after he told them he would start forward.

3. GAME DAY

The unusual bets cut Maxwell's odds to $25. The first goal is kicked by John McCarthy

4. INVESTIGATION

The AFL started its investigation after the Herald Sun reported on May 25 that a leading betting agency had been approached by punters wanting to back Maxwell to kick the first goal. The AFL asked Tabcorp to provide details of all bets placed of the bet type in question.

CCTV footage of the bets being placed was given to the AFL. Heath Shaw and his flatmate, who placed the bet, were identified, as well as Maxwell's brother and mother-in-law, who had placed three bets totalling $85.

4. PENALTY

HEATH SHAW

Banned for 14 matches, with six suspended. He won't be able to play before the finals

Fined $20,000

NICK MAXWELL

$5000, with a further $5000 suspended for recklessly disclosing inside information


Gold Coast Added to Jackson's Australian Tour...


Janet Jackson is coming to the Gold Coast and fans can expect to get up close and personal with the singing star.

Down Under Australia has been added to the American's worldwide tour, with the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in the mix of venues where she will perform during October and November.

The Janet Jackson Number One: Up Close and Personal Tour has been designed so Jackson will be at venues that allow her to perform in a "much more intimate setting".

The announcement is a huge coup for the city and comes just months after Jupiters Hotel & Casino brought Rihanna to the same venue.

Paul Douglass, sales manager for entertainment and special events at the Convention Centre, said A-List class acts liked to visit the city especially because of the "feel of the venue".

"Other venues can get 25,000 or 30,000 people but that intimate experience is lacking," he said.

"We don't want to compete with Brisbane because we're a completely different demographic and completely different venue."

Douglass suggested that this would be the first of a series of big name acts to book the Coast venue.

"Janet Jackson has chosen wisely to come here," he said.

"Securing an act like her creates a great buzz and lifts everyone's spirits."

Jackson will also calling for people to nominate 20 young leaders in each city who will win a tickets to the concert as well as backstage passes.

"There are many young people changing the world and I want them to be recognised during my tour," she told the press.

"This is a love affair between me and those of you who have supported me and my work for all these years."

Tickets for the November 2 concert will go on sale on August 3.



Punters, er readers, stay glued to Media Man reports for more "can't miss" information on Australian pokies, gaming and casino wars.

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