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Monday, August 29, 2011

Leonardo DiCaprio to Star in The Gambler Remake, by Greg Tingle - 28th August 2011

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Paramount Pictures are revisiting the 1974 movie with Martin Scorsese in the director's chair and recently landed Leonardo DiCaprio in the leading role. The script about a literature professor with a gambling addiction is being written by William Monahan, who also wrote The Departed, another Scorsese-DiCaprio film. It wouldn't even be the first remake DiCaprio will have worked on this year — he recently finished work on Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. Nor would it be the first or even second time he'll have worked with Scorsese. In fact, this would be the fifth time, with their joint titles including last year's Shutter Island and the Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator, for which DiCaprio won a Golden Globe in 2004.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Media Man Gaming, Casino And Entertainment News Report, by Greg Tingle - 27th August 2011

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Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award'...

PartyCasino.com has once again won the Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Award. Richard Branson's VirginCasino.com picked up 2nd place, while new entrant into the Asia Pacific Region, Grand Reef Online Casino picks up 3rd. Well done to all brands.


Coonan offered position on Crown Limited board...

Former Liberal Party senator Helen Coonan has a new job offer, just days after resigning from Parliament.

Crown Casino has announced its intention to appoint the former communications minister to its board.

The gaming regulator has to sign off on the appointment, but Crown hopes to have her on the board before Christmas.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says he is saddened by the appointment.

"Helen Coonan's had a distinguished career and public life," she said.

"She's been a senior minister in the Howard government and to take a position on the board of a company, Crown Casino, where we know they peddle a product - poker machines, gambling - that causes so much misery to so many, is pretty sad."


Echo Entertainment $226m Casinos Profit...

Sin City Sydney's Star City casino redevelopment is on track, according owners Echo Entertainment.

Echo, which holds a portfolio of casinos including Star City and Jupiters on the Gold Coast, yesterday reported a maiden profit of $226 million after spinning off from gaming group Tabcorp in June.

While its profit result reflects a rise in casino earnings of 33 per cent, most of the money will flow through to Tabcorp shareholders as it was reaped before the demerger.

The company said revenue from its Queensland casinos, Jupiters and Treasury in Brisbane, rose despite the impact of deadly flooding from cyclone Yasi in February. Chief executive Larry Mullin said Echo was about to reap the benefits of its $870 million redevelopment of Star City.

The casino would be fully operational by the second quarter of the current financial year, he said.

Echo shares rose 1.8 per cent to close at $2.883. The company will not pay a dividend for the 12 months to the end of June.


Marvel Studios' Lackluster Inaugural Performance at the 2011 D23...

It’s important to note that the Marvel Universe, on the big screen, is a much more complicated place than it is on print

Prior to 2008, the movies based on many of Marvel’s marquee characters (household names like Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and X-Men) were produced via licensing agreements with a variety of studios – and as long as the studios continue to produce movies based on these characters, they maintain the licenses. That is to say that, though Marvel Entertainment still has a hand in the movies based on certain characters, they share the decision making (and profits) with companies like Sony Pictures (Spider-Man) and 20th Century Fox (X-Men). The end result of Marvel Studios becoming its own production entity has been overwhelmingly positive, as evidenced by the Disney Corporation’s interest in, and eventual acquisition of, Marvel Entertainment.

Marvel Studios’ underwhelming performance at the D23 Expo is pretty sad, especially with Disney’s resources behind them, they could have, and should have, done much, much better. Somebody dropped the ball. Either Marvel didn’t have enough to present, or Disney wouldn’t let them present what they had – and even if it was unintentional, either possibility is a bit of a snub to the fans who endured D23’s horrifyingly long lines in hopes of seeing Marvel deliver.

Disney Pixar not only brought in trailers and footage from works in progress and upcoming releases (Brave, Planes, and Monsters University), they brought in writers and directors of two projects that have recently been given the green light, but didn’t have titles, and won’t even begin production until sometime circa 2013.

Since late 2004 – when, in order to produce movies based on their characters independently, Marvel entered into a non-recourse deal with Merrill Lynch Commercial Finance Corp. to produce ten movies with Paramount as distributor – and as recently as last year, Marvel has said that they intended to develop films based on lesser-known characters such as Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and even more obscure characters like Shang Chi: Master of Kung-Fu and Guardians of the Galaxy. This spring, Marvel Studios’ President of Production, Kevin Feige, told D23 Magazine by way of IGN that the roster of films for the immediate future was heavy on Avengers-related titles [Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man sequels; plus possible Ant-Man, Black Widow and Nick Fury/S.H.I.E.L.D. projects] and even provided basic ideas of what the second Captain America and Thor movies would be like.

Perhaps a better, more tangible example is the Ant-Man film: for a couple years now [Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World writer/director] Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish [Wright’s frequent collaborator, and director of this summer’s cult smash Attack the Block] have been attached to the project. Though the project hasn’t been fast-tracked, it’s got an IMDb page, and a proposed release year (2014). Wright is still listed as director; and Wright and Cornish are still listed as writers. The only speculation surrounding the project is whether or not Wright’s favorite leading man, and collaborator, actor Simon Pegg (Star Trek), will still play the titular tiny titan. Even without an official release date and leading man, let alone a date to begin production, there was plenty to talk about – especially for an audience that may or may not know anything about Marvel, let alone their movies.

Bottom line: Marvel and Disney - the powers that be can and must do better than this. It's a critical time in the industry and Marvel Entertainment needs to pull out all the stops to remain at the very top of the industry. Too many more stuff ups like D23, and the empire may take a great fall, one that even Marvel icon and living legend Stan Lee could not imagine.

For everyone's sake, we hope that Marvel Entertainment and other brains at Disney will soon excite us and restore the faith.


Martin Scorsese, William Monahan Teaming for 'The Gambler' at Paramount (The Hollywood Reporter)...

The duo are developing a remake of the 1974 movie starring James Caan as an English professor with a gambling addiction. They want Leo DiCaprio to star.

Paramount is going all-in on The Gambler, a remake of the 1974 James Caan addiction drama.

The studio has set Martin Scorsese to direct and William Monahan to write. Irwin Winkler, who produced the original, will again act as producer of the new film. They are interested in having Leonardo DiCaprio star, but no deal is in place for the actor.

The 1974 movie, an adaptation of the short novel The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, detailed a New York English professor who inspires his students but suffers from a secret gambling addiction. The affliction causes him to extort money from his mother and convince one of his students to shave points in a basketball game.

Caan received a Golden Globe nomination for best actor for his performance in the original. Lauren Hutton and Paul Sorvino co-starred for director Karel Reisz. (The project is not related to the series of Gambler TV movies that starred Kenny Rogers in the 1980s and 90s.)

The gritty New York setting of the original seems a perfect match for Scorsese, who teamed with Monahan on 2006 best picture Oscar winner The Departed.

The director has been especially active lately. He has his first family film, Hugo, slated for a Thanksgiving release, and he’s preparing to direct Silence, an adaptation of the Shusaku Endo novel. He’s also attached to The Wolf of Wall Street, an adaptation of the Jordan Belfort memoir that has attached DiCaprio, with whom Scorsese collaborated on Shutter Island.

Scorsese is repped by WME and Rick Yorn. Monahan is repped by WME and Anonymous.

Paramount declined to comment. (Credit: The Hollywood Reporter)


Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment's bwin.fr and SAjOO.fr to Merge - 29th July 2011...

Given the challenging regulatory and fiscal regime that currently prevails in France and in order to drive greater value for both parties, bwin.party and Amaury Group have decided to merge their bwin France and SAjOO online gaming businesses.

While the terms of the merger are not being disclosed, the combination will deliver real financial benefits in a number of areas including marketing and shared resources and as a result, the combined entity will be much better placed to deliver attractive financial returns.

Both Amaury and bwin France share a common objective of delivering an exciting and competitive online offer, and have been working together since 2008. With an estimated 9% share of the French online betting market, SAjOO.fr has already surpassed the goals set at its launch back in 2010.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Norbert Teufelberger, Co-CEO of bwin.party, said:

“Combining the resources of SAjOO and bwin France makes perfect sense and will only enhance our already strong position in the French market. With the prospect of a more commercial regulatory framework in 2012, we look forward to building a market leading enterprise with our long-standing partner.”

Philippe Carli, Amaury Group’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

“This merger creates a new force in the French market, one that we expect will prosper over the months and years to come. We remain optimistic that the current review of the existing regulatory framework being conducted by the French Government will result in significant improvements to the legal and regulatory framework. In this context, Amaury group is strengthening its involvement with bwin France, one of the sector’s leading operators.”


Scratchie case loss a picture of pain...

Lotto lovers have been warned the odds might be even more stacked against them than they thought after a Sydney couple were ordered to hand back their $100,000 scratchie ticket winnings.

A lawyer for the couple says they are considering whether to take the matter further.

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled yesterday in favour of New South Wales Lotteries after the couple had won an earlier case over what looked like a winning ticket.

Elizabeth Kuzmanovski bought the Pictionary-themed ticket for her husband as a birthday present in July 2007.

Bale Kuzmanovski was elated when he scratched to reveal an image of a swimmer alongside the word "bathe".

NSW Lotteries refused to pay out, arguing the picture and word did not match.

But it was not on that basis that the appeal was won.

The appeals court accepted the lottery body's argument that a code on the bottom of the scratchie determined whether it was a winning ticket, not the pictures.

Mr Kuzmanovski's lawyer, Peter Ives, says they are considering a further appeal.

"Bill is extremely disappointed at what happened. He feels cheated. He has a feeling that he could never buy another Lotto ticket, knowing that he'll never know if he's won or not, even if it looks like he has won," Mr Ives said.

Christopher Zinn from Choice says the case shows consumers are vulnerable to fine print.

"What I take away from it is you can read the back of a ticket, you can read the back of a scratchie, but if there's going to be a dispute they can often pull various small print rabbits out of a hat, which are actually going to jinx any chance you might have of getting your hands on the money," Mr Zinn said.

"There are so many terms and conditions applying to the simplest things now, they're not always on the back of airline tickets or scratchie tickets or anything else.

"So it seems to be saying that you know you have to avail yourself of the maximum amount of information, certainly if you're going to take a challenge onto them."


IGT Wins Again with Sex And The City Big Diamonds!™...

The sequel to record-breaking Sex And The City™slot debuts

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 17, 2011 - It's a blockbuster summer for International Game Technology with the debut of Sex And The City Big Diamonds!™ Reel MultiPLAY Slots, the sequel to the award-winning Sex And The City™ slot machine.

This new slot game is appearing in casinos worldwide where it is sure to be equally as fantastic as the original.

"The original Sex And The City™ Slots remain one of the most popular games on casino floors throughout the world," said Tom Mikulich, IGT senior vice president of MegaJackpots. "And if early reviews are any indication, we expect the new Sex And The City Big Diamonds!™ title to be just as popular with players. The combination of unique game play and interactive bonuses will entertain fans of the original game and new players alike."

Players will experience even more glitz and glamour on the casino floor as Sex And The City Big Diamonds!™ joins the award-winning, player-favorite original, Sex And The City™ Slots. And not only have players fallen in love with the smash-hit Sex And The City™ slot theme, it's also a favorite with the casino industry. According to the Roth Fantini Quarterly Slot Survey of January 2011, the original Sex And The City™ title, introduced in 2009, continues its lead as the top performing premium leased game in North America.

"It's hard to imagine a tougher act to follow than the original Sex And The City(TM) slot game, but with Sex And The City Big Diamonds!(TM), IGT clearly has another big winner," said Robert Allen, corporate vice president of Casino Operations at Pinnacle Entertainment.

Adorned with a diamond-lit cabinet, the Sex And The City Big Diamonds!™ game is the perfect sequel. Along with its sophisticated presentation, Sex And The City Big Diamonds!™ Reel MultiPLAY interface comes with all new bonus content and features five progressive pick bonus levels, one for each of the five characters of the hit series.

Mr. Big is back and his winning charm is bigger than ever. He steals players' hearts with a random wilds diamond shower feature in the base game.

Carrie's bonus is called The Right to Shoes, and in this version, players will experience a marvelous new twist using the "accept or reject" bonus feature. Charlotte's bonus is the Glamorous Gifts bonus, which awards the player a virtual wheel spin. In Miranda's Retail Therapy bonus, players touch the screen to spin the wheel to award shopping bags filled with credits, multipliers and maybe an additional spin. And in Samantha's Glimmer Ring bonus, players can populate gems in the top box display while a diamond ring moves back and forth, highlighting the potential for big wins.

Sex And The City Big Diamonds!™ will be available throughout the U.S. Visit www.megajackpots.com/wheretoplay/bigdiamonds to find out where you can play the game now.

About IGT

International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) is a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of gaming machines and systems products, as well as online and mobile gaming solutions for regulated markets. More information about IGT is available at www.IGT.com or follow IGT on Twitter at @IGTNews or Facebook at www.facebook.com/IGT

Official HBO Licensed Product. © 2011 Home Box Office, Inc. All Rights Reserved. HBO and related trademarks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.


Ric Flair: Boozing Has Not Damaged My Heart...

Wrestling icon Ric Flair is furious over an article which claims the Nature Boy is suffering from a serious medical condition caused by years of hardcore boozing ... because Ric claims it's not true and now he's threatening to sue.

The unflattering article -- which paints Flair as a troubled, irresponsible mess of a person -- ran on an ESPN affiliated website called Grantland.com ... and the report is mostly based on court documents.

But Flair is particularly pissed about the reporter's claim that he suffers from Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy -- a disease caused by years of alcohol abuse which often leads to heart failure.

A rep for Flair whose real name is Richard Fliehr - tells TMZ, "While the information gleaned from courthouse records may be credible, Mr. Fliehr is currently evaluating his legal options with respect to falsehoods in the story, specifically the untrue statement that he suffers from alcoholic cardiomyopathy."

The rep adds, "Our client understands that these allegations are part of the territory when you are not only famous, but a living legend."


Hulk Hogan And Friends Tours American Casinos And Arenas; Gamble Paying Off...

Hulk and Friends, the live show that has been touring the country with stops at casinos, fairgrounds, arenas and other venues, announced that fans will have the chance to meet their favorite wrestlers in a unique and up-close setting on Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 7:30 P.M. at the famous AG Hall, now known as the Agri-Plex within the Allentown Fairgrounds, in Allentown PA.

"I'm really looking forward to meeting all my fans in the Allentown area on October 8th" Hulk Hogan said. "We are having a great time doing this show. Meeting the fans, telling jokes, and brother, everybody's laughing more than we have in years" he continued. Not only will all the fan favorites be there but Hulk Hogan promises to bring some very special guests along with him. "You never know who is going to show up at a Hulk and Friends Show" he added.

Tickets will be going on sale August 5th through Ticketmaster. A limited number of ringside seats (which include a VIP Meet and Greet) are also available. For those interested in sponsorship opportunities, please go to the official website www.hulkandfriends.com


Coke's game plan...

Coca Cola is turning to gaming technology and ideas to market itself.

Coke is soon to roll out new marketing strategies using gaming for several key products, including Fanta, which is targeted at a teenage market.

David Elsworth, Coke's vice-president for creative excellence, said gaming offered untold opportunities for marketing a brand

''Gaming is as ancient as storytelling but it was never able to be used in marketing on a mass scale because we didn't have the tools to do that before.''

Mr Elsworth said gaming in marketing was not about using the games, but using the rules and approach of games to create a different relationship between consumers and the brand.

''Gaming is about getting people to move from passive receivers of a message to active collaborators … interacting and participating.''

Mr Elsworth said gaming offered a richer level of engagement with consumers. He said gaming was no longer the domain of ''pimply teenagers in their bedrooms playing Xbox'', but a massive industry worth more than the film and music industries put together.


Pokie kings have slots to be happy about - 26th August 2011

Poker machine maker Ainsworth Game Technology pipped its cross-town rival, Aristocrat Leisure, yesterday with its second profit upgrade this year.

After a 17 per cent share price jump on Wednesday, Ainsworth yesterday announced an unaudited $23.1 million net profit for the financial year ending June 30, compared with a $2.7 million loss for the previous year.

More details will be available next Wednesday when the audited results are released.

Excluding the benefit of tax losses, Ainsworth's net profit was $14.6 million. In May the company upgraded its earnings forecast to a range of $11 million to $13 million.

''This positive financial performance reflected further strong domestic and international demand for the company's range of products in the last two months of the financial year and a more favourable currency position as at the reporting date,'' Ainsworth said.

Aristocrat reported that its profit forecast for the year ending December 31 this year remains intact, although this relies on the Australian dollar remaining at parity with its US counterpart for the current half year.

The strong dollar and high interest costs - the latter a result of Aristocrat taking on debt to settle its long-running dispute over its convertible bonds last year - dragged down its results for the six months to June 30.

The company reported a net profit after tax of $24.9 million down from $49.3 million for the previous half year while revenues dropped to $312.7 million from $340.5 million.

The company declared a 2.5¢ unfranked dividend payable on September 30 and also announced a dividend reinvestment plan.

As with its smaller rival, Aristocrat reported strong results from the Australian market as well as promising signs from the US despite forecasts that this market will continue to shrink this year.

The company's chief executive, Jamie Odell, described the result as an important milestone in its five-year turnaround strategy with the company delivering on guidance of a 10 to 20 per cent improvement on last year's $55.2 million profit as well as demonstrating improved underlying performance in its core business.


Media Man Website Network Attracting Close To 6 Million Hits Per Month...

The well known Media Man website network, the online arm of Media Man, is attracting close to 6 million hits per month. The company was established in 2001 and coverage over a dozen different business sectors. Some of the Media Man website portals are listed in the Hitwise Australia top ten (entertainment - personalities category). Media Man is currently focused on the celebrity, film and television, technology, gaming and community sector. They plan to further ramp up their Casino News Media, Property News Media and Wrestling News Media brands.

*The writer has conducted b2 with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment and Betfair.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Australian Gaming And Casino News; Australasian Gaming Expo Opens, by Greg Tingle - 21st August 2011

Today was a significant day on the Australian gaming industry calendar. It's opening day of the 2011 Australasian Gaming Expo, held at Darling Harbour in 'Sin City' Sydney, Australia. The event comes at a time where the spotlight on the Australian gambling industry may have never been stronger or so politically charged. Media Man and Gambling911 man down under with that and much more...

Australasian Gaming Expo Open Day In Sydney...

Over 150 gaming - gambling exhibitors enjoyed day one at the Australasian Gaming Expo Open Day at Sydney's Darling Harbour. Dozens of big name brands were there including IGT (and its new 'Sex And The City' slot game), Aristocrat Technologies Australia, Ainsworth, Konami, WMS, ShuffleMaster and Bally. Most of the exhibitors were making a return appearance from last year. They were more exhibitors than "punters", however this may change tomorrow (Monday), as the working week down under kicks off. It's a biggie, with over 15,000 square meters decked out in gambling gear. Tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday are expected to be bigger, with the working week getting on the way. Website: Australasian Gaming Expo


Casino News Media Website Portal Rises In Rankings; On Set To Get Hitwise Listed...

The popular Casino News Media website portal continues to rise in popularity, now attracting almost 2 million hits per month. It's been submitted to Hitwise for an award, following the path of its parent company, Media Man (that's us), who has made the Hitwise finals in the entertainment - personalities category for 6 years in a row.


Aussie Gambling And Sporting Icon Shane Warne To Attend Melbourne Cup Race With Liz Hurley...

Shane Warne aka "Warnie" will be heading to the Melbourne Cup with his women Liz Hurley. It's understood Warne is due to open his themed poker room at Crown Casino during the Spring Racing Carnival, with the likes of Tiger Woods, James and Erica Packer and a bush tucker bag of of local celebrities joining in the fun.


Shuffle Master, Inc. Gears Up for Australasian Gaming Expo with Game-Changing Innovations...

Exhibit Features Impressive Array of Slot Machine Titles, New e-Table Enhancements, the Latest Specialty Game Titles, and Productivity-Enhancing Utility Products...


LAS VEGAS, Aug 17, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Shuffle Master, Inc. (nasdaq global select market:SHFL) announced today that it will display an impressive range of game titles and diverse product innovations at the 2011 Australasian Gaming Expo ("AGE") on August 21- 23, 2011 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Center, located in Darling Harbour, NSW, Australia.

"The new Equinox cabinet is firing on all cylinders and we are confident that Shuffle Master's AGE lineup has never been better. With a multitude of new games on display, AGE provides a great opportunity to flaunt the strength of our themes and the innovative features our game designers have built into them," stated Adrian Halpenny, President of Shuffle Master Australasia. "We believe that this year's show will be one of the most exciting in our history and will underscore Shuffle Master's deep commitment to making gaming more fun for players and more profitable for operators."

The exhibit will highlight key innovations from Shuffle Master's five product categories:

High-Performance Games for the Equinox(TM) Cabinet

Housed in the stylish new Equinox cabinet, Shuffle Master will showcase its wide variety of slot machine titles that feature stunning graphics, enticing progressive jackpots and rewarding free game features. This year's lineup includes such standalone progressives as: The Pink Panther(R)(1) Returns, Potion Power(TM), and Fortune games; all Fortune games feature a unique active symbol function known as All Up(TM). With the All Up bet, players can select to activate 5 symbols per game from the button panel. The symbols change from various colors to gold and offer greater wins for the amount of gold symbols played.

Players will have a witchingly good time with Shuffle Master's new two-level stand-alone progressive Cats, Hats & Bats(TM), one of the most popular low denomination games of 2011. Players will have the chance to win up to 13 free games and the screen-trembling Bat Splat(TM) feature awards prizes up to 16 times. Players who enjoy Cats, Hats & Bats will no doubt be "ribbeted" by Hubble, Bubble & Trubble(TM). This standalone progressive combines all of the action of Cats, Hats & Bats but centers on berserk frogs.

Shuffle Master will also unveil a new link for the Queensland market, Pirates Revenge(TM), a 50 line 4-level progressive with entertainment galore in the alluring Medallion(TM) feature. Following on from the success of King of Babylon(TM) released in March this year, look out for Wolf Mountain(TM), another 50 cent three-level progressive destined to be a hit.

New e-Table Offerings

Rapid Select(TM) for Rapid Table Games(R) will be front and center at the exhibit and offers anticipated superior flexibility needed in Australasia's busy casinos. Combining a live dealer and a touch-screen electronic betting interface, the Rapid line of electronic table systems is anticipated to dramatically increase game security and productivity by automating the wagering process. Rapid Select is the latest enhancement to the Rapid platform and includes a multigame feature which gives players the flexibility to choose which Rapid game -- Baccarat, Roulette, or Sic Bo -- they would like to play on their terminal, without ever having to leave their seat. Enhanced live statistics are available at the touch of a button and seamless betting can be conducted across multiple games. Operators are expected to benefit from increased reporting functions that enable betting traffic to be monitored by zones. With the capability to accommodate over 300 terminals per table and up to 6 tables of each game type, betting limits can be easily configured to suit each betting position.

"We consistently aim to improve the player experience and Rapid Select's multigame feature empowers the player to conveniently choose what action they wish to partake in," continued Halpenny.

Also highlighted at the show will be Vegas Star(R) Grand Baccarat(TM), a fully electronic baccarat table that combines a virtual dealer on a central plasma screen with individual touch-screen betting terminals and features the enticing Grand Tie(TM) jackpot side bet. The Grand Tie side bet is triggered by tied 8's and 9's. Up to 10 gold cards are dealt with each gold card awarding either a major or mini jackpot, or a bonus credit prize.

The Latest Specialty Table Games

This year's exhibit will feature progressives for some of Shuffle Master's most popular specialty table games such as Ultimate Texas Hold'em(R), Mississippi Stud(R) and Crazy 4 Poker(R). Chip sensors embedded in the table allow players to place an optional jackpot wager to potentially win fixed prizes or a continuously incrementing progressive jackpot. Progressives enhance specialty games by creating additional action, excitement and volatility, therefore increasing profitability for the casino. In addition to showcasing its proven, popular titles, Shuffle Master will also present two new "up-and-comers", Rabbit Hunter(TM) with Bad Beat Bonus and Face-Up Three Card Poker 6 Card Bonus(TM).

"Australian players have an appetite for the excitement that live table games provide and they are adaptive to new games," Halpenny added. "We are confident that our new specialty games and progressives will meet that market niche of players looking for something different."

The Latest Innovation in Shuffling Technology: Intuitive Card Shufflers

World-renowned for their exceptional engineering and unparalleled performance, Shuffle Master's card shufflers are designed to increase table game productivity, profitability and security. The new MD2CR(TM) shuffler will be prominently featured at the show, demonstrating the advanced capabilities of the latest shuffling technology. Utilizing the same optical card-reading technology that has been so successful on the Company's i-Deal(R) shuffler, the MD2CR scans and verifies pre-shuffled blackjack and baccarat decks right at the table. Featuring an innovative platform and gripper system, the MD2CR counts and shuffles up to eight decks of cards quickly and quietly, and significantly reduces wear and tear, making cards last longer.

Key Utility Offerings: Easy Chipper(R) D and i-Verify(TM)

With improved chip handling, better safety features and less moving parts, the new Easy Chipper D provides quick and accurate chip sorting, which increases the number of spins per hour. The Easy Chipper D is also enhanced with an easy to use touch-screen interface that makes it easier than ever to set the machine's features.

The i-Verify, an LCD touch-screen display that is embedded into a felt table, provides increased security and reduces dealer training for "house way" games like Fortune Pai Gow Poker(R) and Fortune San Lo Poker(TM). When used in conjunction with an i-Deal shuffler, the i-Verify tells the dealer exactly how to set his or her hand, according to the prescribed house procedure.

"I am very proud of what the Australasian team has accomplished over the past year, introducing the Equinox cabinet to the market, and further strengthening our market leadership in high-denomination games," commented Shuffle Master's Chief Executive Officer, Gavin Isaacs. "I look forward to what I believe will be very positive reception of our exciting new titles and multiple product innovations at AGE."

Live updates and pictures from Shuffle Master's booth at the show will be available on www.twitter.com/shufflemaster and www.twitter.com/shfl_news .

About Shuffle Master, Inc.

Shuffle Master, Inc. (the "Company" or "Shuffle Master") is a leading global gaming supplier specializing in providing its casino customers with improved profitability, productivity and security, as well as popular and cutting-edge gaming entertainment content, through value-add products in five distinct categories: Utility products, which include automatic card shufflers and roulette chip sorters; Proprietary Table Games, which includes live games, side bets and progressives; Electronic Table Systems, which include various e-Table game platforms; Electronic Gaming Machines, which include video slot machines; and newly introduced i-Gaming, which features online versions of Shuffle Master's table games, social gaming, and mobile applications. The Company is included in the S&P Smallcap 600 Index. Information about the Company and its products can be found on the Internet at www.shufflemaster.com , or on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

(1) The Pink Panther is a registered trademark owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc.


Underbelly Razor Hits Channel Nine TV Tonight...

One of the leading ladies ruled Sydney's brothels. One ruled its sly grog shops. The other was the one every gangster wanted on his arm. Tilly Devine, Kate Leigh and Nellie Cameron were the brash, sharp-tongued, quick-thinking and ruthless women who ruled Sydney’s underworld in the “roaring” 1920s. Devine and Leigh were the queens of vice. Now they are characters brought to life by Chelsie Preston Crayford, Danielle Cormack and Anna McGahan in the latest and most colourful 13-chapter mini-series of Nine’s dramatised crime franchise, Underbelly. Underbelly: Razor is the cinematic recreation of the book Razor, by Larry Writer, on the beginnings of organised crime in Australia. It took six years to research as Writer delved into the history of the “razor gangs” that battled for control of Sydney’s underworld. Set in one of Sydney’s most colourful eras, the 1920s, Underbelly: Razor tells the story of Devine and Leigh’s battle to reign supreme in a world built on sly grog, prostitution, illegal drugs, extortion and gambling. That battle turned to pure menace when an interloper from Melbourne (Norman Bruhn, played by Jeremy Lindsay Taylor) decided to take the town from the girls. Knowing you could hang for murder and be jailed for possession of a gun, he brought a new weapon – the cut-throat razor. Judging by the movie-length opening episode, the 13-part series will deliver everything viewers have come to expect from the Nine Network’s flagship drama: nudity, sex, violence, drugs, blood, biff, guns and gore – all handsomely packaged in sepia tones and period clobber. The show begins with a naked woman in a bathtub. But the flesh that has become Underbelly’s trademark won’t test tolerance levels this time as much as the bursts of unflinching brutality, especially against women. Viewers aren’t spared the callous beating of a pregnant prostitute, a vicious catfight between Leigh (played by Danielle Cormack) and Devine (Chelsie Preston-Crayford) and the grisly aftermath of a back alley razor attack. The violence is mostly implied, rather than explicit, but vivid enough to have you wincing in revulsion as blades slice through flesh and blood splatters to the ground. Rated ‘‘M’’ for it violence, coarse language, sex scenes and drug use, Underbelly Razor is the most compelling Underbelly since the original series delved into Melbourne’s gangland wars of the 1990s.


Tabcorp's The Star And Friends Get New Future Star Website Teasing What's In Store...

Check out the new website: http://www.futurestar.com.au Also check out the website of Echo Entertainment http://www.echoentertainment.com.au Echo Entertainment is the casino arm of Tabcorp you've likely been reading about for the past few months.

Future Star blurb reads... THIS TOWN NEEDS A NEW STAR. FUTURE STAR IS THE TRANSFORMATION OF
STAR CITY INTO A ONE-OF-A-KIND ENTERTAINMENT DESTINATION COMING LATE 2011.


Crown Casino Spells Out Responsible Gambling On Website...

The clear message reads...

Crown's commitment to Responsible Gaming

Crown is committed to providing and promoting gaming in a responsible manner. A number of responsible gaming initiatives have been introduced. These include:

The Responsible Gaming Support Centre
Referral to a range of support services
The Play Safe limits Program (pre-commitment)
A Self-Exclusion Program
The Chaplaincy Support Service for anyone seeking Spiritual support
Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct
Responsible gaming occurs in a regulated environment where the potential for harm associated with gambling is minimised as customers are informed and can therefore make sensible and rational choices based on their individual circumstances.

The responsible gambler
Is in control
Sees gambling as entertainment, not a job
Doesn't take gambling too seriously
Only gambles with the money set aside for entertainment, not for household essentials
Never borrows money to gamble
Sets limits on the amount of time and money they will spend
Sticks to these limits and walks away when they are reached
Doesn't chase losses
Takes frequent breaks

(tips adapted from "Follow these tips before you gamble" brochure, Responsible Gambling Awareness Week 2010)


Mainstream Gaming Firms Ramp Up Online...

IGT, Aristocrat, Wynn Resorts... you name it. All are diving in deeper into the online gambling spectrum. IGT has dropped the 'WagerWorks' tag, and is now simply known as IGT, pushing along new games such as 'Monopoly You're In The Money'. Aristocrat is to push titles into online casinos, and Steve Wynn's Wynn Resorts is rumoured to be interested in purchasing Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, however the Wynn - Bwin.Party talk is not confirmed, but has sure been talked about a great amount across the globe over the last week. Watch this space.

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

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wynn Resorts May Purchase Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, by Greg Tingle - 20th August 2011

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Earlier this year, PartyGaming and bwin merged to create Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, which is traded on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol BPTY. In an news article that appeared in The Independent last Tuesday, it was noted that since the two online gaming giants merged, the combined company’s share price has dipped by nearly half. While part of the drop might be due to a slowing economic environment worldwide and so no action might be needed, other entities felt that an infusion could be in the offing.

The Independent added that Wynn Resorts, headed up by Steve Wynn, has emerged as a possible investor in the newly formed gaming giant, which is focused on the European market and continues to feature two separate online poker rooms. Readers will recall just before Black Friday in the United States, PokerStars and Wynn Resorts announced that, once a gaming license was secured in the United States, the two companies would team up to launch Poker Stars Wynn.

Following Black Friday, in which the founders of PokerStars were indicted on charges that included money laundering and bank fraud, the deal with Wynn was called off as you would expect.

The news outlet cautioned, however, that investors might wait for the gaming environment in the United States to be sorted out first: "Not everyone agreed with the chatter, however, with one trader saying acquisitions in the sector were unlikely until there was further clarification over the potential regulation of online gambling in the U.S."

On Thursday, shares of Bwin.Party closed at 106.50 in London. Other rumored "aggressors," as the Independent calls prospective investors, include William Hill, which is also publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange. Shares of BPTY stood above 160 pence in April, but have since dipped.

One poster on the TwoPlusTwo forum, questioned whether the rumors of a Wynn takeover were plausible: "So the newly merged Bwin.Party will sell to Wynn before even taking advantage of all the millions of Euros they will make in the first two years by virtue of the their merger synergies?"

Despite the merger, PartyPoker.com remains the flagship site of its own network, while bwin makes its home on the Ongame Network alongside rooms such as Betfair.

Caesars Entertainment, one of the principal competitors of Wynn Resorts, has partnered with 888, also a publicly traded company in London. Prior to Black Friday, Full Tilt Poker teamed up with Fertitta Interactive, whose ownership group has strong ties to Station Casinos. Along with the PokerStars - Wynn deal, the latter fell by the wayside once the U.S. Department of Justice took action in April.

Other members of TwoPlusTwo continued to cast doubt on the validity of The Independent’s report. One player wrote, "Party has never had any interest in selling. This feels like an absolute recycle of the previous such rumor that they were going to be bought out by Harrah’s. Unsurprisingly, it turns out there was never such a thing on the table and the only connection was former Party CEO Mitch Garber moving to Caesars Interactive."

Rumors have also persisted that the Ongame Network could be sold outright. To that end, Sharecast.com noted in a recent article, "Bwin.Party, the world's largest online gaming group, already has its poker network, Ongame, on the auction block. The sale is expected to generate between 20M and 30M Euros ($28.5m to $42.7m), a modest figure reflecting the loss of players the network will incur through the sale."

But could a deal between Wynn and Bwin.Party be finalized before online poker is legalized in the United States? And will it matter? This week, the New York Post published an article stating that online poker legislation could be coming sooner rather than later. One source told the Post, "I think there is becoming a feeling in Congress that this is something that needs to be regulated and be done. I believe there is a possibility a bill will pass towards the end of the year."

Media Man will be following the story with weekly reports.

*The writer has conducted b2 with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment and Betfair.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Media Man Movie And Entertainment News: WWE Studios, Planet Of The Apes, Mission: Impossible, Marvel Entertainment, Underbelly Razor; by Greg Tingle

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Hollywood Slot Games Available Via Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Online Casino...

Gaming and movie fans can play Hollywood themed slot games at Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment's PartyCasino.com Games include: Mission: Impossible, The Godfather, Rambo, Top Gun, Resident Evil, The Naked Gun, Tarzan, Gone With The Wind, High Noon, Thor, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four and more. Play for free or play for money at PartyCasino.com

New players get up to $3000 sign up bonus via Media Man.


Tom Cruise Dead Serious in New 'Mission: Impossible 4' Still...

The 'Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol' picture sees the 'Rock of Ages' actor wearing a hoodie while standing with his back on the explosion scene and giving a fierce gaze to the camera.

A brand new still from "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol" has just arrived, giving a look at Tom Cruise who looks fierce as he throws a steely gaze at the camera. The Ethan Hunt depicter wears a black hoodie and plants his hands in the pockets of his jacket. He's surrounded by smokes and flames coming from the explosion behind him.

The fourth installment of "Mission: Impossible" franchise, the action movie will follow Ethan and his team as they go undercover to clear their name after they were blamed for a terrorist bombing. While trying to find out the true mastermind behind the crime, they have to dodge the government to avoid being captured and charged for something they didn't do.

The film is supported by Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Ving Rhames, Josh Holloway and Simon Pegg among others. Co-produced by Cruise along with J.J. Abrams and Paula Wagner, it is scheduled to make its way out in the United States on December 21.


WWE Studios rethinks its strategy after shooting seven films in New Orleans...

WWE Studios' New Orleans experiment might not be down for the count, exactly. But the wrestling-linked outfit's unique local strategy -- in which it shot seven films in town in less than two years, including the just-wrapped "No One Lives" -- is definitely changing.

WWE Studios chief Mike Pavone, who had been a near-constant presence in New Orleans for the better part of a year and a half, is leaving the company "to pursue other opportunities," according to a report this week in the trade paper Variety. That follows by days remarks from WWE honcho Vince McMahon that the company is rethinking its film strategy.

Taking advantage of Louisiana's filmmaking tax credits was a key to that strategy, which was Pavone's brainchild, dreamed up after the locally shot, bigger-budgeted 2009 action film "12 Rounds" performed poorly at the box office in the wake of a marketing push by distributor 20th Century Fox that was lackluster at best.

The Pavone plan was intended to keep the budgets of the studio's films -- mostly family-friendly fare on his watch, ranging in genre from comedies to a period drama -- in the $5 million range, a bargain by Hollywood standards. In addition to taking advantage of Louisiana tax credits, it signed a new deal with independent distributor Samuel Goldwyn Films that gave the studio more say in marketing strategy.

Another key to it all, though, was Pavone's mass-production concept, in which production on one film cranked up just as its predecessor was wrapping, allowing the studio to roll much of its crew over from film to film and tamp down startup costs.

That was great for local film-industry workers hired by the studio, as they saw steady work with largely the same group of people for more than a year. And local movie buffs got to see New Orleans on the big screen. (Particularly memorable: Michael Rappaport's black-and-gold Super Bowl XLIV shirt in the forthcoming "Inside Out," albeit a shirt of questionable copyright.)

WWE's bean counters didn't have much to complain about, either -- at least not at first.

"This whole idea is based on a television model," Pavone said in a September interview on the New Orleans set of the forthcoming "Bending the Rules," starring Jamie Kennedy and wrestler Adam "Edge" Copeland. "Amortizing your costs over several movies, you roll the same crews over and over, you don't have to spend all the money for startup and shutdown costs, which could be to the tune of six grand a day to start up in a new place and hire new people and hire stage space.

"We make all of our deals based on multiple movies, so they give us some better rates and on and on. We found out we save a million dollars a movie."

Unfortunately, while all of that meant savings on the production side, it didn't necessarily translate into quality at the box office. Pavone tried to lend his films credibility by signing established actors -- including Ed Harris, Patricia Clarkson, Danny Glover, Michael Rappaport and Parker Posey -- to star alongside a selection of WWE wrestler/actors. But audiences didn't respond.

The new distribution deal didn't help matters. It was built around a cost-cutting plan to give each film a limited theatrical release followed just weeks later by DVD releases -- meaning WWE Studios would foot the bill for just one, rather than two, advertising campaigns. But the results apparently weren't much different than when Fox had the reins.

Although WWE Studios generated $4.3 million in the past three months, its latest release -- the coming-of-age comedy "That's What I Am," starring Harris and directed by Pavone -- lost $3.3 million during the second quarter after mustering only $6,400 from 10 theaters in three days at the box office, Variety reported.

After getting an exclusive DVD release at Walmart on May 17, "That's What I Am" -- shot mostly in Jefferson -- gets a wide home-video release on Tuesday (Aug. 16).

As for what direction the studio will take next, a hint could be in "No One Lives," which just wrapped production on the north shore.

That film saw the studio team with Pathe U.K., part of a strategy to share costs with other production partners. As a horror flick directed by Ryuhei Kitamura ("Midnight Meat Train"), it also might signal a shift toward more genre fare, Variety speculated, after Pavone's slate of mostly feel-good dramas and family fare didn't appeal to the company's fan base.

And, it's worth noting, Louisiana is apparently still part of the picture.

WWE Studio's Snapshot...

A look at WWE Studios' films shot locally under the supervision of recently departed executive Mike Pavone:

"Knucklehead," available on DVD now.

"Legendary" (working title: "Brother's Keeper"), available on DVD now.

"The Chaperone," available on DVD now.

"That's What I Am" (working titles: "Big Red," "Big Ginger") available Tuesday on DVD.

"Inside Out", set for limited theatrical release Sept. 9.

"Bending the Rules," release date unannounced.

"No One Lives," just wrapped production.


Rise Of Planet Of The Apes Delivers US Numbers...

Close competition for the top spot on Friday kept Fox's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" in the lead for its second weekend in a row. "Rise" made $8.1 million from 3,691 locations at the US box office. Closely followed by Disney's "The Help" scored $7.626 million from 2,534 locations and Warner Bros' "Final Destination 5" earned $7.34 million from 3,155.


Marvel Schedules Release Dates for Two Mystery Projects...

Marvel Entertainment and Disney are getting close to announcing the next chapters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While 2012 will only see the release of The Avengers, Marvel has already planned two movies for 2013: Iron Man 3 (opening May 3) and Thor 2 (opening July 26). 2014 will also have two releases from the comic book company, though which ones is still a secret. Box Office Mojo reports that two mystery projects will open in 2014, with "Marvel Untitled 1" will open on May 16, 2014, while "Marvel Untitled 2" will open June 27, 2014. No details on which movies they might be, though there are a few obvious possibilities.


Disney - Marvel Comic War Escalates With DC Comics...

On Wednesday, Walt Disney (NYS: DIS) stock suffered its worst sell-off in a decade, dropping 13% in a single day. Sales were strong, but investors worried consumer wallets might not be big enough to keep Disney growing much longer. Result: Wednesday was a horrible day for Disney ... but hold onto your portfolios our friends. The week ain't over yet.

Background...

Two years ago, Disney snagged Marvel Entertainment for a cool $4 billion. Marvel shareholders wept for the loss of their stock, but Disney shareholders cheered approval.

With the fun and games Disney has got itself in a bit of negative publicity. Its new subsidiary Marvel Comics is offering comic book retailers the chance to sell a "variant cover" edition of Fear Itself No. 6. All a retailer has to do to get the coveted item is ... rip the covers off of 50 copies of any No. 1 issue from rival DC Comics' Flashpoint line of titles, and send them to Marvel, coupon-style.

The gambit's perfectly legal. The retailers paid for these comics, and would be destroying their own property, essentially turning their DC comics into coupons to acquire a rare Marvel edition. Marvel has even done this before -- successfully -- cajoling envious retailers into destroying tens of thousands of copies of its rival's comics. Still, there's a bit of an underhanded feel to the whole gambit. Marvel's clear aim here is to limit readership of DC publications, with the hope of strangling DC Comic's fan base.

It may work, but its not a lock. Marvel may have forgotten that by destroying its rivals' work, it's actually making the DC publications rarer...thus increasing their aftermarket value. This could have the perverse effect of encouraging collectors who might not have bought the DC comics before to rush out and buy them now before they disappear. And that's before we even consider the amount of bad blood and negative publicity Marvel (and Disney) are bringing upon themselves through this "dirty tricks" campaign.

What this may mean to the motion picture war between Marvel Entertainment and DC Comics is not totally clear at this point, but Marvel flicks such as Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and X-Men: First Class, have it all over DC's Green Hornet. Will Marvel tie up DC in webs, or will DC fight back and snatch the crown back from Marvel with the help of Batman and friends. Marvel legend Stan Lee and his friends at The Avengers are up to the fight, and news media and fans will not want to miss a second of the action.


Marvel Movies Upcoming...

Movie Studio Date

Captain America: The First Avenger Paramount Pictures 7/22/11
Ghost Rider 2 (3D) Sony 2/17/12
The Avengers (2012) Buena Vista 5/4/12
The Amazing Spider-Man Sony 7/3/12
Iron Man 3 Buena Vista 5/3/13


Underbelly Razor Gets A Makeover; More Advertiser Friendly...

Network Nine top brass has confirmed they worked the casting to put a prettier face on the femme fatale series.

Mug shots of Sydney's most notorious criminals from the roaring '20s were used to hire actors resembling the hard men, the female leads went to Kiwi fems Chelsie Preston Crayford and Danielle Cormack.

Nine boss David Gyngell sold the sexed up and prettier version to advertisers as part of the network's push to get Underbelly the right sort of attention.

Photographs from the time show real-life vice queens Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh were hardly the stuff of cinematic close-ups. They were rough looking girls.

Much of themale casting reflects an uncanny likeness to the real crims who would become underworld legends.

It certainly follows the Underbelly tradition of art imitating life, with Gyton Grantley making his name as Carl Williams in the first series, while Firass Dirani passed as John Ibrahim in last year's 'The Golden Mile'. Dirani later picked up a role opposite Robert Di Niro in 'The Killer Elite'. John "Vulcan" Seru, closely associated with the Media Man agency, is understood to be working on a couple of films under wraps. Long time James Bond fans will know Seru from playing Gabor in 'The World Is Not Enough'.

Make no mistake, bad girls and bad guys are still in vogue.

Underbelly Razor premieres next Sunday night at 8.30pm on Channel Nine.


Mad Max Fury Road Won't Be Made In Australia...

Rural NSW town Broken Town is feeling quite broken hearted after learning that Max Mad will not be filmed there.

The decision, described by the Mayor of Broken Hill as a "tragedy", has stripped the outback city of the $10-12 million in investments it was expecting to receive as a result of the production.

Local council announced the decision saying the production company behind the movie, Kennedy Miller Mitchell (KMM), felt recent heavy rains had ruined the arid landscape the film required.

The now cancelled production would have seen acclaimed director George Miller, as well as Hollywood celebrities Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, working in the western New South Wales city.

Local business people, such as hotel owners who were banking on the influx of people and money, will be hit hard by the decision to cancel filming.

The Mayor of the Broken Hill City Council, Wincen Cuy, told ABC Broken Hill he is disappointed by the decision, but concedes nothing can be done to change the outcome.

"This decision hasn't been taken lightly by KMM... but nature's caused it, nothing else has caused it apart from nature."

Mayor Cuy says the money KMM has already paid to use the film studio is "signed, sealed and delivered", but other parts of the Broken Hill community will suffer from the decision.

"What we're saying is that... from a community's point of view, and from trying to take Broken Hill into the future, yeah it is disappointing."

Despite the disappointment, Mayor Cuy says the City Council understands the decision and respects KMM's right to make it.

Mayor Cuy feels that, although having missed this opportunity, Broken Hill could stand to gain from future opportunities with KMM.

"Let's look at the long term future; if there's going to be a Mad Max Four, it's better to be made (so) then we possibly can get some input into Mad Max 5, or have Mad Max 5 (filmed) here."

Kennedy Miller Mitchell has made no comment as to where the filming of Mad Max: Fury Road will now take place.

Wild flowers cover the Australian desert after a one-in-100-year rain event.

“The Mad Max landscape looks like Wales,” director George Miller said in The Sydney Morning Herald. “There was a carpet of flowers on the location we were shooting on. There’s no way it’s going to brown off.”

The search for browness and a new location is now on. Africa or South America are likely candidates.

This will mark the first time a major Australian film will be shot predominately overseas since “Disgrace” in 2007.

Namibia is the most likely location for the first installment in what will be a new three-movie series.

The film was originally meant to be shot in the African country in 2003, but the production ran into complications with travel restrictions and political sensitivities caused by the Iraq War.

At that time, original Max Mel Gibson was signed for the film. And while it’s still rumored Gibson will appear, the reality is getting increasingly unlikely.

“It won’t be Mel. He was 21 when he made the first one,” George Miller told news.com.au. “Now he’s a lot older and his passion is for filmmaking and directing.”

Tom Hardy, Teresa Palmer and Charlize Theron will reportedly star in the film.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Spider-Man Marvel News; Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man Poker Probe, Spider-Man Gaming, by Greg Tingle - 8th August 2011

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'Amazing Spider-Man' Sequel Release Set For May 2014...

"The Amazing Spider-Man" has already set the release date for its sequel.

Our friends at Sony Pictures must know something we here at Media Man do not.

The studio announced that "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" will be spinning into US theaters on May 2, 2014, to kick off that year's summer blockbuster season. So far, Sony is the only superhero-producing studio to plan that far ahead, as neither Marvel nor Warner Bros. has announced any of their upcoming comic book adaptations for three years down the road.

In March, "The Amazing Spider-Man" screenwriter James Vanderbilt was hired to pen the sequel. It seems as though Sony is impressed with the drafts he has brought in, considering they green-lit his second "Spider-Man" film 11 months before "The Amazing Spider-Man" hits theaters.

"I think it speaks volumes about our confidence in what we are seeing on the new film and our desire to move quickly on the next installment," a Sony executive told Deadline Hollywood.

The trailer for "The Amazing Spider-Man" premiered on July 20 to mixed responses. One part in particular that had fans doubtful was a scene at the end of the teaser where the camera switches to a first-person, Spidey Vision perspective. But despite the skepticism, Sony seems confident that their reboot of the "Spider-Man" franchise will premiere as a success.

At San Diego Comic-Con, director Marc Webb explained to MTV News that the effect was an attempt to play around with the "experimental process of 3-D." While the movie itself features a lot of realistic stunt work that wasn't accomplished with CG trickery, Webb also explained that he wanted the 3-D element of the movie to be an integral part of it.

"We shot and conceived of this film in 3-D," he said, "and I wanted there to be moments where you really feel and see the world through Spider-Man's eyes. I wanted to get that visceral feeling. In 3-D, I thought there was something about the experiential process, in a big theatrical environment, that was really special that I had seen. I was like, 'If I'm going to do a movie in 3-D, I want to give the audience that experience.'"

Maguire’s poker suit heads to trial...

Hollywood actor Tobey Maguire’s legal battle against the bankrupt trustees of convicted conman Bradley Ruderman is heading to trial in January 2012.

The Spider-Man star is accused of beating Ruderman in a series of unlicensed poker games in California, taking more than $300,000 in winnings from the bankrupt hedge fund manager, who is currently serving time in prison after being convicted of operating a fraudulent Ponzi scheme.

Bankruptcy trustees filed suit against Maguire in June in a bid to recoup money that Ruderman claims to have lost in the illegal games.

The actor has fired back with a countersuit, insisting the card games were never controlled and did not feature a regular roster of celebrities - as initially reported. Maguire also argued that he should not have to hand back any winnings because he lost just as much money to Ruderman.

The case will go before a trial judge at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles on the week of January 30, reports Eonline.com.


Ads and Fees Lift Viacom to a 37% Increase in Profit...

Viacom, the owner of MTV and Paramount Pictures, on Friday reported a 37 percent increase in profits for the quarter that ended in June.

The company’s net earnings of $574 million, or 97 cents a share, were up from $420 million, or 69 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. The company reported revenues of $3.77 billion, up from $3.27 billion.

Like the other major media companies that reported second-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations this week, Viacom credited a sturdy television advertising market, solid revenues from subscriber fees and emerging revenues from digital distributors like Netflix.

“We have always thrived on competition in the distribution arena, and there’s now more competition than there has ever been, and it’s growing,” said Philippe Dauman, the chief executive of Viacom. He added that there was increasing competition for digital distribution in international markets as well as in the United States.

Media companies like Viacom are increasingly accepting online distributors like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu as new bidders for their content — especially for the old content in their libraries that does not compete directly with what is currently on their television channels. Viacom already has licensing deals with Netflix and Hulu, and Mr. Dauman said Friday that discussions were under way with other potential licensees.

“As a result of these new deals, we have set a new higher base for our affiliate revenues this year and we expect to continue to increase those revenues from this higher base at a high single- to low double-digit annual rate every year for the foreseeable future,” Mr. Dauman said on a conference call with analysts.

In the quarter, Viacom’s cable networks had revenues of $2.39 billion, up 16 percent versus the same quarter last year, in large part because of the strength in advertising.

Mr. Dauman singled out several scripted television series for praise, like TV Land’s “Happily Divorced” and VH1’s “Single Ladies,” and he noted that the ratings at MTV had increased year-over-year even though new episodes of “Jersey Shore,” the channel’s biggest show, were not televised in the United States in the quarter. (Both this year and last year, the series skipped the spring quarter.)

Profit growth was up sharply in the cable division, but down in the Paramount filmed entertainment division, largely because of the “timing and mix of theatrical releases,” the company said in its earnings statement. Still, revenues for filmed entertainment were up 13 percent, to $1.4 billion.

Looking ahead, Mr. Dauman acknowledged that Viacom was preparing for an end to its film distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation, which started in 2006 and is expected to end in 2012. Last month, Viacom said it would start its own animation division. “We are proceeding on the operating assumption that we will not be extending the DreamWorks Animation deal beyond next year,” Mr. Dauman said Friday.

Asked about perceived friction with the DreamWorks chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, Mr. Dauman dismissed it: “The relationship is very good,” he said, “and the only issue is what DreamWorks Animation wants to do strategically as this deal expires, and how that fits in with our own strategic objectives.”

As Marvel living legend Stan Lee would say, Excelsior!

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Australian Gambling News; Asia Pacific Gaming Connection: James Packer...Crown Melco, by Greg Tingle - 8th August 2011

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Perth's Burswood Casino Sued After Stolen Cash Gambled Away...

Burswood Casino is being sued for in the region of $600,000 stolen from a Perth engineering company by an accountant who used the money to help fund his gambling addiction.

In a Supreme Court writ lodged last week, Exceleng Corporation claims Burswood was "unjustly enriched" at its expense when accountant Anthony Bianco deposited stolen funds in a casino account from which he could withdraw gambling vouchers.

Bianco, who pleaded guilty to nearly 300 counts of stealing as a servant between 1998 and 2005, was sentenced to 3.5 years jail in 2007 and served at least 21 months for siphoning $925,000 from his Naval Base employer.

Lawyers for Exceleng, trading as Alltype Engineering Services, argue that Burswood facilitated Bianco's breach of trust.

"(Burswood) recklessly failed to make any reasonable inquiry as to the funds so transferred into (the casino's) account and their source, and should reasonably have been aware, given the quantum of such transfers, that inquiry as to the funds and their source was required," the writ states.

Alltype managing director Colin Heitman said Burswood had a case to answer, claiming it ignored an obligation to report big transactions for independent tracking.

"I think Burswood has an obligation to protect businesses and individuals against fraud and they don't do that," he said.

"I don't think they uphold their duty of care when it comes to protecting people against electronic fraud.

"It was an extraordinary amount of money.

"Fortunately we've survived and moved on."

Bianco, of Cannington, said yesterday: "That was like six years ago.

"I'm all finished, I'm finished with that."

In a 2007 Court of Appeal decision that increased Bianco's original 2.5 year term by a year, Bianco was described as an immature man in denial about his gambling addiction.

"His immaturity led him to identify achievement as related to being admired as a high roller and being well known in the casino context," the judgment said.

Burswood Casino declined to comment on the legal action.


Malaysian Gamblers Drown Fleeing...

Police say five men have drowned in northern Malaysia after leaping into a river to escape a gambling raid.

A police spokesman in Malaysia's northern Kedah state says the men were among 20 suspects who were playing dice games by a river on Saturday when police tried to detain them.

He says five men sought to escape by swimming to another village across the river, but a search team found their bodies over the next few hours. Most of them were in their 40s and 50s.

Betting and gambling in public without a licence is punishable by a six-month prison term and a fine.


Melco Crown To List In Hong Kong...

James Packer's Macau casino joint venture Melco Crown Entertainment plans to list its shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to improve liquidity and raise equity to help fund a new $US2.5 billion ($2.38bn) casino resort development.

Melco Crown chief executive Lawrence Ho said the proposed dual listing -- the stock is already listed on Nasdaq -- would give Oriental investors a more direct access to the stock and put Melco on a par with other Macau casino operators that all have Hong Kong listings.

"We believe our proposed dual listing on the local bourse will not only put us on par with our competitors but will also provide our existing shareholders with much enhanced liquidity, while providing us with access to an additional source of capital," Mr Ho said in a statement.

It is widely believed Melco Crown wants to proceed with the issue before the end of the year.

The move is likely to include an equity raising rather than simply a compliance listing, although analysts expect the raising to be small given they expect neither joint venture partner will want to be diluted in the issue.

Packer's Crown owns a 33.5% stake in Melco. The equity will help fund the development of Macau Studio City, a $US2.5bn integrated gaming, retail and entertainment resort to be developed in Macau, although much of the project is expected to be debt-funded.

It will be Melco Crown's third casino in Macau, although the joint-venture partners must first negotiate with local authorities to ensure a casino is included in the project plans. The current government-approved plans do not contain any gaming elements.

Citi said a dual listing would allow Melco Crown to join key benchmark indices and improve liquidity.

Macau's gaming regulator has revealed that July gross gaming revenue was $US3bn, the second-best month this year.

However, Melco shares have fallen sharply. They opened at $US16 last Monday but closed at $US12.94 in Thursday trading on the Nasdaq, down 13.15% on the day. The shares rose 21% last month.

Readers...er, punters, please bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

*the writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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Green Lantern mixed reviews; Lantern 2 tipped to Marvel - 7th August 2011


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Green Lantern has been receiving mixed reviews...green reviews, if you will.

Mind you, the competition in the superhero genre has been pretty stiff, with Captain America: The First Avenger, X-Men: First Class and Thor, but the general feeling is that the movie should have been much better - especially considering a budget of around $200 million.

The blurb goes something like this...A test pilot is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

Green Lantern is almost certain to live on via the big screen, but likely not with the same director.

Despite the big-budget superhero movie’s disappointing box office performance so far, Warner Bros. executives still want to find a way to make a sequel work. Bringing superheroes from its DC Comics unit to the big screen is a top priority for the studio, and executives believe that the problem with "Green Lantern" was in execution, not concept. When quizzed they were happy to share the following:

"We had a decent opening so we learned there is an audience,” said Warner Bros. film group President Jeff Robinov, pointing to the film’s box office debut of $53 million. “To go forward we need to make it a little edgier and darker with more emphasis on action…. And we have to find a way to balance the time the movie spends in space versus on Earth."

After its luke warm opening, “Green Lantern” went green at the U.S box office, ending up with only $114 million. Its overseas performance in important countries such as Great Britain, Germany and Russia has also been weak. Australia isn't look good we must report.

No, before you ask us, lead actor Ryan Reynolds will not be doing the red carpet premier in Australia, but I'll show up anyway to take some snaps and to (hopefully) enjoy the movie, but I know I will have my work cut cut out for me.

The secret to enjoying this movie is to enjoy the superhero genre, and not to expect too much. Excelsior (not). DC Comics or even Marvel Entertainment would struggle to get this into a thumbs up category, but DC Comics is going to do a sequel we hear - in order to attempt to at least break even.

Our friends at Box Office Mojo asked the well versed readers a question, and the results should send alarm bells ringing...

Do you want to see a sequel to 'Green Lantern?'

41.5% No.
33.6% Yes.
24.8% I don't care.

Future Of DC Superhero Flicks...

The future is already speculative, and this is especially true for DC superhero movies. We've got "The Dark Knight Rises,” the final chapter of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, coming out next season, followed by Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, "Man of Steel," circa June 2013. Later that year or in 2014, Warner could very well move forward with a second Green Lantern or Flash movie. Robinov said the studio has "a solid script". The exec also remains keen in bringing DC heroes together for a "Justice League" movie.

We like his ambition, but let's get the basics right at DC first, before unleashing the best you may have to offer.

The Players...

Director: Martin Campbell

Writer: Greg Berlanti

Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins

Producer: Greg Berlanti

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Green Lantern
http://greenlanternmovie.warnerbros.com

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http://www.dccomics.com

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http://www.warnerbros.com

Event Cinemas
http://www.eventcinemas.com.au

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

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Novel twist in Mosman bomb hoax; Saga continues - 7th August 2011

Police are investigating a new and dynamic twist in the case of a Sydney teenager targeted in an elaborate bomb hoax last week, after it was revealed the ransom note contained references to a famous novel that appears on the recommended reading list at a school attended by her brothers and mates.

It has emerged that James Clavell's 1966 novel Taipan is recommended reading at Sydney Church of England Grammar, also known as the Shore, a north shore private school.

Hoax victim Madeleine Pulver, 18, attends the school’s sister college Wenona, in North Sydney.

Last Wednesday the bomb squad was called to Ms Pulver’s parents’ luxury Mosman home, where they found the teen with a device, at the time thought to be a collar bomb, around her neck.

Ms Pulver spent ten hours in the device, which she said was attached to her by a masked intruder, but it was later revealed there was no explosive material in it.

It was accompanied by a ransom note which police have declined to describe in detail but have said that the note did not demand money.

The note made references to Tai-Pan and was signed using the name of the novel's violent protagonist.

Police are rather reluctant to draw a direct link between the book and the elaborate extortion attempt but State Crime Commander David Hudson advised police would investigate every lead.

"We start our investigations wide and then we shrink them — nothing is excluded which may assist us with our work," Assistant Commissioner Hudson told The Sunday Telegraph.

"I am not commenting on our present situation because it may compromise the investigation which we are conducting."

Shore headmaster Tim Wright has issued a written statement saying Taipan was not included on the school’s "wide reading list for 2011".

The Pulver family are moving forward with their life.

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