Australian Casino Wars: Crown Casino VS Star City, by Greg Tingle - 16th December 2010

G'day punters, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, entertainment news junkies, journos... one and all. It's a very special edition of the Australian casino wars, as Melbourne's Crown Casino and 'Sin City' Sydney's Star City fight it out for the creme of the celebrities, big names, politicians and other entities to try to outdo each other as the war continues. Media Man and Gambling911 with Crown Limited's Crown Casino VS Tabcorp's Star City casino war. Incoming...

Many gaming and media analysts are jokingly comparing it to a real life 'Call of Duty' Black Opps' mission (with a shade of 'Casino Royale' and 'Dirty Deeds'), as the competing land based casinos continue to battle, fighting for the creme of Australian and international celebrities, high rolling whales, big fat media deals, and you get the idea. The casinos have been firing off shots at each other, and laying down bait to get who and what they want. Both competing casino bunkers are also investing towards 1 million dollars all told into their respective infrastructure, with world class restaurants being added, world class entertainment - concert auditorium works, private jet fleet expansion, and even a few management reshuffles and cullings.

Crown's Packer is opting for a more Australian full on entertainment factors, while also employing 1000's of Australians, some as part of his commitment to Indigenous Australia via GenerationOne, assisted by Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, while Tabcorp now has roughly half of their management been Yankee's - yep, Americans, and the marketing firm that has also helped them with their strategy is also from the States.

Who And What Was On At Crown Casino And Star City?...

The one and only Oprah 'O' Winfrey and a number of her 300 guests are understood to have checked out both Crown and Star City earlier in the week. Details are sketchy, but both casinos got the thumbs up mate.

Last night its fair to say that Star City got the best of Crown, with rock gods Bon Jovi performing quite the rock and roll show revival, helping relaunch Star City as one of Australia's greatest entertainment venues. Jon got the crowd out of their seats with a "This is not TV - get up out of your seats," Bon Jovi demanded, flashing that brilliant white smile. The band performed classics such as You Give Love a Bad Name, It's my Life, Keep the Faith, Wanted Dead or Alive, Livin' on a Prayer and Bad Medicine. Souths Rabbitohs star owner Russell Crowe, pulled off a huge marketing coup, persuading the US rock legend superstar to wear a Rabbitohs jersey for the encore of the performance. Crowe's Souths chief executive Shane Richardson was able to confirm that the band's lead singer had joined the club as an ordinary member on Tuesday. "Russell you got me to wear your team's jersey," Bon Jovi bellowed out. Bon Jovi will perform 3 concerts at Sydney Football Stadium starting tonight - Thursday.

Bob Geldof Catches Oprah and Star City Mania...

Geldof, not a huge gambling fans, caught a flight into Sydney yesterday, just in time to catch the Bon Jovi's private concert for Oprah Winfrey's guests at Star. Geldof was well received, as was the Oprah special TV audience guests. 'O' and her 300 travelling guests are understood to have loved the show. Geldof will have a second outing in the Lyric Theatre tonight.

Crown Casino of course remains home to Shane Warne's 'Warnie' hit TV talk show, and will also be host to the return on Network Nine's 'This Is Your Life' airing early in the new year, hosted by Eddie 'Everywhere" McGuire. As always, Crown will be hanging on to the TV Week 'Logies', which last year was the scene of the 'Twitter Gate' scandal, which saw at least one media head roll, much to the delight of Australia's media, entertainment (and gaming) sector.

Crown's James Packer Continues To Talk Down Crown Bid For Tabcorp's Star...

Packer recently told shareholders, yep including yours truly, a move to take over the gambling arm of Tabcorp (Star City etc) "take a lot of work and a lot of money".
JP, who has previously expressed a keen interest in acquiring the Tabcorp-owned Star City casino in Sydney, told shareholders he did not want to speculate on Tabcorp's move to separate its wagering and casino operations. He basically hinted that his main priority was the ongoing $2 billion redevelopment of Crown Melbourne and Burswood, which he said was just beginning to generate revenue improvements, as well as Crown's interest in the City of Dreams gaming complex up north in Macau. He chose not to directly answer a shareholder's question on whether a Crown Limited bid for the Tabcorp assets would face a potential challenge from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, but we suspect it might, as the casino sector gets so much scrutiny. "We are watching what's happening (on Tabcorp) through the demerger process," Packer said. "At the moment, we think there is still a lot of work to be done to make our properties in Perth, Melbourne and Macau as good as they can be. And I think Tabcorp properties will take a lot of work and a lot of money."

Crown's Burswood Entertainment Complex In Perth May Cop Fine For $320,000 Error In Punter's Favor!...

Burswood now faces a large fine after having admitted in a court of law just yesterday that it accidental paid a losing card player $320,000! The odd offence was reported to authorities by the casino itself, the Perth Magistrate's Court was told. This is one of a number of strange legal situations that have arose for Crown Limited over the years including a Ferrari thief caper, a man stuck in a Crown kitchen vent, Twitter Gate at Crown's Logies, totally wasted (drunk) AFL players at Crown Casino including 'Our Fev', battle royale style fights in the casino and plenty more. Back to matters at hand, Burswood Casino, admitted a mistake in relation to gaming. The prosecuting lawyer Brendyn Nelson advised the casino made a mistake when its chief operating officer allowed the payout on a game of baccarat on April 16. It all went down at the table after a punter claimed the bet had been misplaced. The player had made 2 bets, 1 of $50,000 in the banker betting area of the game and $40,000 in the banker pairs betting area. According to the official rules of the game, the gambler should have lost the banker pairs bet. The max bet allowable to be placed on banker pairs is $20,000. The gambler should have lost $20,000 and the other $20,000 placed on the game should have been returned by the casino, Nelson told the court. The punter complained the bet was to have been made differently, as a "tie wager", which would have meant a win. The casino's chief operating officer Richard Calendar was called and rather surprisingly ruled in the punter's favour, declaring the wager which was placed in the banker pairs area would be treated as a "tie wager", thus giving the "whale" (or "dolphin plus") the significant payout from the table float. Under the Casino Control Act, any anomaly must be reported to the Department of Racing, Gaming and Liquor. The casino's independent surveillance team reported the incident to the department, which referred the matter to the Gaming and Wagering Commission. The casino's lawyer Joshua Preston said his client pleaded "guilty". Magistrate Barbara Lane said she would need time to consider the sentence for the unusual offence. She is expected to deliver the sentence on on the 7th of January, in the new year. Nelson advised similar matters had seen fines in the region of $5000.

Crown Punters Calling For Sinatra, Kerry Packer And Underbelly Themed Slot Games...

Patrons of Crown's Melbourne and Perth land based casinos keep asking for a Sinatra, Kerry Packer and Underbelly themed slot games, but so far have found no joy. Some of the switched on customers have noticed an online Sinatra games via a PartyGaming casino, but it's not exactly what they wanted for Christmas. Insiders say there's more chance Crown will get 'The Godfather', 'Marvel Heroes', 'Tomb Raider' and 'This Is Your Life' slot, before their real want list. Rumblings say its a 50-50 bet if they will get 'Underbelly', which happens to be returning to TV channel Nine early into the new year. 'Dirty Deeds' is also been talked about at the bar by some patrons, but due to the negative gambling aspects of the movie, talk is that's only a 30% chance of that game themed being adopted. Aw well, you've got to be in it to win it.

Crown Casino and Star City Aware Of Online Gaming Opportunities; Pro Active On Website Upgrades And B2b...

Crown Casino is generally seen to have the upper hand over Star City in the online space. Having said that, both firms have a few irons in the fire which are yet to be unleashed. Crown Limited has been pro actively promoting its Burswood Entertainment Complex - Burswood Poker on Facebook, and PartyGaming and a swag of other companies have been sending online pokers into the Crown Casino Aussie Millions Poker Championship. Star has its own Twitter account, but it's yet to ramp up, but in Star's defence, one of Star City's drinking holes and clubs, Sports Theatre & Bar does has its own dedicated Twitter account, and it's pro active.

Crown Limited and Tabcorp are closely watching a number of international online gaming entities, including but not limited to PartyGaming Playtech, and Virgin Games. Packer also holds a 50% stake in Betfair and he's expected to ramp up online gaming, them gambling, as part of his well publicised but into to Ten Network Holdings. Crown Limited is a big believer in responsible gambling, Tabcorp have also got more with the program, putting more safeguards in place, and Gambling911 and Media Man also continue to spread the message for punters to "bet with their head, not over it", whether they play at a land based venue or online. For the record, few in the land casino casino (or pub) industry are totally sold on the idea of punter fingerprint technology, as its widely seen as abuse of human rights and privacy, plus studies have show that the system can be beaten also, so in short, fingerprint tech just wouldn't property work. Both casinos, and casinos around the world, continue to have great success with the "eye in the sky", backed up by other CCTV and muscled up and switched on security offers. The casinos also have excellent lines of communications with both their state police department and the Australian Federal Police. Both casinos have looked at their casino chip technology, and fraud is understood to have dropped off massively in the past month, after a couple of high profile raids busting casino gang fraudsters and other undesirables who were frequenting Crown and Star.

Well done to both Star City and Crown Casino for providing an excellent array of entertainment, games, news and gossip this year.

We're certain the Australian Casino Wars will continue to escalate into the new year, as the "whale hunt", celeb lures and bait, entertainment spectaculars, fine dining, 5 star rooms, and other secret strategies continued to be unveiled. May the best casino win, and don't hold back. We're betting on World War III, soon after both giant players have enjoyed their Christmas turkey and shrimps on the barbie. Ok whales, you're throw of the dice.

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CWN: $8.150

TAH: $7.09

Wrap Up...

An exciting year full of developments for the Australian casino management, staff, customers and guests, which also contained a high political aspect. Congratulations to both casinos for their extra steps in helping ensure customers bet within their limits, boosting security, getting more great games, and generally just making their premises much more enjoyable places to visit. We'll be spending much more time at Crown and Star into the new year. Stay tuned for more of the best on gambling, media, entertainment and sports right here with Media Man and Gambling911.

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

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

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