12/18/2010

Australian Gambling, Casino And Entertainment News, by Greg Tingle - 17th December 2010

G'day again punters, casino and gambling millionaires, billionaires, entertainment news junkies, insiders, outsiders, politicians, journalists and everyone else. Australia continues to be home to some of the world's hottest gambling, casino and entertainment news, and this bush tucker bag jam packed news update is no different. There's Australian Casino Wars, Aussie Media Wars, Wikileaks, casino lovers vs casino haters, casino and gambling politics and much more. Media Man and Gambling911 one again pound the pavement down under to deliver the news you've eagly been awaiting...

WikiLeaks Further Embarrasses Australian Government; Aussie PM Has Some Explaining To Do...

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is under massive pressure over her initial knee jerk reaction to the WikiLeaks controversy. At one point called the actions of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange "illegal". It was later downgraded to "grossly irresponsible". But at a press conference in Sydney there was a tune being played after an investigation by the Australian Federal Police. "The Government believed it was appropriate to refer the matter to the Australian Federal Police. We've done that now. We've received the advice and the advice is that there have been no breaches of Australian law," Gillard said. Gillard says she only meant it was against the law to steal classified cables, not release them as the whistleblower website has done in recent weeks. But Acting Opposition Leader Julie Bishop says Gillard should admit she went beyond that. "There is no room here for the Prime Minister to weasel out of it," she said. Bishop says Ms Gillard's comments were irresponsible. "She is a lawyer. She well knows about the presumption of innocence," she said. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says Gillard must formally retract her comments. "There's just some really important principles, not just fundamental legal principles, but obviously this gentleman has legal rights that should respected. I think it's very, very awkward for the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General to be rushing to judgment before any charges have even been brought in relation to these matters." Assange, who is wanted for questioning on sex assault charges in Sweden, was freed on bail by the High Court in London overnight. He is now at a friend's country home in Suffolk, where he must live until the start of his extradition hearing on February 7. Assange has denied the Swedish charges against him and his legal team have said they are worried about the possibility of him being extradited to face possible espionage charges in the US. He thanked his supporters and said the release of classified US cables would continue. More poker to WikiLeaks.

Crown Casino Continue To Rake Up Fines...

Crown Casino was fined about $45,000 by Victoria's gaming watchdog, over the past financial year. In one breech of the state's gaming rules, a baby in a pram was allowed onto the casino's gaming floor. The Commission for Gambling Regulation also detected instances of card games being played with incomplete decks!

Aussie Elle 'The Body' Macpherson To Team Up With Sarah Murdoch As Foxtel Host; On-Air Ambassador...

'The Body' been signed up for an exclusive promotional campaign for 2011 and will also appear on the first season of Britain's Next Top Model, which begins on FOX8 next month. Macpherson was one linked with British casino entrepreneur, Damian Aspinall. Murdoch will play host and executive produce Australia's Next Top Model, after she famously dumped Granada Media, the production firm responsible for the TV year's biggest blunder in which Murdoch announced the wrong winner! Just imagine if you have money riding on it. Foxtel will compete with 16 free-to-air channels next year.

Aussie Pokie Venues Giving Too Much To Charity!...

Clubs ACT says Canberra's licensed clubs are continually giving more to community groups than they are required to by law. An ACT Government report found in the last fin year Canberra's top earning pokies venues donated only 13% of net gambling revenue compared to the 44% by lower earning clubs. The total contribution to charitable and social welfare causes fell by 25% to about $840,000. Clubs ACT chief executive Geoff House says clubs are contributing more than legally required. "The report looks at designated community contributions and it doesn't actually cover those things which fall outside the legislated definition of community contributions so there's a lot more clubs do that aren't reflected in the report. Clubs are continuing to provide between 2 and 7 x what they are required to provide in the legislation and they have consistently done that over the years despite falling gaming revenue, despite increase in taxes and other pressures in terms of their trading environment." Yep, its the club pokies lovers VS the club pokies haters. Insiders tip the powerful club sector will eventually win via knock out blow to the Australian government, as ambitious as it sounds. Stranger things have happened, and continue to.

Ex CEO Resigns From National Leisure and Gaming...

Former National Leisure and Gaming (NLG) CEO Andrew Jolliffe has resigned from his dual role of non-executive director and corporate advisor to the pub group. In late June Jolliffe quit his post as NLG CEO and MD citing a desire to explore other opportunities in the liquor and gaming sector. It now appears that these journeys into other ventures have created a potential conflict of interests with the company announcing that Jolliffe will depart his remaining posts from December 31, 2010. It is unknown if NLG has a non-executive director successor in mind. In a statement, the company’s chairman, Peter Dransfield thanked Jolliffe for his "outstanding contribution to the company".

Aristocrat Leisure Gets Much Needed New Blood...

Gaming giant Aristocrat Leisure has announced that David Banks has been nominated by its board as a non-executive director, subject to regulatory approvals. The appointment became effective from November 15. Banks has more than 25 years experience in the industrial, entertainment and gaming industries in financial, operating and strategic planning roles. Previously the CEO (Casinos Division) of Tabcorp Holdings and CEO of Star City Holdings, Banks was most recently the group chief operating officer of Galaxy Entertainment Group based in Macau. He is a former president of the Australian Casinos Association and a former director of the Australian Gambling Council. Shareholders will be asked to appoint Banks as a director of the company at the 2011 AGM. His appointment will not to take effect until the receipt of all relevant regulatory pre-approvals. "I am delighted to welcome a director of David’s calibre to the Board," said Aristocrat’s chairman (elect) Dr Ian Blackburne. "His deep industry knowledge and insights, in particular in the Australian and Macau markets, will be a valuable addition to the Board and the Company as a whole. I congratulate David on his nomination and look forward to his contribution." Aristocrat will need all the good fortune they can get, with their share price having been hammered as of late, not to mention a legal challenge from U.S poker machine giant International Game Technology aka I.G.T.

Greens Party And Australian Labour Party Cut Deal On Pokies...

The ACT Greens say they have struck a deal with the Government on a plan for an extra tax on poker machines. The new bill will require gaming machine owners to increase the level of contributions to the community by 0.6 per cent, raising about $1 million a year for a problem gambling fund. The change would start in July 2010. Greens Leader Meredith Hunter says she is hopeful the bill will now pass in the Legislative Assembly. But she says she is disappointed the tax is now lower than what her party had originally sought. "But this is a significant increase in the amount of revenue that will go towards support services for problem gamblers research and other related services that we really do need in our community. That money will be distributed out to organisations who can provide services to problem gamblers, their families or could be directed towards research. It puts in place a clear transparent accountable process to distribute those dollars where they are needed." The Opposition will also propose the establishment of a Gaming Advisory Board. We haven't heard the end of this one.

Australia's Privacy Act Needs To Be Updated For Biometrics Pokie Tech...

Australia's Privacy Act will need to be toughened and guidelines created if the federal government wants to use "biometric" technology in its plans to slow down the use of pokies, according to a peak technology group. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard warned the states that the government will impose regulation if a mandatory "pre-commitment technology" to curb poker machine use is not in place by May. The Biometrics Institute general manager Isabelle Moeller said that strict national laws restricting the use of captured data would be required to ensure clubs, pubs and casinos adequately protect and do not abuse sensitive customer information.

Awards...

Last month was a big month for casino awards. Let's have a look...

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has also come back with seconds, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for November, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

Oh, we almost forgot...Media Man and Casino News Media 'Casino Babe Of The Month': Jenny Woo, 'Poker Babe': Kara Scott, 'Gambling Babe Personality': Pamela Anderson.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Tell us in the forum.

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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