3/31/2012

Bwin.party jumps on good results; Bwin.party earnings up, ready for regulatory changes

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LONDON - Online gaming firm bwin.party digital entertainment leapt into the top spot after it posted a robust set of full year earnings and believes it is well placed to take advantage of regulatory and technological shifts in its industry. Private equity investment firm 3i was another big riser after it revealed in a trading statement that, after a tough start to the year, market sentiment has improved in the last couple of months, leading to a strong performance in the company's investment portfolio - although the rally has come a bit late to have a significant effect on performance in 3i's current financial year, which runs to the end of March. Meanwhile, transport firm FirstGroup (Other OTC: FGROF.PK - news) was the biggest faller after it said lower economic activity in the north of England is putting pressure on its UK Bus business. The group says like-for-like revenues in UK Bus, in the 12 months to the end of March, will be 1.5% ahead of 2010-2011. The North of England and Scotland however are seeing "considerably lower" growth rates and that's where 60% of revenues are generated. FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) - Risers Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 154.20p +5.47% 3i Group (III) 210.80p +3.33% Ruspetro (RPO) 207.50p +2.52% Drax Group (Frankfurt: A0MK9W - news) (DRX) 537.00p +2.38% Ferrexpo (Stuttgart: A0MRG2 - news) (FXPO) 298.20p +1.95% New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 437.40p +1.67% Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 458.30p +1.39% Sports Direct International (SPD) 285.90p +1.31% Kenmare Resources (Irish: JEV.IR - news) (KMR) 49.18p +1.30% Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,035.00p +1.13% FTSE 250 - Fallers FirstGroup (Frankfurt: 896516 - news) (FGP) 249.30p -13.77% National Express Group (NEX) 236.80p -6.03% Dixons Retail (Other OTC: DSITF.PK - news) (DXNS) 18.25p -5.24% TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 137.60p -5.10% Barratt Developments (BDEV) 139.00p -4.92% Petropavlovsk (Other OTC: PPLKF.PK - news) (POG) 592.00p -4.67% Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,242.00p -4.53% Northgate (Other OTC: NGTEF.PK - news) (NTG) 206.30p -4.40% Centamin (DI) (CEY) 68.05p -4.22% Essar Energy (Dusseldorf: 11224817.DU - news) (ESSR) 145.80p -4.08% NR

Bwin.party earnings up, ready for regulatory changes...

LONDON, March 29 - Bwin.party Digital (BPTY.L), the world's largest listed online gaming company, reported a rise in earnings in its maiden set of results and said it was well-placed to take advantage of regulatory and technological shifts in the gaming industry.

The company, which was formed by the merger of Austria's Bwin and PartyGaming last year, reported a 3 percent rise in clean EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) to 199.3 million euros ($264.8 million) in 2011.

The Gibraltar-based firm said synergies coming through faster than expected had offset increased gaming duties in regulated markets, pushing earnings up to just shy of consensus analyst estimates of 202 million euros provided by Bwin.party.

"We expect to gain competitive advantage this year from additional scale and improved flexibility that will flow from the integration and migration of our main products to a single technology platform," co-chief executives Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger said in a statement.

Bwin.party said pro forma total revenue inched up to 816 million euros, compared to 814 million euros in 2010, despite the closures of its French casino and the World Cup football tournament in 2010.

The firm said current trading was robust with average gross average daily revenue 2 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2011 at 2.93 million euros.

"We have secured strong business partners in the United States ahead of any regulation there and have also applied for a license in Spain which is expected to regulate in the second quarter of this year," Ryan and Teufelberger said.

The company has also applied for a license in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany.

The firm said it will add more casino games, improve poker and bingo offerings, and prepare for the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer competition and the London 2012 Olympics.

Bwin.party will pay a final dividend of 1.56 pence per share, making a total of 3.12 pence per share for the year.

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Paris Hilton, Friends, Hollywood Celebrities Open Marquee The Star, Sydney, Australia - 30th March 2012

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Australian entertainment and nightclub fans, and all you celebrity watchers out there... It's time for yet another showbiz update.

The Star's new nightclub Marquee in "Sin City" Sydney, Australia tonight held their grand opening last night and the ultimate party girl herself - Paris Hilton, along with boyfriend DJ Afrojack, and a bush tucker bag of friends and associates including Ashlee Simpson, Nick Lachey, Kellan Lutz, Abbie Cornish and LMFAO's Redfoo helped get the party started on the red (purple) carpet. By the way, the colour purple is supposed to attract money we understand, and it was working for Ms Hilton.

The gamble to sign up Paris and friends appears to have paid off, as far as attracting international headlines, but only time will tell what it does to the bottom line of The Star (once known as Star City Casino).

The Australian contingent of celebs who attended included Laura Dundovic, Alex Dimitriades, Glenn and Sara McGrath, Alex Perry, Nikki Phillips, Didier Cohen, April Rose Pengilly, Tim Commandeur, Laura Cstortan and Chris Joannou.

Marquee is understood to have snatched big dollars tonight, along with some positive press, but upping the ante in star power. Just how much it cost The Star to bring in Ms Hilton is anyone's guess but a well known media agency in Sydney estimated "between $50,000 to $150,000 for Ms Hilton and friends", but don't ever expect to find out the real figure as agents and legal eagles will be guarding that information from falling into the media and public domain.

The official VIP launch party featured DJ sets from The Black Eye Peas, will.i.am and Afrojack, with boat loads of celebs.

The 20,000 square foot nightclub occupies the entire top tier of The Star’s new Pirrama Road harbour side entrance. It enjoys a 1,200 people capacity and is aiming to fill up the venue with the right sort of customers. It's understood that there's three separate spaces within the one venue, and there was something for everyone's mood and taste.

The Main Room sports a 30-foot projection stage with an LED DJ booth and two funky dance floors, while another section entitled 'Boom Box' has an outdoor patio and DJ booth. For those guests who are looking for a bit more intimacy... and we know your out there boys and girls, there's a "library-style" lounge room along with fireplace, where you might want to get all cosy with your best friends.

The new sexy nightclub is a joint effort between The Star and Tao Group, which operates very successful nightclubs in the United States including LAVO in New York and Las Vegas, TAO Las Vegas and Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

We think its a pretty safe bet that you and yours will have fun (and spend a few dollars) at The Star's Marquee, so why not give them a go and tell us all about your experience.

It's all just another move in the Australian casino and entertainment wars, with a good dash of tourism biz factored in, and hopefully the public and Sydney benefit.

Competitor of sorts, Crown Limited, is following the progress of Sydney based 'The Star' closely, and the two gaming companies fight for the entertainment and gambling dollar, with big name celebs and casino "whales" being the most sought after patrons.

The Star will no doubt be hosting more celeb filled parties, but its unclear when Ms Hilton is returning to party (and pick up another payday). No word yet if she's got a whole floor to herself to sleep in and party (like Leonardo DiCaprio did on his previous down under Australian visits), but we highly suspect so.

Will you be on 'The List' any time soon at Marquee? Well, dress the part, work hard, and play harder, and you may soon be partying along with some of the world's hottest socialites.

If your into the best nightlife that Sydney has to offer you owe it to yourself to take the gamble and get on over to Marquee all you cool cats out there.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the event a hot success, and Paris - we hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Australia.

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3/25/2012

Entertainment, Celebrity And Gaming News; Australia, Hollywood And Internet World

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Hugh "The Wolverine" Jackman punches Russell "The Gladiator" Crowe in play...

Hugh Jackman tried to punch Russell Crowe as many times as possible during rehearsals for theatre production Les Miserables.

The Australian star keeps asking to re-shoot fight scenes where he knocks Crowe out, because he enjoys it so much.

A source told The Sun newspaper: "The crew find it hilarious as Crowe would obviously sweep the floor with Jackman in real life.

"Hugh keeps ribbing Russell and winding him up but he's been getting his own back by calling Hugh a twirlie, which is showbiz speak for a singer/dancer."

Although Jackman has always had to be in good shape to play muscular superhero Wolverine in the X-Men films, he was recently told he had to bulk up to play the character in the next movie, The Wolverine, as he had lost so many pounds while appearing in Hugh Jackman: Back On Broadway.

He said: "The studio wants me to bulk up. Singing and dancing makes the suits nervous because weight just falls off me, but I'd rather sing and dance on Broadway than make movies."

Crowe is also no stranger to long fight scenes, having undergone gruelling shoots against Michael Shannon in Superman: Man of Steel, in which he played the titular superhero's father.

He tweeted: "15km bike ride, umpteen hours fighting Michael Shannon. He's very hard to put down. Hard to tell who wins, we are still fighting tomorrow. (sic)"


The Star Casino Nightclub To Lure Paris Hilton, Boyfriend And Clique - End Of Month...

It's been mixed headlines for The Star over the past month, but the powers that be are hoping the ship will turn around after re pushing the celebrity card, now looking to have netted Paris Hilton and friends.

The Star in 'Sin City' Sydney will fly in some big name celebs to help launch its new nightclub, Marquee.

It sounds like its going to be a huge night come March 30, and one of the hottest tickets in town we bet.

Dutch producer and DJ Afrojack (Nick van de Wall) is signed up, and Paris Hilton is as close to 100% as you can get.

The heiress recently fuelled the rumours when she posted this message on Twitter: "Congrats @NoahTepperberg on@MarqueeSydney! @DJAfrojack is gonna kill it at the opening party down there! I love #Australia!"

The casino is looking to throw off the negative press that came its way re the the surprise departure of former boss Sid Vaikunta.

Marquee is a joint venture with Tao Group, which is responsible for America's biggest nightclubs, including Tao in Las Vegas and New York, and Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub in Las Vegas.

Marquee's Vegas managed to snatch the likes of Rihanna, Beyonce, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, and 'Sin City' version is hoping to at least equal that.


Are Bruce Willis And Sylvester Stallone’s Wives Joining Season 3 Of Real Housewives of Beverly Wills?...

Maybe! There has been many rumors that Sylvester Stallone’s wife, Jennifer Flavin was asked to join season 3 of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills but no confirmation just yet. The National Enquirer is now reporting that Jennifer is "heavily recruiting" close friend and Bruce Willis wife Emma Heming to join the show as well! A hollywood pal told The Enquirer, "They know each other from their modeling days, and Jen thinks the two of them together can ‘take over’ the show – and she loves that their hubbies are friends too!"

So how exactly does Bruce and Sly feel about this? The leak says, "While Jennifer says Sly is totally supportive of the idea, she’s trying to get Emma to convince Bruce that this would be a good thing. He’s wary because Emma is about to become a first-time mom. He’s also not thrilled about having a reality TV crew following them everywhere." The two couples were seen having dinner last week and apparently "Bruce told Jennifer he would consider the idea. But first he wants to get past the impending arrival of his new baby."


Brummer 'acted in self-defence' during nightclub scuffle...

The former Home and Away heart-throb allegedly attempted to bite one man, and punched and kicked another in the scuffle at the city's Crown Casino after the actor was turned away from a Logie Awards afterparty in May (11).

Brummer appeared in court in Melbourne on Friday (23 Mar 12) to face charges of unlawful assault and attempting to commit an indictable offence for allegedly trying to bite the security guard.

However the actor's lawyer, Andrew Dickenson, argued the incident was "largely a case of self-defence" as Brummer was being restrained by up to five guards and had his hands tied.

Dickenson asked for the case to be reviewed at a diversion hearing, which allows first-time offenders to escape a conviction by making amends for their actions.

The magistrate granted the request and the diversion hearing will be held on 1 May (12).


Soapies star tried to bite bouncer - court...

Former soapie star Dieter Brummer will reappear in court in May for allegedly trying to bite, push and kick Crown Casino security guards on Logies night.

Brummer, 36, was outside a Logies after-party at Melbourne's Crown Casino on May 2 last year when he was restrained by up to five security guards aka "gorillas in suits".

Melbourne Magistrates Court heard Brummer tried to bite one of the guards and pushed and kicked another.

But his lawyer argued he was acting in self-defence.

Brummer, who shot to stardom on Home and Away and more recently starred in two Underbelly series, appeared in court on Friday facing nine charges.

Defence lawyer Andrew Dickenson said Brummer had been restrained by up to five security guards during the scuffle, had a bloodied nose and his hands tied when he lashed out.

"Largely this is a case of self-defence, but whether or not it's reasonable under the circumstances" he told the court.

The court heard Brummer had drugs in his possession but they were later found to be prescription medication.

Mr Dickenson asked for the matter to be referred for a diversion hearing, given the circumstances.

Magistrate Ann Collins initially had reservations, but agreed after hearing Brummer's claim of self-defence.

"Clearly these sorts of incidents are not the sort of incidents that would be diverted," she said.

The prosecution said the security guards were 'amenable' to the matter proceeding as a diversion.

Two of the nine charges will proceed: attempting to commit an indictable offence and unlawful assault.

Brummer was ordered to reappear in court on May 1 for a diversion hearing, under a program which allows first-time offenders to avoid a criminal conviction.

Brummer, a winner of two silver Logie awards, walked from the court with his lawyer without speaking to news media.


Red Dog Film To Become Musical; Set For The Star Lyric Theatre Sydney...

Like The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - and Strictly Ballroom next year - the hit Australian film Red Dog is to become a stage musical.

Theatrical producer John Frost and film producer Nelson Woss will meet next week to thrash out ideas for Red Dog the Musical.

Frost, who has An Officer and a Gentleman opening at Sydney's Lyric theatre in May, says the new show (''music by Bach?'') is at least two years away. He thinks the story is likely to stay "pretty close" to the warm-hearted film, which was based on a true story about a free-spirited red Kelpie who united an outback mining community in the 1970s. And he hopes to do what Woss managed with the film - attract such big mining companies as Rio Tinto and Woodside as investors.

"These shows cost 7 or 8 million dollars," he told The Herald's Garry Maddox. "It's a lot of money to raise. It'll probably end up costing more than the film cost, as did Priscilla."

The Media Man publicity and internet agency just loves the idea. "Ruff and ready, and should make a motza of money for any half decent theatre that takes it on", a insider was overhead saying.

The Star Casino Fun And Games...

Timing is everything, as management at The Star discovered when the millions spent on flashy parties and celebrities backfired after boss Sid Vaikunta was sacked for inappropriate behaviour. Now the casino has yet another big-name party to launch its new nightclub Marquee, sister club to its racy Las Vegas counterpart famed for celebrity high jinks. Enlisted for the launch next Friday are Afrojack, Bobby Burns and Redfoo, of LMFAO fame and the hit song Sexy and I Know It. Team Media Man and Music News Australia is pretty keen to come to the afterparty, and we're not that hard to find kids.


Marc Webb Talks Amazing Spider-Man...

Director Marc Webb reveals several details for the upcoming reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man.

Talking at the WonderCon that is currently being held in Anaheim, California, check out what director Marc Webb has to say regarding the upcoming movie, The Amazing Spider-Man..

The Amazing Spider-Man follows Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), a teenager who is an outcast from high school and abandoned by his parents when he was young and is now living with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field), spends his days trying to unravel the mystery of his own past and winning the heart of his high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase belonging to his dad which leads him to his dad's former partner, Dr. Connors (Rhys Ifans). The discovery of his father's secret will ultimately shape his destiny of becoming "Spider-Man" and bring him face to face with Connors" alter ego, the Lizard. Under the direction of Marc Webb, the movie will swing in to theaters on July 3, 2012.


Official Marvel Avengers Colognes Hit the Online Marketplace...

After debuting at the International Toy Fair, Avengers colognes become available for public purchase online and at select comic stores throughout the U.S. and Canada

HUNT VALLEY, Md., March 22, 2012 - After debuting at the International Toy Fair in true Super Hero fashion, JADS International, LLC, a company producing fine fragrances worldwide, is proud to announce that official Marvel's The Avengers Colognes are now available for public purchase through the company's online marketplace (www.jadsinternational.com). Anticipation and excitement for the colognes and perfume has been building as the May 4 premiere of Marvel's The Avengers draws near.

"Demand for our official Avengers cologne and perfume has been, pardon the pun, out of this world and we are happy to report that fans can now get their hands on our products before the film premieres," said Andrew Levine, Chief Executive Officer of JADS. "Everyone has conventional cologne and perfume at home, but we take it to another level by offering supernatural scents that will empower and bring out the Super Hero in all of us."

The JADS Spring 2012 Line for Marvel's The Avengers is most accessible online and includes:

The Avengers Cologne Set (four 60ml Eud du Toilette Vaporisateur Spray Colognes, $59.99). Set includes four heroic fragrances:

Patriot Cologne, Your Attack Plan: inspired by Captain America, pays homage to the confident, stand-up to bullies, hard working average Joe in everyman. The cologne features hints of green lime and white pepper with finishes of dry oak wood, sandalwood and tequila.

Mark VII Cologne, Armor Up: inspired by Iron Man, combines mandarin and jasmine with light patchouli to create a contemporary expression of "I don't play well with others" confidence; leaving you ready for whatever a genius, billionaire, playboy-philanthropist might encounter throughout their day.

Worthy Cologne, Posses the Power: inspired by Thor, is a woody citrus cologne with a combination of bergamot, frozen ginger and wheatgrass blended with a hint of fresh natural grapefruit and layered with cypress; creating a deep dry masculine almost "God-like" musk.

SMASH!, Be Angry: inspired by Hulk, is a clean scent with clear top notes of water lily and nutmeg, which carries on an intense woody dry down, enriched with Indian sandalwood, dry musk and warm cedar. Complimentary to full range emotions, it wears well at work, in the lab, or an evening out on the town.

Additional Scents:

Black Widow Perfume (50ml Vaporisateur Eau de Parfum, $29.99) – Russian spy, trained assassin, world-class ballerina, girl from legal department. This perfume has a clear shot of citrus slowly giving way to sensual caramel and honey. The scent dries down with a blend of bitter chocolate, clear patchouli and praline.

Infinity Formula Cologne (100ml Eud du Toilette Vaporisateur Spray Cologne, $29.99) – Inspired by Nick Fury, CIC of S.H.I.E.L.D., this cologne is a seductive fragrance for not just any man; but only for those who will risk everything to keep the dream of freedom alive. And sure, you could describe it as a citron cocktail smoothed over with a couple of stiff shots of tonka bean and guaiac wood; or you could just put it on and know it makes you smell good.

Mischief Cologne (100ml Eud du Toilette Vaporisateur Spray Cologne, $29.99) – Inspired by Thor's bad brother, Loki, this unisex fragrance combines a base of green tea and amber with bergamot and cardamom in a dangerous-sexy, yet playful way that wears well on anyone; day or night.
All fragrances are made in the U.S., never tested on animals and are cruelty free.

More information and additional comic inspired cologne and perfume lines are available on www.jadsinternational.com. The website also supplies a list of comic retailers selling the products.

About Marvel's The Avengers Marvel Studios presents "Marvel's The Avengers"—the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, and written and directed by Joss Whedon, "Marvel's The Avengers" is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series "The Avengers," first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since. Prepare yourself for an exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects, when "Marvel's The Avengers" assemble in summer 2012.

About Marvel Entertainment Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of over 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit www.marvel.com. Super Hero(es) is a co-owned registered trademark.

About JADS International, LLC. JADS is a worldwide fragrance company built on the principles of developing and marketing niche high quality products and providing exceptional service at a fair price. Our diversified product range continues to grow by setting trends, improving our standard products, and most importantly, listening to the customer to exceed their expectations. Well known JADS fragrance collections include Star Trek (Tiberius Cologne for Men, Pon Farr Perfume for Her, Red Shirt Cologne, Shirtless Kirk Cologne and Sulu Pour Homme), Star Wars (Slave Leia Perfume, Eau Lando Cologne), and Marvel (The Avengers, Spiderman Cologne and Deadpool Cologne). For more information, visit www.jadsinternational.com.


The Godfather Movie Franchise Turns 40...

Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather turns 40 this weekend, a surprisingly ripe old age for a movie that hasn't aged a bit.

One of the great American movies, The Godfather hasn't stopped influencing popular culture since the day it was released.

Martin Scorsese owes much of his career to it, The Sopranos wouldn't have made sense without it, and VH1's reality show Mob Wives is a winking travesty of it.

The film's alluring portrait of the mob as Old World charmers with ice-cold hearts appears again and again in crime films, comedies, video games, comic books, hip-hop videos - the list goes on. In fact, nearly anything that focuses on organized crime, corporate gamesmanship or the glories of patriarchy - from HBO's The Wire to AMC's Mad Men - seems unable to escape the long, broad-shouldered shadow of The Godfather. You can even play The Godfather online slot game at Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment owned PartyCasino.com Tell 'em the Media Man sent you.

But for all its heavy themes (immigration, politics, business, the American dream), The Godfather is also vastly entertaining. It's a grand, macho soap opera full of unfettered ids, violently settled scores and men wearing enviable suits. And talk about a bromance: Have you ever seen so many guys hugging and kissing in a Hollywood movie?


Miranda Kerr and Jen Hawkins among richest models in the world...

Australian models Miranda Kerr, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Jennifer Hawkins and Elle Macpherson have all made Grazia's model rich list.

The magazine published a list of the 11 highest paid models in the world in its latest issue and listed Kershaw's earnings as more than the royals.

They reported the Melbourne-born model earns $100, 000 a week, making her one of the highest paid models on the planet.

Supermodel mum Kerr has a net worth of $11.4 million, while Hawkins earns $5 million a year.

However, industry veteran Macpherson dwarfs all of their salaries with a total worth of $57 million.

Kathy Ireland was listed as the richest model in the world with a fortune of $333 million. Controversial supermodel Kate Moss is worth $75 million, while her rival Naomi Campbell has $47 million.

Tipped by Forbes to become the "world's first billionaire supermodel", Gisele Bundchen is well on her way with an estimated fortune of $238 million.

Runway stalwarts Claudia Schiffer and Heidi Klum are worth $52 and $68 million respectively.

TV personality Tyra Banks is another one of the big earners with profits from her television and beauty empire worth $85 million.


Producer Offers Update On Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’...

After a ton of casting news followed by some very basic set photos, all’s been quiet on the Django Unchained front for some time now. That’s because writer/director Quentin Tarantino has been working hard with his amazing cast (Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Don Johnson, Christoph Waltz, Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony LaPaglia) to complete the film, which is aimed at a December 25 release date.

I’ve seen some stuff and it’s amazing. We’re still shooting and my partner Stacey [Sher] is producing with Pilar Savone who worked for Quentin and Reggie Hudlin. I’m exec-producing and we’re like, maybe, half-way through. You have no idea. It’s the most amazing film cause, as you know, it’s a spaghetti western about slavery and Quentin’s vocabulary is such that it’s just pure entertainment, Leonardo’s the bad guy, it’s gonna be awesome.

That’s the update on a film that’s still in production but Shamberg not only produced Pulp Fiction for Tarantino, he’s also did The Big Chill, Reality Bites, A Fish Called Wanda, Out of Sight, Contagion and many more. Not a bad track record. And it’s good to know they’re about half way done.

In the film Jamie Foxx plays Django, a slave freed by a bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). The pair team up to free Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) who is held captive by plantation owner and slave runner Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.


Smelly Leo DiCaprio not a shower man, says girlfriend Erin Heatherton...

Leonardo DiCaprio reportedly refuses to use deodorants, while his girlfriend, model Erin Heatherton, wants him to clean up a bit and be hygiene-conscious.

"Leo has let his love for the environment take over his whole world and it's killing his love life, he only showers a couple of days a week to conserve water and he considers deodorant to be unnatural," the showbizspy.com website quoted a source as saying.

"Erin loves him dearly but is starting to feel like Leo loves the environment more than her. Erin has warned him to clean up his act and his hygiene. If not, he may wind up chasing off the woman of his dream."


WWE® Studios and Anchor Bay Films to Distribute The Day - 23rd March 2012...

WWE® Studios WWE and Anchor Bay Films today announced a partnership to co-distribute the provocative action thriller, The Day. WWE Studios secured the U.S. distribution rights to the film immediately after the film's initial audience screening at the Toronto Film Festival.

The Day was one of the most buzzed-about films at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness section. The film stars a stunning cast that includes Shawn Ashmore (The X-Men trilogy), Dominic Monaghan (“Lost” and The Lord of the Rings), Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale, 40 Days and 40 Nights) and Ashley Bell (The Last Exorcism).

“With the incredible audience reaction it saw at Toronto, we knew that The Day would be a great addition to our brand,” said WWE Studios President, Michael Luisi. “By combining the marketing power of our television, digital/social media and print assets with Anchor Bay’s tremendous distribution capabilities and successful track record, we look forward to bringing this film to a broad audience.”

“We are extremely excited that we are partnering with WWE Studios in this venture,” commented Kevin Kasha, Executive Vice President, Acquisitions and Co-Productions. “The film’s production team has created a truly fresh story and brought in top young talent to bring it to life. Audiences will be thrilled, thoroughly entertained and will be left hungry for more.”

About WWE Studios

WWE Studios continues to strategically diversify its slate of films, which include theatrical releases and direct-to-home premieres, under the guidance of President Michael Luisi. Upcoming films for WWE Studios includes: No One Lives starring Luke Evans and WWE Superstar Brodus Clay which was co-produced with Pathé Films; and Barricade starring Eric McCormack.

About WWE

WWE, a publicly traded company WWE, is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 600 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Istanbul and Tokyo.


Stacy Keibler to judge X Factor?...

Stacy Keibler is in talks to join 'The X Factor'.

The former professional wrestler - who is the main squeeze aka girlfriend of actor George Clooney - has reportedly been involved in a series of secret meetings about the possibility of becoming a judge on the upcoming second series of the US version of Simon Cowell's pop star search TV show.

While the blonde beauty and pop superstar Britney Spears are believed to be filling the two panel slots left vacant by axed judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, insiders have suggested Stacy's "lack of experience" in the music industry means she could be more likely to take over from former host Steve Jones.

An leak said: "Stacy Keibler is also in talks to join the show, but her lack of experience in the music business may make her more appropriate as a host. She looks fantastic and has bags of charisma."

Although Britney is believed to have been offered a deal worth $10 million to become a judge, it is alleged she is demanding "a lot more money".

A source added to the New York Post newspaper: "Talks are still ongoing with Britney and she is asking for a lot more money than was originally offered. But producers are confident Britney will realise this is a great opportunity for her to reinvent herself and accept their deal."

Show boss Simon - who is joined on the judging panel by record label chief L.A. Reid - has previously admitted he is keen for the presenter of the series to not come from a hosting background.

He said: "I always wanted a boy and a girl to host the show. And I like hosts who don't kind of have a hosting background, it's a different kind of dynamic."


HBO cancels Luck after horse deaths...

It's Dustin Hoffman's television series Luck, which earned some of its critical acclaim for its portrayal of thoroughbreds racing around the racetracks of southern California.

Off camera however the show has had some very bad luck.

The horseracing drama series Luck has been cancelled after the deaths of three horses, TV network HBO and producers say.

HBO, which is currently filming the drama's second series, has abruptly suspended the use of horses on its set following the sudden death of yet another one of its equine performers.

The series won't return for the second season run that began production last month, it said.

A horse was put down on Tuesday after it reared, fell over backwards, and hit its head.

The incident, which occurred on location at Santa Anita racetrack north of Los Angeles, was the third fatal accident involving horses in Luck's short history.

Animal rights activists are understood to be outraged by the development, and have called for police to launch an investigation into possible breaches of welfare laws.

They blamed the "outrageous" deaths on "sloppy oversights" by the makers of the show, created by the Hollywood director, Michael Mann.

HBO, for its part, can barely afford more negative publicity for the expensive show, which recently debuted in the UK on Sky.

Though heavily marketed, and despite receiving positive reviews, Luck has underperformed commercially, attracting just 625,000 viewers in the US.

In a statement, the network said it was "deeply saddened" by the horse's death.

It promised "full co-operation" with an investigation by the American Humane Association [AHA].

"Recent assertions of lax attitudes or negligence could not be further from the truth," it read.

"We will not be filming horses until AHA completes its inquiry."

This week's fatal accident was witnessed by Gary Beck, a vet.

"The horse was on her way back to the stall when she reared, flipped over backwards, and struck her head on the ground," he said, in a statement.

Since the injury was too serious to respond to treatment, euthanasia the only appropriate move, he added.

The California Horse Racing Board, which has allowed HBO to use Santa Anita during its off-season, said that a full post mortem will now be carried out on the creature.

"Unfortunately, we see several of these injuries in the stable area every year," said its equine medical director, Rick Arthur.

"They are more common than people realise."

Hollywood's local animal welfare lobby is unlikely to be impressed with the statement.

Even before this week's events, they were investigating Luck's treatment of its equine stars, alleging that two other horses who suffered fatal accidents during the filming of the show's first series should never have been allowed on set.

The first season of Luck premiered in Australia on Showcase last Sunday.


Celebrity real estate: Sinatra, Cruise homes hit market...

Alicia Keys is moving on from her gorgeous Manhattan apartment, Frank Sinatra's former home is for sale, and the former rental home of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as well as Russell Crowe is available for lease.

Alicia Keys lists 'Empire-State-of-Mind' penthouse

Forget about moving on up. Singer and New York native Alicia Keys did that a long time ago, trading her childhood residence at the artist-friendly Manhattan Plaza apartment complex in Hell's Kitchen for a slick SoHo real estate market triplex.

Now Keys and her producer husband Swizz Beatz have listed their Crosby Street penthouse for $17.95 million only two years after the couple bought the place from funk/soul/rocker Lenny Kravitz for $12.5 million.

According to Sotheby's International, which holds the listing, the apartment boasts five bedrooms, four bathrooms, four powder rooms and an enormous state-of-the-art, windowed, gourmet eat-in kitchen with walk-in butler's pantry. And separate formal dining room that faces east encased in a glass solarium.

That's only the start of the grand tour of a pad once rented by Nicole Kidman and Denzel Washington. The place also has an expansive living room with fireplace and library/media room that are all surrounded by undoubtedly one of the most beautiful private terraces in all of SoHo. Upstairs, there's a separate private master suite complete with spa, pass-through dressing area and private terrace.

Owner of former Sinatra home didn't stay long

When Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Brad Grey bought Frank Sinatra's former Los Angeles home in November 2010 for $18.5 million, the famous Hollywood producer had big plans to restore and renovate the brick ranch that sits on a parklike 2.3 acres.

Turns out that, in the end, the Sinatra house that inspired Grey's dreams was merely a nice set for Grey's wedding in April 2011 to his new wife, Cassandra. The wedding was called lavish, and attended by the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lopez. The couple has since moved to Bel Air, making Grey's ownership stint a lot like Sinatra's.

"My client still owns (the Sinatra house) but I sold him another property. He didn't want to go through the process of renovating the house,'' said Stephen Shapiro, who holds the listing at Westside Estate Agency.

The property has been back on the market since September, when Grey listed the Holmby Hills residence for $23.5 million. After a price drop on March 15, the former Sinatra home at 320 N. Carolwood Drive was re-listed for its current list price of $19,995,000.

According to the Sinatra biography "The Voice,'' by James Kaplan, Sinatra bought the house in 1948 for $250,000 at a time when his career was at a low ebb. Sinatra had built a dream home in Palm Springs, and was strapped for cash and on the verge of divorce.

Rent like Tom Cruise or Russell Crowe for $100K a month...

What do Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Russell Crowe have in common?

Besides star status and high-paying movie roles, all three have at some point, for at least a little while, called 918 N. Alpine Drive home in Los Angeles.

The Tudor-style home was rented by Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise for $55,000 a month and then leased by Russell Crowe while he filmed "State of Play."

In 2001, the nearly three-acre estate was also the filming location for several scenes in the movie "Blow" starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz.

And for someone with a celebrity-sized housing budget, the home is available again — this time for a whopping monthly rental price of $100,000.

Available as a short or long-term lease, the Beverly Hills rental is set back from the street — perfect for privacy-seeking celebrity tenants. With almost three acres of landscaped property, 6,685 square feet of living space and three separate guest apartments, the estate also has enough room for the star with the biggest entourage of stylists, security personnel and various and sundry assistants.


WWE signs Australian Wrestler...

WWE has signed an Aussie! Sonny Elliot (formally Danny Bolton). Sonny was South Australian based and trained with Lance Storm in Canada. He was recently added to the main FCW roster. We wish Sonny well as his career continues.

That's it fans. Stay tuned to Media Man and Street Corner for more entertainment news and scoops daily.

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3/23/2012

Casino, Poker, Gaming and Technology News: Australia, United States, Europe...

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Fallen Aussie tycoon and FBI's net-bet supergrass to star in US trial - 21st March 2012...

Daniel Tzvetkoff, the one-time high-flying Queensland internet whiz who brought down America's multibillion-dollar online poker industry, will come out of hiding next month.

The 29-year-old faced a sentence of 75 years in a US federal prison but in 2010, while languishing in a New York jail, he struck a secret deal with prosecutors and has become a star informant for the US government in its bid to prosecute the kingpins of three of the world's largest online gambling companies: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

AAP can reveal that Tzvetkoff, whose Queensland-based company Intabill allegedly processed more than $US1 billion ($957 million) worth of illegal transactions between US gamblers and internet gaming websites based offshore, has handed more than 90,000 documents over to prosecutors.

The inside information includes confidential emails.

Tzvetkoff's first public test as a prosecution witness will come on April 9 in a New York courtroom when a former Las Vegas-based business partner, Chad Elie, and a Utah banker, John Campos, go on trial.

Elie, 31, is charged with nine offences including conspiring to commit bank fraud and money laundering and faces a maximum jail sentence of 85 years if convicted.

Campos, a 57-year-old executive at Utah's SunFirst Bank who allegedly agreed to process gambling transactions, is charged with six offences and could be jailed for 35 years.

This week, Elie's lawyers complained to the judge handling the case that, on the eve of the trial, prosecutors dumped a "mountain of documents" on them, including Tzvetkoff's emails.

"For example, although the government had previously produced emails for Daniel Tzvetkoff, one of the government's main witnesses in this case, the material we recently received revealed that Mr Tzvetkoff had deleted his emails from the Intabill server, which had previously been made available to the defence, and that the Tzvetkoff emails that were included in prior productions were therefore ones that Mr Tzvetkoff had cherry-picked for the government," Monday's filing from Elie's lawyers, Barry Berke and Dani James, stated.

"Only after we pointed this out to the government did we receive a full set of Mr Tzvetkoff's materials, which included more than 90,000 documents and which we were able to access for the first time only yesterday."

Tzvetkoff was once a media darling in Australia, flaunting his wealth - estimated at $82 million just a few years ago - with a $27 million home on the Gold Coast, a garage filled with Lamborghinis and Ferraris, and as a sponsor of V8 Supercar racing team, Team IntaRacing.

His world came crashing down in 2009 when the internet poker companies, for which he allegedly helped launder $US1 billion, accused him of stealing about $US100 million.

Tzvetkoff was arrested at Las Vegas's upmarket Encore casino in April 2010 and charged with money laundering, bank fraud and other charges.

US federal prosecutors vigorously fought to keep Tzvetkoff in jail after his arrest, including successfully overturning a Las Vegas judge's decision to grant Tzvetkoff bail.

Tzvetkoff was transferred to a New York jail and sat there until June 2010 but, in secret dealings, sealed by judges, Tzvetkoff disappeared.

"He's turned the corner, seen the light and is co-operating," former FBI agent Harold Copus, after reviewing the details of the case, told AAP.

On April 15, 2011, Tzvetkoff's inside knowledge led to what has been dubbed in the US as "Black Friday", the day tens of thousands of US poker players logged on to their computers and discovered three top gambling sites - PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker - had been shut down in the US by authorities.

The FBI and prosecutors also announced that day internet gambling kingpins Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate of PokerStars, Raymond Bitar and Nelson Burtnick of Full Tilt Poker, and Scott Tom and Brent Beckley of Absolute Poker, were charged with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offences.

Elie and Campos were also charged in the sweep.

Prosecutors alleged Elie, as Tzvetkoff's Intabill was crumbling in 2009, fleeced $US4 million from PokerStars.

"Intabill's founder, Daniel Tzvetkoff, who processed over $US1 billion for the poker companies, ended up owing tens of millions to PokerStars," prosecutor Arlo Deviln-Brown wrote in a recent court filing.

"While Tzvetkoff's lifestyle is squarely responsible for much of the missing money ($US25 million on a house, for example), the fact is that 'sub-processors' that Tzvetkoff relied on - including Elie - also failed to remit and indeed simply made off with the money PokerStars was missing." (AAP)


Auckland High Court grants Kim Dotcom $46,700 a month expenses...

A NEW Zealand court has granted Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom $46,700 a month in living expenses as he awaits a US bid to extradite him on online piracy charges.

The German national reportedly applied for $171,240 a month to cover his costs when he was freed on bail last month, including funds to pay for luxuries such as a butler and nannies.

The High Court in Auckland ruled Dotcom, who US authorities allege violated piracy laws to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, could have $46,700 a month, Fairfax Media reported.

It also gave the internet tycoon - a keen car enthusiast - access to a 2011 Mercedes Benz, The New Zealand Herald reported.

The 38-year-old's assets were frozen after New Zealand police, cooperating with a major US probe, raided his sprawling Auckland mansion on January 20, seizing artworks and luxury cars including a pink Cadillac.

Megaupload was founded in 2005 but shut down in January after the Auckland raid.

A US application for Dotcom's extradition is expected to be heard on August 20. US authorities have said they will seek the maximum penalty of 20 years in jail if he is brought before an American court.

Dotcom, who legally changed his name from Kim Schmitz, has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight extradition, labelling the case against him "misleading and malicious."


Casino rewards cards examined in hunt for cheats...

CASINO rewards cards could be the next secret weapon used by Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office to take down frauds and welfare cheats.

The Absolute Rewards program, which is available through Queensland's three major casinos, is being considered by investigators as a way to nab dodgy individuals suspected of breaking the law.

Absolute Rewards allows members through its Absolute Assist function to set a daily gambling limit of their choice and tracks their spending to ensure machines lock users out when their limit is reached.

A Treasury Casino spokeswoman confirmed members were able to ask for summaries of their spending history.

By cross-referencing the spending with other documents, investigators could potentially determine whether fraud had taken place.

Section 264 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 allows officers to obtain documents or data they require to further their probe.

An ATO spokeswoman said the office "would not rule out" using Absolute Rewards and Absolute Assist information to investigate targets.

"From time to time, we do use our powers under S264 to obtain information on individuals from third parties (such as casinos and other businesses) which may assist us to identify undisclosed income," she said.

"We would not rule out the possibility of using such a system to access information in the future."

Centrelink may also begin using rewards cards to track down welfare cheats.

Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said while information hadn't so far been obtained through the system, it was a possibility.

"Based on the available information, the department would only seek to access details through the Absolute Assist program on an individual basis during an investigation into a customer's undisclosed wealth," he said.

A Treasury Casino spokeswoman said the casino had provided government agencies with information at their request.

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope said he couldn't foresee any privacy issues provided the method was used only to investigate those already under suspicion. (News Limited)


Sports betting growing gambling...

The Aussie tradition of taking a punt is reaching new heights with online gambling leading to an explosion in sports betting.

Although still dwarfed by other forms of gambling, sports betting is gaining popularity, according to industry research group IBISWorld.

Sports betting was the fastest growing market segment, with annual growth of 14.7 per cent for the last five years.

IBISWorld Australian general manager Karen Dobie said sports betters were mostly young, single professionals with disposable income. They did not view it as a serious form of gambling.

'Sports betting is most accessible online. Given this demographic is particularly comfortable in the online environment, this is another factor driving growth,' Ms Dobie said in a statement on Wednesday.

The diversity of bets on offer, including who leads at half time and shoots the first goal was also driving spending.

Despite its rising popularity, sports betting accounts for only 1.6 per cent, or $360.5 million, of gambling spend.

Casino gambling accounts for 20 per cent of total expenditure, the research found.

Pokies, lotteries and racing were in decline, but pokies still took the lion's share of the market with 60.2 per cent.

Australians are among the most prolific gamblers in the world with the research predicting gambling expenditure to reach $22.5 billion or an average of $1,256 per person in 2011/12.

'More than 70 per cent of us have a flutter at least once a year, especially in line with key cultural events such as Anzac Day and the Melbourne Cup,' Ms Dobie said.

NSW had the most gamblers, making up 38 per cent of gambling spending, followed by Victoria and Queensland.


bwin.party sells Ongame to Shuffle Master - 6th March 2012...

bwin.party digital entertainment has agreed to sell Ongame, its business-to-business online poker network, to Shuffle Master for up to €29.5m.

bwin.party says the agreement is consistent with the group's stated strategy and follows its announced intention to sell Ongame last June.

An initial consideration of €19.5m is payable in cash on completion, subject to a post-completion working capital adjustment.

A further consideration of up to €10.0m payable in cash in the event that regulated online poker starts in the United States on either a federal or intra-state basis within five years from completion.

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3/20/2012

PartyCasino VS Virgin Casino iGaming War Continues

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PartyCasino.com - Accepts Canadian, Australian and New Zealand players. PartyCasino new players get up to $3000 sign up bonus. Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is the world's largest and most succesful igaming company.

VirginCasino.com - No US, Canadian, Australian or New Zealand players. £100 sign up bonus. Virgin Games is part of Richard Branson's Virgin Enterprises Limited.

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3/19/2012

An Officer and a Gentleman The Musical To Play Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star

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Today a rehearsal and performance of some of An Officer and a Gentleman took place at the ABC in Ultimo, just down the road from the Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star, where the show will officially open to the general public on 18th May 2012.

The pitch:

A new musical based on the Paramount Pictures-Lorimar movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" written by Douglas Day Stewart

Music and lyrics by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner
Book by Douglas Day Stewart and Sharleen Cooper Cohen
Director Simon Phillips
Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth
Set and Costume Designer Dale Ferguson
Lighting Designer Matt Scott
Musical Director Dave Skelton
Associate Director Dean Bryant
Producers Sharleen Cooper Cohen and John Frost

In association with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros Theatre Ventures

Based on the hugely successful Academy Award-winning film, this new production has been adapted for the stage by the original screen writer, Douglas Day Stewart and co-writer Sharleen Cooper Cohen, with music and lyrics by Kenny Hirsch and Robin Lerner. It will be produced by Sharleen Cooper Cohen and John Frost, and directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical).

The talented cast that will bring this timeless story to life includes Ben Mingay (Jersey Boys) as Zack Mayo, the classic angry young man who grew up in a "sewer" and dreams of flying jets and parlaying this skill into a better life; Amanda Harrison (Wicked) as Paula Pokrifki, the young factory worker who dreams of becoming a nurse and finding a better life without selling out for it, like everyone around her; Kate Kendall (Next to Normal) as Lynette Pomeroy, Paula's best friend who is determined to marry a flier to escape her dead end life, no matter what it takes; and Alex Rathgeber (The Phantom of the Opera) as Sid Worley, the likeable Okie son of a Navy Admiral who is the class "superstar" at the Naval Academy.

A hit across the ages, the 1982 film has become a phenomenon in cinema history, recently listed by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten love stories in cinema history. Featuring the iconic hit song "Up Where We Belong" and a new score by hit song writer Ken Hirsch and Grammy nominee Robin Lerner this timeless tale of struggle, success, friendship and love promises to be the musical blockbuster of 2012.

An Officer and a Gentleman is a triumphant story of working class heroes surviving great tests; a classic modern day love story about a working class boy and girl who must overcome their upbringing and personal weaknesses to accept life and love.

His Story, Her Romance.

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3/13/2012

PartyPoker And PartyCasino Owner bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plans Return to US Market

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PartyPoker And PartyCasino Owner bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plans Return to US Market...

Online gambling firm bwin.party are set to return to the US poker market after almost six years away following their application for a gaming licence with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The Gibraltar-based company – which owns online poker room PartyPoker – have submitted their application to add their name to an ever-growing list of firms showing massive interest in taking advantage of the expected legalisation of online poker in the USA.

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment plc was formed in March last year following the merger of Bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming plc to create the world’s largest publicly traded online gambling company that is now listed on the London Stock Exchange.

PartyGaming Left US Market in 2006

This merger came almost five years after PartyGaming took the decision to suspend all real-money games in the USA, before then exiting the market three days after the US government’s passing of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) back on September 29, 2006.

In April of 2009, PartyGaming decided to reach a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in which they agreed to pay a $105 million penalty over four years as part of a non-prosecution agreement for providing online gambling to American customers before the UIGEA was passed.

As an element of the agreement, PartyGaming put its name to a “statement of facts” in which it admitted that, before October of 2006, they had aimed to attract American citizens that resulted in the processing of transactions “contrary to certain US laws”.

This deal ensured that PartyGaming were not prosecuted and also made sure that they could return to the US market if – and when – new laws are put in place to regulate all internet gambling in the North American nation.

Partnership Provided Opportunity to Return

Bwin’s merger with PartyGaming last year also paved the way for the new company to partner with Nevada-based gaming firms Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts International late last year in what was considered an “anticipatory” move ahead of the hoped-for legalisation of online gambling in the States.

The venture has resulted in bwin.party owning 65% of the company as they provide and maintain the software for both gaming businesses, while MGM – which also runs hotels – holds 25% and Boyd Gaming just 10%.

Boyd Gaming and MGM have previously applied for licences with the Nevada Gaming Control Board to operate as online poker providers.

PartyPoker Still World’s Second Biggest Poker Room

PartyPoker had been the world’s biggest internet poker brand – if based on their number of players and cash game revenue – before pulling out of the US market, although it still holds the position as the second biggest behind PokerStars.

While Jim Ryan, bwin.party’s chief operating officer, recently told media that the joint venture is unlikely to see them regain the 50% share PartyPoker enjoyed before the introduction of the UIGEA, he does expect to see a “very meaningful liquidity pool” in what will be a highly competitive market.

Stay tuned as well follow up the story.


6 March 2012

bwin.party digital entertainment plc
(‘bwin.party’ or the ‘Company’)

Sale of Ongame to Shuffle Master

Highlights:

Sale of Ongame, a leading B2B online poker network, to Shuffle Master for up to €29.5 million on a cash-free and debt-free basis
Initial consideration of €19.5 million payable in cash on completion, subject to a post-completion working capital adjustment
Further consideration of up to €10.0 million payable in cash in the event that regulated online poker commences in the United States on either a federal or intra-state basis within five years from completion
Completion is subject to the normal conditions for a transaction of this type, including regulatory approvals and is expected to complete in the summer of 2012
bwin.party today announces that it has agreed to sell Ongame, its business-to-business (‘B2B’) online poker network, to Shuffle Master, Inc (‘Shuffle Master’) for a total cash consideration of up to €29.5 million. The agreement is consistent with the Group’s stated strategy and follows its announced intention to sell Ongame on 30 June 2011.

Contingent consideration will become payable by Shuffle Master in the event that online poker becomes regulated in the United States within five years of completion. The amount payable in these circumstances will depend upon the timing of the commencement of legalised online gaming in the US. The transaction is subject to the normal terms and conditions for a transaction of this type as well as certain regulatory approvals and is expected to complete during the summer of 2012 with a back-stop date of December 2012. The management of Ongame will transfer with the business and the net sale proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.

Information on Ongame

Ongame Network Ltd (‘Ongame’) is one of the world’s largest B2B poker providers. The global network includes more than 25 of the e-gaming industry’s strongest brands and operators. Ongame also operates regional networks in France and Italy. The company offers both operators and their players a wide variety of cash games and tournaments to choose from. Further information about Ongame can be found at www.ongame.com.

For the six months to 31 December 2011, the unaudited adjusted EBITDA[1] of Ongame was €0.04 million and as at 30 June 2011 Ongame had unaudited gross assets of €26.6 million.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, the Co-CEOs of bwin.party, said:

“The sale of Ongame represents a further significant step in our process of integrating bwin and PartyGaming and moving to a single technology platform. We believe Shuffle Master will be an excellent home for Ongame to maximise its future potential.”

Gavin Isaacs, Chief Executive Officer of Shuffle Master, said:

“Ongame is one of the world’s leading online poker networks with a state-of-the-art technology platform. It is an excellent strategic fit with Shuffle Master and our interactive gaming business. Following completion, we will focus on building the existing business in Europe as well as looking for growth opportunities in the rest of the world.”

bwin.party was advised by McQueen Limited.


Sale of Ongame to Shuffle Master...

About bwin.party
bwin.party digital entertainment plc (LSE: BPTY) is the world’s largest listed online gaming company. The Company was formed from the merger of bwin Interactive Entertainment AG and PartyGaming Plc on 31 March 2011. Incorporated, licensed and regulated in Gibraltar, the Group also has online poker licences in France and Italy. With offices in Europe, India, Israel and the US the Group generated total pro forma revenue of €814.0m (H1 2011: €398.0m) and pro forma Clean EBITDA of €193.2m in 2010 (H1 2011: €81.9m). bwin.party operates one of the world’s largest online poker networks, www.PartyPoker.com and also owns the World Poker Tour. The Group’s scale, proprietary poker software, online gaming platform and strong portfolio of games collectively differentiates its customer offer from those of its competitors. bwin.party is a constituent member of the FTSE4Good Index Series, which identifies companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards.

About Shuffle Master
Shuffle Master, Inc. is a leading global gaming supplier committed to making gaming more fun for players and more profitable for operators through product innovation, and superior quality and service. The Company operates in legalized gaming markets across the globe and provides state-of-the-art, 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 iGaming, 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.

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3/10/2012

Casinos Of The World: Land Based And Online, Casino Awards By Media Man And Casino News Media



Sin City Cleopatra Rambo The Godfather Sinatra The Terminator Thor Saturday Night Fever Unicorn Legend Palladium Slot

Punters, here's 10 of the world's top land based casinos for you to mark down in your travel plans.

Monte Carlo, Monaco: Perched above the Mediterranean and bounded by the French
and Italian coastlines on either side, Monaco provides a spectacular and luxurious setting for the wealthy and the wannabees. Home to the Monaco Grand Prix and the legendary Casino de Monte Carlo, this isn't the place for those on a tight
budget. The magnificent Casino hosts the annual European Poker Tour and was also the scene of several James Bond Films, including the original "Casino Royale" and "Golden Eye".

Paradise Island, Bahamas: Located just off the shore of the city of Nassau, Paradise
Island is best known for its sprawling 'Vegas-by-the-sea' resort, Atlantis. The resort spans seven acres along a lagoon, where guests can soak up the Caribbean sun and choose from a variety of outdoor gaming areas. When in need of a break from
the tables, guests can enjoy the private beach or one of the resorts 20 sunlit pools.

Melbourne, Australia: As Australia's sporting and entertainment capital, Melbourne
offers the perfect option for high rollers looking for a local break. Aussies need look no further than Crown Casino on the southern bank of the Yarra River, which is one of the largest casino complexes in the southern hemisphere. The main gambling
floor stretches more than half a kilometre and the casino was the first to introduce the new game Rapid Roulette, which allows players to place bets on a personal electronic touch screen connected to a central roulette wheel.

Macau, China: Known as the 'Monte Carlo of the Orient,' and the gambling capital of Asia, Macau now rivals Monaco and Las Vegas as one of the premier gambling destinations in the world. With no less than 33 casinos, in addition to local horse and greyhound racing venues, Macau is perfect for the betting junkie. The Wynn Macau
casino is a standout, highlighted by 24-carat gold 'Tree of Prosperity' at the entrance, extravagant water displays and Moon Jellyfish Aquarium at reception.

Baden-Baden, Germany: Situated on the western foothills of the Black Forest and on
the banks of the Oos River, Baden-Baden is not your typical casino town. However, in addition to its hot springs and picturesque countryside, the town is also known for its 200-year-old 'Spielbank' casino - the oldest of its type in Germany. With French chateau-style salons rooms named after historical figures such as Madame Pompadour and Louis XV's mistress, the quirky casino provides visitors with a very unique
gaming experience.

Las Vegas, United States: With over 1700 licensed casinos in operation, Las Vegas
offers the ultimate package for travellers who fancy a flutter. A visit to the famous 'Strip' is a must for any player, whether they're looking for a spin on the roulette table or a game of blackjack - this city has it all. The iconic Caesar's Palace
hotel and casino offers 129,000 square feet of casino space plus an endless smorgasbord of entertainment, shopping and fine dining options, including Cleopatra's barge, a floating lounge perfect for a relaxing drink after a jam-packed night on the
casino floor.

Manila, The Philippines: With a favourable exchange rate, Manila provides great value
for Aussies wanting to live the high-life overseas. The city offers a range of shopping and entertainment options, along with a world-class casino at the Hyatt Hotel. Spread across three levels, the sparkling casino offers the newest in gaming
facilities for both hotel guests and visitors, and is just a short distance from Manila's tourist hub.

Sun City, South Africa: Known as 'Africa's Kingdom of Pleasure,' this luxury resort
and casino complex, just two hours from Johannesburg, boasts two large casinos, two 18-hole golf courses and a wildlife reserve. At the extravagant yet picturesque Palace of the Lost City, guests are treated to stunning valley views from the guestrooms, along with exclusive access to the Grand Pool. The nearby Sun City Casino is the entertainment Mecca of the resort, featuring a myriad of gaming options as well as an indoor jungle of native foliage and water fountains.

Atlantic City, United States: Regarded as the US's 'Las Vegas of the East', Atlantic City in New Jersey is renowned for its gambling, shopping and fine dining. Towering above the banks of the Atlantic Ocean, the Trump Taj Mahal casino is an icon of the city, with an on-site shopping district and an abundance of restaurants and bars. The
157,000 square-foot casino is also hard to miss, with 3,500 slot machines and 200 table games. Unveiled in 1990 by a number of celebrities, including the late Michael Jackson, the casino is the second-largest in Atlantic City and well worth a visit.

Genting Highlands, Malaysia: Nestled on the Titiwangsa mountain range, just an hour's
drive from Kuala Lumpur and 6,000 feet above sea level, the Resorts World Genting offers 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside. This spectacular resort has first-class accommodation, dining and entertainment, while avoiding the hustle and bustle of a capital city. The on-site casino, which covers 200,000 square feet, is Malaysia's sole gaming venue and is divided into separate themed areas, such as Hollywood and Monte Carlo, for the ultimate gambling experience.

Online Casinos:

PartyCasino.com : The world's leading online casino brand and part of Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. Play for free or play for money at PartyCasino.com New players get up to $3000 sign up bonus via Media Man.

VirginCasino.com : Virgin Casino is part of Virgin Games. The parent company is Virgin Enterprises Limited, the creation of the world's most famous and celebrated entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson. Unfortunately the casino does not accept players from many countries due to what is known in legal circles as "grey areas". Most European players can play, but no Americans, Canadians, Australians or New Zealanders.

Captain Cooks Casino : Was once a very popular online casino with Australians and New Zealanders, however we understand these days they can only accept players from a few regions such as Europe, South Africa, Canada and South America.

PKR : Once only a 2D online poker room, they are now more 3D and offer online poker and a good range of online casino games, including classics, Marvel slots and table games.

Media Man's top online casino choice: PartyCasino.com PartyCasino is a multi-time Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' winner and have also won awards from EGR. Earlier this year PartyGaming merged with Bwin to create the worlds leading igaming company, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment.

News

Playtech Signs Gala Coral Contract, Acquires Mobile-Bet Company...


Playtech Ltd, the Internet gambling software maker and content developer which has a joint venture with William Hill Plc (WMH), said it signed a long-term contract with Gala Coral Group Ltd., and acquired Mobenga AB, a mobile-phone sports-betting company.

Playtech will pay as much as 15.8 million euros ($22.4 million) for Mobenga, the Isle of Man-based company said in a statement. Playtech also said second-quarter revenue rose 7 percent to 39.6 million euros over the same period a year earlier, led by online casino games.

Gala Coral, which has 2,000 betting shops in the U.K. and Italy, should become one of Playtech’s top three clients within a year after its software is transferred, in 2012, Playtech’s Chief Executive Officer Mor Weizer said in a telephone interview. Mobenga will help Playtech expand in mobile telephone gambling, which generates 30 percent of bets for some companies, he said.

“This is a very important win for us,” Weizer said. “We already have most of the established operators in the U.K., and Gala Coral we were after for a long time.”
Playtech gained 18.25 pence, or 5.4 percent, to 356.75 pence at 8:47 a.m. in London, after earlier rising as much as 6.3 percent. The shares have fallen 16 percent so far this year, giving the company a market value of 866.3 million pounds.

Stockholm-based Mobenga will give Playtech the ability to combine sports-betting, casino and poker games in one mobile- phone application, Weizer said.

Playtech generates more than 10 million pounds ($16.1 million) from its biggest client, Imperial E-Club Ltd., Weizer said.

‘Players’

Most of the company’s clients attract players through sports, though they make most of their money through games, so they’re always seeking to convert sports betters to game players, he said.

Second-quarter casino revenue gained 9 percent to 27.3 million euros, and bingo sales increased 32 percent to 3.6 million euros, the company said.

Poker sales dropped 32 percent to 5 million euros, the company said. The poker business declined even though the U.S. charged founders of online poker companies still accepting games in the country with money laundering in April.

Weizer said the companies still had cash to lure poker players. Poker numbers have been “picking up” since the end of June, when one of the companies stopped play, he said. Full Tilt Poker, then the world’s second-biggest poker site, lost its license from Alderney on June 29.


PartyCasino Gets New Games...

Aztec Gold, Atomic Fruit, Nag's To Riches and Fairies Forest. Check out the new games here.

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3/08/2012

Bally and Aristocrat in strategic partnership - 7th March 2012

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Land-based and online casino games and solutions supplier Bally Technologies Incorporated has announced a strategic alliance with Aristocrat Technologies Incorporated aimed at taking advantage of any legalisation of iGaming in the United States.

Aristocrat Technologies is the American subsidiary of Australian land-based and online casino systems supplier Aristocrat Leisure Limited and the partnership will see it link with Bally to offer US operators the same third-party poker network as part of a combined business-to-business Internet gaming solution.

Bally stated that the new strategic alliance will see the pair secure arrangements with ‘leading poker providers’ who will then be integrated into their iGaming platforms with ‘advanced discussions’ currently underway.

In addition, in anticipation of further legalisation of internet gaming in the United States, the pair also plans to share the development of online slot content with free-play titles initially due to be made available before eventually changing to for-money play.

“By teaming up, Bally and Aristocrat can source and integrate with the strongest online poker product specifically tailored for this market, which can help our customers maintain their leadership position in both land-based and online gaming,” said Richard Haddrill, Chief Executive Officer for Bally.

Working together, the companies declared that they will be better able to ‘more quickly and effectively offer attractive and credible online poker games that will provide stronger player experiences and functionality and greater poker liquidity for both Bally and Aristocrat’s casino operator customers’.

“Access to the proven slot content from both Bally and Aristocrat will allow gaming operators to create a compelling experience as legalised online gaming emerges in the United States,” said Jamie Odell, Chief Executive Officer for Aristocrat Technologies.

Bally and Aristocrat Technologies revealed that they have already applied to the Nevada Gaming Control Board for the required extension to their existing Nevada licences to act as interactive gaming suppliers.




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3/05/2012

Crown Limited not substantial shareholder in Echo Entertainment - 1st March 2012

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Packer Gets 10 Percent In Echo Entertainment...

Media and gaming tycoon James Packer's Crown Ltd declared that it was not a substantial shareholder in Echo Entertainment, despite acquiring 10 percent of the rival casino group. Ken Barton, chief financial office for Crown, advised the company was "not a substantial holder of Echo for the purposes of the Corporations Act and therefore has no obligation to lodge a notice". Observers say this means Crown has not taken control of the 10 percent of Echo from Deutsche Bank, the investment bank believed to be the current owners of the shareholding.

Australian Casino kings James Packer and Larry Mullin war; Friendly or not?...

Top brass of The Star has issued a challenge to Crown Limited's James Packer to launch a full takeover bid if he desires a second Sydney casino.

A verbal has taken place between two of Australia's most high profile and successful gaming bosses as Larry Mullin, the CEO of Echo Entertainment - which runs The Star - railed at suggestions Mr Packer's Crown group wanted to use a stake of less than 20 per cent in Echo as the platform to build a $1 billion casino at Barangaroo.

Mr Mullin argued Mr Packer should not be allowed to build the casino without first taking over Echo Entertainment.

"There is only one casino licence (in Sydney)," he advised.

"If James Packer wants to get into this market the only way to do so is to launch a full takeover bid for Echo and reward all our shareholders."

Mr Packer was quick to reply, saying: "I don't expect Larry, as an American, to know Australian corporations law verbatim. Clearly he should spend more time studying before he ventures into that territory."

The knives started to come out as JP's bid for a Barangaroo casino received a boost from NSW Treasurer Mike Baird - who described it as a "bold" vision.

"I, for one, put my name on the table as someone that would welcome it as a great addition to Barangaroo, subject to the normal conditions," Mr Baird said.

Mr Mullin talked up the existing casino at Pyrmont, stating Echo's recent renovation program for The Star meant there was now "tremendous" growth potential for the venue's international VIP business that would flow through to the company's profits in coming years. He pointed to Echo accounts released last week showing overall VIP gaming revenues had doubled in the last six months.

Mr Mullin also broke his long standing silence on the sacking of The Star's former managing director, Sid Vaikunta.

He denied claims of a culture of covering up sexual harassment at the casino, saying: "We believe we reported everything appropriately."

Mr Mullin said he had known Mr Vaikunta "since 2002".

It is understood the two men worked together for about seven years at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, USA.

Mr Mullin said an investigation limited what he could say publicly about his former colleague.
"I'm disappointed. It was someone I knew and respected and who had worked for us, and unfortunately he's moved on," he said.

It has been reported Mr Vaikunta was accused of "hitting on" a staff member in a limousine - and then a human resources manager at a staff function - in the space of two days.

A Media Man spokesperson / media commentator said "It appears to be a bit of a case that management forget they were now working out of Sin City Sydney... and not Las Vegas, where its well know that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. That's not usually the case in Sydney, despite the city being known for diversity and an open mind approach. This situation has made Echo Entertainment appear to be a softer target for some, which may include the likes of Crown Limited's James Packer."

Barrister Gail Furness SC is conducting the inquiry into his sacking on behalf of the NSW Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority.

Stay turned to Media Man and Street Corner for more on this developing situation.

*the writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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