Australian Gambling Device Or Just Technology, by Greg Tingle - 26th April 2010

As our beloved internet and technology becomes more advanced, increasing questions are being asked about such matters in Australia such as when is a gambling device not a gambling device, but just a computer, and visa versa... you get the idea punters. Internet enabled mobile phones can access gambling and gaming by nature on the web, needless to say internet kiosks and computers sitting at the ready in an internet cafe can do the same, at least in free countries. In the meantime passionate web surfers, journalists and gamblers have started to mask their website surfing via proxy. Media Man and Gambling911 investigate...

Computer Terminals Strategically Place At Aussie Pubs And Hotels...

Manufacturers of a touch-screen computer kiosk offering internet access, which gambling authorities seized from a Melbourne pub as a "suspected illegal betting device", advise they have given up waiting to be potentially prosecuted and are seeking a court to order for the device be returned so they can roll truck loads more!

The situation gives prominence to what could be regarded as a real and practical test of outdated gambling regulations in an internet age. In the meantime the Victorian government, which is preparing to award its updated wagering licence, officials from the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation confiscated the computer from the Rising Sun Hotel in South Melbourne over 6 months ago.

The wagering licence, including exclusive retail rights in pubs, is held by Aussie gaming giant Tabcorp, which complained about the machine in question to authorities last year. The new wagering licence is expected to come into play in 2012.

We learn the device does by design showcase and feature access to gambling (and other industry sectors). VenueNet, understood to be a marketing based group, developed the computer kiosks and has a deal with Sportsbet to provide access to Sportsbet and other services through the device, which it's keen to roll out in Australian pubs, hotels and the like nationwide.

A magistrate is due to hear the case tomorrow but it is uncertain if the hearing will proceed at this stage.

VenueNet's chairman, John Thompson, advises delays in prosecuting the matter had cost his firm millions and he was seriously considering seeking compensation.

Mr Thompson is ready for war it appears, based on his preparation of information. Makers of the hard drive and equipment contained in the kiosk have provided sworn statements stating the machine is no different to other computer kiosks they supply, likes ones found at airports. It allows customers, via the web, to access Sportsbet's website and use a Sportsbet betting account, but the computer terminal itself doesn't accept or record bets.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation lodged an appeal with the Victorian Supreme Court to stop Sportsbet being heard in the magistrates court, as a third party in the case, on legal issues relating to the seizure warrant.

The commission is understood to be seeking access to more material from VenueNet before laying charges.

Smart cookies from Deloittes have examined the machine for the commission to determine how it operates.

The commissioner, Peter Cohen, advised he thinks the machine was illegal. "The (commission) is still of the view that it is an unauthorised instrument of betting," he said.

Mr Thompson said VenueNet was not willing to try the machine in other states until the Victorian case had been determined.

"I think we'd face something like that until this is resolved. Everyone's focusing on this."

iPhone "Gambling" Apps On Aussie Mobiles...

iPhone applications down under feature simulated poker machine games (pokies) were irresponsible and should be outlawed, says passionate anti gambling campaigner Nick Xenophon.

Slot machines applications can be accessed and downloaded for free and are identical in payouts and features to machines in most clubs, pubs and casinos.

The games offer a number of options. One game allows the user to change the interface and use photographs on their iPhone as the jackpot symbols. You can even switch between five and six reels, and alter the success of the payouts from low, medium or `dream'!

"There needs to be a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling laws because otherwise we will see a new wave of problem gamblers as soon as these kids turn 18," Senator Xenophon said.

One application is produced by Big Fish games, based in Seattle, Washington, with offices also in Canada and Ireland. They also sell a downloadable version of the game online.

Australian Web Surfers Learning How To Hide, Mask, Internet Tracks Via Proxy...

Born and trained from a somewhat surprising source of mischief making, Exit International (Euthanasia body), "Hacking Masterclass" has punters keen to learn more. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but these "old dogs" are teaching mums and dads, journalists and passionate gamblers "new tricks", and we thank them for it.

The group is now holding "Hacking Masterclass" seminars around Australia to teach people how they can defy the federal government's proposed internet filter (and in the process obtain suicide information)! Jesus, do we need more gamblers to know about this based on Gambling911 and Media Man reports over the past few months... read on... we know you want to...

Exit International advises its "Hacking Masterclass" will show the elderly and dying how to use proxy servers and virtual networks so they can slip past the filter and find information on "safe suicide".

Word is spreading to the gaming and gambling community of their educational course and we understand they may be expecting a younger, more gaming savvy bush tacker bag of new students next semester. Enrollments are understood to be filling fast.

It was divulged last year that the government plans to block access to certain websites discussing euthanasia and assisted suicide (which is currently illegal in Australia) in addition to websites devoted to pornographic and other illegal activities! Sounds good hey?

The federal government and Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy have been widely criticised for their censorship agenda, by the United States government among others. Last week Media Man tipped off the United Nations, The Elders and Virgin United, and was thanked for the information. By the next day Australian newspapers had reported on the Australian Government changing details of Australian human rights policy and detail, we kid you not!

Exit International brainchild, founder and director, Philip Nitschke advised 100 people had signed up to the first five-and-a-half-hour "Safe Suicide Workshop" to be held in Perth, Western Australia. Follow up workshops have also been conducted in Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, and Brisbane. Canberra gets their education on April 30) and Sydney siders on lucky May 7).

The good doctor Nitschke said the seminars would teach people how to circumvent the proposed internet filter so they could access information designed to end their lives quickly and painlessly.

"It certainly shows how you can go about bypassing the filter using proxy servers or setting up your own virtual network, and we will be going into that. In fact, it's so easy to get around - according to the information we've received - you wonder why the federal government is pursuing it with such vigour. We can only assume it's because they are intending on making a statement, rather than being too concerned about the actual practicalities of the issue."!

Dr Nitschke said among those who had already signed up, only a few were terminally ill.

"These are rational people making rational decisions, and obstacles shouldn't be put in their path ... which is why I think the numbers of people attending these sorts of safe suicide workshops is increasing. Suicide is not a crime in this country."

Dr Nitschke said the Hacking Masterclass was devised after a similar workshop in Sydney on April 1, spearheaded by Newcastle-based internet expert David Campbell.

About 80 seniors, many with laptop computers, attended and learned.

"The class will be in plain language that everyone can understand," Dr Nitschke said.

A spokeswoman for Senator Conroy said contrary to popular belief, euthanasia would not be targeted by the proposed internet filter.

"Discussion about euthanasia is not content that would be deemed refused classification," she said.

Philip Nitschke's book 'The Peaceful Pill' was found to be refused classification

Wrap Up

Punters, there you have it. Fun and games with computer terminals, mobile phone applications and ways to get around the Aussie internet filter, thanks to the good doctor.

Keep up the good fight. We salute Aussie diggers, The Anzacs, who yesterday celebrated and remembered Anzac Day, and we remind readers to stay vigilant as Governments of the world attempt to fight freedom of speech loving citizens and journalists. Be your own super hero (until the Aussie government may try to ban Marvel Entertainment icon Iron-Man), and American friends, keep an eye out for fellow freedom fighter (or hero, or both) 'Captain America'. Punters are reminded that a range of Marvel super hero themed games (free and pay) can be found at good casinos like PartyGaming's PartyCasino, and Virgin Casino, and steps are on the way to see internet casino games become legal in the United States. Most online casinos remain easy to access in both Canada and Australia. Virgin does not currently offer a service to Australians, however their 'A World Of My Own' (AWOMO) may change that in the near future. Still got the Anzac spirit or a bit of fight in you? Captain Cooks Casino offers 'Bomber Girls' and PartyCasino 'Top Gun', 'The Terminator' and 'Mission: Impossible'. Rumors persist of a major game maker developing an online slot game featuring anti censorship themes. NFL, AFL, TNA UFC, Ned Kelly, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Hulk Hogan, Andre The Giant, Watchmen and The Avengers online slot game whispers also persist. Media Man and Gambling911 say bring it on. James Packer 50% owned Betfair is aiming to soon offer Australians an online casino and online poker service. Australian media and horse racing identity, Alan Jones, continues to snap the whip at the Aussie racing sector calling for unity, as Jones' for one is aware that there's room for improvement in the Australian gaming and racing landscape. The igaming industry continues to move at lighting speed, which is about as quick as the speed of news! Good punting, happy hunting, and don't do anything we wouldn't do. Most importantly, 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. Gaming is just one of a dozen industries covered.

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