Australian And Asia Pacific Gambling News, by Greg Tingle - 30th August 2010

Australian and Asia Pacific gambling, gaming, casino and political news remains all the rage. Aussie James Packer with his Crown, Burswood and City of Dreams Macau remains king of the castle, but what is news is that another couple of Australian politicians have jumped on the anti gambling - anti pokie bandwagon, but it's pretty much a case of a very small but vocal minority. In the interest of balance and a fair go we give them some coverage, despite some of their message having all the signs of propaganda including using inflated statistics to try and boost their arguments. On a lighter note, kudos to PartyGaming and Richard Branson's Virgin Games for releasing a ton of more slot games responding to passionate punters. Aussie's still prefer PartyGaming's casino offering, with Virgin keenly awaiting a revamp of Asia Pacific online gambling laws (will it every happen?). Branson mate James Packer keeps his complete entertainment and lifestyle strategy, and we offer a snapshot of the great acts Crown has coming up. Media Man and Gambling911 continue to dominate the world of online gaming reporting, from Las Vegas, to Macau, down under to Australia and beyond. Enjoy the journey of discovery...

Crown Casino Getting More Top Line Entertainment Acts...

The Australian Bee Gees Show - 28 August 2010
Australian Hip Hop Championships 2010 - 18th September
Tommy Fleming - 1 - 2 October
Village People - 8 - 9 October
Cirque Mother Africa - 12 - 24 October
Bjorn Again - 18 - 21 October
Leo Sayer - 27 November

Crown Casino Hosts NAB Rising Star AFL Awards This Wednesday...

Mark it down. This Wednesday the best and brightest from Australia's AFL will converge at Crown Casino for the prestigious awards night. Let's pray we don't have any nasty surprises, given that footballers and Crown Casino enjoy a colourful history to say the least. Watch out for plastic handcuffs! Don't "do a Paris"...no white stuff permitted in or around the casino thank you.

Pokie One Armed Bandits Removed From Sydney - Kings Cross Night Club...

The pokies have disappeared from the World Bar in Kings Cross, the seedy part of Sydney's 'Sin City' with the removal of 15 machines this past week. They reckon the 8 live bands every Friday night will keep the crowd happy. Various news media reports the machines had called the venue home since early 90s (venue previously called the Rhino Bar), but have been thrown out to make way for a new space for "album launches and listening parties, spoken-word and book readings, possibly private functions and events". No word if they had the 'Black Rhino' slot, which is begging for an online casino version, alongside Cleopatra and soon Tomb Raider And Andre The Giant we're told. World Bar’s head of marketing and promotions Grant Barnes told the press that "Ditching the pokies is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, but their removal really just reflects what the people of Sydney want from their entertainment venues – it’s this shift in the market that should be applauded and encouraged. The pokies backlash isn’t new," says the bruising Barnes, "But venues reacting to the backlash perhaps is. Hopefully, it happens more and more in the near future. It really comes down to people not playing them, which is a trend that I think will continue – I mean, they’re not very exciting are they? I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t rather be watching a band." Media Man staffers reckon an Andre The Giant, Ric Flair and Hulkamania - Hulk Hogan machine would be very exciting, but admits some machines are a bit long in the tooth. How about an Avatar and Underbelly pokie - online and offline! Meanwhile, NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing, Kevin Greene, has flat out rejected a proposal by the Productivity Commission to restrict pokies to a crazy $1 bet limit... a move which would significantly impact on the viability of pokies in live venues. Following the federal election newly elected independent Andrew 'Wild & Witty' (MM tag) Wilkie and South Australian federal member Nick 'The' (MM tag) Champion have both launched renewed attacks on the one armed bandits. Think like 'War Of The Worlds' meets Clockwork Orange or something. Wilke has raised the issue as a concern in negotiations with the Liberals and Labor to form government, and Champion has spruiked that "We’ve got rivers of gold at the moment flowing to pubs and clubs and rivers of tears in the community and that’s not an appropriate situation, its not an ethical situation, and it is about time we had robust debate in the parliament on legislation that implements the Productivity Commission’s recommendations.' Smells all a bit like a media "beat up". Independent surveys state that only a small % of gamblers have problems with pokies - 2 to 10%. Bring a friend or don't start playing if you think your personality might make you play or bet more than you should.

Singapore Company Bans Management From Land Based Casinos...

A Singapore firm has basically banned its management from the country's two new casinos following reports a local businessman lost a small fortune at the gaming tables, its founder said last Friday. Mohamed Salleh, chief executive officer of retail and property firm Second Chance... funny name given the circumstances... said he had applied for casino exclusion orders for himself and 6 of his top personnel using a system designed to keep gambling addicts out of harms way. "A few days ago I read about this Henry Quek ... that lost 26 million (Singapore) dollars ($A21.69 million) at this casino, so I was thinking, why not I include all my top executives and my finance people?" he told the press. Media reports said Quek, a local seafood industry magnate, had squandered the amount over a 3 day gambling spree at the Resorts World Sentosa casino. Mohamed said his decision was also prompted by a case in which one of his managers stole gold items from the firm to pay off gambling debts before the local casinos opened the doors. "It's better to be safe than sorry," said Mohamed. Financial firm DBS said on Thursday that Singapore's 2 casino resorts are expected to contribute 2 billion Singapore dollars ($A1.69 billion) to the country's economy this year. After church and civic groups raised concern over the social impact of legalising casinos, Singapore is allowing individuals or their families to apply for exclusion orders on "problem gamblers", barring them from even entering the casinos. Perhaps this type of scenario will be a growing trend in the Asia Pacific region. Australian nor New Zealand casino top brass has commented on this specific situation as we go to publication.

Gambling operators favour regulation, not bans...

ELEANOR HALL: As the scandal over cricket corruption spreads, online gambling operators in Australia say the solution is not to prohibit sports betting but to regulate it better.

Betting in cricket is no longer just about who will win the game or the series. As we've seen, it extends to whether players will throw away their wicket, drop a catch or bowl an illegal delivery and information on injuries and team selections in the hands of a bookmaker or their agent can also influence betting plunges.

But Simon Santow reports that while cricket officials accept that betting is a problem for the game, they say they don't know how to put an end to it.

SIMON SANTOW: Malcolm Speed was once the chief executive of the International Cricket Council. He says he's not surprised by the recent revelations.

MALCOLM SPEED: It looks a fairly compelling case. The News of the World, they do this sort of thing very well and it is very graphic.

SIMON SANTOW: Malcolm Speed would like the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit to take a fresh look at the Sydney Test. He says dealing with corruption and sports betting is a long-term project.

MALCOLM SPEED: When I was involved Lord Condon, the former head of Scotland Yard was the head of the anti-corruption and security unit and his consistent message to the board and to me was, this hasn't gone away. The same corrupt bookmakers and gamblers are out there. We need to work very hard with the players. We need to make sure that the players are aware of the consequences because they will be back.

SIMON SANTOW: Malcolm Speed says that draconian steps, such as banning Pakistan from competing, could be next.

MALCOLM SPEED: I think that is an option. It is serious. It looks as though it is endemic, that several of the team members are involved and have been for some time so perhaps they need a rest.

SIMON SANTOW: On the other side of the world in Pakistan, there's grief, anger, and disgust about the scandal.

Shahid Hashmi is a cricket writer and commentator. He spoke to Radio National from Karachi.

SHAHID HASHMI: The people now easily believe that their cricketers are prey to all such illegal practices so they now believe and it is nothing shocking for them but still they would like this investigation to be completed and they demand that strict action be taken against all those who are involved and once and for all Pakistan cricket should be purged from all these elements.

SIMON SANTOW: Shahid Hashmi says the latest scandal is one thing but just as concerning is the lack of action from Pakistan authorities when team management expressed similar concerns after the Sydney Test in January.

SHAHID HASHMI: The then coach Intikhab Alam, assistant coach, Aaqib Javed, level serious allegations during an enquiry so why the case was swept under the carpet by Pakistan Cricket Board. Now it is up to the Pakistan Cricket Board to take a strict action and clean Pakistan cricket once and for all. If it doesn't happen people won't watch cricket anymore. *for the full story please visit ABC (Special thanks to ABC: The World Today)

Adelaide, South Australia: SkyCity Casino To Get $250m Upgrade...

Casino chain SkyCity says a planned expansion in Adelaide will cost up to $250 million. SkyCity has told the Australian Securities Exchange the casino will be expanded towards the banks of the River Torrens as part of the South Australian Government's Adelaide exciting riverfront development. It said the expansion would include new gaming facilities, a sports bar and restaurants, plus new car parking. The company advised it remained subject to a range of approvals. GM David 'Cashed Up' (MM tag) Christian said the expansion would be a key part of the riverfront development. "Being a beautiful old heritage building, we want to keep that grandeur where we can and put some attachment to the north side of the building that links in and fits in with the whole precinct development," he said. SA Independent Senator Nick 'Mr X' (MM tag) Xenophon says any Adelaide Casino expansion would increase problem gambling and ultimately cost jobs! "The State Government needs to assure the people of South Australia that any expansion of SkyCity Casino won't lead to an increase in problem gambling or, worse still, a relaxation in regulations because SkyCity is putting this money into the state," he said. "The fact is gambling is a job killer, not a job creator, in net terms." MM and Gambling911 did tip you off that the haters were ramping up. If we may say so, thank god for an array of fair and balanced press to help present the full picture. Casinos, both land based and online help create jobs. In fact Australian casino king James Packer has created 100s of jobs via his Crown Limited group, and this is tied in with the GenerationOne project which has sustainable employment opportunities for indigenous Australians as a key part of its model. Readers will also likely be familiar with some of the successes of Native American owned and operated casinos in the U.S.

Readers, is it time for Crown and Burswood to get their own branded online casino games like 'Underbelly' and 'Kerry Packer'? Has Crown now got its security levels to the right level? What other developments would you like to see at Packer's world of entertainment? What's your favorite casino games and why? Tell us in the forum.

Readers, know the odds, bet with your head, not over it, and have fun. Good punting.

*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.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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