Australian Casino And Political News, by Greg Tingle - 7th August 2010

Australia shows no sign of loosing its top spot as both a casino, online casino and political hotbed. The upcoming federal election, anti internet filter forum, sweet casino deals and revamp to many of Australia's land based casinos adds further fuel to the fire. Media Man and Gambling911 follows the campaign trail, dodging and weaving around the Aussie casino wars with another jam packed report for your culinary delight...

Queensland - Tabcorp Playing Political And Tourism Card: $600m Tourism Boost For 1000 Pokies?...

"Banana Bender" casinos look to undergo a revamp to the tune of more than half a billion dollars! You read correctly... half a Billion smackaroos.

The move it predicated to significantly boost the Queensland tourism industry, but time will tell.

However the size of the investment in Tabcorp owned and operated Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos rests on State Government willingness to grant the company more poker machine licences. Interesting hey.

We've learned that plans for Brisbane's Treasury Casino now include a 5-star hotel complete with 1000-seat ballroom, nightclub, creme de la creme restaurants and retail and high roller gaming facilities.

Jupiters on the Gold Coast would also sprout a new hotel tower on its site plus more conference facilities, 6 restaurants, nightclubs and a spa (bring your own women or look to pick up on site, or reach for the phone book or internet).

Insiders reckon Tabcorp is trying to bring back high rollers and basically catch ... er, capture the Oriental high-roller VIP sector. An extra $600 million in revenue could be picked up if done correctly.

Here's the catch... they need and extra 1000 pokies to its casinos to surge revenues and underwrite the expansion. Tabcorp would likely commit only 25% ($150 million) and bin its Brisbane dreams.

Tabcorp has requested the Government to sell it licences to unused pokies which could be relocated to the land based casinos. This move avoids any attempt to increase the number of machines the Government has allowed under its cap.

Tabcorp chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper advised the firm understood the sensitivities about pokies, hence its attempt to buy existing ones.

"What we have to realise is that casinos, particularly integrated resorts, are made for this sort of business and have all the infrastructure around responsible gambling and responsible service of alcohol," he said.

Treasurer Andrew Fraser on Saturday said the state government welcomed Tabcorp's proposal.

"This project has the potential to deliver jobs and a boost to our economy," Mr Fraser said.

"The project has the exciting potential to provide a welcome boost to the tourism infrastructure on the Gold Coast and a new five star hotel in Brisbane's CBD.

He said Tabcorp advised the state government in the last month that it would be looking to provide a formal submission about investment plans at its Queensland properties.

"The government looks forward to receiving a detailed submission regarding Tabcorp's investment proposals," he said.

"This is a massive proposal and one that obviously has many issues to consider.

"We will be considering the proposal in the context of our strong policy commitments on gambling regulation and the recently released Productivity Commission report on gambling."

Sydney, Australia: IGT to Show a New Spin on Gaming at the Australasian Gaming Expo...

International Game Technology, a global leader in creating the games players love and network systems that improve the player experience, announced today that, at the Australasian Gaming Expo (AGE) in Sydney on Aug. 8-10, the Company will launch a new wheel-based link, Wheel of Gold®, showcase one of the largest selections of new games for venues of all sizes, and provide customers with insightful presentations. IGT's booth at AGE will demonstrate the Company's continued focus on supporting a range of venues with the widest variety of games across all denominations and styles. IGT's goal is to ensure that all venues have a choice that suits their player demographics in Australia and New Zealand. "We are looking forward to a successful AGE 2010 and to building on the solid foundations IGT has established in the Australian and New Zealand gaming industry," said Norris Goudy, general manager sales and marketing for IGT Australia. "We're demonstrating our commitment by providing our local customers with an array of innovative products and systems that are based on our global strength and tailored to meet local regulatory and venue requirements." The new Wheel of Gold® game features a very distinctive 32-inch portrait LCD screen, called the Tower Top, and a great new video wheel spin feature. Also in the booth will be Jackpot Jewels®, a new themed bank with three jackpots, following hot on the heels of IGT's chart topping Gold Fever® games. Debuting with two low denomination games, Jackpot Jewels® includes bright signage, adding a touch of Vegas glitz to gaming floors Down Under. And, putting an exciting twist on games is Diamond Club. Diamond Club is a mid-denomination game with fun graphics and a night club theme where players can choose from a variety of dance floor backgrounds. Couple this with some upbeat background music and you've got a game that appeals to 'the young at heart' player. Last year's AGE saw the launch of the IGT bluechip Neo® cabinet, which has become a mainstay on gaming floors. "It's only been a year since the launch of our new cabinet into a highly competitive market and already there are over 30 new games available including chart toppers such as Gold Fever®," said Goudy. "This year at AGE, our focus will be on more new games, our system solutions and providing value added business information from industry experts." Drawing on the global strength of being part of the world's largest supplier of games and systems means that IGT Australia can deliver a total solution for customers. A big part of this strength is IGT Systems and this area of the booth will certainly cause a buzz. "We'll be providing live demonstrations of future products like IGT's sbX® server-based gaming solution, targeted for the Australian and New Zealand gaming industry," said Goudy. "These advances are just a part of the reason why so many venues have placed their faith and future in the hands of IGT Systems." To demonstrate IGT's focus on the customer, the design of the Company's booth has been designed to look like a real venue with a gaming room, outdoor gaming area, theatre, two bars, entertainment and meeting rooms. Additionally, IGT will be running free business presentations from club and industry experts which include:

Dr Moni Lai Storz, Chopsticks People Revealed for Global Business – A presentation on how bridging the cultural divide between Asians and Australians can lead to success.
Erik Munoz, Just How Social is Social Media? - A journey through the techno-babble, jargon and trends in social media technology.
Professor Sudhir Kale, How to Succeed Using the Right Marketing Plan - How using the right marketing plan for your business leads to the outcomes you want.
Jacqui Matthews, Loyalty for all Shapes and Sizes - How operators can use their resources to deliver relationship marketing strategies that fit their business and generate powerful word of mouth marketing.
Tracey Van Rossum, The Devil Wears Prada - Transforming a venue to engage the entire market and demographic in which it sits.

Aussie Pokie King Bruce Mathieson Gives Pokies Out Of Love...

Pokie king of the kids Bruce Mathieson advises he gave away hundreds of pokies to Carlton Footy Club in the name of love. How sweet.. where's ours mate? Just kidding.
The former Blues footy director and life-long supporter has handed over control of about 300 one armed bandits to the footy club. These pokies generate cash and will help cement the future of the club for years, perhaps decades. Gambling losses at the 4 hotels which have the pokies totalled $22.6 million last year. The Blues are set for a big win thanks to the pokies every year.

"I love the club. It's something we (his family gaming empire) wanted to do and so that's what we did," Mathieson told the Murdoch press. "We'll run it under management for them, but they are their machines under their control. Hopefully it is very good for them. As long as it is very successful I am happy. Even when I was on the board I said when the time comes I will do it - and I've done it." The billionaire businessman did not hide his disappointment with Carlton's form or some selections at the draft table during the past 10 years.

"Everyone is terribly disappointed - we need to make vast improvements. Everyone that is there has got to look at it," Mathieson said.

But he has ruled out stepping in as club president, revealing he spent the majority of his days living in Queensland.

He said the decision to sack Brendan 'Fev' Fevola had been vindicated - and should have happened five years ago.

Quizzed whether he would consider taking on the Carlton presidency to help out good mate Stephen Kernahan, Mathieson replied: "No. I spend 80% of my time in Queensland and I just couldn't devote the time that is required."

Under the Mathieson pokies coup, money will flow to Carlton from the Royal Oak in Richmond, the Vic Inn at Williamstown, Club Laverton and the Manningham Club.

The Yarra Valley Country Club, on land owned by Mathieson, is also expected to fall under Carlton's control.

Two of the gaming venues were previously controlled by Richmond and the Western Bulldogs.

Tigers president Gary March this week told press his board felt no animosity towards the pokies baron over the decision that has wiped $300,000 a year from Richmond's books.

Mathieson was among a group of Blues powerbrokers who famously moved against former club president John Elliott in late 2002, ending his 20-year tenure at Carlton.

Australian Poker Loving Fugitive Nabbed After Organising Online Poker Game Via Facebook...

An Aussie fugitive who escaped jail whilst on a hospital visit has been located by police a week after his escape. He was nabbed after posting messages to friends on Facebook and tried to organise an online poker game. Justin Grant was serving a 5 year prison sentence (Armed Robbery) for 5 years. He escaped on a hospital visit in Townsville on 15th July. During his week as a fugitive from the law, he frequently went on Facebook and left friends such comments as: “Ha u watch ile hav to hand myself in before they cach me.” The 21 year old also tried to organise a poker game between mates before police eventually caught him on Friday, in a McDonalds in southern Townsville. Others have been nabbed via the Facebook connection also. In December 2009, Craig Lynch teased police posting pictures of him eating Christmas dinner and holding 'wanted signs'. Unimpressed officers didn't take long to find the escapee and return him back to the slammer.

Auckland, New Zealand: Casino Says No Jackpot To Excluded Member...

A casino in Auckland Australia is refusing to pay a punter that won a jackpot for $44,000. 6 years back a 22 year old Sothea Sinn of New Zealand asked SkyCity Casino for a self exclusion ban. 6 years later, Sinn says he thought that ban would have expired by now. The casino contends that the ban does not expire until Sinn takes attends mandatory gambling counseling sessions. At that time, the would be jackpot winner could win a jackpot and apparently not get screwed out of it. He was however not refunded the money he gambled to win the jackpot, or excluded in any other way prior to the jackpot win. Sinn and his girl both self excluded in 2004. Sinn says he intends to seek the assistance of an attorney in collecting his monies. Good luck.

Australian Politics: 'No Bull' Turnbull Hosts Anti-Filter Forum...

Former Opposition leader and Federal member of Wentworth, Malcolm Turnbull, hosting an Internet filtering forum in Sydney today (Saturday). The panel members will included former Telstra BigPond group manager, Justin Milne, Getup! national director, Simon Sheikh, and Mr Turnbull himself! Internet projects of Mr Turnbull helped make him a millionaire including the famed OzEmail. He remains one of Australia's most respected and financially wealthy politicians and is seen as quite the 'Peoples Champion'. Media Man told the captive audiece that the internet filter had cost time and money, and has cost white and black Australia jobs... one's they had earmarked for the firm, but has spent thousands on legal advise... money that could have gone into empoying people, including a tie in with GenerationOne.

Punters, er readers, stay glued to Media Man reports via Gambling911 for more "can't miss" information on the Australian casino and political wars.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how good was that. Chock full of goodness you have come to expect from Gambling911 and MM. Granted, the Aussie Casino Wars are great material to work with, and an upcoming Aussie political election doesn't go astray either. Who will win the Australian Casino Wars - Packer's Crown Limited or Tabcorp? Tell us (and the world) in the forum. Is the Aussie internet filter costing job opportunities for white and black Australia? Comon', don't be shy... the big wigs of Australian politics and business read and hang on every word at your beloved Gambling911.

The Late News...

A media insider leaked that PartyGaming and other igaming firms are watching the Australian political and gambling scene very closely, and are aware of a certain media man's numerous public sightings with Australian politicians. Those who do their research will know that's "No Bull" (hint hint). Richard Branson, the champion of Virgin Games and Virgin Gaming is also currently doing Australia. Where there's smoke, there's fire, so don't touch your dial.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

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

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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