Australian Casino, Gambling And Political News, by Greg Tingle - 24th September 2010

Another big news week for the Australian casino, gambling and political sector news. It's almost all that same thing these days isn't it, with politics playing a role in many aspects of business. Then of course the internet is connected up to all of these also, so little wonder it makes for interesting fun and games, as just as a little reminder - no one owns the internet and its a global medium, and a favorite of news media companies (and punters) these days, hence the News Limited, Fairfax Media and Google push of games of skill and games of chance. Readers familiar with PartyGaming may recall their CEO Jim Ryan going on record a few years ago about media getting into gaming and gambling, and as usual 'Our Jimbo' was right on the money. Casino and media tycoon watchers, don't be surprised if you spot James Packer, David Gyngell and a host of Network Nine, Seven, Ten and newspaper big shots at Bondi Beach this Saturday morning, possibly surrounded by casino babes, bodypainted goddess babes or both!. Media Man and Gambling911 voyage down under, doing the coast to coast from 'Sin City' Sydney, Bondi Beach, Melbourne, Brisbane - Bris Vegas, Perth... you name it. Tasmania tigers, Kiwis, dolphins and super whales, we've got it all for the loyal and vast audience...

Crown Casino Numbers Up; But Baby And Pram In (But Not For Long)...

Readers will recall the Gambling911 - Media Man news item showing a baby playing poker at the WWE poker room. Well, recently one "lucky" baby got wheeled in to Crown Casino, but didn't get to play! Where's the justice punters? .... just kidding. The baby and pram story is spreading like wildfire, and makes for a good media and hotel yarn you must admit. This matter was just one of the law breaches for which our friends and Crown Casino got fined for over the past year. It was only a $2500 fine, nothing to seriously impact the record $1.32 billion backers punters lost to the gaming giant. Punters might like to cut down expenses and play a bit more online next time, with the rising cost of car parking in Melbourne, and then there's always the risk of an incident - scuffle at a casino, but thankfully Crown have boosted security a great deal over the years, keep to improve safety and image, and give more reasons to spend a dollar (or million) at the 'World Of Entertainment', as the tag like once said. The Crown coffers are up than $100 million on the previous year, so certainly management and staff might like to but some more big boys toys.

Baby Into Crown Via Pram But Doesn't Gamble - Cries...

Baby-and-pram matters are a classic. Not quite up there with Crown Casino Shaft Man or Ferrari Thief Man, but getting there Pink Panther fans. The baby and pram fine was one of 9 incidents for which the casino was disciplined over for breaking the Casino Control Act, but Crown was fined a modest $50,000 for indiscretions... you know, slipping up. The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation annual report shows Crown's security failed when "a minor in a pram gained entry into the casino".
Crown casino said the woman who entered the gaming area was immediately ejected and did not play machines or tables during the brief visit. Gaming Minister Tony Robinson advised international visitors had contributed much of Crown's increase in takings in the past year, and heavy speculation a number of casino "whales" and "super whales" tried their luck, some possibly connected with Tiger Woods and Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible and Top Gun fame). The Victorian Government netted in almost $1.7 billion in gaming taxes and other fees in the year to June, just slightly down on last year. The commission received $984 million in gaming taxes and $380 million from Tattersall's Lotteries. Crown paid out $151 million in taxes and licence fees, while racing taxes and licences boosted the state's bottom line by a cool $137 million. All up, punters lost $5.14 billion from all forms of gaming. Gambling critic aka "hater" and World Vision chief Tim Costello said the losses translated into bankruptcies and home losses for families. Inter-Church Gambling Taskforce chairman Mark Zirnsak said the figures showed Crown's "rolled gold" tax treatment. "They get half of what suburban pokie venues earn but they only pay one-sixth the amount of tax," Mr Zirnsak said. "If we have legalised gambling, at the very least we want to be seeing more money flowing back into services for the community and not into the pockets of the already overly wealthy gambling industry."

Legal Eagles Talk Aussie Government VS Clubs; Government Tipped To Loose Fight; Punters Rejoice...

Law experts have tipped that independent MP Andrew 'Wild and Witty' (MM tag) Wilkie's demand for federal government action on pokies is doomed to fail. They predict gaming companies and state governments would manoeuvre to protect their revenue. Wilkie described poker machine reform as a potential "show stopper" for either major party seeking his support in a hung parliament, saying he had made it clear in a meeting with caretaker prime minister Julia 'Jungle Girl' (MM tag) Gillard that "inaction is not an option". The Tassie independent and South Australian independent senator Nick 'Mr X' (MM tag) Xenophon have united as a tag team to push for changes to federal legislation which would limit poker machines to a $1 bet limit or a maximum loss of $120 an hour. Wilkie said amendments to the Corporations Act or telecommunications law would enable the changes, but University of NSW law professor George 'Why Is It So' (MM tag) Williams said loopholes would still exist. "The way the states would get around it is by licensing non-corporate bodies to operate poker machines," he said. "Then you don't have the commonwealth power any more. It could lead to a bit of a jurisdictional tug-of-war between the commonwealth and the states if the states were determined to fight." The Australian Hotels Association declined to comment, while state governments refused to say if they would support federal moves to tighten poker machine restrictions. NSW has already outlined opposition to a $1 bet limit, saying it would have "a significant impact" on the viability of NSW clubs and hotels, given the current highest bet limit is $10. A spokesman for the Victorian government said: "We are not commenting on conversations that may or may not have taken place between the Prime Minister and Andrew Wilkie." Mr Wilkie said stories of lives "destroyed by the virtually unregulated rise of poker machines" had brought him to tears. "Hence I have told the Prime Minister that a really good place to start would be to introduce a $1 bet limit on all poker machines in the country," he said. "I would hope that the federal government would be able to steer the states in the right direction and there wouldn't be a need for the federal government to legislate. "I'm advised that there is a range of commonwealth legislation which is relevant which could be used to force change if the states don't agree." Senator Xenophon said a lack of political will was responsible for holding back poker machine reform, suggesting the federal government took a "carrot and stick" approach to wean the states off poker machine revenue. "If there was a package of reforms where the commonwealth said 'We will make sure you're not out of pocket' in terms of loss of revenue, that would be another way of looking at it," he said. "There could be an assurance the states will not be out of pocket, but I think you'll find if states have $3 billion or $4bn less from poker machines, that money will invariably be spent in other areas of the economy where you'll have a greater multiplier effect on jobs and spending on retail where GST will be collected. The sooner the states wean themselves off pokies tax, the better off all of us will be." Senator Xenophon said 'Wild And Witty' Wilkie's potential power in the hung parliament would have "acutely focused" the minds of Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony 'The Bruiser' Abbott on the need for poker machine reform. Stay tuned as the lovers vs haters war continues.

Man Of God Tells Christan Follows To Sell Woolworths Shares; Pokies King Connection...

We learn that among synod highlights, the Bishop of Bendigo, Andrew Curnow, urged Christians to sell Woolworths shares, saying they were not an ethical investment because the company was one of the country's biggest poker machine operators. Through its 75% stake in Australian Leisure and Hospitality, Woolworths runs more than 12,000 pokies. Bishop Curnow said the Victorian Premier, John Brumby, was "a bit dismissive" of gambling concerns and predicted the issue might be a "sleeper" for the state election. Wollongong minister, Sandy 'Greener' (MM tag) Grant, said every state except Western Australia was addicted to a regressive form of tax on gambling profits. He said the harm arising from problem gambling included suicide, depression, bankruptcy and criminality.

Casinos in Australia - Industry Risk Rating Report - New Market Analysis Released...

A handy list and report into casinos down under is available. It's the replacement for the July 2009 edition of Casinos in Australia Industry Risk Ratings Report. Industry Risk Ratings Synopsis This Industry Risk Ratings report evaluates the inherent risks associated with the Casinos in Australia industry. Industry Risk is assumed to be ´the difficulty, or otherwise, of the business operating environment´. The report is available from Companies And Markets.

Australian Land Based Casino And Gaming Brands Don't Get High Marks On Branding Report...

Aussies are punishing brands that commit "major transgressions", with Vegemite and Toyota slipping down the latest list of top Aussie brands. Tech brands, lead by Google and Microsoft, dominate our daily lives, followed by Nokia, Sony and Apple, according to a study of 2000 Australians conducted last month by Brand Asset Consulting, which is part of the global Y&R Brands advertising group. Trailing at the bottom of the list were casinos Star City and Jupiters, magazines FHM and InStyle, Nutrient Water and Smart Water, Tiger Airlines, social media brands MySpace and LinkedIn and betting site Betfair. Some of the biggest improvers included phone brand HTC, Colgate Total and wholegrain snack brand Grainwaves. Apple has 5 brands in the study, all of which ranked 90% or higher in the study, including the iPad, after just 13 weeks in market. The study follows a global list of top brands released by brand consultancy Interbrand last week. Coca-Cola topped that list, followed by IBM, Microsoft, Google and GE.

Aussie Millions Coming Back To Crown Casino, Melbourne, Australia In January 2011...

Yep card shark and newbies, young and old, Australia's richest poker championships is coming up again in a few short months. Stay tuned to Gambling911 and Media Man for the finer details, like deals, and even fights, gossip from the tables and hotel rooms, and more. Oh, yep... PartyPoker's Tyron Krost and Stewart Scott are both expected to turn up, with Tony G a possibly also. Aussie celebs Shane Warne and Jeff Fenech are as close to 100% of attending as you can get. No word on Pam Anderson or Daniel 'She's a Hunt' Negreanu or Lover Not! Annie Duke as yet. Mike Tyson appears to be no longer campaigning to come down under to play or even watch poker, as his spiritual path continues. Crown Casino is understood to have security at max levels at the famed poker tourney this year with all the heat that exists between certainly players.

Australian Clubs VS Australian Government On Pokie Reform - And Update...

Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball said the undertaking to implement a mandatory pre-commitment system for all poker machines across Australia as well as to limit ATM cash withdrawals to just $250 a day were completely untested. He said the measures would close rural clubs, cost jobs, inconvenience recreational gamblers and club users, and do nothing to alleviate problem gambling. "She's done this without consultation and without any evidence to support it as an effective harm minimisation measure," Ball said. "Julia Gillard wrote to Clubs Australia and committed herself to consultation in developing gambling policy. "That commitment has been broken. We won't just take that sitting down." The NSW Government alone reaped more than $1 billion from pokies taxes in the past financial year. Mandatory "pre-commitment" technology, largely untested, will put computers in charge of 160,000 problem gamblers, placing self-imposed limits on the amount they can put through machines.
But most poker machine users could still bet to maximum limits. Gillard said it was not a total solution to problem gambling "but it's a good way forward". The politic pokie war continues. Same time, same channel again next week punters.

What sort of other Aussie news would you like to see? Tell us in the forum.

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Australian 'Gumleaf Mafia', Media Man and Gambling911 crew hear of a few casino babes and bodypainted babes heading to Bondi Beach for this Saturday. Think a James Packer - David Gyngell tie in. If either can't make it, fear not, there will be one of two other media men on hand to look after the goddesses. Oh, Sydney bodypainting artist Eva Rinaldi will also be present, and Eva's creations have actually appeared at the Australian Gaming Expo before, so top of the class to Eva, who is getting closer to Media Man all the time. Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month: PartyCasino.com Shane Warne rumoured to ramp up bricks and mortar casino interests further with Packer with a branded Warnie poker room, and more online ventures too. Before you ask, more rumblings about a Kerry Packer and 'Mr Sin' Abe Safron slot game, but its its just talk or actually going to happen, time will tell. PartyGaming, Virgin Games, Slots3 and NextGen Gaming are favorites to develop titles such as those, and Marvel Entertainment leaks say more themed Marvel games may arrive in the coming months, in sync with Marvel Hollywood movie releases like Thor, The Avengers, Captain America, and whatever else legend Stan Lee and friends dream up for us. Hollywood hunk Sly Stallone is also said to be keen to see a 'The Expendables' online slot game and adaption for land based casinos get unleashed sooner rather than later, and his mate Hulk Hogan is also looking to ramp up casino and gambling interests, which should help cover his medical expenses. Check out the casino reviews at Media Man. Oh, friendly reminder punters... bet with your head, not over it, and have fun. As Stan Lee says, Excelsior!

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

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

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