Australian Gambling And Casino News, by Greg Tingle - 14th September 2010

The Australian gambling and gaming sector has never been hotter. Today we're got casino tycoon James Packer and friends news, political fodder pertaining to the Aussie gambling sector, a death following a visit to a casino party in the Asia Pacific, industry trends in land based venues and the online gaming sector and more. Media Man and Gambling911 continue to deliver the hard hitting news in an uncensored, unfiltered, caffeine free way... just the way you like it...

Gambling King James Packer And Media King Lachlan Murdoch Celebrate Together...

James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch, both ultra successful - business, gorgeous wives, fantastic lifestyles, you name it, shared a birthday celebration together on the 8th of September Media Man has learned. The tycoons Packer, 43, Murdoch, 39, joined with their better halves Erica and Sarah in 'Sin City' Sydney - the Surry Hills Restaurant and Bar The Winery, to be exact. The couples grabbed a quick bit, then birthday cake of course, and water, maybe on a heath kick...and swapped pressies. Packer gave Murdoch a little something from Cartier... we know, as a little red bag was seen entering and exiting the premises. The new week sees both gents contemplating what action to take regarding that messy One.Tel JV situation from the past. There's Jodee Rich, facing a Wednesday deadline to decide whether to serve a damages claim he has filed against Murdoch, Packer, News Ltd and Consolidated Media Holdings. Should the claim be served, it will most likely join the $244 million damages claim lodged in August by One.Tel's special purpose liquidator Paul Weston. More on this developing situation in the coming days, but it will take a lot to spoil Packer's fun and success at the moment, with his Australian and international ventures going from strength to strength. Can't wait to Aussie Millions at Crown Casino this January.

PartyGaming VS Virgin Games VS MicroGaming Powered Online Casino Wars Continue...

PartyGaming's brands including their mega popular PartyCasino and PartyPoker continue to maintain most popular online gaming website status in Australia for casino and poker. Richard Branson's Virgin Games is looking to move forward in the Australia Pacific, and is understood to also be in touch with Australian authorities. Microgaming powered Captain Cooks has lost a bit of steam, with newer challenger Roxy Casino now offering Aussies The Lord Of The Rings - Fellowship of the Ring slot. Party's Sinatra, Cleopatra, The Godfather, Mission: Impossible, Monopoly, Wheel of Fortune, Rambo, The Terminator, King Kong and Heist are some of the most popular online slots of all for the Aussies, with their sign up bonus of $500 all told being very attractive to most punters. Many of Party's online slot games are in fact very good versions of the land based casino equivalents. In fact, IGT has its own online arm, WagerWorks, which often supplies games to both PartyCasino and Virgin Casino. Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider: Secret of the Sword is still widely regarded as the most popular Microgaming powered game, but again, PartyGaming rules for branded slots in Australia. The play for free or play for money option has also proved to be a winning formula, as are the multi currency options, and the set betting limits option. All these brands have impressive security in place, and have been established for almost 30 years between them. Aussie's have been begging for a 'Kerry Packer', 'Underbelly' and 'Andre The Giant' slot game, but it still hasn't happened, but Christmas is coming. PKR is the most popular place still for 3D poker games and now also offer sport betting, taking a little chuck out of the likes of Betfair and Centrebet. PartyGaming is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is considered the world's most successful online gambling company, and that was even before the bwin deal being announced. Movie and TV show themes remain very appealing to players, with the games being an extension of the greater entertainment industry. PartyCasino won last months Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Award, with Virgin in 2nd and Captain Cooks grabbing 3rd. Congrats PartyGaming, and all others for their spirited competition.

Aussie Casino King James Packer And Friends Party In Melbourne...

'The King' was making the most of his return to down under, Melbourne last week, having cruised in from his high seas voyage of discovery. He joined mates, grabbing a feed at Crown Casino with Network Nine connection buddies David Gyngell, Eddie McGuire, Jeffrey Browne, Shane Warne. Media Man has named the foursome as some of the key players in what has been come to be known around town as the 'Aussie Gumleaf Mafia'. JP was also spotted at Hemmesphere with sister Gretel, who we understand was celebrating a birthday. Yep, another party, so let's celebrate. More good fodder for the press.

Australian Clubs Might Follow Norwegian Pokie System Despite Problems; Punters Tipped To Bet More Via Online Pokies In Show Of Defiance...

A few years ago, way up north, Norwegian authorities reckon thet saw a rise in "problem gambling" (whatever exactly that is) in the pokie player mix, so they ripped out all the 15,000 one armed bandits from every pokie palace in the nation. Some punters went underground playing at illegal dens, others hit the internet pokies, some both. This scenario might just be on the cards for Australia. You know, see no evil, hear no evil! Out of sight, and out of mind. We all know banning things doesn't work. What happens when a book or music video, movie... whatever gets banned? They become more popular of course. Anyway, on with the tale and fast forward a year later, in 2008, and Norway reintroduced electronic gambling but with a piss weak system that some Australian thought police...the ones know know what is best for you, and are trying to protect you from yourself! Under a written agreement between PM Julia Gillard and the new Tasmanian independent MP Andrew 'Witty and Wild' (MM tag) Wilkie), the federal government has pledged to introduce a national "pre-commitment system" for Australia's 198,000 poker machines by 2012. The pitch is that this will "force" players to set spending limits in advance, and looks likely to shut them out for a period, once they reach their maximum. Of course in reality it will force gambling underground, be it to Kings Cross, Surry Hills, Bondi Beach, the internet or wherever. Banning trying to stop people doing X has never worked. Just look at the recent sackings of MP's from the Australian government - and they were looking at porn and gambling websites. Then there was a ABC TV presenter who collected kiddie porn - he still did it. Gambling regulation is the responsibility of the state governments, which new in billions of dollars, or about 10% of their annual revenue from gambling tax... pokies being the best, the federal government is now seeking legal advice on how it can enforce a pre-commitment system if the states refuse, which is quite likely. The Wilkie "deal" was struck on September 2 and clubs and others in the industry have been determined to point out its injustice and futility. Note, the Aussie Labor government has also been to known to break "deals" - go back on their word, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. The Aussie Productivity Commission recommended the pre-commitment system after stating that about 41% (in dispute by all clubs) of the $11.9 billion Aussies spend on pokies each year came from "problem gamblers". It also questioned the community benefits that clubs claim to offer. The commission also dismissed concerns about job losses. Many clubs now believe the commission report was rigged and bias, and had an agenda in place from day dot, and was a way to push the bias of a couple of Australian anti gambling campaigners, despite data being corrupted. Andrew Wilkie is the MP now making the most noise, and he's quickly making a number of enemies in the pub and hospitality industry, and even a few underworld figures have their eyes and minds on Wilkie it is understood. A price is not know, but club whispers indicate its substantial. Wilkie is understood to have had to boost his security at work and home in fear of "what if" type scenarios. Wilkie and friend, the South Australian anti-pokies independent Senator Nick 'Mr X' (MM tag) Xenophon, say the intention and sentiment of the "deal" is for a mandatory system. Gaming firms, pubs and hotel associations give a lot of money to Labor, and lobbying against a mandatory system is tipped to be massive. When the deal was announced, shares in pokie manufacturer Aristocrat dropped. Tabcorp and Tatts Group were only slightly affected, since the share market knows that neither of the firms own pokies after 2012, under licensing changes down south in Victoria. It is understood Tabcorp plans to manage some gaming rooms for a fee for some venues, but its real future is in casinos and wagering. Tatts could stand to win from a pre-commitment system. Through its Maxgaming arm, it runs monitoring for pokies in Queensland, NSW and the Northern Territory and is considered a most likely contender to win the same licence in Victoria. Maxgaming, which delivered a cool $42.6 million in earnings last year, already offers a pre-commitment system. One of the country's biggest poker machine operators, Woolworths, runs just over 12,000 machines through its 75% stake in ALH Group. It is running a trial of a voluntary pre-commitment system in a Queensland venues. ALH spokesman David Curry declined to say what effect this system has had on revenue or how many players have taken it up. "It's relatively early days. We do support voluntary pre-commitment and by voluntary, I mean opt-in." He argues mandatory pre-commitment would deter the group of friends having a few drinks on a Friday night who decide to play a few dollars on the pokies, and says they make up a significant portion of punters. "The productivity commission said that between 0.5 and 1 per cent of Australians are problem gamblers. So that leaves an awful number of recreational gamblers," Curry says. That figure is quoted often by those opposed to a mandatory system, who say it will punish the vast majority of recreational players, thus unfairly punishing venues. The commish found that there were between 80,000 and 160,000 Aussie adults suffering significant problems from gambling, or 0.5 to 1% of all adults. 230,000 to 350,000 adults experience "moderate risks" that may make them vulnerable to "problem gambling". Problem gamblers contribute up to 60% of total gaming machine spending, says the commission, but clubs and many industry expects say the report went out to inflate the numbers in order to try to push their own personal beliefs. Some of the crusaders said a punter could loose about $50,000 - $70,000 per hour playing a pokie, which is scientifically - mathematically impossible. A study by Scandinavian research group SINTEF found no change in the proportion of people with gambling problems in Norway in 2008, compared with 2007, even though all slot machines were removed from the market. The problem apparently shifted - online! A large proportion of problem gamblers "reported that internet gambling was their most important form of gambling," the researchers found. Aussies are spending about $850 million a year on overseas gambling websites according to insiders and leakers. Only time will tell for sure as to what will work, and what won't, but clubs are hear to stay, as is the internet, including games of skill, games of chance, and everything else, and we all know that having a punt is one of strongest attributes of Australian culture. Australians are also some of the world's highest users of the internet for work or play, so expect a lot more to be written about this political hot fodder. Gambling911 and Media Man will be proving frequent news updates, and also the odd game review on their world famous website portals, which happen to cover about a dozen different news and entertainment sectors, gaming and gambling just being one main group, albeit just about the most popular. Funny that! Work hard and play harder - its the Australian way maties.

Australians Gambling With Dangerous Websites?...

Australians tend to believe that all websites and website portals carry an equal security risk, be it gambling, sex - adult, news, mobile games and ringtones, entertainment or other content. It's a subject some news media and new media companies try to sidestep at times... just how safe or dangerous is the internet, and how do gambling and adult websites fit into the landscape. The majority of the loyal readership would be aware that both Media Man and Gambling911 are well established media website portals that cover news, sports, gaming, gambling, entertainment and more. We've learned that approximately 13% see gambling websites as most dangerous. A recent survey of computer users has found that 1 in 3 believe that all websites pose a security threat! Quizzed 'Where do you suspect is the greatest danger of malware infection on the internet', 34% said that when it comes to security, all websites are equally dangerous. Websites that offer illegal software were deemed to be dangerous to 27%, 22% believed that visitors to adult sites are exposed to dangers, while 13% saw online gambling sites as the most treacherous. Only 4% per cent believed that big website portals (like Media Man, Google, Yahoo, NineMSN, Wikipedia) are particularly vulnerable due to their massive popularity. Sorin Mustaca, data security expert at Avira, who kindly conducted the said survey, said "On one hand, it's encouraging to see that over 33% of our user base has learned that security threats can come from any website, but it's also a statement on our society at large when 1 out of every 3 people can't trust any of the websites they visit." Carl Leonard, senior threat research manager at Websense, believes that the results underline the fact that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the risks when browsing the internet. He said "While 34% is a positive increase in awareness, it clearly shows that two-thirds of users still lack awareness of online security threats. Businesses are also suffering from the same problem and many do not adequately protect themselves online. "Threats can come from anywhere: cyber criminals are known to target Web 2.0 websites, the most popular 100 websites, legitimate business websites and brand new sites; and they specifically look for places to host zero-day attacks. Today's sophisticated threats are increasingly blended attacks which hit all these channels and if a business has not got the right protection it can be hugely damaging." Christopher Boyd, senior threat researcher at GFI Labs, said "Personally I'd be more worried by browser games and social networking applications than pornographic websites - adult entertainment websites realised a long time ago that they won't maximise their profits while peddling infections and malicious code hijacks. In contrast, so many applications are untested and unverified by the platforms they operate on that spam, malicious links and compromised profiles are increasingly the order of the day. Warez sites can be lethal, as the code you're downloading could contain absolutely anything." Matthew Bruun, security expert at VeriSign, said "It's great to see that consumers are thinking about their online security, but as long as users are prudent and cautious when they are operating online there is no need to distrust every website. In order to get the best from the web, consumers need to know what to look for so that they can make the best judgement on whether or not to give a site their custom. Always look for visible security cues such as trust marks, or the green address bar, to guarantee that the website is authentic and online transactions are being secured. "It's these security factors, and not the type of website, that indicate to consumers which sites are safe to deal with. Conversely, if a site looks poorly built, has a strange URL address and contains lots of spelling or typographical errors, the user is right to be nervous."

A Media Man spokesperson said "For reasons stated in this report we are very mindful of who and what we associated ourselves with. As a world leading internet portal we need to be. We have every confidence in our friends at internet giants, Google, Gambling911, PartyGaming, Wikipedia, Virgin Games, Virgin, Playtech and Microgaming. Based on our decade in media publishing we have found Google to be a much safer company and website portal than Yahoo! and the Microsoft suite, but that's based off our own experience and the feedback we have been sent in. For gaming and gambling PartyGaming and Virgin are our current Top picks, and we offer detailed reviews on them to help boost consumer confidence. We also like poker brands World Poker Tour, World Series of Poker and Aussie Millions. WPT and WSOP sometimes get shown on Foxtel and other sports and entertainment TV shows. Tech news sites such as CNet and ZDNet are also excellent sources to get tech and web reviews. Ourselves and Gambling911 have developed quite in a niche in gaming, gambling and sports betting, and only deal with the best and most trusted company brands. We recommend that website visitors minimize risks when possible and dealing with big firms with positive reviews is a great way to do this".

Australian Man Dead After Asia Pacific Casino Party...

The surviving family of an Australian citizen found hanged in his Solomon Islands villa are now demanding that Aussie authorities fully investigate the death, which local police say was a suicide. Joanne Meiners believes the death last month of her former loving husband Wolfgang, who came to Sydney in 1961 after fleeing the then Iron Curtain nation of East Germany, was actually made to look like he took his own life. As time goes by, other people are starting to side with her belief. Mr Meiners, 69, who operated a successful fishing charter business in Honiara after relocating to the Solomon Islands 20 years ago, was found dead in his apartment on 26th August by a person identified as a former lover, who telephoned police. Speaking from her Gold Coast home, Mrs Meiners said a copy of the autopsy sent to her by friends living in Honiara revealed Mr Meiners had suffered a blow to the right eye, what appear to be defensive type wounds to his wrists, some bruising to his legs and injuries to his genitalia. "We have been told that the night prior, Wolfgang attended a party at the Pacific Casino Hotel held to celebrate the election of a new prime minister in the Solomon Islands," Mrs Meiners said. "Two of his friends walked him back to his hotel later that night and stated that he was paralytic but was OK when they left him there. Other people who were at the party said he appeared happy at the function and he had no injuries on his arms." She said her former husband was a "larger-than-life character" who made headlines five years ago when he and his fishing boat crew survived 18 days at sea after their vessel broke down. Mrs Meiners said her husband had had many affairs with other women, and was too vain to take his own life. "It is incredibly suspicious. There was no toxicology done in the post mortem. The autopsy report on the cause of death said 'probably hanging'. It doesn't explain how he came to suffer the injuries to his crotch and the massive blood loss." She rightly wants a complete review of the autopsy and said Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers based in the Solomon Islands should investigate the case as a matter of urgency.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, what's your view on casino parties? Have you ever had a dangerous experience or very "close call" at a land based or online casino? What's your favorite slot game? Tell us in the forum.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... have you visited any dangerous websites or websites lately? What's more dangerous... gambling websites, porn websites or Australian government 'Big Brother' websites, or are they equal? Tell us in the forum.

When visiting a website or website portal be on the look out for any suspicious pop ups, adverts or any other elements that look like trouble. If betting, bet with your head, not over it, and 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. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming.

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