Australian Lottery, Gaming And Tote News, by Greg Tingle - 10th November 2010

G'day punters, gamers, journalists, politicians...one and all. Let's swing into it hey. Aussie lottery, gaming and tote news to help keep you at the top of your game. Media Man and Gambling911 with the latest and the greatest...

World Lottery Association Convention News...

Over 800 participants showed up, mostly involved in the lottery business around the world.

It also coincided with the Australia's famous Melbourne Cup.

In 2010, the global gaming market attracted revenues of between US$350bil and US$400bil, with casinos, lotteries and gaming machines accounting for close to 85%. The online component is beginning to edge up to 10%. Here, the big push is led by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) group, representing three-quarters of this business. The world-wide lottery business is worth about US$200bil-US$240bil, growing at below 5% a year lately. Growth is, however, uneven... 20% in Latin America & Africa; 10% in Asia (23% in China, where revenues in the first eight months of 2010 amounted to US$16bil); flat in Europe and the United States.

And, global casino and other regulated gaming had revenues in the region of US$150bil in 2010, with 45% in the United States, 30% in Asia-Pacific and 20% in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). But growth is fastest in Asia-Pacific, up about 20% per year in 2008-2012; while US growth is expected at 4% and EMEA, 5%. Casino gaming accounted for 90%. In Asia-Pacific, business in China (Macau) is growing the fastest, rising by 59% in the first 10 months of 2010 from a year earlier, with revenues passing US$21bil for the entire year, while Asean-5 expanded just as fast with revenues of US$7bil. Australia and South Korea have revenues of US$2bil-US$3bil each – growing much slower annually.

Gaming being recession proof is a myth. Recession resistant...Yes. During the recent great recession, the Bank of America Merrill Lynch HY Gaming Index declined 56% from early 2008 to its trough in March 2009. However, since then the index has risen 136%.

Despite growing risks, Asia will lead economic growth this year and the next. The World Bank has upgraded China’s 2010 GDP growth to 10%. Meanwhile, the OECD cut growth estimates for its 33 members to 2-2½% in 2011, downgrading the United States to 1.75-2.25%.

Growth in Asian disposable income will continue to expand; so will growth in Asian household consumption of goods and services. Since the beginning of this decade, Asia’s gaming revenues have been the fastest growing...especially in Macau and Singapore.

Circa 2007, most analysts figured the Macau market to be worth US$13bil in 2010. Today, based on recent results, it’s worth US$21bil. I am told that in the United States, every available table and slot machine serves 250 people. In South-East Asia and India, the number is as many as 45,000-50,000. So, Asian gamers are underserved.

It is estimated that Asians spend almost twice as much on gaming as Americans do. Singapore has gone from zero to near US$5b just this year alone. By 2012, Morgan Stanley estimates that Singapore could generate revenues of US$7-US$10bil. Macau took about the same time to hit US$6bil.

Undoubtedly, Asia provides the best prospects in gaming and betting. It will utilise advances in technology to enhance its innovative and creative potential to lead in contemporary interactive gaming entertainment, in a socially responsible way. For this vibrant, exciting and colourful industry, a bright future lies ahead.

Having said that, virtually no industry is an up and down roller coaster ride as much as gaming and gambling, so strap in tight. The wild journey continues.

Tasmanian Gambles On Asian Markets...

Tote Tasmania is building relationships in Asian markets to strengthen its position in the world betting market. The state betting company's annual report reveals a before tax profit of almost $10 million for the past financial year, with dividends of more than $6 million paid to the Government. Tote Tasmania's chief executive officer Craig Coleman says Asian markets represent more than 40% of the world's online gambling business. Coleman says TOTE is already building contacts to develop tailored betting products. "The chairman Michael Kent was one of three international individuals invited to join the Centre for Chinese Lottery Studies, which is the principal advisory board to the Chinese Government on the future of gambling in that country," he said.

Australian Tote History...

Most punters take the Tote for granted and will not know that this machine was invented in Australia. Matthew Connell is the Curator of Computing and Mathematics at the Powerhouse Museum and shows us where the Tote began. The Powerhouse has a concept model at their Discovery Centre at Castle Hill that was created in the early 1900s by a famous Australian engineer called George Julius. The totalisator successfully demonstrated how gambling statistics could be collated. He also shows us one of the last, and much larger, mechanical Tote machines designed in 1948. Matthew explains that it was really the first multi-user, real time computing systems in the world. Punters could bet simultaneously on the same horse from various parts of the race track and this machine never lost a bet. It has a special place in the heart of this curator not only because it is a beautiful piece of engineering, but also because it tells the story of an industry in Australia that has become a national pastime. By 1940 the Tote was perfect. It was a marvel of engineering and dominated the sport for 67 years before the advent of computers. Special thanks and full credit to ABC 'The Collectors'.


Centrebet Expansion Gamble...

Online gaming firm Centrebet International says it expects to suffer a halving in net profit in 2010-11 as it moves to implement a new strategic plan.

But the plan would see the wagering company achieve a 20% market share of Australian corporate bookmaking by 2014-15, Centrebet said.

The five-year strategic plan, released to the market on Tuesday and called "Project Rocket", hopes to double Centrebet's market share from the current 10 per cent.

"The strategic plan is designed to take advantage of the market share momentum that Centrebet and other top tier corporate bookmakers have achieved over recent years,'' Centrebet said in a statement.

"The strategic plan is predicated on significantly increased brand marketing investment, a change in advertising spend and mix, and a step up in new product development in Australia."

Centrebet said there would be a focus on new racing products, some of which were already in development.

But Centrebet expected to suffer reduced profitability in 2010-11 as a result of the implementation of the strategic plan, the company said.

Full year net profit (NPAT) was expected to be about $8 million in 2010-11, Centrebet said, compared with $16 million under a business-as-usual scenario.

"A significant proportion of FY11 NPAT is estimated to be generated in (H211) given the timing of expenditure and customer acquisition,'' Centrebet said.

Net profit was expected to exceed "status quo'' by 2012-13, Centrebet said, and be about 50 per cent higher than by 2014-15, "generating NPAT in excess of $32 million.

Company chairman Graham Kelly said the Australian wagering market was very favourable for corporate bookmakers, "particularly top tier companies like Centrebet''.

"While we will continue to explore appropriate value adding consolidation opportunities, the strategy announced today lays out our plan to realise Centrebet's substantial opportunity shareholder value through organic growth," Mr Kelly said in the statement.

Mr Kelly said Centrebet intended to pay dividends as the strategic plan was implemented, but "given the short-term impact on NPAT as we invest for higher growth, the payout ratio will be increased compared to prior periods''.

Centrebet managing director Con Kafataris said the plan aimed to provide a "step change in growth and a significant and sustainable increase in earnings''.

"Achievement of our objectives will create a business which has a much stronger market position, higher level of earnings and a growth profile even higher than it has today,'' Mr Kafataris said.

Centrebet said the plan will be mostly funded from surplus cash and operational cash flow, with the balance from debt if required.

The company said current trading remained strong.

Centrebet said it was continuing to consider consolidation opportunities.

"In particular, Centrebet has agreed to facilitate discussions with prospective parties to determine whether a proposal could be developed that is in the best interests of Centrebet shareholders and capable of being put to Centrebet shareholders,'' the company said.

"Discussions are ongoing."

Sunshine Coast QLD Gambling Mum Jailed For $60,000 Theft...

A mum of four was jailed this week for stealing nearly $60,000 from her Yandina employer to feed a gambling addiction.

Angela Kylie Warner, 35, made 68 fraudulent transactions between September 13, 2007, and February 17 last year while at Valdora Earthmoving.

Her duties included paying staff wages, including her own, taking care of company accounts and general bookkeeping.

Warner’s stealing came to light when the Australian Tax Office contacted the owner about late tax returns in March last year.

The owner reviewed the business accounts, noted discrepancies and called police.

Crown prosecutor Donna Semmens said Warner was transferring money from company accounts directly into her own account.

Ms Semmens said Warner tried to cover her actions by not lodging tax returns.

“Her method was unsophisticated and doomed to fail,” Ms Semmens said.

“Her dishonesty was persistent and prolonged.”

Barrister Phillip Rennick said his client was using the money for other expenses, too.

Mr Rennick said Warner thought she was just borrowing money but soon realised she could not repay it.

Judge Keith Dodds sentenced Warner to three years in jail with parole in November next year.

Warner must repay the $57,292 grand.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like the news round up? What else would you like to see? Tell us in the forum. If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, 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 and offer political commentary and analysis.

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