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02 March 2010

Australian and International Gambling News, by Greg Tingle - 1st March 2010

G'day punters, and other interested parties (like casino tycoons and Australian political parties).

What a massive week for casino news just passed, and judging upon earlier indicators, this week out to give it a run for its money.

Having said that, Media Man is still waiting for the Australian Productivity Gambling Report... Prime Minster Rudd and Senator Stephen Conroy, it looks like you're late again! Our readership and that of our publishing and broadcasting friends and associates want to know the facts. Aren't we important enough to make the VIP list.

On the 26th of last month the Australian Productivity Commission apparently handed in its final report, yet it could be as late as June before it is made public! The government does not have to release the report for 25 sitting days. If the commission sticks to its draft recommendations, and the News Limited understands it is likely to hold close to them, Clubs Australia predicts the measures would result in a conservative 30 per cent drop in revenue. That would mean $2 billion and 11,500 jobs gone in NSW alone, clubs say.

The Aussie government had another bad PR week. Rudd was forced to demote Peter "Burning The Midnight Oil" Garrett over an environmental stuff up, and this has appeared to take a lot of heat and attention away from Senator Conroy and the proposed internet filter, at least for the time being.

Politics and iGaming Politics

Australians encouraged to fight online fraud

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today encouraged Australians to fight online fraud during National Consumer Fraud Week. The Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce's Online Offensive - Fighting Fraud Online - will run throughout the week to increase awareness of online consumer fraud. Don't supposed this may be directed at punters checking out igaming websites!

On that subject, clean bill of health by the way to Virgin Games, PartyCasino, Noble Casino, BetUS and Captain Cooks. Party now has the ECOGRA approved label for what its worth. If you blinked and missed it, Virgin Casino - Virgin Games is not available for Australian or U.S players at the moment, however Virgin are interested in expanding their gaming and igaming services to a number of counties that their CEO considers currently in the "grey area". As covered in detail by Gambling911 and eGaming Review, Virgin also plans to expand its virtual world project in conjunction with Game Domain International - AWOMO (A World Of My Own). Virgin's big cheese says they are aiming to become a "total gaming destination". Last month PartyCasino won the Casino News Media Online Casino Of The Month award and Virgin Casino scored second place.

Kevin "Bloody" Rudd VS Tony "The Bruiser" Abbott; Punters tipping Julie Gillard to replace Rudd within 6 months and that Senator Stephen Conroy won't last in his position. Centrebet is offering $4 on Julia Gillard replacing Kev in the hot seat by the next election.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is rattled over his government's failings and his own political mortality, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

Mr Rudd made an on-air apology during a television interview yesterday for the government's home insulation scheme and for his own delay over an election promise to reform the public hospital system.

The most recent poll of NSW voters in The Sun-Herald indicates that, on a two-party preferred basis, both sides of politics have 50 per cent of the vote - a drop of almost three percentage points on Labor's election-winning 52.7 per cent in 2007.

Mr Rudd said the government took a "whacking" in the polls and expects Labor to take "an even bigger whacking" with voters in the future.

Mr Abbott today accused the Mr Rudd of "getting a headline" with his "I'm sorry routine" but noted that the government's failings had affected Mr Rudd.

"I think he looked just rattled," Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney.

"I think the problem is that the Prime Minister is rattled by intimations of political mortality.

"I think he's shocked by the scale of his government's own ineptitude. I think that's what got him rattled."

The Idiots Guide to iGaming politics and What It Means To Punters In Practical Terms

Numerous gaming and igaming laws are confusing and often controdict each other. Even the USDOJ (United States Department of Justice) and the EU (European Union) can't agree on many aspects.

United States - some states of the U.S are more igaming and gaming friendly than others. There's been numerous poker and online poker cases in the courts over the years and often the judge throws the case out of court or the online poker players win. The Poker Players Alliance, Poker News Daily and iGaming Business - CAP have been doing a very solid job of covering the weekly saga of politics mixed with gambling, as have our friends at Gambling911.

Australians can play casino games and poker at PartyCasino, Noble Casino, PKR, PokerStars, BetUS. Aussies can't current play at Virgin Casino, nor can Americans.

Special "anti filter devices" are predicted to hit the American and Australian blackmarket (pubs and hotels et al) within months, and insiders say the Aussie "blacklist" and proposed internet filter was the undisputed catalyst for the development. "Demand is sky high and people will pay considerably for the convenience and benefits", said a reliable source who has chosen not to be identified.

Punters and gaming entrepreneurs, we recommend you get up to speed with the financial ins, outs and all round offerings from a bush tucker bag of online casinos, credit cards and the like. Little birdie tell us that VISA, American Express and many others will soon not touch anything online gambling related with 10 foot barge pole. Next thing online casino owners will have to hand deliver bags full of cash to their hard working affiliate partners!

Betfair Tax Breaks

The Tasmanian Government has offered tax breaks to keep the gambling agency Betfair in the state.

Labor has revealed that before it went into caretaker mode, it made an agreement with the company half-owned by James Packer.

The deal would see Betfair keep its call centre and 130 jobs in Hobart for the next 10 years.

The Premier, David Bartlett says the agreement will cost taxpayers about $2 million over the next two years, but he says the deal will save jobs, and quickly pay for itself.

"In the short-term, yes there will be a revenue decrease," he says.

"But that revenue decrease will be more than offset by 130 jobs on site, and increased transaction rates, over the life of the next five to 10 years."

The agreement will not be formally approved until parliament returns after the March 20 state election.

Australian Horse Racing

Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey has dropped the bombshell that all 10 rides of Danny Nikolic remain under investigation.

While many thought the far-reaching investigation solely revolved around the charges brought on Friday, Bailey said stewards had not concluded their probe.

Bailey said stewards would this week focus on the charges against Nikolic and former bookmaker Neville Clements, which centre on their refusal to provide certain items to the investigation.

"We'll cross one bridge at a time," Bailey said.

"The investigation (into the 10 rides) is ongoing. Until such time as we get all the evidence ... then we will hand down some decisions."

As the investigation intensified, the fallout saw:

AUSTRALIAN Jockeys' Association reaffirm its opposition to betting exchanges.

NIKOLIC'S elder brother, John, relinquish his trainer's licence in Queensland.

VICTORIA'S first integrity commissioner, Sal Perna, who starts in his new job today, likely to be asked to inquire into several aspects of the investigation.

BAILEY decline to comment on any correlation between phone records and horses being laid to lose on Betfair.

AJA chairman Ross Inglis said the innuendo surrounding Nikolic and New South Wales jockey John Keating only strengthened the association's view that betting exchanges had no place in racing.

Inglis said even when a jockey was 100 per cent innocent, the implication of someone laying a horse the jockey rode remained.

"We were opposed from day one and we remain opposed," Inglis said.

He said the AJA was "very annoyed" that innuendo hovered over Nikolic concerning the 10-rides, given the exhaustive nature of the investigation.

John Nikolic , embroiled in a Queensland Racing inquiry, said attempts to link his brother to his probe had forced him to get out of the industry.

John Nikolic and Keating are involved in an inquiry into the run of beaten favourite Baby Bonus at Sunshine Coast in January.

"I'm pretty much over this crap," Nikolic said.

"I sold my stables the other day and I'll be sending a letter to Queensland Racing on Monday to let them know I'll be relinquishing my licence.

"I was just training as a hobby, racing a few horses with friends.

"When it's no longer enjoyable and I'm getting negative publicity and it's impacting on my family, it's time to get out."

It is believed Perna will be asked to look at all aspects of the Nikolic case, particularly how it found its way into the media.

Bailey said the investigation into Nikolic's rides would continue once Thursday's inquiry - which will be open to the media - concluded.

He said stewards were obliged to ask questions, regardless of who was involved, until they were satisfied they had all the answers.

Bailey declined to comment on whether any trainer was unhappy with any of the 10 Nikolic rides in question.

Nikolic faces a charge of refusing to give stewards his mobile phone and also leaving the area of the jockeys' room at Flemington to phone Clements on New Year's Day.

Clements, who is not a licensed person, must answer a charge of not providing stewards his " complete and original phone records" for a five-month period.

Magic Millions - Media, advertising and racing tycoon John Singleton has been in discussions with long time friend and associate, Gerry Harvey, as to whether Magic Millions should remain on the Gold Coast or to send the annual main even further south to Melbourne.

Problem Gamblers - Women More Than Men Become Problems

University of Queensland researcher Dr Timothy Lee says women now make up 64 per cent of the nation's poker machine users.

He says strategies to combat problem gambling should be tailored to include the habits of female gamblers.

"They tend to prefer some simple type of gambling and they are easily addicted," he said.

"They also have some tendency to hide their gambling activities and behaviour."

Erica Baxter in line for ARIA award

Casino King James Packer's wife Erica Baxter, along with actor Toni Collette and the late Belinda Emmett, are all in the running for an ARIA award nomination this year.

The three are among those eligible for nomination in the Best Female category. All three artists had full-length albums that were released in Australia in the past 12 months. Comon' Erica, go for the jackpot! John Singleton's most vocally talented daughter, Sally Bell has written a ripper song about race horses and her SONY BMG agreement is understood to be going fantastic. The Singleton's have been spotted at Sydney's Piano Bar on more than one occasion.

New South Wales Deaf Poker Championship

No, its not a bad joke. Poker has become extremely popular with the deaf.

Sokong Kim, founding member of Deaf Poker Australia, organised the first Australian Deaf Poker Championship in August, 2009, and he said the response was overwhelming.

“We attracted 88 players from across Australia in the first ever championship,” Mr Kim said.

“The atmosphere was excellent and the Australian Poker League was impressed.”

Mr Kim hopes for a similar response at the state championship. Players must have some form of hearing loss and understand Australian Sign Language (Auslan) to compete.

“We also welcome interpreters, workers, and all people with deaf family members,” Mr Kim said.

“The idea is to make it a charity event and gather together a range of people who make up the deaf community through poker.”

Players who progress to the final table will win a seat in the monthly regional Australian Poker League tournament.

The overall winner receives a seat at the Australian Poker League Pro Open and elects a deaf organisation to receive the proceeds.

For more information contact Burwood RSL or Deaf Poker Australia.

Media Man "Art Of War" Tactics And Wrestling - UFC - Casino connection

As discussion heats up in Australia and the U.S about further regulating the igaming and gaming industry, virtual land grabs (domain name purchases) and land development (website development) remains the order of the day. This week sees the Media Man group re launch Poker News Media, Virtual Worlds Media and Wrestling News Media. Wrestling you say? Yes, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair both have major gaming and igaming deals, and Kevin Nash (once known as Vinnie Vegas) also has gaming on his official website. Flair's still pushing for his NC Education deal to be expanded across America... Wooooo! Historically its been proved that there is considerable cross over audience between wrestling and casinos. Pity fans can't bet on matches (since the "winner" is predetermined... some might argue the odd horse race and boxing match is also). Over a decade ago World Wrestling Entertainment actually purchased a casino in Vegas, but went on later sell it for a profit (cop that Donald Trump). UFC also enjoys a strong association in the casino sector with Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta owning the Station Casinos operation, based in Summerlin, Nevada. In addition, the UFC is one of the most popular sports in the world for taking sports bets. Closer to home, North Sydney's NextGen Gaming is rumored to be working on an Andre The Giant online slot game. If anyone can topple Party's and Virgin's King Kong slot it would be Andre.

Financial Markets




Australians Remain In World's Top Ten Gambling Nations

Australians spend about $18 billion a year on gambling, and almost a third of that flows to state revenue. The United States is understood to be the current leading spenders on gambling and in recent years China via the Macau connection have been raking it in. No doubt Australia's James Packer wouldn't mind to make the Guinness World Records List for most profitable casino group with his Crown-Melco City Of Dreams Macau.

The late news... City Of Dreams is not interested in selling to Harrah's Entertainment (or anyone else) for the foreseeable future.

Till next time, keep it fun, stay legal, and bet with your head, not over it. Still time to decide it you want your coffee and internet filtered or non-filtered. Make your vote count! Aussie Election possible within 6 months. Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi, Oi.

*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

*The writer owns shares in Crown Casino

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