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05 July 2010

Australia To Get More Casinos And Regulation, by Greg Tingle - 5th July 2010

Australia is likely to get more land based casinos and extra regulation, if the recent turn of events is anything to judge by... Media Man and Gambling911 along with sniffer dogs, Bluey and Timmy, board the Aussie Regional Express and come up with a bush tucker bag of Aussie casino and gaming news as the global hunt continues... Kangaroos get hopping to it...

Outlaw Ban On Aussie And International Crooks From Casinos Down Under...

Australia with its grand plan to build more casinos and increase regulation, is looking to tighten up laws to ban criminals, both Aussies and tourists. The wide believe in the industry, society and police is that more needs to be done, Media Man having researched this and assisted some authorities for the past number of years.

As we go to print (technically Web) plans are being drawn up to stop criminals laundering money through casinos and gambling venues nationally.

Gambling exclusion orders are already imposed, but only at state and territory levels, and there's room for improvement.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor advised crims who have been subject to one state exclusion order have moved to other jurisdictions where venues are unaware of the order!

Our learned friend said the federal plan will see each state and territory pass and execute legislation to enable gambling exclusion orders that are issued in other jurisdictions to be recognised within their borders.

Cairns Casino Mecca Proposal Political Casino War...

You've heard of the Aussie Casino Wars, namely Sydney's Star City VS Melbourne's Crown Casino... well, the wars are expanding north to regional Cairns and taking on an ultra political spin. A far Northern Queensland mayor says a plan to turn the city of Cairns into a Las Vegas-style gambling destination is "bizarre and unwelcome". Liberal National Party defector and now independent MP Aidan McLindon wants all of Queensland's pokies, except those in casinos, moved to Cairns and a gambling strip like Vegas established. Cairns Mayor Val Schier says she is opposed to the idea. "I think the suggestion is absolutely bizarre and I'm not quite sure what his motivation is in making it," she said. "Perhaps he is just seeking attention." Cr Schier says the gambling destination will not get public support. "The plan would never get any wings at all," she said. "There would be no support for it at all - the last thing we want is more poker machines concentrated in one area. We know the problems that there already are with gambling but certainly Cairns would not want to have a bar of it." Tourism Tropical North Queensland chairman Bill Calderwood says the plan has no merit. "I don't think it's an idea that makes a lot of sense for this destination," he said. "We have many wonderful, natural attractions and wonder products and experiences that attract people here. "I doubt very much that we need the artificial injection of casinos to attract people up here.". Some struggling business owners beg to differ hesitant to provide their names in fear of repercussions. "My business is struggling. We need more cashed up tourists. The casino proposal would bring in additional attention, tourists and money to the area. They would spend some of that in the local township also. It's a no brainer mate".

Australia's Cairns In Northern Queensland To Become Aussie Las Vegas?...

Cairns would become Australia's equivalent to Las Vegas under a somewhat controversial scheme to transform it into the national centre for poker machines. Aussie Casino King, James Packer, his prize casino being in Melbourne, Australia, isn't speaking on the matter as yet. Packer also has his Burswood Entertainment Complex in Perth, Western Australia, so don't expect Packer to support the proposal. It's not a Crown Limited venture either, but maybe we would buy them out one day. The current proposal is to be heard within 24 hours in Brisbane, north of Sydney, and south of Cairns, at one of the tourism industry's key annual conventions, Tourism Futures, to be attended by international tourism heavyweights and politicians, including Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. It is being championed - sphere headed by breakaway Liberal National Party MP Aidan McLindon, who has previously had campaigned against the spread of pokies. But Mr McLindon, who quit the party in May to form the Queensland Party, is now pushing for debate on a scheme that would create a Las Vegas style gambling strip in gorgeous Cairns by relocating poker machines from existing pubs and clubs across Queensland to a new "Aus Vegas" to be built in the region. Punters may recall Aus Vegas was an online casino name owned and operated by Lasseters, but they closed shop roughly 3 years ago, unable to compete with competitors which snatched online casino tuna, dolphins and whales. Aussie punters turned off Aus Vegas (online), finding the likes of, Captain Cooks Casino and Virgin Casino.

The Beaudesert MP first tabled his vision for a Vegas-style pokies hub to reduce gambling in April last year in his virgin speech to State Parliament. It somewhat replicates the US model, where Nevada is the only state to have no significant restrictions against gaming machines. Under the "Aus Vegas" proposal, clubs would have to sell their poker machine licences back to the Government or relocate their pokies to Cairns and become "shareholders" in the new venture. The state's existing 4 major casinos would be exempt.

The plan would be supported by a shake-up of the current distribution of gambling funds collected by the State Government, with pokies revenue instead being poured into recreational sports through a scheme that would hand sports clubs a cash grant for each child they put on the sports field! (a suitable connection between pokies and kids). "The location is ideal given the Cairns region is suffering some of the highest unemployment levels and the tourism industry is plummeting," Mr McLindon said. "It already has the international airport there, which is under-utilised. Ideally, you want them (gaming machines) all in one place so people can go away, have a holiday, blow their money and come home." But welfare groups fear the plan could turn Cairns into another "Sin City", following Vegas, Sydney and Melbourne to a certain extent...making residents the sacrificial lambs of the nation's gambling problems.

Media Man Profiles

Northern Queensland

Aus Vegas

Adelaide Casino In South Australia: Changes Afoot...

Seems not only is Star City and Crown Casino duking it out, along with the Cairns casino proposal, Adelaide in South Australia is throwing its hat in the ring as the Aussie casino wars approach boiling point. Down Torren Riverbank land way, west of the Morphett Street bridge is the proposed worksite for a brand new Adelaide Casino. Relocating to a new purpose-built casino complex overlooking the Torrens Lake is the subject of confidential post-election talks between the State Government and casino management - with both parties bent on progressing the much-talked about riverbank precinct into a "a major tourist and entertainment hub". A key feature of a new casino complex is likely to be underground parking for several thousand cars, which would potentially solve parking issues for a redeveloped Adelaide Oval. Treasurer Kevin Foley has now confirmed he has been in extra talks with the casino over a waterfront redevelopment, advising casino management has "exciting ideas". Water features and light shows are part of developing plans to turn the Torrens Lake area into an entertainment hub. We think he's been borrowing a few ideas from Packer, Ho and Co. re City Of Dreams, Macau, and a number of Las Vegas casinos having been "playing" with water and lights for decades. Chatshave included options for either a Las Vegas-style resort and a more discreet European-style gambling plaza but the consensus appears to be a more homely development incorporating plenty of alfresco style dining, walkways and you get the idea, to take make good use of the outdoor-friendly climate. West of the Morphett St Bridge overlooking the Torrens Lake is regarded as the superior site for a new casino-hotel-entertainment venue. Relocating the casino creates new opportunities for transforming the historic Adelaide Railway Station. Casino general manager David Christian this week said the casino wanted to be part of a new riverside entertainment precinct linked to the redeveloped Adelaide Oval and new Royal Adelaide Hospital in the western railyards. "Adelaide Casino is one of several major businesses that call the riverbank precinct home and fully supports the idea of turning the area into a major tourist and entertainment hub," Mr Christian said. "We believe that Adelaide deserves a bigger casino but there is due process to work through before we finalise any plans and present them to the State Government." Mr Foley revealed during a recent business lunch speech he had been in talks with casino management but declined to elaborate. He has made a series of positive based talks recently...speeches which have championed Melbourne's Southbank development, which has the Crown Casino as one of its key attractions. Last month, Mr Foley told an American Chamber of Commerce lunch the CBD was "underdone". "We need to be more pro-development," he said. At another function, he said "Do we really want to see Adelaide in 10 years' time with a River Torrens precinct that is like going for a stroll in an Outback town where no one has any money or interest in developing something?" In May 2009, News Corp's Sunday Mail reported two construction consortiums were working on plans to present to SkyCity for new casinos at two landmark sites: Either on the Torrens river bank or on the current RAH site. Casino operator SkyCity Adelaide previously has confirmed it wants to move from the heritage-listed Adelaide Railway Station site into bigger, purpose-built premises incorporating a hotel, with chief exec Nigel Morrison telling budding investors Adelaide deserved a bigger casino. In 2008, casino management stopped plans for a $30 million underground car park at its current railway station location, as it looked at "conceptual" plans to relocate. In 2001, Adelaide developers revealed detailed plans for a $200 million, 22-storey hotel with casino and 240 apartments on the railyards site, and revived them in 2006, but failed to win Government support. This time around there appears to be a lot more government support and many locals have employment opportunities on their mind, as well as business owners in the area hoping to gain some positive spin offs from the proposal.

Australian Politics - Kate Lundy VS Sen Stephen Conroy ("Censorship Minister")...

Julia Gillard's takeover of the Labor Party leadership has sparked calls for the communications portfolio to change hands also. Gillard became the country's first female Prime Minister after Kevin Rudd decided not to contest a leadership challenge. In her acceptance speech, Ms Gillard said she would make "consequential" changes to cabinet positions at "an appropriate time". However some bloggers and technology pundits have already decided on the two politicians they would like to see trade places. The minister they would like to see out is Stephen Conroy, currently in charge of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (BCDE), and the figurehead of the Government's controversial internet filtering policy. The favourite to replace him is Kate Lundy, a former shadow IT minister who has retained an interest in the area and the respect of industry figures. Technology wire service Delimiter speculated on whether Senator Lundy would replace Senator Conroy in a reshuffle, airing claims from critics of the current minister that Senator Lundy better understood the sector. Gizmodo Australia went one step further and launched a campaign titled "Kate Lundy For IT: The Change We Really Need" that was linked to by hundreds of users on Twitter. "If it's time for a change in Labor, there’s no better change than replacing Conroy with a forward thinking minister for BCDE like Senator Lundy," it said. Editor Nick Broughall said the campaign wasn't just a kneejerk reaction to the leadership change and had so far received encouraging support. "We're going to run with this until the new front bench has been named and we know whether or not the Government is going to change its approach to the BCDE portfolio, in particular its proposed internet filter," he told News Limited's Web filtering Much of the backlash against Senator Conroy is linked to the Government's controversial internet filtering plan. Under the scheme, internet providers like Telstra and Optus would be forced to block access to a secret list of banned webpages. One of the key differences between the two senators is the degree of their support for the plan. Senator Lundy has been one of the only Labor voices to publicly question the policy and earlier this month said she would propose an alternative to the Labor Caucus. "I am working to change the internet filtering policy to better achieve the policy goals of protecting children through empowering and educating parents," she wrote on her blog at the time. Senator Lundy's concerns lay with the mandatory nature of the filtering plan. She believes Australians should be given the option to choose whether their internet connections are censored. However Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos said a change of minister wasn't necessary for the filtering plan to be dropped, if the Government chose to do so. "I wouldn't necessarily conclude from (Gillard's) comments that we're going to see a major rearrangement of the deckchairs," he told "To speculate on who will be the communications minister really is jumping ahead." Mr Coroneos said the association supported two of the Government's three main communications policies — the national broadband network (NBN) and its e-security agenda — but not its internet filtering plan. If the communications portfolio was up for grabs, Mr Coroneos said it would be a "difficult question to answer" which senator would suit it best. "Kate Lundy is someone we’ve worked with for a long time and we have a great deal of respect for both her commitment to our industry and also her understanding of the issues," he said. "But there's no doubting Stephen Conroy's commitment to the NBN either." Senator Lundy was one of the first Labor MPs to declare her support for Ms Gillard last night. Fittingly, she made the statement on Twitter. "I will be voting for Julia Gillard in the l'ship ballot. She will be an inspiring PM!," she wrote, from the @katelundy account. And speaking on ABC Radio this morning before the leadership decision was revealed, she seemed confident with what the outcome would be. When asked if Australia would have a new prime minister by lunch, Senator Lundy replied: "I believe so." She also took the opportunity to describe IT policy as one of "those areas I'm passionate about". Senator Lundy was Labor's shadow IT minister from 2001 until 2004 when the portfolio was handed to Senator Conroy under then opposition leader Mark Latham. Since that time Senator Lundy has maintained an active interest in communications and technology, speaking publicly about the NBN and initiatives such as Gov 2.0, and regularly updating her blog. Senator Conroy is also understood to have supported Ms Gillard, according to The Australian. His media advisor did not immediately return a request for comment about the reshuffle.

Aussie Casino Shares... (generally on the upswing in past 24 hours)

Crown $7.790

Tabcorp $6.45

Centrebet $1.130

Tatts $2.240

Reef Casino Trust $1.900

Aristocrat Leisure Limited $3.610

Lasseters Corporation $0.010

SkyCity $2.93

References: Casino corporate websites and ASX Website

Punters, as always, bet with your head, not over it, know the odds and have fun.

*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a bakers dozen of sectors they cover

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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