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11 September 2010

Australian Casino, Gambling And Political News, by Greg Tingle - 10th September 2010

The Australian and Asia Pacific casino, gambling and political scene remains red hot, with no sign of cooling down any time soon. We've got pending Aussie casino strike action, legal eagles stealing to feed a gambling habit, more online regulation on the cards, Microgaming ramping up down under via media and portals, more Aussie MP's set to loose their heads over porn and gambling, and lots more. Media Man and Gambling911 continue to deliver the hard hitting news in an uncensored, unfiltered, caffeine free way... the fashion that you, our loyal audience have grown a custom too. Ah, let the games begin...

Ralph Lad's Mag Models Launch Sexy Calendar At Star City Casino; Sin City Living Up To Name Thanks To Casino Babes...

The men's magazine may have gone belly up but the red hot Ralph Calendar is pumped and ready to be pinned on blokes walls all over the land of Kangaroos. 5 Ralph babes showcased the pretty risque 7th edition at Sydney's Star City Casino this past Wednesday. Emmi 'More Please' (Media Man tag) Moore, reigning Ralph Australian Swimwear Model of the Year and the babe friend of West Coast Eagle Chris Masten, fronted up to promote the calendar and help kick-off of the 2011 comp. The 2011 Ralph Australian Swimwear Model hunt will see thousands of bikini babes (cat - sometimes) fight it out to make the grades into the 2012 calender. Lots of fruit - apples, pears, watermelons, grapefruit, and maybe a few bananas in the mix. If you don't get it, use your imagination. Ms Moore featured in the June edition of Ralph and was hopeful of doing more shoots before the monthly lads' mag was axed and replaced by a quarterly edition, Girls of Ralph. Rosko Dickinson from Procon Leisure is keen to sort out rumours Ralph is only available online. "There's still a printed version, it's just gone quarterly instead of monthly. It's not extinct," he said. "There's not as much editorial. It's more about the girls, so for the blokes of Australia, it's very much one of the better magazines you'd like to flick through." Red hot blooded fellas can pick up a copy of the 2011 calendar next month and the NineMSN website portal is likely to provide a place for online orders.

Legal Eagle Becomes Jail Bird From Feeding Excessive Gambling Habit...

An ex Melbourne lawyer who nicked $64,000 from her law firm to feed a massive gambling habit has been locked up behind bars. Cecilia Nguyen, 31, was a first-year solicitor at Mason Black Lawyers in 2007 when she began directing clients to make payments into her personal bank account. The court heard Nguyen suffered depression and frequented Crown Casino where she spent much of the stolen funds. She was sentenced to 1 year in prison with eight months suspended. Nguyen was also ordered to repay the money, however its not known how long that may take.
Judge Christine Thornton of Victoria's County Court handed down Nguyen's sentence, noting in her sentencing remarks: "Your offending is serious, particularly aggravated by the fact that you were employed as a solicitor and that you breached not only the trust of your clients, but also your employer and the Law Institute of Victoria."

One Armed Bandits Deal Breaks Industry Promise; Labor Party Continues Less That Truthful Tactics...

ACT clubs say Federal Labor's anti-poker machine deal with a key independent will damage and hurt the industry. Prime Minister Juila Gillard won the support of Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie on the condition she would implement new problem gambling prevention measures. She has agreed to seek legal advice on whether the Government can impose stricter limits on poker machines. Clubs ACT chief executive Jeff House says the Government has reneged on a previous agreement with the industry. "We were assured that we would be involved in a process where we would be working with the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth would in turn be working with the states and territories to look at the response to the productivity commission," he said. "Now we see a commitment from the Prime Minister to a policy outcome that will be sort of arrived at with no consultation with us." ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope says he shares the industry's concern about how the issue is being handled. "It's a bit difficult for me here to stand up and say to every club in the ACT and those hundreds-of-thousands of ACT residents who are members of clubs, 'we're going to impose this on you, we understand it will come to enormous cost, it will send you broke and you might go out of business'," he said. "I'm not prepared to cop that." 'Conflict of interest'? The ACT opposition says there will be no meaningful reform of gambling until Labor cuts its ties with licensed clubs. Opposition gaming spokesman Brendan Smyth says Labor has a conflict of interest. "The federal Labor Party and the ACT Labor Party are both addicted to the profits of poker machines, money that comes from the pockets of problem gamblers and neither seem willing to genuinely act on this problem," he said. "What you can't have is a path forward when the regulator and the owner needs profits to fund their campaigns out of the poker machines."

Mildura Casino Politics - Anti Casino VS Pro Casino War Keeps Building...

Nationals' Mildura MP Peter Crisp says he is backing his party's decision not to support the proposed casino in the city. Developers are proposing a $400 million riverfront project that they say would create 1,500 jobs once operating. This week National Party Leader Peter Ryan said the proposal would not be a part of Coalition policy if it wins the November election. But the Coalition says it would not oppose the plan if it is in opposition and the proposal needs parliamentary backing. But Mr Crisp denied the Opposition is hedging bets both ways. "Ninety-nine per cent of the work's done before it comes to Parliament, so if a proposal was to get that far the hard work would be done," he said. "In the Upper House where this has to be taken care (of) ... we would be prepared to let that go through." Mr Crisp says the Government has chosen not to move the proposal any further at this stage. "The Brumby Government could have started the process anytime it wanted to and John Brumby knows it very well," he said.
"The Government can proceed under the terms of the casino control act if they so wish."

Perth: Burswood Casino Armed Robbers Connection...

Two crooks who allegedly robbed a pharmacy at gunpoint in Perth's south before crashing a stolen motorcycle during their getaway have been apprehended and charged. Police say the pair nicked the bike from the Burswood Casino on Friday then on Sunday held up a supermarket/petrol station in Mundaring and on Monday held up a pharmacy in Erskine. It's alleged the pair drove north and crashed the motorcycle at Munster, one man then threatening the driver of a Toyota Landcruiser with a handgun before driving off in the vehicle. The Landcruiser was later found destroyed by fire at Cullacabardee in Perth's northeast. The other man who came off the bike was given a lift to Fremantle Hospital by another motorist, police said. A 30-year-old man from Forrestfield in Perth's east and a 32-year-old man from High Wycombe, also in the city's east, were arrested separately on Thursday. The 30-year-old has been charged with two counts of aggravated armed robbery and two of armed robbery, stealing a motor vehicle, criminal damage by fire, stealing, reckless driving and failing to stop. The 32-year-old man has been charged with two counts of aggravated armed robbery and two of armed robbery and stealing motor vehicles. Both crooks were injured in the motorcycle crash and were taken to Royal Perth Hospital for medical treatment by police after they were arrested. Both face "bedside court hearings". Sweet dreams!

Microgaming Powered Casinos Targeting Australia; Asia Pacfic...

The popular Microgaming powered online casinos are ramping up in Australia. Captain Cooks Casino may enjoy a number of years head start down under, but Roxy Palace is understood to be making a play, plugging into high traffic website portals, while at the same time Richard Branson's Virgin Casino continues to get more Microgaming games, like War Of The Worlds, Cashapillar and Loaded. Media Man will be tracking the infiltration and development of the various Microgaming associated entities over the coming weeks and months and will be reporting back the findings.

Crown Casino Workers Tipped To Go On Strike; May Cause Flow On Effect At Aussie Casinos...

Workers at Melbourne's Crown Casino may go on strike during Melbourne's popular Spring racing carnival. The Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) has accused the casino workers' bosses of failing to offer a fair pay increase and bringing in changes to conditions that could cost experienced dealers almost $5000 a year. At a hearing late on Wednesday, Fair Work Australia cleared the way for Crown staff to vote on rolling stoppages and an indefinite strike. Crown spokesman Gary 'Over Limit' (Media Man tag) O'Neill said the casino was offering a fair deal that had been "enthusiastically" taken up by Burswood Casino employees in Perth, while a smaller offer had been accepted at Star City in Sydney. Union members have rejected Crown's wage offer of about 3.5 per cent per year, and changes that it says would produce wage cuts for dealers of about $2.40 an hour. Crown's plans will force experienced, properly-trained frontline staff to quit, increasing the risk of alcohol-fuelled violence and problem gambling at Melbourne's mega-casino, said LHMU Victorian secretary Jess Walsh.
"Experienced, properly-trained staff are vital to ensuring gaming and alcohol are served responsibly at Crown," she said in a statement. "But Crown has sent a clear message it does not value the loyalty, dedication and experience of its staff. It only cares about one thing: making more money, whatever the cost to the community or its own staff. "It has told staff it cannot afford a fair wage increase and needs to make changes that could cost experienced dealers almost $5000 a year, despite its $300 million profit." This month's vote will require a majority of more than 50 per cent of 4000 employees to vote to strike, with the union preparing to take industrial action during the Spring Racing Carnival, says the LHMU. O'Neill said Crown management were disappointed with the union's "blunt" statements and were still open to negotiating. "We are disappointed with the response, we thought negotiations were ongoing and that progress had been made," he told press. "A majority of the union membership has to vote to strike in two ballots, so there is still a way to go yet in the process. There are a number of issues on the table and we are still open to negotiating. We are confident we have the resources to keep the casino and other parts of the complex operating if they do vote to strike." The LHMU says a majority of the casino's employees are union members but Mr O'Neill disputed that and said only about a one-third of its roughly 5500 workers were members. Crown is the largest casino in the southern hemisphere with 30 bars, 1600 hotel rooms, 2500 poker machines, 350 tables and plans already started to expand.

Tasmania - Tassie Devils Concerned Over Gambling Changes...

The Tasmania government is worried about how much it may be out of pocket, thanks to forecast changes. It's political forces and the like at play. In return for Mr Wilkie's support, Ms Gillard has pledged to introduce mandatory pre- commitment technology on all poker machines by 2014 to crack down on problem gambling. It means pokie players will have to set time and money limits on their own "smart card" before they gamble. To be inserted into poker machines, the smart card would lock out the player from gambling once the limits are reached. The deal has left the gaming industry reeling, with some estimating it will cost state governments up to $1 billion in revenue shortfall. Treasurer Michael Aird yesterday would not put a figure on how much the Tasmanian Government could lose. "It is very difficult to measure the impact on state tax revenue following the implementation of smart card technology," Aird said. "The Tasmanian government is committed to ongoing reform in this area and is looking forward to being part of a national solution to problem gambling, through the newly established high-level Council of Australian Governments select council of ministers on gambling reform." In 2009-10, the government received an estimated $60.5 million from Tasmania's 3680 gaming machines, equating to 1.4 per cent of the total general government revenue or 6.9 per cent of total state tax revenue. Hotel giant Federal Group is also yet to crunch the numbers to see how the reform would impact its bottom line. Clubs Australia has said it could cost up to $3000 a machine to install the smart card technology. "It's very early days here," Federal spokesman Brendan Blomeley said yesterday. "We are keen to be a part of the national process." Bass Greens MHA Kim Booth yesterday said the introduction of smart card technology did not make redundant his bid to introduce a $1 maximum betting limit on pokies. "There's no reason why you can't have both," Booth said.

Adelaide Casino Poker Championship...

Punters, mark it down - September 29th to October 2nd.

Star City Casino Loses Chef Sean Connolly For TV Gigs...

Tabcorp's Star City Casino in 'Sin City' has lost its award winning chef Sean 'Cunning' (Media Man tag) Connolly. The hard working chef master quit his job after 15 years. Connolly had been in charge of Star City's acclaimed Astral Restaurant and also Sean's Kitchen. But he left Star City last week after handing in his resignation several weeks ago. Star City managing director Sid 'Vegas' (Media Man tag) Vaikunta said the casino's new executive chef Andy 'Nifty' (MM tag) North had assumed responsibility for day-to-day operations. North left his position as executive chef of Crown Casino restaurants earlier this year. Connolly had climbed the ranks to be Star City's head chef. He was awarded Chef of the Year in 2008 and Astral has won a Chef's Hat every year since 2007. Connolly thanked Star City for "a fantastic journey" but said he was leaving to pursue new ventures including a TV show. We wish Connolly well with his future endeavors.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, what's your view on the casino wars, online casinos, broadband, censorship, internet censorship and freedom of the press?... Who will win the Aussie Casino Wars? Keep checking daily for updates. Don't forget to use Proxy if need be, depending upon how you like your coffee and internet... filtered or not?

The Late News...

Australian 'Gumleaf Mafia' Media Man and Gambling911 can now confirm yet more talk of a number of Australian land based casinos considerably considering "Strike Action". Industrial strike action is at roughly 99% at this stage, and various casino staff nation wide are looking at a "copy cat" syndrome, so may will strike while the iron is hot, and news media is all over it, also attracting plenty of political attention with the newly formed Australian senate. More MP resignations tipped from ALP... MP's doing the wrong thing. Sports: Talk that Australian former Prime Minster John Howard may land a major job in Australia as part of the anti corruption in Australian sports betting directive. Cricket, AFL, NRL and Tennis are all under the microscope as we go to press.

*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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