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28 December 2010

Australian Clubs Go To Pokies War With Government, by Greg Tingle - 28th December 2010

Season's Greetings punters, casino and gambling millionaires, billionaires, entertainment news junkies, insiders, outsiders, politicians, journalists and everyone else. The new year keeps sneaking up on us, but the news just keeps on coming. Media Man and Gambling911 with another Santa's sack full of news. Ho Ho Ho!...

Australian Clubs Declare Pokies War On Australian Governments; Will Be Bigger Than Aussie Mining Companies VS Aussie Government War...

Australian Gambling reform could overshadow the mining tax as a political nightmare for the Gillard lead Labor government next year. The all mighty licensed clubs lobby is getting ready for a very public slaughter campaign against compulsory "pre-commitment" tech on pokies, unless the government backs of. Yep maties, its man VS machine. The hi tech which would link 200,000 poker machines across the great nation of Australia and in effect force all players to place a limit on how much they gamble...was a condition Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie placed on support for the minority Labor government. Many political and media commentators say it was a form of blackmail, but Gillard needed the vote, so didn't have much choice, if you follow us. Now in a new development that will make it even more of a pain in the ass for Gillard to deliver on her forced promise to have the new tech up and running by Wilkie's 2014 deadline, the Coalition government has declared it will support voluntary pre-commitment only.

A Media Man insider jokes "It's the commitment you have when you're not having a commitment", in reference to a famous beer add that went "It's the beer you have when you're not having a beer".

The art of war tactic will put pressure directly on Wilkie's fellow independent MPs who have been supporting the minority government, Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott and New England MP Tony Windsor, both of whom represent New South Wales regional seats with high levels of licensed club membership and participation. Oh dear, there goes the election Labor. Ok, close, but you have just smell the downfall of Labor already. The Coalition has tactically not formally declared its hand on the pokie reforms (yet), but it shouldn't be long now. Murdoch owned News Limited news hounds have now obtained a letter from Parkes MP Mark Coultan to a constituent setting out Coalition policy in black and white for the first time. "We support voluntary pre-commitment programs," Coultan writes. "Some gaming venues already have in place voluntary pre-commitment programs, and we would like to see these extended to other gaming venues. The Coalition wants schemes to be in place to help problem gamblers. However, we believe that any response to gambling must recognise that many Australians gamble responsibly. It is also important to recognise that many Australians rely on the sector for jobs. Heavy-handed government regulation may not be the best response to problem gambling." Industry reps claim that pre-commitment technology using smart-cards would cost clubs roughly $5000 a pokie to install and could lead to a 30% drop in pokie profits during the first year. The Prime Minister has said she will legislate the changes by 2012 if the states do not move before then...something not even one of the states, which rely heavily on gambling taxes, has shown a willingness to do in the slightest. Licensed clubs have been passionately lobbying Oakeshott and Windsor, along with Labor MPs across Oz, many of whom are understood to be pretty pissed off at Gillard's promise to Wilkie that jettisoned an earlier undertaking made to the clubs. ClubsAustralia chief executive Anthony Ball advised the industry was giving the government until May to back down, or face the power and mighty force of the industry in a public campaign along the lines of the one spear headed earlier this year by mining companies. "Clubs, hotels and casinos are a large industry and employ hundreds of thousands of Australians," he said. "I don't think people are going to be prepared to let this through. "The Coalition is echoing what most people are saying about this issue...that voluntary pre-commitment can be a useful way to help gamblers set and stick to limits. The government went from supporting a sensible position on this issue in late June to supporting a licence to play poker machines in late August." Oakeshott went on record to News Limited with, "I have met with nearly every club in the Hastings, Camden Haven and Manning areas and continue to listen to industry views. I am also talking the issue through with many local constituents and can confirm a wide range of views within the mid-north coast of NSW." Folks, things are not looking good for the Gillard government. It's war on!

Labor Government 'Misled Mildura About Casino'; Did Labor Lie Again?...

The Labor Government never intended to issue a licence for Victoria’s second casino in Mildura - The Jewel, State Parliament has been advised. Deputy Premier and The Nationals leader Peter Ryan informed parliament this week the previous Labor Government misled the Mildura community when it floated the concept of a casino licence being granted for regional Victoria town Mildura. Ryan advised the recent state election contest in Mildura was driven by the false promise after false promise. Basically full of lies. "The former Labor Government ... floated the concept of a casino licence being provided to the municipality of Mildura in circumstances where there was never any real prospect of that happening," Ryan said. The Labor Government of the day ran out this fantasy that it would consider issuing such a licence if there were bipartisan support, as it was termed by the former Premier (John Brumby), and if the proposition were supported by local communities. All of this was done in circumstances where it again demonstrated its failure and inability to govern." Ryan said the Labor Party had a history of making promises for its own gain only to have them broken. "One can ream through the many promises that were made by the former government - the Labor Party now in opposition...and see again and again instances where promises it made at the time that served its purposes to get elected back in 2006 turned out to be promises broken. Yet when it came to the issue of a casino licence, for some reason or another, it maintained that it needed bipartisan support. Of course it was always a fiction, and regrettably the people who ultimately paid were the people of the Mildura community. The casino was to be the centrepiece of a substantial development there which was otherwise said to occur and, understandably in many senses, the community came to be divided about this issue. It was a typical example of Labor Party politics – it threw the grenade into the room and then walked away, allowing everybody else to clean up the mess when in fact it never had any intention at all of issuing a licence in that area." Folks, why are we not surprised by Labor's actions and being "less than truthful". Another disgrace by Labor.

Aussie Poker Celeb King Shane Warnie Tag Team With Wolverine Hugh Jackman In Cricket Nets; Jackman Hit In Balls (Almost) In Lead Up To Boxing Day Ashes Test...

The tag team led the celebrity contingent to the Melbourne Cricket Group for the prestigious Boxing Day Test. 'Our Hugh' got hit in the balls by a Warnie spinner, so it seemed, but he had a cup on, perhaps taking safeguards, after getting hit in the eye with a foreign object at his Oprah Winfrey grand entrance via way of flying fox a couple of weeks ago. Wolverine Jackman joined other famous mugs in the crowd, including Opposition Leader Tony 'The Bruiser' Abbott and veteran English talk show king Sir Michael Parkinson aka 'Parkie'. Premier Ted Baillieu and wife Robyn also tagged along, as did Eddie "Everywhere" McGuire, Cathy Freeman and Molly Meldrum. In a smart and rather cunning move, just outside the MCG sports stars and entertainment biz celebs tag teamed a game of cricket which raised money for the McGrath Foundation. The foundation ambassador Lee Furlong joined ex-cricketers Justin Langer and Michael Slater, Glen Moriarty, Kris Smith and Guy Sebastian at the friendly game. Earlier, Shane Warne made one of his very first public appearances since the "Hurley-burley", acting as host for his fav Shane Warne Foundation's annual Boxing Day breakfast at Crown. Warne mate, James Packer, attended, along with wife Erica in a show of support. Singer Leo Sayer also entertained to an appreciative crowd that included Glenn Robbins, Mark Taylor, Ian Healy, Aaron Hamill and Bill Brownless. A great day was had by all, as best we can tell.

Aussie Poker Celeb Shane Warne And UK Sort Liz Hurley: Come Down Under And Come In Spinner?...

Is Liz Hurley coming to Australia? Getting spotted at Heathrow Airport sent press into a frenzy and created munch speculation she will keep her date with Warnie. Friends of Hurley told the Pommie press she had dumped the cricket spin legend after learning he had sent more than 100 sexy text messages to another woman behind her back. Warnie is known for his ability to sent sexy texts that can get the right response. Now it appears Liz may have reconsidered after attempts to stop an imminent divorce and rekindle her relationship with husband Arun Nayar reportedly failed. During her public flirtation with the spinner on Twitter, Hurley wrote that she was keen to attend the January 3 "Pink Test," which supports the Jane McGrath Foundation. Talk about a play on words "Pink Test", got to love her form. Liz also told Warnie she would "definitely" make an appearance on his Channel Nine chat show if she made it to Sydney. Sources close to the Aussie spinner have said the cricketer was devastated after being apparently dropped by Hurley, having previously confided his desire to marry her. Both Hurley and Warne announced on Twitter that they had split from their respective partners shortly after spending 2 delightful, fun filled nights together at a luxury London hotel earlier this month and being papped kissing outside a restaurant. Warne was last week caught in the outfield sending erotic texts, including, "I want to see you riding me" to middle-aged Melbourne mum Adele Angeleri. In an apparent attempt to win Hurley back after the messages were published in the British tabloids he logged back on to Twitter to pen "No matter what anyone says if you know in your heart… who cares what people think / say !!!" Hurley was snatched in the airport mess at Heathrow, where snowy conditions caused widespread cancellations from Saturday, leaving over 100,000 punters stranded, having their patience tested. A fellow traveler said the swimwear model and well loved celeb babe "looked nervous" as she attempted to blend in with the crowd, wearing large sunglasses and dressing down. "She'd dressed down and it was clear she wanted to be left alone," the witness told The Sun. "She looked like a woman with a lot on her mind." Liz’s office refused to comment on her travel plans. Whatever the case, we wish Liz (and Warnie) well on any of their upcoming travel plans.

Awards...

Last month was a big month for casino awards also. Let's have a look...

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has also come back with seconds, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for November, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

Oh, we almost forgot...Media Man and Casino News Media 'Casino Babe Of The Month': Jenny Woo, 'Poker Babe': Kara Scott, 'Gambling Babe Personality': Pamela Anderson.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Have you been naughty or nice? Did Santa give you what you had hoped for? What have you got planned for New Year's Eve? 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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