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31 May 2010

Media Man International Take On Australian Online Gaming, by Greg Tingle - 31st May 2010

News media and gaming insiders, outsiders, and everyone else...Media Man breaks its recent silence (patch) regarding the Australian online gaming, gambling and sports betting sector. We only went quite for less than a week, but with most major Australian media making a lot of noise, some of it very intelligently, we thought it should be our turn, given that for over a decade we have ramped up our global coverage of the sector, part of which thanks to our friends at beloved (and often controversial) Gambling911. Before we swing into things further, for the record, as recently told to The Sydney Morning Herald, Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and portal development company, established a decade. Gaming and igaming (including sports betting), is just one sector we cover. We are not a casino, nor are we a gaming company, or adult company. And furthermore, I am a qualified journalist - 5 years and established media agent - 5 years). A decade in business. It hasn't been easy, but what a journey it continues to be.

What is a website portal?...

In essence, a very popular website. Think like NineMSN, iGoogle, MSNBC, Wikipedia. Media Man is not as slick (or as well funded), but developed a niche and successful business model none the less. The Media Man website network is a work in progress, and is never completly finished (as is the dynamic nature of the web medium).


Background to iGaming and online sports betting...

PartyGaming, London Stock Exchange listed powerhouse, is understood to be the world's first igaming giant and firm of considerable name values.


What is an online affiliate program?...

An affiliate program is a largely commission based incentive b2b structure where an affiliate (i.e a web publisher) receives a % for generating successful sales / bringing in business. Website portals (and media companies) make for some of the most successful affiliates, as they have compelling unique content, high traffic, loyal readership interested in certain niche areas and the like. Some affiliate programs are quality and worthwhile, and some are not, and could be viewed as a waste of time.

Affiliate marketing (reference: Wikipedia)...

Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate's marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as 'retailer' or 'brand'), the network, the publisher (also known as 'the affiliate') and the customer. The market has grown in complexity to warrant a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third parties vendors.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization, paid search engine marketing, e-mail marketing, and in some sense display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.

Affiliate marketing—using one website to drive traffic to another—is a form of online marketing, which is frequently overlooked by advertisers. While search engines, e-mail, and website syndication capture much of the attention of online retailers, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Still, affiliates continue to play a significant role in e-retailers' marketing strategies.


Disclaimers Explained...

Responsible publishers such as Media Man put appropriate disclaimers on their work. ie: Media Man has a b2b relationship with X. Media Man owns shares in X. X is a client of Media Man. Media Man newsfeeds powered by Fairfax Media, The New York Times and Google News. X is not a client of Media Man, X is a former client of Media Man, and you get the idea...

Some History - 1998, Australia...

Professor Jan McMillen, executive director of the Australian Institute for Gambling Research, and Dr Peter Grabosky, director of research at the Australian Institute of Criminology, argued that strict prohibition of internet gambling would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. "While prohibition would quite likely reduce online gambling to some extent it might detract from the capacity to address other, more pressing forms of online illegality such as fraud, child pornography, or other more serious forms of computer hacking."

International History...

The UK was one of the first countries to fully regulate online gambling. This greatly assisted in both consumer protection, innovation and correct government taxation. Companies such as Virgin Games, PartyGaming (PartyCasino and PartyPoker etc), Paddy Poker and William Hill have traditional enjoyed strong success in the United Kingdom.


United States Key Historical Development...

U.S. legislation

On September 29, 2006, the U.S. Congress passed the Safe Port Act and attached unrelated anti-gambling language to the act. This legislation is known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

On October 2, 2006, PartyGaming announced that it would "suspend all real money gaming business with US customers" in light of the passage of the Safe Port Act.

George W. Bush signed the act into law on October 13, and PartyGaming suspended offerings of real-money games to U.S. players. Free play games and non-US customers were not affected.

As a result of this news being released to investors, PartyGaming's publicly traded stock dropped almost 60% in 24 hours. The company was moved from the FTSE 100 to the FTSE 250 Index on October 11.

In April 2009 the company made a settlement with the United States government where they agreed to pay a penalty of $105 million over the next four years as part of a "non-prosecution agreement". As part of the deal, Party put its name to a "statement of facts" in which it admits for the first time that, before October 2006, it had targeted US citizens, resulting in the processing of transactions that were "contrary to certain US laws".

*A number of online gaming companies continue to pro actively market to Americans. There are a widely accepted grey area in the law, one that could be viewed to exploit "loop holes" in American law.

Canada is generally regarded as much more igaming friendly that the U.S. PartyGaming, owner of the World Poker Tour brand, is currently rumoured to be looking at stepping up their activity in Canada, including eyeing off the Canadian Poker Tour.


Early Days Of White Australia History...

Gambling thrived, largely underground, since settlers arrived in Australia, firstly via Captain Cook (depending upon what history books you wish to believe). Gambling was a favorite pastime and provided for hours, sometimes months, of entertainment.

Circa 1950 - 70s Australia...

Illegal gambling dens thrived in Australia. Mainly on the east coast. George Freeman, as featured on some Network 'Underbelly' episodes was the king. Abe Saffron, subject of an 'Australian Families of Crime' feature was also considered king for many years.

Crown Casino Takes Casino Mainstream Down Under...

Circa 1980, the late, great, Kerry Packer, sees Crown Casino launch in Melbourne Australia. Crown Casino also becomes home of many great entertainment industry events, including The Logies! (broadcast on Network Nine). Crown grows the empire acquiring a casino in Perth (1984), re named as Burswood Entertainment Centre. In 2005 Kerry passes away, having cheated death a number of times, and James takes the reigns. Packer Jr's aptitude was questioned (mainly by the Aussie press) for many years, but last year he proved the knockers wrong, with Crown Casino and Burswood powering along, followed by his City Of Dreams, Macau, holding up well in a global financial crisis. The Crown empire has showed itself to be recession resilient, but not recession proof. Packer is still standing while many lost their shirts and went down for the count. Packer key business strengths include (other than being seriously cashed up), networking, enjoying relationships with company such as Richard Branson, David Gyngell, Eddie McGuire, Shane Warne, Damian Aspinall (long family history), Sen Stephen Conroy, and a bush tucker bag of Australian state and federal politicians, and a number of the Aussie media and entertainment A-Listers. Packer's teaming up with Aussie mining giant, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest (Team GenerationOne) earned him browny points, and some say well needed, PR, but both Packer Jr and 'The Twiggster' have both enjoyed long and largely positive history and relationships with Indigenous Australia. By all accounts, their hearts are in it.


Australian Productivity Commission Report - May 2010...

Recommends that internet gambling be legalised and regulated

Australians are spending an estimated $1 billion per year on internet gambling (casino, poker and sports betting)

Firms offering online casino products are theoretically subject to fines of up to $1.1 million per day, but Australian Federal Police are refusing to lay charges against illegal operators.

Numbers just in show Aussies are expected to spend $968 million this year on online casino games, poker and bingo, approx 30% on online poker.

iGaming is thriving in Australia, and its cousin, videogaming, also remains one of the more financial stable business sectors.

*The below is credit to the Australian Productive Commission official website
http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/gambling-2009


The Productivity Commission's final report on Gambling has been completed and sent to the Australian Government for its consideration.

The release of the final report by the Government is the next step in the process. Under the Productivity Commission Act 1998, the Government is required to table the report in each House of the Parliament within 25 sitting days of receipt.

When the Government releases the report, a copy will be sent to all registered participants including those who made submissions, appeared at the public hearing, or were visited by the Commission. At that time, the report will also be available for download from the inquiry website.

The Commission thanks all those who have contributed to the inquiry.

Following a decision by the Council of Australian Governments, the Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a public inquiry into gambling.

The inquiry provides an update on developments since the Commission's 1999 report, and can consider a wide range of issues, including:

the nature and definition of gambling and the range of activities incorporated within this definition
the participation profile of gambling, including problem gamblers and those at risk of problem gambling
the economic impacts of the gambling industries, including industry size, growth, employment, organisation and interrelationships with other industries, such as tourism, leisure, other entertainment and retailing
the social impacts of the gambling industries, the incidence of gambling abuse and the cost and nature of welfare support services necessary to address it
the contribution of gambling revenue on community development activity and employment
the effects of the regulatory structures - including licensing arrangements, entry and advertising restrictions, application of the mutuality principle and differing taxation arrangements - governing the gambling industries, including the implications of differing approaches for industry development and consumers
the implications of new technologies (such as the Internet), including the effect on traditional government controls on the gambling industries
the impact of gambling on Commonwealth, State and Territory budgets
the impact that the introduction of harm minimisation measures at gambling venues has had on the prevalence of problem gambling and on those at risk
evaluate the effectiveness and success of these harm minimisation measures used by the State and Territory Governments.

ends...

Media Man coverage continued...

Forms Of Gambling...


Casino games - land based

Online casino games - games of chance, games of skill and sports betting

Sports betting - horse racing, AFL, NRL, UFC, Boxing, Cricket etc - (online or offline)

Illegal gambling - ie: betting at gambling dens, unregulated, be it in Las Vegas, Kings Cross, Maroubra Beach or China!


Australian News Media And Google Factor...

Both major Australian media companies / Newspaper firms, Fairfax and News Limited (The Daily Telegraph) advertise gambling, both in their newspaper and online newspapers. Gambling ("targeting" Australians) is carried in Google ads. Fairfax and News Limited both have branded and non branded gaming offerings. Some of them are "in house" and "white label" and some are not. The deals are well kept secrets, but obviously a deal was made between the powers that be at News Limited and a gambling firm, or number of firms, or Fairfax and News wouldn't be able to offer a gambling product / service. Fairfax and News Limited offering games of skill, games of chance and sports betting does not make them a gambling company or a casino. It just means its 1 of a number of matters they cover both online and offline. News and Fairfax both also offer journalism and advertising content and services.

TV in Australia...

Both Australian network TV and pay TV companies have broadcast footage of World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour. Australian former WSOP champion, Joe Hachem, has appeared on a number of Australian TV shows including The Poker Star and Network Ten's 7PM Project. Hachem also writes for The Age. Australia's Shane Warne has appeared on a number of Australian TV shows with the 888 - Pacific Poker connection being clear, and 888 - Pacific is well branded and covered on Mr Warne's numerous websites. Sydney Roosters players previously carried Full Tilt Poker branding on their shorts, but this is understood to be no longer the case. Years ago 'Joker Poker' was screened on Network Nine, and closely associated with James Packer's Crown Casino in Melbourne. Aussie celebrities such as Dave Hughes and Bessie Bardot appears. NRL, AFL and numerous Australian sports broadcasts carry betting odds which appear on the TV screen. TV announcers will often reference the odds as part of the sports commentating. Last year it's understood that somehow an overseas online casino brand was advertised on Australian terrestrial TV late at night. The facts are not known on that matter, or in the public domain. Australia's ACMA is likely to have a file on the case.


Media Man Fact Snapshot...

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

The founder is a qualified journalist (freelance), media agent and social and community entrepreneur

Media Man own and operate over 20 website portals, approx 99% are hosted overseas

Media Man covers approximately a bakers dozen different sectors including: technology, entertainment and celebrity, travel, tourism and lifestyle, property and investment, sports, political analysis, social and community

Established 10 years and founded by Greg Tingle, built from the ground up

Global audience / readership / coverage

Website network ranked in Hitwise top ten (entertainment category) and Google 'Best Of The Web'

Member of MEAA and pro active member of Virgin Unite and modest supporter of GenerationOne and The Salvation Army

Founder owns shares in both Crown Limited and Virgin


Summary...

Online Gaming Regulation In Australia - Yes Or No?

Media Man believes that online gambling, poker, casino, sports betting et al should be regulated in Australia. That's a "Yes". As we advised Fairfax Media, we think there are good guys and bad guys. Good guys in our opinion include World Poker Tour (owned and operated by PartyGaming), World Series of Poker, PartyPoker, PartyCasino, Virgin Games - Virgin Casino (not currently available to Australians), PKR, Betfair, Centrebet, Betezy, PokerStars, Rewards Affiliates, DGM (admin for Betfair affiliates), and of course, Gambling911 (who cover the sector, but are not a casino as such, but are a gaming, sports and entertainment website portal). Regulation will assist greatly administering correct taxation of companies and and around the sector, and will likely bring in extra millions into Australian government coffers. Last, but not least, regulation should help ease the small % of what is named "problem gamblers". Readers, keep in mind, many people have a range of problems or issues, "problem gambling" is just 1 of dozens of issues a person may have. The "problem gambler" angle has been the topic of a number of "attack journalism" style news stories in Australia over recent years. Media Man, covering over a dozen different industry sectors... sports, entertainment, community, technology, property etc... believes the gambling (and gaming - video gaming etc) believes that gambling and igaming are "easy or soft targets" (as is the case for oil companies), but that's another story.

Censorship - Blacklist et al...

At one point last year, Packer 50% owned Betfair was on the so called 'Blacklist'! Why, a simple mistake or something more sinister? The Australian Communications Minister is understood to have earmarked, some insiders say, singled out, the online poker and online casino sector. Religion and other "controversial" matter said to be "not acceptable to a reasonable adult" is also on the hit list. Folks, keep in mind the Wikileaks is understood to be on the list. You know, the guys who exposed the crimes against humanity in Iraq via their world famous website. That should have the reader concerned. Who is next on the list, and why? Richard Branson's Virgin is soon to do a hard launch of Virgin Gaming in Los Angeles. Virgin also have AWOMO (in collaboration with GDI), both of which are non gambling (at least at this stage). Branson also has the very successful Virgin Games - offering Virgin Casino, Virgin Poker and Virgin Bingo. The Virgin gambling products are not available to Australians. The question begs, will Branson's AWOMO and Virgin Gaming be available to Aussies, given its accessed via the internet? They may be an answer that needs addressing from both the Australian Labor and Liberal Party. The Greens are against censorship, and the Greens political preference is Liberal.

Wrap Up

Media Man is hopeful that this relatively basic write up will help further explain the igaming sector in Australia - Asia Pacific, and will form part of the road map for law makers and those in and around the industry. It's a complex subject, one where the legal eagles will likely be winners, but one we hope responsible brands and punters alike will also be in the winners circle. Any haters or detractors out there, keep in mind that this news report is not comprehensive, nor is it intended to be. It's some commentary and information put into the public domain while the subject matter is so politically hot in Australia. Media Man has a number of disclaimers on this article to add some balance to the ongoing discussion.

We look forward to continued balance coverage from the likes of Fairfax Media, News Limited, the ABC, SBS and others. We thank Gambling911 as a global media platform to put our thoughts into the public domain.

As always, bet with your head, not over it, know the odds and have fun. Good hunting and happy punting.

Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' PartyCasino.com

Media Man 'Online Casino Game Of The Month'
Sinatra Slot, 2nd place - Cleopatra, 3rd place - The Godfather

Runner-Up VirginCasino.com

*Greg Tingle 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 industry verticals covered

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited and Virgin

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Australian Gaming And Racing News: Aussie Racing Club Buys Pokies Clubs, by Greg Tingle - 31st May 2010

The Australian gaming, igaming, racing and overall business sector continues to evolve, as the old adage of only the strong will survive continues to hold true. Media Man and Gambling911 crack the whip at the Aussie racing and pokies sector with this special report...

The illustrious Melbourne Racing Club has further ramped up its business interests, solidifying its future, with a $50 million fab deal to buy what is understood luck seven pubs. In the purchase the MRC will pocket ownership of up to 380 pokies aka "one armed bandits". Something tells us the 'Virtual Racing' and 'Gone To The Races' slots are going to be the most popular, but old favorites 'Cleopatra Queen Of The Nile', 'Penguin Pays', 'Black Rhino' are going to be hard to beat. Aussie punter's are also calling for a 'Monopoly Slot' upgrade.

Key Players And Deal Makers Inc

Vendor - was receiver and manager PPB on behalf of former owner Rick Munday.

NAB (National Australia Bank) is the primary lender (appointed PPB after loans were not paid).

The well known and cashed up racing club finally bit the bullet and got knee deep in the pokies sector. They will own the leasehold on the popular hotels strategically scattered around Melbourne.

The Munday family had to sell up after what you could call overcapitalising, a time when the world's financial sector started bleeding.

The PPB was appointed to sell the portfolio in April, when it was discovered Mr Munday could not participate in the Victorian government's well publicized auction of 27,500 or so gaming licences...breaking up the Tabcorp and the Tatts Group duopoly and virtual strangle hold on the sector.

Upgrades including to accommodate for smoking laws are partly responsible for the blow out in financials.

The agent, Mr Musca lists the following in the portfolio: Golden Nugget Hotel in The Players, Court Jester, Golden Fleece, The Sugar Gum, The Cove, and The Grand.

As in a global financial crisis, there's big winners and losers, and the Australian racing industry is doing what it needs to do to shore up its future. If it means them getting into bed with pokies and the like, that's what they will do. Media and racing identity Alan Jones has called for unity in the sector.

Meanwhile, further aboard in France PartyGaming has shored up its deal with PMU (Pari Mutuel Urbain). Party is incorporating its online poker product - solution into the deal.

We think the France - Party deal may have lit a fire in the belly of Australian racing and tipped them it was time for some off track action, if they are to survive in the long haul. Credit where credit is due.

Media Man is preparing a proposal for "the powers that be" in and around the current Asia Pacific racing sector to further shore up their financial future.

Gambling911 and Media Man remind readers to bet with your head, not over it, and 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. Gaming inc sports betting and racing, is just one of a dozen business sectors covered.

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30 May 2010

PartyCasino News: Superstar Award From PartyCasino

PartyCasino.com made one lucky slots player richer to the tune of over $1.8 million earlier this month while awarding another with a new Maserati Gran Tourismo automobile.

The Gibraltar-licensed site revealed that a player using the pseudonym ‘Arkry222’ took home its life-changing Gold Mega Jackpot on May 7 from just a two-dollar spin on its SuperStar game.

The 48-year-old player, who lives on a horse farm, won $1,888,198 and, as the Gold Mega Jackpot was tied into the Grand Win Auto leaderboard promotion, his fortune saw another rewarded with the new car.

"It was a Friday night and I wasn't far off going to bed and I was sat at the computer," said ‘Arky222’.

"I actually had the volume down on the computer as I had the television on. I was playing SuperStar and all of a sudden these squares came up. I hit complete and the screen lit up in loads of colour. Then the number appeared on the screen. I had never seen so many numbers in my life; it was an international phone number."

The player’s partner of 13 years was similarly disbelieving and called out ‘that's play money’. However, the realisation of what had just happened soon hit home with the ‘infrequent player’ revealing that the win would definitely alter his life.

"I was numb," said ‘Arky222’.

"I was on a different planet. It was then that I realised that I had missed a call from the VIP team at PartyCasino.com and it started to sink in a little bit more. I hadn't been feeling well all week but now I was just in this strange kind of happy limbo. I went back into my account and there it was, over $1.8 million

"I think I am going to have to spend the money on the standards of a holiday, a new car and new house. It will also allow me to be become more flexible with my working hours as I am going to go freelance. I will also have time to play a few more games on PartyCasino.com and I love the concepts of Melon Madness and The Circus."

The Grand Win Auto leaderboard promotion was due to run from May 6 to 19 and would see the player sitting at the top when the Gold Mega Jackpot was hit awarded with the new Maserati car or a cash equivalent.

"It didn't hit me until the next day that by winning the Gold Mega Jackpot someone else had won a Maserati," said ‘Arky222’.

"All I can say is to enjoy your drive, mate, and get in touch. Fancy taking me for a spin?"

"We'd like to congratulate ‘Arkry222’ on winning the Gold Mega Jackpot," read a statement from PartyCasino.com

"He is a super guy and very deserving.

"We would also like to congratulate the winner who enjoyed the spin-off from this win. We thought the Grand Win Auto promotion would last longer than one day but that's casino."

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Virgin Casino Launches Noah's Ark by WagerWorks

Virgin Casino, part of the leading online gaming company – Virgin Games, has today announced the launch of Noah's Ark, a new slot from WagerWorks. Based on the highly successful IGT game, which has proven popular with players around the world, Noah's Ark is a 30-payline slot that has an exciting Split Symbols™ feature.

The Split Symbols™ feature counts for two symbols – not just one. A winning payline may have as few as three and as many as 10 matching symbols. In a great twist, every wild symbol can count as a split symbol, maximizing the player's wild wins. The Split Symbols™ feature gives players the best of both worlds: lots of wins and big win potential too. There is also a Free Spins bonus with a 281% average return-on-bet per free spin.

Warren Eloff, Product Manager at Virgin Casino, commented:
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Founded in 2004, Virgin Casino has over 1,000,000 players and nearly 200 casino games on its site. Through the introduction of a custom built Virgin Games platform in 2008, Virgin Casino seeks to provide its players with the widest possible choice of casino games. Noah's Ark adds to a growing selection of games that can be found at Virgin Casino from games producers including WagerWorks, Cryptologic, Freemantle, Endemol and Ash Gaming.

To play Noah's Ark visit www.virgincasino.com

Notes to editors:

About Virgin Games:

Virgin Games (www.virgingames.com) launched in June 2004 and has quickly established itself as one of the leading gaming websites in the UK. Virgin Games comprises three distinct offerings:

Virgin Casino, offers content from a range of games suppliers including WagerWorks, Cryptologic, Freemantle and Ash Gaming, bringing consumers classic casino games like Blackjack and Roulette, as well as great feature slots like Monopoly, Rubik's, X-Factor and the highly popular MegaJackpots progressive games, with a current jackpot value of over £2,500,000

Virgin Poker, part of the Boss Media network, offers a huge array of games and content for beginners through to experienced pros – as well as the most generous loyalty scheme in the industry

Virgin Bingo, part of the Virtue Fusion network, offers cash prizes worth thousands of pounds in the progressive jackpots, as well as Virgin prize bingo and a range of unique Virgin Games bingo games.

*No U.S or Australian players. World Casino Directory

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29 May 2010

PartyCasino News: Safari Soccer Cup, Monthly Players’ Bonus, Viva Las Vegas and more

PartyCasino.com News

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Helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon

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Gaming News: 44 Million Stolen Gaming Accounts Found, by Greg Tingle - 28th May 2010

Security concerns are just as bigger concern in the gaming - video gaming industry, as in the igaming - online casino and online poker biz. Gambling911 and Media Man, encouraged by the massive response to Google's Pac-Man story, once again grab the gaming console to investigate...

Internet security outfit Symantec, posted on their website they have uncovered a "cache of stolen gaming accounts". Not just any old cache... its a "whale".

The untoward cache is around 17GB in size and contains the details of around 44 million gaming accounts.

A large proportion of the accounts details stolen are for popular games World of Warcraft and Aion.

The data was apparently stolen using software such as Infostealer. Gamepass and then verified with a threat known as Trojan. Lognick, which tests account details and logs all successful login and password combinations.

Of the accounts stolen around 210,000 were for World of Warcraft with online values between 35 and 28,000 USD.

Early this year Gambling911 reported that a number of British bookmakers and online casino companies were being investigated for stealing and attempted selling of players data. Media Man has been approached a number of times over the years by criminals attempting to sell "players lists" (name, email, $ value, casino name, address etc), of which Media Man did not purchase, and in fact tipped off law enforcement agencies.

Symantec, maker of Norton Antivirus, recommends that you keep your antivirus protection up to date and change you passwords regularly.

Media Man and Gambling911 also recommend you have different passwords for both your videogaming account and online casino account.

Security will be one of hundreds of topics discussed and displayed at the upcoming E3 Expo in Los Angeles on 15th June. The expo will feature the worldwide hard launch of Richard Branson's Virgin Gaming, and you can bet security will be tight.. an Aussie MP reckons "gamers are more scary than bikers"... lets see if he's right. Good hunting, happy hunting, and good gaming.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Media Man International also publish Global Gaming Directory

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28 May 2010

Gamers Worse Than Bikers; Gaming Like Cocaine Scum, by Greg Tingle - 28th May 2010

Gamblers, gamers, insiders, outsiders and everyone else...you are likely familiar with some of the "attack journalism" having been thrown around at the Australian, UK and American gambling industry. Now, a new wave of attack by another small but vocal part of the community, media and academics has hit the gaming industry... yep, video games and the like. Media Man and Gambling911 take the consul by the hand, throw on our 3D glasses, wire up the Wiki and Wii and plug into The Matrix with this special report...

Australia Down Under

History - circa 16th Feb 2010

Ex South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson tells news media and anyone that will listen "Gamers were scarier than bikers", and then psych Wayne Warburton... "Gaming was worse than smoking". Interesting, since a number of Australian teachers and parents have found that by incorporating video games in class has helped children learn some subject matter better! Folks, always be on the lookout for "junk science".

Scary Elders And Thought Police Go Global

The appropriately named "Pope" ... Steve Pope in Pommie Land UK tells us 2 hours of playing video games is equivalent to doing a line of cocaine. Pope, tell us, where do you get your coke and games from, so we can check it out? ... just kidding dear Pope.

"Spending two hours on a game station is equivalent to taking a line of cocaine in the high it produces". It is the fastest growing addiction in the country and this is affecting young people mentally, as well as leading to physical problems such as obesity".

Media Man and G911 are interested in seeing the proof in the bold Godly claims.

UK's Evening Post has digging for dirt er facts, regarding youth and gaming. Their message ala "stay on message" as in the political world...

A trend in young people in the county are seeking professional help after becoming hooked on the fantasy world of console games. Skipping meals, class and stealing from parents to feed the habit.

Kids stealing from parents is nothing new, and it goes back long before video games were invested. Unfortunately, stealing is part of the human make up. For the record, Gambling911 and Media Man do not steal, but we're just saying ok.

Two hours of playing good, entertaining games (not boring ones) can produce the same high as taking a line of cocaine! Well, that's what the apparent self appointed expert claims.

Figures are being quoted by the so called experts which we think don't deserve the space here, as the figures are not scientific ala (Japanese Whaling). G911 and Media Man will get back to covering the casino "whales" and "super whales" soon enough, for those of you scratching your head at this point.

Ok, a couple of quotes from "Jack", thanks to the UK rag...

"Playing on my games console was all I wanted to do and it was the first thing I thought of as soon as I woke up. I would play for hours on end without even realising. It was like it was a demon that had got inside my brain and I just couldn't’t stop. If my parents tried to stop me playing, I would just flip. I lost touch with my mates, started doing badly at school and became an angry and aggressive person that wasn’t the real me.".

Sounds like he might have been playing Grand Theft Auto, or maybe Resident Evil, Hellboy, The Terminator, Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare or a combination whopper burger with the works.

Pope, a counsellor and therapist, advises he is seeing increasing numbers of youngsters suffering from game addiction. "

"A lot of young people get themselves into a situation where they use video games as an escape from the world and they get hooked on the release of adrenaline it gives.
Spending two hours on a game station is equivalent to taking a line of cocaine in the high it produces. It is the fastest growing addiction in the country and this is affecting young people mentally, as well as leading to physical problems such as obesity. It gives parents peace and quiet, but it becomes a concern when it is all the child wants to do. I saw one 14-year-old Preston boy who played on games for 24 hours non stop and had not eaten and was showing signs of dehydration. When his parents tried to take his console away, he became aggressive and threatened to jump out of a window. We have also dealt with children who have been skipping school and others who have been stealing from their parents to buy games. Computer game addiction can also spiral into violence as after playing violent games, they may turn their fantasy games into reality. But it is not just children who are suffering - a growing number of adults are addicted to the Internet and to sites like Facebook. I am working with one family where a 74-year-old grandmother is addicted to online poker, her daughter is addicted to eBay and has bought 270 pairs of shoes and her grand-daughter is addicted to Facebook. The poisoned chalice is being handed down through the generations".

Premiership footballers have also said to come under the apparent evil spell.

"Many footballers are playing on hand-held consoles and computer games before a game and this is resulting in a natural high which is causing a chemical imbalance which is leading to them not performing their best on the pitch. I am the psychotherapist for Fleetwood Town and they ban their players from using any form of console for at least 24 hours before a game.". Interesting timing with the FIFA World Cup (and associated video games coming up).

The UK Interactive Entertainment Association politely declined to comment on the matter re gaming addiction and whether they believed it was an issue they needed to tackle.

Media Man and G11 have also recently warned readers that iphones and "smart phones" can be more dangerous that gambling! A Media Man spokesperson said, "Gambling can be a problem for some people, but people can have all sorts of problems, gambling being just one of 100s or 1000s of potential problems to a person. When gaming or gambling we recommend you now what the data charges, download limits and the like are, so you don't go over quote. That, and also don't go over budget either. Know your limits, in both categories, know the odds, and have fun".

Gamers in the meantime look forward to learning more of the upcoming e3 Gaming Expo in Los Angeles come 15th to 17 June. Don't just play the game, be the game! (but know your limits). As Alex Jones says, "InfoWars, because there is a war on for your mind!"

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Media Man International also publish Global Gaming Directory

http://www.globalgamingdirectory.com

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Crown Casino VS Star City Friendly War; No Hostile Takeover, by Greg Tingle - 27th May 2010

The casino and overall gaming industry in the Asia Pacific - Australian regional remains as competitive as ever, with Crown Casino, Star City and Jupiters Hotel and Casino all enjoying expensive upgrades, some into the multi million range. To top it off, another proposed development, Jewel Casino, is earmarked for regional Victoria. This update comes in the week that the Australian Productivity Commission released its long awaited report into gaming and gambling. Media Man and Gambling911 take you to the battle zone, narrowing avoiding a dash of friendly fire...

Media and gaming buzz.... mergers, takeovers, acquisitions. How much is just talk and much is real? Speculation is a plenty.

Tabcorp and arguable its main prize, Star City in Sydney, has been the talk of takeovers for about a decade. In fact the late, great, Kerry Packer, Australia's first (legal) casino king, is understood to have stopped a young James (Packer) scooping it up in the early 2000s ... think circa 2003.

Insiders still see a Crown (other other co) takeover on the cards, but its unlikely to happen for a few more years.

Tabcorp is understood to send a release to the Australian Securities Exchange (former Australian Stock Exchange) noting rumours for a 7% jump in its shares.

Texas Pacific Group is touted as being a prime funding partner in any deal, due in part to its gaming - gambling sector smarts and know how thank to its ownership of the Harrah's Entertainment casino "super whale".

There are however too many complications for a deal to occur overnight, this week, or even this year, unless a miracle happens (which Packer is capable based upon recent stunning performances).

The group is starting a $350 million, give or take another 100 or 200 mil, redevelopment of Star. ROI, "earnings uplift" and other bean counter elements won't be clear for a few years, say the experts.

Also, keep in mind the X factor - Tabcorp's Victorian wagering licence, due to expire in 2012.

Packer's Crown aka 'World Of Entertainment' has its hands full between renovations, some tied to GenerationOne job development, and Melco Crown - City Of Dreams business, fighting it out for its share of "dolphins" and "whales" aka High Rollers. Unfortunately, just a normal catch of tuna, plankton and algae are not going to pay the bills. The business model factors in a certain number of "whales" and "super whales", and Team Packer is keen to see theme not drift off course to other potential competitors in the Philippines, downtown Mandalay Bay.

Melbourne and Sin City Sydney chit chat is suggestion that certain financial analysts advise Crown has put on ice its corporate development team, a move that "proves" that major acquisitions are not on the cards for multiple years.

Tabcorp comes at a heavy price, and a ocean liner full of debt. Think debt funding running into $1 or $2 billion, as a round figure estimate. Yep, these are big boys toys, with debt to boot. Insiders question if the debt could be handled, and worked into a deal, in the current financial market (which is close to terminal... stuffed, despite Prime Minster Kevin Rudd and Treasure Wayne Swan defending Australia's financial position).

Red tape, paperwork and legal eagles would have a field day should a pro active deal get on the way, and that's before any more regulatory changes take place.

Industry analyst's advise consent would need to be required from five state governments and about a bakers dozen of regulators.

As they say, never say never, but don't hold your breath.

To wrap up on a positive note, both Crown and Tabcorp are "swimming, not drowning", as is Not the case for much of the world's gaming and casino industry, with Las Vegas and Atlantic City suffering much of of the fallout.

Crown and Star are also adapting to the new media - internet landscape, and are plugging into the exciting and headline grabbing mainstream entertainment industry, to which will help lure in the masses who can afford to pay for quality entertainment, be it KISS, Kylie, Elton John, WWE, UFC, Dita Von Teese or other.

Australia may be known for 'Underbelly', but Crown and TAB are no mugs nor small time crooks. Smart operators they are, and they can accord to play the game and launch heavy fire when the time is right. You can bet that Gambling911 and Media Man will be there when heavy ammunition in unleashed. How friendly things remain is speculation, but punters, always remember, "A Friend In Need Is A Pest"... just kidding, "A Friend Indeed" or in debt!

Gambling911 and Media Man remind readers to bet with your head, not over it, and 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.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited and Virgin and is a pro active member of Virgin Unite

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26 May 2010

Google Games Pac-Man "Wasted" 4.8 Million Hours, by Greg Tingle - 26th May 2010

Gamers, gamblers, sports lovers, insiders, outsiders... whatever hat you choose to wear, a trend that is almost impossible to miss is that the world of gaming, igaming, gambling, media and entertainment is becoming one. Need more convincing? Look no further than the number of news reports that both Media Man and Gambling911 have worked on and shared. Gambling911 being more of a gambling - gaming - sports betting and news website portal and Media Man being more of a general news and entertainment website portal, with gaming, gambling and sports betting enjoying considerable prominence.

Following the early signs of Google's gaming aspirations, going under the tag 'Google Follows The Money Trail To Gambling', switch the time machine to today and Google has now 'released' (showcased) arcade classic PAC-MAN.

Insiders and the well informed will be aware that a number of months ago Google teamed up with game powerhouse Hasbro with the online game version of 'Monopoly City Streets' (not gambling... and not to be confused with 'Monopoly Here & Now' or 'Monopoly Multiplier' slot machines). IGT (International Game Technology), just off a legal win against Australia's Aristocrat Technologies, does the offline versions of the 'Monopoly' slots found in land based casinos for those interested.

New Google Online Pac-Man Game

Staff playing Google's animated online Pac-Man doodle game, marking the game’s 30th birthday, has caused about 120 million dollars in lost productivity, according to a range of analysts.

One of the analyists, not wanting to be identified, tipped that the launch of the Animated Google logo designed to mark Pac-Man's 30th birthday on Friday led to almost five million "wasted hours" and cost the economy around 120 million dollars!

Google is understood to have enjoyed 505 million unique users on the day the Pac-Man Google Doodle went live to web.

The online version of the classic PAC-MAN game consumed 4,819,352 hours of employee time, costing the economy an estimated $120,483,800 dollars.

Google user were over the moon to discover the animated Pac-Man on Google's home page last Friday. It was Google’s first crack at an interactive logo, and we doubt the last. In the know journos and tech entrepreneurs say to expect more Google gaming logos and games, with a decent possibility of Google Gambling happening, once more clarity is obtained from a range of countries in regard to internet gambling and gaming. Australia appears to have the biggest question mark over it from Google, with somewhat of a war of words between Google top brass and Australian Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy.

Internet users can play the game by clicking "Insert coin" (perhaps a sign of things to come or a version of gambling conditioning)?

Marissa Mayer, VP of user experience at Google, said the firm had been "overwhelmed, but not surprised" by the response given to the Pac-Man doodle.

"Due to popular demand, we're making it permanently available at www.google.com/pacman," she advised.

Media Man Pac-Man profile
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/pac_man.html

Media Man Google profile
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/google.html

Gambling911 and Media Man advise punters, hardcore and casual, that they do not currently have to insert a coin in their computer or web enabled "smart phone", nor do you have to send money to Google to enjoy the game. We hope that doesn't sound to Alien to you!

The Media Man website portal is one of millions of websites where punters can examine a showcase of online games, in either 'Play For Free' or 'Play For Money' format.

PartyGaming - PartyCasino.com remains a favorite for Australians and Canadians, and Virgin Games enjoys strong patronage in Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Google and Google Pac-Man is available in almost every country expect China (Censorship Land Of Great Firewall), with whispers saying Pakistan may be next to loose The Big G - Google, following their lose of social websites Twitter and Facebook, facilitated by political and cultural "disrespect" type reasons, that we're still trying to get our head around. Not sure if its about how many Virgin's a man can have or what...

Richard Branson's Virgin Games - AWOMO (A World Of My Own) is set to have its hard launch at a U.S trade show next month and has global domination of the gaming market on their mind. It will be interesting to see if Virgin and Google become official partners or if they become total or partial competitors. It's in most entities interests to stay on the good side of Google, since their search engine remains so popular, and they also have their fingers in so many other pies including Google TV!... also understood to include a gaming component, which may be expanded to gambling, plugging into the ever growing sports betting sector.

As TV show icon Jerry Springer says, 'Can't We All Just Get Along. Be Nice To Each Other'!

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

*The Media Man website network has Google as their default search box on their website portals

*Media Man has conducted b2b with a number of business arms of PartyGaming and Virgin Enterprises Limited

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Aussie Mildura Casino Jewel Conflict Of Interest Disclaimer, by Greg Tingle - 26th May 2010

Australian casinos remain hot political fodder on both a state, national and international front. So hot is the current climate (despite buckets of rain on the east coast of Australia), local council meetings regarding casino proposals become international news. 'Casino Jack' would be proud... we think. Media Man and Gambling911 go undercover, so to speak, exploring the ever interesting relationships between local, state and federal government and the casino and gaming sector...

In the world of news media, politics, sports and gaming, Gambling911 and Media Man are of the general belief that disclaimers are a very good thing. The ethical and legal cases for such are almost bullet proof.

We get off the beaten track via planes, trains and automobiles, and "meet the locals" in regional "Jewel" of a country town, Mildura, rapidly cementing itself on the national and international tourism and casino map.

The region's proposed casino - resort will be down one advocate tomorrow when the council decides if the gaming - tourism proposal fits its Riverfront blueprint.

Cr Nick Cavallo yesterday advised he was unable to vote at tomorrow’s big Mildura Rural City Council meeting due to a good old fashioned conflict of interest. Almost sounds like some PR that would come from 1 or 2 of Melbourne's media savvy AFL clubs, but wait... the devil is in the detail...

"Under conflict laws, I will not be able to be involved in council discussions or voting in relation to the Jewel Entertainment Development, as a company in which I am a director has business relationships which are seen as a conflict under the Local Government Act," he said in champion and straight shooting fashion.

"The views put to me by hundreds of people from all walks of life throughout the municipality are of overwhelming support for the Jewel Development to go ahead.".

Local, state, national and international businesses are all tipped to benefit from Jewel. It's forecast that the development could also provide a shot in the arm for Richard Branson's Virgin Blue, and any other airlines and aviation firms that wish to plug into the action.

Gambling911 and field correspondents have been following the Mildura 'Jewel' matter for a number of months and have concluded to date that there is mega support, MegaJackpots style included... overall, for the casino to be built.

A Media Man spokesperson said "There's been enormous interest in the Mildura Jewel proposed casino case. News media, tourism heads, switched on MPs and locals can see the massive return on investment and boost to the regions economy, should the proposal go ahead. There's just a small by vocal group of detractors, but bean counters, locals and those wanting to see the region bounce back can see the benefits. The casino of course will abide by laws and regulations and is very big on responsible gambling. Tourism and lifestyle will take as much importance as the gaming element, and funds will be poured back into the community. The potential is there for Team Mildura Jewel and the locals to show the world what they can do, Mildura country charm style, with just a dash of Vegas neon lights".

Gambling911 and Media Man remind readers to bet with your head, not over it, and 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.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited and Virgin and is a pro active member of Virgin Unite

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NRL State Of Origin Series In 3D Starts Tonight, by Greg Tingle - 26th May 2010

Punters, sports fans, nuts, techo geeks... tonight's the night, at least down under in Australia.

Network Nine Australia makes history at 7.30pm as they go to air with the Harvey Norman 'State of Origin' Series which will be the first sporting event ever to be broadcast live in 3D on free-to-air television production! Are you pumped, we sure are. Media Man and Gambling911 don the 3D glasses and grapple tackle the situation.

This years 'State Of Origin' NRL series, best of 3, is set to break a number of records (if not necks).

It's a rainy and windy day in Sydney, Australia, but that's unlikely to put a damper on fans attending ANZ Stadium, and the nasty weather may actually help it becoming a huge TV night. The 3D broadcast is also tipped to attract extra TV viewers who don't normally watch any or much NRL footy.

James Packer 50% owned Betfair, and competitor, Centrebet, are expecting record betting over the 3 match series, with Australian Productivity Gaming Report showing that sports betting in Australia was the #1 growth area. Former Media Man client, Betezy, is also hopeful of shattering their previous betting records. Most Aussie sports betting bookies who are still in business, are looking to recover from the loss they took at the hands of the Melbourne Storm "wooden spoon" sports betting scandal, which say bookies lost up to an estimated $300,000 AUD.

Tonight both The Blues (NSW) and The Maroons (QLD) will not only be fighting for bragging rights and pride in the game, but also for the ongoing support of their sports, currently trying to get out of the shadow of sports betting and salary cap mischief. Players and coaches will not want suspicion pointing at them.

Let's now cross to analyst Nick Tedeschi, for a snapshot of his informed opinion on State Of Origin , and a public thank you to the good folks at Team Betfair...

State of Origin 2010 betting has Queensland as a heavy favourite to win the series, a victory that would be Queensland's fourth in a row. Neither New South Wales nor Queensland have won more than three series in a row in the nearly thirty year history of Origin football.

Queensland are deserved favourites with State of Origin 2010 betting quoting Queensland around the 1.60 mark with New South Wales offered at about 2.30. It has been an absolute rarity over the last decade, with the exception of last year, that Queensland are viewed by punters, bookmakers and traders as the pre-series favourite.

At this stage of the year, it would seem only cruel fate could stop Queensland from rewriting history. If anything, State of Origin 2010 betting has Queensland over the odds at 1.60.

Queensland have an embarrassment of riches. Combined with a level of stability rarely seen in Origin football and the confidence that comes with three consecutive series victories under a coach that personifies the Maroons ethos, Queensland enter the 2010 series in as good a position as has been seen in Origin football.

Remarkably, nearly every position in the Queensland team has already been settled. Billy Slater will play fullback. Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston will be the halves pairing. Cameron Smith will wear the nine. Steve Price and Petero Civoniceva will lead the way up front. Greg Inglis, Israel Folau, Justin Hodges and Darius Boyd will fill the three-quarter line. Dallas Johnson and Sam Thaiday have two of the three back-row positions locked-up. It is really only the final backrow position and a number of bench spots that need to be filled. Only injury will prevent Queensland from fielding one of the most lethal and effective Origin line-ups ever.

It is little wonder that Queensland are dominating State of Origin 2010 betting.

A look at the New South Wales situation only serves to reinforce Queensland's apparent dominance of the series.

To start with, New South Wales are without a captain with no obvious heir apparent waiting to replace retired legend Danny Buderus. Few positions have been settled. New South Wales will be forced to field an inexperienced halves line-up with Peter Wallace the favourite to wear the seven and the choice for six a lottery. A new hooker will need to be found to replace Buderus. Up front the Blues are clearly lacking with three of Luke Bailey, Justin Poore, Brent Kite, Luke Douglas, Michael Weyman, and Josh Perry to take on the ferocious Queensland pack. Bailey and Kite are the only two with Origin experience. It is anybody's guess who will line-up against the brilliant and lethal Queensland three-quarter line.

To complicate matters, New South Wales selectors have made a habit of choosing certain types of players who have proved impotent in Origin football. If they persist with the likes of Ryan Hoffman, Willie Mason, Anthony Tupou et al, the series is as good as over.

Traders should take the State of Origin 2010 betting odds available for Queensland. At this stage, they are well and truly over the odds.

Gambling911 back with you... you got to give it to Nick... credit where credit is due! Now, place a bet with Betfair to show your support and appreciation! ... just kidding, betting is still optional (not mandatory, like Sen Stephen Conroy and the Aussie Govt wants to do with the internet filter), but that's another story. Conroy has his own 'State Of Origin' battle with tech giant Google at the moment... think "Don't Be Evil" matters regarding rights to privacy and the like.

Queenslander Comments

Queensland coach Mal Meninga has this to say on tonight's clash, moving forward from last years round 3 team bashing....

"We haven't even talked about what happened in game three really - it's just about going forward, new beginnings and heading into this series in a confident mode... they think they've found the formula to victory and we have to just make sure we focus on what we do best and that's get out there and play for each other. I don't suspect there's going to be a stink - it's going to be a physical encounter and that's what Origin's all about. You've got to have an aggressive mindset. We didn't handle that very well in game three last year."

Know The Odds!

NSW VS QLD Match One

Betfair

NSW 1.86

QLD 2.1

Tech Head And Geek Scoop

On the 31st January 2010, UK Pay TV provider, BSKYB became the first broadcaster in the world to show a live sport event in 3D. This featured a football match between Manchester United and Arsenal to a selected audience in several pubs around the UK.

May the best and fairest team win. Gambling911 and Media Man remind the loyal readers to bet with your head, not over it, and have fun. Oh, most importantly, know the odds, so keep checking websites like Betfair and Centrebet, and G911 will be delivering follow up stories on both a betting, techno, news and gossip front. Happy hunting and good punting.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

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PartyCasino News: Avatar type technology and innovation at PartyGaming's PartyCasino

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25 May 2010

Australian Casino, Gaming And Sports Betting Trends, by Greg Tingle - 25th May 2010

It's a red hot week, month in fact, for the Australian and Asia Pacific gaming and igaming sector. Following the public release of the Aussie government Australian Productivity Report. Media Man and Gambling911 continue to dissect the report, and what it means to both casual and hardcore gamblers, gamers, punters et al...

Australians are as passionate as ever about having a punt.. slots, poker, online casino games, bingo, horse racing, and sports betting is enjoying massive growth, fuelled by deals with Australian and international news media broadcasters, see punting talked about and referenced considerably in cricket, NRL, AFL, and even MMA via Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Typical Australian households are investing 3% of its income on gambling.

Online and offline sports betting has picked up the slack from bricks and mortar casinos, clubs and hotels, with the majority of gamblers being well aware of the number of attacks and criminal matters having accorded at licensed premises. Those who prefer to smoke while gambling are largely staying home and betting online.

Casino and Club Poker Machines

Aussies are keeping up the tradition of trying their luck on the pokies. Over 70% of punters money allocation going to the "one armed bandits". The pokies sector, much of which is controlled by Woolworths and Mr Bruce Mathieson has grown an average 1.2% per year over the past five years. Machines bring in $109.4 billion a year!

Horse Racing

Following pokies, racing comes in with 11.5% of spending, a .5% lift in five years. Spending rose from $15.6 billion to $17.6 billion during the past five years. The sector grew 2.5%. Horse racing and a "day at the races" is a totally acceptable form of gambling and social pastime to women and their families, with fashion houses, brands and the like getting in the thick of the action.

Casinos (land based)

Casinos are down, despite James Packers' Crown Casino in Melbourne make things appear their up. Tabcorp's Star City in Sydney and Jupiters Hotel & Casino on the Gold Coast have been spending up big on renovations, PR and advertising, and further plugging into the tourism and entertainment sector, attracting the creme of the world's performing artists and sporting events. 'Aussie Millions' remains Australia's biggest poker tournament by far, Crown being its home.

Casinos are understood to have lost market share in the past five years, down from 12.3% total spend in the 2004 - 2005 window to 11.9% currently. Total spending in casinos has risen in the window from $17.5 billion up to $18.3 billion. Despite what many consider to be a long period of national and international recession, the Aussie casino sector has somehow expanded by 0.9% per annum.

Lottery (via newsagents)

Staying steady. 3.5% of gambling spend. Up .2% from 5 years ago. $5.3 billion a year is invested in Aussies each year in attempt to win 'The Big One'. The sector is up by 2.3% over the past 5 years.

Sports Betting

Increased market share of gambling spend up from 1.1% in 2004-2005 to 1.9%.

Annual spend - $2.9 billion. In 2005 it was only $1.6 billion! 12% growth on average. Online sports betting has taken off, attracting a wide and passionate audience. Australians enjoy the skill element to it, just as they do with poker and online poker. Punters test their knowledge, inside info, and try to best their mates, putting down money where their mouth is. Despite a number of sports betting scandals, punters can't get enough. 50% Packer owned Betfair is powering along, also pushing attracting affiliate programs offerings to web publishers such as Media Man via agencies like DGM. Betfair main competitor Centrebet is in the top 2 sports betting firms for Australia based on revenues and active accounts. Betfair and Centrebet are looking to expand into other gambling offerings, with Centrebet already starting to offer online slots, including Marvel Entertainment, no doubt become aware of PartyGaming's popularity with branded online slot games. TAB sub group, Luxbet, entered the market a few months ago, along with Bet365 with a mixed result. SportingBet, Betstar are in the top 10. Many NRL Footy clubs joined up with Betezy (former Media Man client), with sports club branded betting ie: TitanBet (Gold Coast Titans and SharksBet (Cronulla Sharks). Punters are generally remaining very loyal to Betfair and Centerbet. Fairfax (inc The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald) and News Limited (inc The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Advertiser, Perth Now and The Courier-Mail and The Australian) are both advertising sports betting firms and also have what are understood to be "white label" in house deals, the details of which appear to be closely guarded. Google ads are often featured on Australia's leading newspaper websites and print ads for sports betting and gaming appear in newspaper print weekly.

What's Hot For Betting

State Of Origin, UFC, World Cup Soccer

Other Growing Areas

Female Gambling - online bingo, online sports betting, celebrity betting ala reality TV, politics

Areas Expecting More Growth

Online Casinos, following PartyGaming's global success of branded slot games, incorporating the likes of Marvel Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, IGT. Virtual worlds continue to enjoy popularity, especially with the younger audience, and rumors persist that SecondLife may once again incorporate a gambling - casino element. PKR's 3D poker room appears to be driving a popularity with the 3D casino sector. Richard Branson's Virgin Games has a global push, including with both gaming and gambling, with a launch of a new Virgin Games product in the US next month. It's expected to be related to AWOMO (A World Of My Own), a project in association with Game Domain International.

Concerns

Numerous gaming and igaming companies, both national and international, are concerned with the Australia government's stance on censorship, both online and offline, as well as government attempting to crack down on independent press and freelance journalists, be it Wikileaks or other.

Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Winner

PartyCasino.com

The New Wave

Tech giant Google is expected to do a hard launch of Google Games in the near future, already pushing classic game 'Pac Man'. Just when they release Google gambling remains to be seen. Google already brings in substantial revenue accepting gambling and gaming ads via its AdWords etc, which are advertised in most parts of the western word. Google's YouTube portal is expected to become a massive gaming hub. Google TV was put into the public domain via news media late last week, but Media Man understands gambling was not discussed, but gaming was. 'Play For Free' or 'Play For Money' options looks to stay part of the new wave, and multi currency casino options and internet portals incorporating games - skill and games of chance is a growing trend. Sports betting is tipped go start a 3D trend and mobile gaming, on phones, SmartPhones etc is on the upswing, despite news media reports advising punters to be alert to heavy data charges associated with so called Smart Phones.

Australia remains in the world's top ten, a number of insiders saying approximately 3rd biggest gambling national on earth.

The general population finds gambling totally acceptable, with only a small but vocal group of campaigners continuing to bombard newspapers with negative stories in an attempt to facilitate "attack journalism".

Gambling is stronger than ever in the land down under, becoming almost one with the world of sports, mainstream entertainment and the general internet landscape.

Media Man and Gambling911 encourage gamblers to know the odds, bet with your head, not over it, and 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. Gaming (including sports betting) is just one of a bakers dozen of sectors they cover on a global basis. Media Man's casino news flagship brand is Casino News Media
They also publish Australian Sports Entertainment

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited and Virgin

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24 May 2010

Australian Sports Form Anti-Corruption Alliance, by Greg Tingle - 24th May 2010

The reputation of Aussie sports, thus sports business, and to a broader degree, entertainment industry, has a take a bashing of late. Desperate to fix up ala "fix the fix" et al, a broad range of Australian sports are teaming up for the greater good. A sports betting fix and salary cap rorting re Melbourne Storm was the recent trigger, but most insiders agree there's been issues with the integrity of Australia sports for decades, and we're not just talking about Aussie Olympic team and management stuff ups. Media Man and Gambling911 go crash tackling, body slamming and Hills Hoist clotheslining with this report...

Australian sports have formed an alliance to share information that could help guard against corruption arising from the burgeoning sports gaming industry.

Sports heads from Aussie Rules, rugby, soccer, tennis and netball (no NRL or MMA) formed the Coalition of Major Professional & Participation Sports (COMPPS) this week.

The group said in a media statement last Friday its formation reflected "the importance of continuing public confidence in the integrity of major sports' results".

"There have been concerns about corrupt gaming's influence in some sports in some parts of the world and the newly constituted COMPPS group sees the importance of guarding against corruption in Australian sports gaming as one of our priorities," Executive Director Malcolm Speed said.

"Australia has an excellent sports gaming integrity reputation, which we want to maintain and as a first step, we will start sharing information within the COMPPS membership." ...well, that's what they said, but we detected a bit of spin. It's not the word on the street or in balanced news media reports. Mind you, the Storm, snooker championship and Aussie - Indian cricket got everyone very suspicious and tainted Australian sports across the board.

This new collaborating would share information about codes of conduct, education and disciplinary processes in a bid to strengthen sports integrity, the statement said.

The group's establishment comes off the back of the probe by the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit into Pakistan's under-performing tour of Australia this year.

The unit's outgoing chairman Paul Condon, who confirmed the probe on Thursday, warned that match-fixing could be ruinous to cricket if the sport was not vigilant about rooting it out.

Significant, ok, huge, match-fixing scandals have also broken in snooker, and European and Chinese soccer in recent months. These attracted international headlines.

Former world snooker champion John Higgins was suspended by the sport's governing body earlier this month after a newspaper reported he had agreed to take a bribe to lose frames, and published damaging photographs of a handshake deal.

German police dismantled a gang of more than 200 suspects operating in nine European leagues in November, while Chinese authorities have arrested in excess of 20 league and club officials for match-fixing offences as part of a probe sparked last year.

Team Media Man, Gambling911 and the loyal readership are hoping things return to normal, and the way they should be, for Australian and international sport in the near future.

Good hunting and happy punting, and may the best and fairest team win.

*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 also publish Australian Sports Entertainment
http://www.australiansportsentertainment.com

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23 May 2010

Virgin Casino Launches New Fire Hawk Slot

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 05/20/10 - Virgin Casino, part of the leading online gaming company - Virgin Games, has today announced the launch of Fire Hawk, developed by NextGen Gaming. Fire Hawk is a 5-reel, 20-payline slot game with a free games feature and a bonus feature to multiply winnings.

Players are treated to a Native American themed game featuring great graphics and the potential for fantastic wins. The free games feature is triggered when three or more scattered Fire Hawk appear anywhere. Players can receive either 10 free spins with quadrupled winnings; 15 free spins with tripled winnings; or 20 free spins with doubled winnings.

Warren Eloff, Product Manager at Virgin Casino, commented:

"This Native American themed slot is a visually stunning with Indian Chiefs, Dreamcatchers and Pipes, but what will really keep players coming back for more is the fantastic free games feature. I can see Fire Hawk becoming a firm favourite with our customers."

Fire Hawk is as easy to play as it is exciting. After just a few spins of this game, players will have figured out everything they need to know to play it easily.

Founded in 2004, Virgin Casino has over 1,000,000 players and 198 casino games on its site. Through the introduction of a custom built Virgin Games platform in 2008, Virgin Casino seeks to provide its players with the widest possible choice of casino games. Fire Hawk adds to a growing selection of games that can be found at Virgin Casino from games producers including WagerWorks, Cryptologic, Freemantle, Endemol, Electracade, NextGen Gaming and Ash Gaming.

To play Fire Hawk visit www.virgincasino.com

Notes to editors:

About Virgin Games:

Virgin Games launched in June 2004 and has quickly established itself as one of the leading gaming websites in the UK. Virgin Games comprises three distinct offerings:

- Virgin Casino, offers content from a range of games suppliers including WagerWorks, Cryptologic, Freemantle and Ash Gaming, bringing consumers classic casino games like blackjack and roulette, as well as great feature slots like Monopoly, Rubik's, X-Factor and the highly popular MegaJackpots progressive games, with a jackpot value of over GBP 1,500,000

- Virgin Poker, part of the Boss Media network, offers a huge array of games and content for beginners through to experienced pros - as well as the most generous loyalty scheme in the industry

- Virgin Bingo, part of the Virtue Fusion network, offers cash prizes worth thousands of pounds in the progressive jackpots, as well as Virgin prize bingo and a range of unique Virgin Games bingo games

*Sorry, no U.S or Australian players. See World Casino Directory

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