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24 February 2011

Tabcorp And Crown Want Aussie Gvt To Lift Game On High Rollers, by Greg Tingle - 24th February 2011

G'day punters, casino millionaires and billionaires, politicians, legal eagles, one and all. Australia's leading gaming companies, namely Tabcorp (Star City etc) and Crown Limited (Crown Casino and Burswood Casino etc) are demanding the the Australian government lift its game to help down under become more high roller whale friendly, especially at our international airports in Sydney and Melbourne. We probe and examine if the fact that the Gillard government not officially being a big fan of gambling is a factor, or if its a smoke screen hiding something more sinister. Media Man and Gambling911 hit the runway as we play plans, trains, automobiles (and politics)...

Tabcorp And Crown Limited To Aussie Government: Lift You're Game For High Rollers In Airports...

Tabcorp casinos big wig Larry Mullin has joined the pack of not happy Aussie casino and gambling tycoons and top brass telling the federal government to lift their game - streamline customs and immigration paperwork and checks for Oriental high-rollers flying down under into Australia, backing up his Crown Casino equal Rowen Craigie. Mullin advised making visas easier to obtain and installing "VIP customs lounges" at major airports to allow high-roller customers to avoid unsatisfactory queues should be seriously considered, and pronto. He said Australia needed to consider a similar model to Singapore, which has created a private lounge to fast-track customs and immigration processing for high-rolling whales. It's understood revenue from Singapore's two land based casinos opened last year is already close to $US5 billion a year. "The customers and the customer experience is everything. That first and last impression is so helpful, especially after long flights. "You go into Singapore, they pick you up in a golf cart and drive you to a private area and there's a government official in the receiving area. You almost feel as if you are going into a hotel experience, that was the seamlessness of it. I understand why you need the processes that are there, but I think we need to explore and get as fast as we can similar type of conveniences here." Mullin said Crown Casino chief exec Rowen Craigie was heading up the discussions with the federal government in his role as the president of the Australasian Casino Association. Craigie last month said the improvements were necessary in order for Australia to plug into the lucrative middle and upper-class Chinese tourism market and compete with Singapore. Tabcorp, which will launch its first personalised jet service for high-roller customers tomorrow, generates less than 10% of its casino revenues from high-rollers. But it is the fastest-growing arm of its business, with revenues from VIP customers up 36% to $32.9 million in the December half. Tabcorp is understood to have spent about $40m leasing the 14-seater jet which came on high recommendation by rock star Bon Jovi, a friend of Mullin. It will start transiting in punters from Asia tomorrow. The firm, which is spending a massive $960m on renovating its flagship Star City casino in Sydney, is now also throwing in $160m on its domestic and international VIP businesses to upgrade digs, improve and expand private gambling facilities and lease two private jets. Originally the jets were going to be purchased, but the bean counters thought better to lease. Mullin also advised Tabcorp, which plans to demerge its casino division by mid-year, was planning to work with the New South Wales government on tourism campaigns targeting potential casino customers. "As our project gets more mature we would like to get better placed in that," he said. Various gambling experts have leaked to Media Man that they expect Crown and Tabcorp to have a better year than last, as well as improved government dealings.

Tatts Gets Profit; Good News Finally...

Tatts Group Ltd has reported a 3.4% lift in first half net profit as the gambling and gaming company sees signs of growth reemerging after set backs due to recent natural disasters such as floods and cyclones. Net profit rose to $149.91 million for the 6 months to December 31 from $144.96 million a year earlier, Melbourne based Tatts said in a statement on Thursday. Revenue jumped 17.4% to $1.62 billion. The firm declared a interim dividend of 10.5 cents per share, fully franked. Chief executive Dick McIlwain said the growth rates of the first half were showing signs of re-emerging after the disruption from the floods in Queensland and Victoria and Cyclone Yasi in Northern Queensland. Tatts said investors and other observers had enquired about the effect on the business from the natural disasters. The company said there was very little damage to company facilities while a significant number of agents and hosts suffered short term damage to electricity supply. Shares in Tatts declined 3.5 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $2.435.

Aristocrat Leisure Shares Up; Back To Profit!

Airistocrat shares surged to a 3-month high today after the gaming machine supplier returned to the profit zone for 2010. Its stock rose 14 cents, or 4.4%, to $3.30 by 1029 AEDT, the best since November 25, 2010. Aristocrat Leisure today booked a net profit of $77.19 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, compared to a loss of $157.8m in 2009. Revenue fell 25.1% to $680.5m. Aristocrat declared a dividend of 1.5 cents per share, nil franked, compared to no final dividend in the prior year.

Melco Crown Makes US$16 Million Profit; Crown's James Packer Pleased; Could Have Been Much Worse...

Melco Crown Entertainment announced yesterday it recorded net income for the fourth quarter of 2010 of US$16.3 million (MOP130 million), compared with a net loss of US$89.7 million a year earlier. It was the company’s second consecutive quarterly profit. The gain in bottom-line results was driven by the year-over-year improvement in the operating performance at City of Dreams and Altira Macau, the company said. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was US$133.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2010, as compared to adjusted EBITDA of US$2.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Lawrence Ho, co-chairman and chief executive officer of Melco Crown Entertainment, said "our fourth quarter results demonstrate our success in driving operating leverage and in improving the profitability of our portfolio of assets. Our mass market table games business continues to grow and our rolling chip segment remains strong," he said. James Packer, who teamed up on the project via Melco Crown, is understood to have been pleased with the result. The Packer family remains on good terms with the Ho's. It's one happy family again (or at least mainly), which is what we like to hear.

Online Casinos, Online Poker and Sports Betting...

Ok readers, we hear you... you also want to know some of the best places to play online (that accept Aussies) if your in or around the Asia Pacific - Australia (including Tassie) and New Zealand, so here it is...

PartyCasino.com

Captain Cooks Casino

Betfair (sports betting only)

PKR.com (poker, slots including Marvel slot games and sports betting)

PartyPoker.com (online poker at one of the world's most respected poker rooms and gaming brands)

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Media Man and Gambling911 remind our readers to keep the following in mind:

Take the time to research and learn games before placing down money

Media Man, Casino News Media and Gambling911 are website portals. Not casinos as such, however are recognised as world leading websites that cover the sector and act as central points to games, news, reviews and more.

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? 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. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited and Virgin

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