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18 March 2011

Australian Casino Canberra Close To Getting Pokies At Last, by Greg Tingle - 18th March 2011

G'day punters, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, legal eagles, government officials...one and all. Australia's capital, Canberra, may be getting slots in its casino sooner rather than latter, tipped to win its 16 year battle for the 'bandits'. We also learn that the offline gambling world continues to ramp up its business dealings with the online gaming sector. We've also got the connection between NRL clubs and pokies, and lots more.. Media Man and Gambling911 take you on another voyage of discovery down under to Australia...

Casino Canberra In Nations Capital Tipped To Get Pokies; Punters Rejoice After 18 Years...

Punters in Canberra may not have to wait much longer before they can play the likes of Cleopatra, Black Rhino, Where's The Gold, Gone Fishing, Top Gun, Monopoly, Outback Jack and the rest of their pokie friends, some of which are found via online portals like Media Man International and Casino News Media.

Casino Canberra have been fighting for pokies for 16-years to operate the 'one armed bandits' out of its Glebe Park gambling den. ACT Labor Party insiders have leaked that former treasurer Ted Quinlan will recommend in his considerable review of the region's revenue base that the casino be allowed to operate machines in the venue. The casino has been lobbying to have pokies since 1995, when it says the opening of 'Sin City' Sydney's Star City Casino whacked them in the guts. Last year it raised the stakes by offering the ACT Government a whopping $10 million one-off payment simply to be allowed to operate the machines. To date the Government has not budged and refused flat out to permit any departure from Canberra's "not-for-profit" business model of distribution of machines. The ACT Labor Party snatched in excess of $600,000 in revenue from its Labor Club pokies operation last year, according to returns from the ACT Electoral Commission. Gaming Minister Andrew Barr has refused to discuss the matter as we go to print. Mr Quinlan has been commissioned to conduct a "root-and-branch review" of the entire ACT tax system, including gambling revenues, and it's understood he told party colleagues that he was preparing to recommend that the casino be granted its long time wish for 200 machines. It's believed that Quinlan noted that the Productivity Commission observed last year, "the prohibition on Canberra casino's operation of gaming machines is difficult to justify". Quinlan refused to confirm or deny the reports as we approach print. "I won't enter into the discussion". Casino Canberra marketing manager Peter Cursley said a recommendation from the Quinlan Review for pokies at the casino would be acknowledging the weight of evidence. "There's been a number of government-commissioned reports," he said. "All those reports have all either suggested that there should be machines in the casino or stated that there would be no harm done by machines in the casino." The casino has long argued pokies would contribute 30% in gross gaming revenue tax, delivering an annual revenue stream of about $4 million to the ACT Government. Canberra punters have been patiently waiting over a decade to play classic slots like Cleopatra, Monopoly and Wheel Of Fortune in their home state of Canberra and insiders are tipping the casino may just grant them their wish within the next few months. Time will tell if it would be a true win - win - win, but Casino Canberra would surly win. Canberra based players continue to play online poker machines in the meantime or travel to Melbourne's Crown or Sydney's Star City...of course in search of the elusive jackpots.

NRL Clubs Look To Make Up For Shotfall; Result Of Proposed Pokie Law Changes...

The National Rugby League clubs in 'Sin City' Sydney have a list of requests (getting closer to demands we hear) to offset the effect on their takings, should the Aussie government implement proposals like 'smart cards' onto 'one armed bandits' (slots aka pokies). The licensed clubs which are behind the footy clubs estimate the dip in revenue and cost of implementing the changes in attempt to reduce problem gambling will force them to cease many community support initiatives, like nurturing up and coming junior players, helping out aged care, schools and the like. It's the flow on effect. Should the federal government keep at these gaming reforms, clubs reckon a couple of things will assist them on the bean counter side of things...

The election of a Coalition government in NSW

A billion-dollar broadcasting deal for rugby league

A High Court decision upholding a turnover tax on wagering

The NSW state election will be on March 26 and Labor is set to go down for the count in spectacular fashion. The Coalition (Liberals and Nationals) have inked a memorandum of understanding with Sydney's whale size licensed clubs giving them tax relief on pokies, snatching St George Leagues Club (The Dragons) $800,000. Clubs with larger gambling revenue (Penrith Panthers and Canterbury Bulldogs), will also get more of the action. St George's annual contribution to football is $3 million: $2.7 million is put aside to the NRL team and $300,000 to the club's junior representative teams. Media deals can also be a big part of the financial future of clubs. The clubs are seeking a billion-dollar TV rights deal. This would effectively raise the NRL's revenue from broadcasting by a massive 50%, and would be expected to double the NRL's annual grant to its 16 clubs, currently at $3.5 million. We will have to wait until the conclusion of the end of next season to see what happens with the TV contract. Free-to-air rights holder, Network Nine, has committed to pay more for the content, while Network Ten and Channel Seven have advised they are in the running to make bids to attempt to snatch the TV rights offerings. Tax is always a big thing for business. A 1.5 per cent turnover tax on wagering, is tipped to increase NRL revenue by as much as $20 mill. Sweet money if you can get it. This would facilitate the NRL to grab higher product fees, further increase annual club grants and thus reduce clubs' dependence on 'one armed bandits'. The news is not all good for the clubs. Friday's High Court decision granting Northern Territory corporate bookmakers and Betfair leave to appeal against a Federal Court decision upholding the turnover tax may play on the minds of the Sydney NRL club powers that be. It does't mean the High Court will reverse the Federal Court decision that gives legitimacy to product fees being based on the existing gross profit model, however NRL clubs would have preferred the High Court did not grant leave to appeal. The federal government's agenda to address problem gambling is set out in a memorandum to the presidents of licensed clubs on March 3 we understand. The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, favours a pre-commitment scheme where "We use technology to give people a tool, at the beginning of a gambling session, to think about how much they want to spend, set limits and stick to them. Under the model recommended by the Productivity Commission, players can set the limit as high or low as they like and players could choose no limit at all if they prefer." In a letter to the minister on March 9, the general manager of St George Leagues Club, Danny Robinson, set out his board's concerns. "This club cannot afford to spend the estimated costs of $6 million on the required technology to implement such a system. The expected reduction in revenue for this club would be $14 million per year which, together with the costs associated with the implementation of mandatory pre-commitment, would cause this club to close. Closure of this famous club would result in the loss of jobs for hundreds of workers and the loss of facilities enjoyed by over 30,000 members. The club's current contribution of over $4 million per year for sport and sporting facilities would be lost to the community … The club's annual contribution of $300,000 to local hospitals and children with special needs would also be lost." Robinson stages the flow on effects would occur without guarantee a pokie pre-commitment system would work. The system hasn't worked well in other countries with many experts, private and government saying the system is a failure, and a waste of time and money. Gamblers will continue to gamble, especially problem gamblers, with lots of loop holes - fake ID, makes cards, club hopping, removing fingerprints and all manner of other cleaver tactics, in attempt to outsmart 'Big Brother'.

Australia's Aristocrat Rumoured Signed Deal With Online Gaming's Game Account; Other Online Casinos Also Look For New Games...

The whale size casino games provider Aristocrat which supplies some of the hottest casino games to land based casinos around the world has inked a deal with the online gambling company Game Account to provide gaming content to their impressive portfolio of games. GameAccount network who are licensed by Alderney Gambling Control Commission has stated that this deal will be an endeavor to bring Aristocrat's vast library of gaming content to regulated online gaming websites. The initial focus of this new partnership will be based on the European market because the company is based in London and will eventually spread to other regulated markets. Online gamblers are hanging out for high quality content with better gaming experiences and as the online gaming industry grows and matures they plan on providing exactly that, stated Gillian Findlay, the General Manager for Aristocrat. Aristocrat’s games have been hits for many years across the globe and now the goal is to bring these highly recommended games to the online world. In order to make this happen teaming with Game Account which has a robust platform to host their games is a good start and with their relationships with trusted online operators and with the players that frequent their gaming sites this partnership is tipped for success. This new partnership will see a broad selection of Aristocrat games including their best, such as 50 lions and Dolphin Treasure as well as some new and exciting games being developed. Dermot Smurfit the managing Director for Game Account Network said "We are delighted to enable Aristocrat to bring its market leading slots to the online gaming market in Europe.” PartyGaming's PartyCasino.com and Virgin Enterprises Virgin Casino have also been adding new games to the portfolio of late, with NextGen Gaming tipped to add more in the coming months. Party's in house team 'The Games Studio' continues to work on more Hollywood themes and some website portals are also developing their own games, with some work been outsources. Could it be that Gambling911 or Media Man might soon have it's own themed slot games? IGT also continues to release new games via its online arm, WagerWorks. The land based sector of the gambling world continues to get into bed with its online counterpart. Stay tuned.

Adelaide Casino Switches Off Outdoor Pokies...

The Adelaide Casino has turned off poker machines which are installed in its outdoor smoking area, due to some people power pressure. The gaming section was opened last week and has 20 outside poker machines enabling people to gamble while smoking. Some MPs expressed concerns that casino operator SkyCity was trying to exploit a loophole in South Australia's smoking laws, pointing out pubs could not install outdoor pokies. SA Premier Mike Rann said the move was not a good look for the Adelaide Casino. "What they've done looks to most people like trying to get round the rules," he said. "Now if it's legal and there's a loophole then we should look at closing that loophole. "I would like to see the casino do the right thing and I think at the moment what they've done is the wrong thing." SA Gambling Minister Bernard Finnigan has asked gambling control authorities to prepare a report for him. "I've asked the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner for a full report on the matter as to what the current regulations are," he said. "We're certainly committed to making sure that we have smoke-free gambling areas in the casino and elsewhere." Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said SkyCity Casino was exploiting a loophole in legislation by putting machines outside. "We know from the research there's a clear link between gambling and smoking, particularly with poker machines," he said. "Now it can continue, people playing, because they don't go out to get a cigarette break. "It clearly is a breach of the spirit of the legislation. It's a loophole and the Government needs to act now." Independent MLC John Darley also said he would demand the Government act. In a statement, casino general manager David Christian said authorities were notified last December the casino would be putting machines in the area, which was licenced for gambling decades ago.

Former Legal Eagles Ordered To Pay $637k For Trust Breach...

An ex Melbourne lawyer who stole from clients to pay for a gambling addiction, has been ordered to pay $637,000 to the Legal Services Board for breach of trust. Gabriel Werden lost his right to practice law and was sentenced to almost six years in prison in 2006. He was convicted of a string of theft charges and obtaining financial advantage by deception, after admitting he stole $1.1 million from nine clients. Werden claimed he was being threatened by loan sharks, who were helping to pay for his gambling addiction at Crown Casino. The Victorian Supreme Court this morning ordered Werden to pay the Legal Services Board $637,000 for breach of trust.

CEO Magazine Rejects James Packer Interview Rumour...

Bean Media Group, publishers of the influential and highly-regarded business publication, The CEO Magazine, have today refused to confirm reports that The CEO Magazine will be conducting an exclusive interview with Australian businessman, James Packer. The CEO Magazine is Australia's leading business magazine focused directly at high-level executives in Australian companies. The CEO Magazine is a bi-monthly title that provides its readers with a wealth of articles discussing business strategy, expert opinion, analysis, corporate case studies, emerging trends, leadership, growth opportunities and challenges facing our country's leading business leaders. The CEO Magazine explores how Australian businesses can improve the way they manage their operations, staff, technology and supply chains with a view to creating a more profitable and successful business. Whilst The CEO Magazine is extremely meticulous in selection for interviews within the title, rumours of a one-on-one interview with James Packer have surfaced this week. "Due to the high profile nature of The CEO Magazine, it is impossible for us to confirm who will be included in upcoming magazines until publication date. Content is kept strictly between the publisher and any leading senior executive that have been chosen for selection," said a spokesperson for publisher, Bean Media Group. The next issue of The CEO Magazine is due out next month. About The CEO Magazine, Australia's leading business title specifically for high-level and senior executives. The publisher of The CEO Magazine is Bean Media Group, a multi-award-winning media company based in Sydney, Australia.

Media Man Looks To Get Own Branded Slot And Classic Games...

In a scoop word leaked that Media Man International has put feelers out for its own branded slot and classics casino games. The rumour mill leaked that they had seen a couple of other websites develop their own games over the years, and they basically feel its time to do the same thing, as a natural part of their business development. They have just started making enquiries to the likes of NextGen Gaming, PartyGaming, Virgin and IGT. Gambling911 is understood to have the exclusive on this one, so yet another reason to not change your dial, unless you want to hop on over to Media Man Int in case any more leaks in the story open up. Media Man often breaks news on its blog network before the site, so that's the tip punters.

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

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 (Many of the world's best slot games. Aussies and Kiwi's welcome).

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.

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 Network Ten

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