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04 April 2011

Australian And NZ Land Based Casino Gossip, by Greg Tingle - 4th April 2011

G'day punters, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, sports nuts, politicians, legal eagles, one and all. We've got lots of Aussie casino and poker news and gossip for you today, but a few big developments from our friends down in Kiwi land - New Zealand. Media Man and Gambling911 voyage across the Pacific Ocean and across into the Tasman with this special report...

Melbourne Press Club Does Crown Casino...

The Melbourne Press Club did Crown casino and interesting goss is coming in. Julia Gillard impersonator Amanda Bishop got em talking with a line on Crown Casino and media commentators Andrew Bolt's head...the venue reminded her of nothing so much as the inside of Andrew Bolt’s head. Bolt being a soft target, since he's currently in court fighting for his good name. The joke got mixed reactions. Crown media and events hotshot Anne Peacock is understood to be concerned about Crown's image with the Press Club connection. Master of ceremonies Peter Mitchell gave Peacock special thanks in his address to the crowd. There was no on the record response from Crown Casino powers that be. It's understood that its hard to censor a Press Club speech. or news media in general.

Aussie Politics: Bob Katter Pokies Support May Assist Labor Party...

Independent MP Bob Katter says he won't support national slot machine reforms demanded by fellow crossbencher Andrew Wilkie, who gave Julia Gillard a bit of life support as she tries to hold together her minority government. But he has called for “some pullback” from Wilkie on the slot machine pre-commitment scheme. Wilkie keeps saying the anti-gambling measure is non-negotiable, warning all he will withdraw his support for the Labor party if reforms are not implemented. The Gillard government suffered quite a setback on Friday when independent MP Tony Windsor said he would not back Wilkie's proposed slots reform. This may further destabilize the Labor party. Katter said he "strongly supported" the reform push with "I am four square behind where they will want to go, but I'll have a bit of an argument with them about how to get there. We have to go at this very, very carefully, I'm seeking discussions with Nick (Xenophon) and Andrew but I'm very supportive of the idea of tackling problem gamblers. There needs to be a bit of compromise. It's fine for them to make an ambit claim." Katter advised that a number of clubs in his electorate of Kennedy had closed recently, and that he wouldn't want to see more go the same way. "But we shouldn't keep them open if people are spending their kids' money in them," he said. Under the agreement reached with MP Wilkie, Labor still has until May to strike a deal with state governments on a reform package designed to reduce problem gambling. If it falls flat on its face in getting a deal the states, the government has agreed to enact federal legislation to put in place limits on pokies including a mandatory pre-commitment scheme that will force gamblers to carry smartcards that enforce bet limits before spinning to win. Withdrawal limits on ATMs near poker machines will also be limited to $250. With the support of the Greens, Wilkie and Katter, Labor appears to have locked a potential 75 of 76 necessary votes, leaving the fate of any federal legislation up to of crossbenchers Rob Oakeshott and Tony Crook. Yep, the soap opera that is Australian politics and gambling continues.

James Packer Casino King May Sell Consolidated Media Holdings...

James Packer still may sell his $790 million stake in pay-television investment company Consolidated Media Holdings. Packer has 49.9% of ConsMedia which owns a quarter of Foxtel and half of Fox Sports... has put the word out he will sell if someone is prepared to pay a reasonable price. There is speculation on what developments will happen in Australian media, but internet and gaming continues to ramp up. Packer remains high on pay-TV and there's the $2 billion merger talks between Foxtel and regional counterpart Austar. Some say his is unclear about the medium-term view for the pay-TV industry, one which has copped weak subscriber growth over the past couple of years. The media seem to love it when Packer gets in a verbal fight with another media personality however. How can we forget Packer VS Seven exec David Leckie stoush in October 2009 at the 70th birthday of ex Nine boss Sam Chisholm was reminiscent of his late father, Kerry. JP generally likes to keep the peace its understood. We also recall Last month, when Ten Network Holdings stole senior Seven exec James Warburton to be its new boss. Packer, who owns 9% of Ten, did not want to damage his close relationship with Seven executive chairman Kerry Stokes. Stokes owns 24.4% of ConsMedia. Packer is believed to not want to cause further strain on his relationship with acting Ten chief executive Lachlan Murdoch. Both these relationships somehow survived the Warburton appointment. Flogging ConsMedia is a way to avoid drams with media personalities. Insiders speculate a ConsMedia sale won't happen in a hurry. It was not so long ago that he was at war with Stokes in the C7 case. It was less than six months ago that he favoured media rub enough to buy into Ten. There are also only three potential buyers: Foxtel's other shareholders, Telstra and News Limited as well as Channel Seven. Stokes is in the midst of selling Seven Media Group to West Australian Newspapers while News Limited's parent, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, is consumed with the much bigger challenge of buying the 61% of BSkyB it does not already own. News and Seven are understood to not be that keen on ConsMedia.

Aussie Grant Levy Wins ANZPT Perth Event...

Sydney’s Grant Levy took down the PokerStars ANZPT Perth championship this past weekend. He snatched he ANZPT trophy and the $131,500 prize. Levy also became the second player in history with able to get the APPT and ANZPT titles. 220 players entered the AUD$2,500 buy-in main event at Perth's Burswood Casino. A prize of $506,000 was put together, and the top 24 finalists were guaranteed $4,550. The field dissolved to a final table featuring only Aussies except for Ireland’s Patrick Kearns. After more than 3 hours Levy made won. Corr took $83,500 as runner-up. The next stop for the ANZPT is in Sydney, Australia April 13-17.

Results:

1. Grant Levy: $131,500
2. John Corr: $83,500
3. Tim Marsters: $47,000
4. Aaron Lim: $38,000
5. Patrick Kearns: $31,600
6. Han Luu: $26,600
7. Peter Parsons: $21,500
8. Ted Nguyen: $16,450

Poker Cup In Perth Does Good Work For Charity...

Sport, fashion, music and pop culture mixed it up at the the Poker Cup held at Burswood Casino last week. Ex Wildcats star Nik Lackovic put together the cool event, which is an spring off from the Australia and New Zealand Poker Tour. Lackovic said he was keen to create something which gave back to the Strike a Chord for Cancer Foundation, run by local music promoter John Zaccaria and his wife, Noeleen. "I have known John since we were 10," Lackovic told the press "He is a cancer survivor so I wanted to put on a charity event which would raise some money and create some awareness for his foundation." A regular big-time poker player, Lackovic said he had a nice win at the Aussie Millions in January where he won more than $80,000. He also said he had given his fiancee Nicole McKendry some poker tips for her first time. Also playing at the event were Tony Sage, Ryan Crowley, Josh Catalano, Steve Nelkovski, Sal Fazzino, Tony Barlow, Lydia and Zhenya Tsvetnenko. Well done to all.

New Zealand's Christchurch Casino Staff To Accept Redundancy Or Take Unpaid Leave...

Christchurch Casino's management is doing its best for its workers, Prime Minister John Key said today on the eve of a deadline where employees have to decide if they will accept redundancy or take unpaid leave. The Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU), which represents the workers, has called a meeting on Friday morning and is urging members not to make decisions before then. About 520 full-time and part-time workers have been offered redundancy with 4 weeks pay, or they can take unpaid leave until the casino opens again. Christchurch Casino chief executive Brett Anderson said the company had little choice after the post-quake closure of its business and an uncertain timeframe for reopening. "The key for us was giving people the choice," he said. "There is a lot of uncertainty. We are uncertain ourselves. This is not something we wanted to do." Key said the casino hoped to reopen. "I think actually SkyCity are doing a very good job here, they've paid their workers for six weeks," he told Breakfast on TV One. "They are saying if you leave at any time and you take your annual leave and you eventually decide to leave, we will still give you four weeks redundancy. "I think in defence of SkyCity they are doing everything they can." Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said yesterday the casino might be able to reopen elsewhere. "I think one of the issues that we've got to discuss with the casino is whether or not they can reopen with their licence in another location if it's possible," he said. However, Key said that could be costly for the casino and ideally it would be able to reopen at its existing site. Casino licences were geographically specific, but Brownlee said the Earthquake Recovery Bill could give the flexibility for the premises to move. Anderson said his priority was to reopen the casino on its existing site, and to "get our people back in there", but he did not know when that would happen. The Victoria St building, which has a yellow sticker, sustained minor damage. However, it is within the cordon and close to unstable buildings. Anderson said it would take only three to four weeks to repair the casino damage once the cordon was lifted. SFWU tourism and hospitality industry leader Len Richards was advising workers not to accept the redundancy package because it was no more than the four-week notice period they were eligible for anyway. Workers should be receiving 18 weeks redundancy, which was in line with the redundancy provisions at SkyCity Casino in Auckland. "The loss of jobs that has already occurred, plus the inevitable further job losses to come, will create huge social costs," Richards said. The union was seeking an urgent meeting with casino management. However, Anderson said he had yet to receive a union request. He said the union was forgetting staff had already been paid for the past six weeks, at a cost of $410,000 a week. The casino had not been eligible for the Government subsidy because of its ownership structure, Anderson said. It was owned by SkyCity Casinos and Skyline Enterprises. Christchurch Casino employees could express an interest in working at other casinos in New Zealand and Australia. However, the casino would not pay relocation costs. Anderson said three Christchurch staff already had jobs in Dunedin and two were working in Queenstown. SkyCity in Auckland, which had more than 100 jobs available, would give Christchurch staff priority, he said. Casino employee Kelly Hamlin, who has worked in security at the casino for seven years, said he was unsure what to do. "It's just a blow to all the staff. In a way I think we were expecting a wee bit more than what we have been given." Hamlin said he knew the company was in a difficult position but he would have liked to see the casino keep staff. The union is meeting workers at the Hornby Working Men's Club on Friday. We wish our Kiwi friends well on their earthquake recovery.

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

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