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17 April 2011

Gambling And Casino Scene And Gossip Down Under, by Greg Tingle - 17th April 2011

Australian gambling news continues at fever pitch. It's fun and games all the way with lovers vs haters, casino attacks, new games, casino revamps, stars touring Aussie casinos and more. Media Man and Gambling911 with your down under gambling report...

Aussie Welfare Cheats To Repay Big Brother $9 Million Punted At Casinos...

Single Aussie mums and pensioner getter's on welfare benefits, be it "the pension" or "the dole", will be forced to cough up $9 million bucks after they were found leading "double lives" as high-rolling casino gamblers. That's the story coming out of big brother, but how much is true and how much is spin is yet to be fully determined. A federal investigation has snatched 521 tax cheats, with authorities suspecting some of laundering money for crims. Cheats told Centrelink they needed welfare payments to survive on, but some were living it up tossing around $100,000 plus a year at Australian land based casinos. Some high-rollers "pseudo VIP's" have been charged and sentenced to home detention, while some other punters await charges. 15 welfare recipients were referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions suspected of committing fraud. The word is that they be forced to pay back big brother, but how do you get blood out of a stone. Some punters claim the moolah is spent while others have no traceable assets. 32 Queensland based banana benders will have to repay almost $500,000 bucks. In New South Wales, 128 cheats owe big brother in express of $2.2 million, while 279 Victorians owe close to $5 million. One NSW millionaire, who tried to hid his income, has on welfare for numerous years, snatching roughly $96,000 in age pension payments. Federal legislation requires casinos to provide information to law enforcement agencies about patrons who regularly gamble large amounts of money. Human Services Minister Tanya Plibersek said Centrelink did not count winnings as income if welfare recipients just had the occasional good day on the punt. "But people who can afford to regularly gamble large sums of money at the same time as receiving government assistance are required to prove they aren't concealing assets and income," Ms Plibersek said. "By cross-referencing casino high-roller information with Centrelink customers, Centrelink is identifying people who may be concealing assets or income, wrongly claiming benefits and even laundering money." Centrelink reviewed 1052 cases of suspected high-rollers in the past 3 years before demanding 521 welfare recipients repay more than $9 million. Federal Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said pre-commitment measures for pokies whereby gamblers would have to sign up and determine how much money they could lose before they start playing would help law enforcement. "Criminals are laundering millions of dollars through the poker machines each year. These reforms will put an end to this," Senator Xenophon said. It's a 3 way dance - Man VS Machine VS Big Brother - who will emerge victorious and where exactly will the money trial lead?

"Wicked" (Satire) Wilkie Won't Apologise For Hitler Scandal...

Andrew Wilkie says he will not apologise to the man who has accused him of ordering cadets to salute Hitler because he can't recall. Not recalling is an oldie, but a goodie, of Australian and American politicians, often when the s hits the fan, and its a smart, but unethical answer. Ex army cadet Brendan Etches claims the independent MP ordered him to salute the 50th anniversary of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's rise to power, when they were at Duntroon Military College in the 1980s. Etches wants Wilkie to apologise for the incident when the pair meet early this week.
He also wants an apology for suggestions that he was part of a smear campaign by the pro-poker machine lobby to discredit Wilkie. Wilkie says he's "looking forward" to meeting Etches, and talk about his concerns. "But I won't be able to apologise to him for an incident I have no memory of," he told Network Ten. Wilkie says that's not a political "cop-out", noting that he has already apologised for charges of bastardisation at Duntroon. "I was bastardised, I was a bastard," he said, acknowledging that his behaviour was "appalling and wrong". Wilkie claims the poker machine industry is behind a smear campaign against him, including death threats and blackmail. "As a general rule (politicians) wouldn't talk about such threats," he said, responding to criticism from coalition MPs about going public with the death threat. "But this most recent threat was different, it came on the day that the poker machine industry launched its $20 million campaign against me," he said, noting that he has received numerous death threats in public life. Wilkie is "very confident" the proposed pre-commitment gambling scheme will have the support of federal parliament. "We need four votes (in the lower house), I'm one, the (Australian) Greens are one, (independent) Bob Katter's already indicated support." "We are almost there with just those three votes," he said, citing confidence that regional MP Tony Windsor would change his stance and back the reforms. Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce is raising the possibility of compensation for the many clubs and pubs that have bought poker machines and might be unable to rely on the income. Senator Joyce says it not as simple as clamping down on addicts. "A lot of places rely on them for income streams in regional towns where they are instrumental in delivering a whole heap of services including sporting fields, venues, to the town," Senator Joyce told ABC television. "But no one likes the mess of someone who sits in the corner and puts the family's savings or the family's income down the slot. Senator Joyce said it was vital both sides of the argument were understood before any action was taken. "A lot of people have paid a lot of money for poker machines and if you start removing the capacity for them to earn money from a federal sphere I suppose the federal government has to compensate those clubs for it. "There's a whole heap of aspects to this debate that have to be considered." Political fun and games continue.

Katy Perry Will Play TV Week Logies At Melbourne's Crown Casino...

Katy Perry has just been confirmed to open the awards ceremony at Melbourne's Crown Casino complex on May 1, performing her chart-topping hit - 'Firework'. No, its not a dream - its real! Perry will be in Australia as part of her California Dreams World Tour, with sold-out performances at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on May 4 and 14. Classical music superstar Andre Rieu is rumoured to attend the Logies, with 'tween heartthrob Justin Bieber also in Australia. Shane Bourne will be the host, and awards will be presented by Chris Lilley, Karl Stefanovic, Sarah Murdoch, Lisa McCune, Deborah Mailman, Shane Jacobson and Megan Gale. Twitters will be likely blocked after last years Twitter-Gate.

Crown Casino Logie Awards Banned From Twittering...

Mobile phones will not be allowed at this year's Logie Awards ceremony to avoid the Twitter-Gate deal that overshadowed last year's event, a spokesperson said. Invitations to the 53rd Annual Logie Awards on May 1 at Melbourne's Crown Entertainment Complex, say at the bottom: "Please note, mobiles will not be permitted. Your co-operation is appreciated." A Logies spokeswoman told ABC News Online the ban was put in place because of the tweeting that detracted from TV's 'night of nights' last year. "Bags are not being searched or anything; we're just expecting guests to observe that request," she said. Controversial comedian Catherine Deveny was sacked by The Age following her attacks on stars which were posted on Twitter during last year's Logies. The comments posted by Deveny on Twitter were as variously described as "offensive" and "vulgar". Deveny wrote that she hoped 11-year-old Bindi Irwin "gets laid" and that former talk show host Rove McManus's wife Tasma "didn't die too"...referring to the loss of McManus's first wife, Belinda Emmett, to cancer in 2006. Comedian Wil Anderson's Logies tweets also drew criticism. Media Man was one of hundreds of media outlets that spread the Twitter-Gate story worldwide, with assistance of Gambling911, Wires and Google News.

Tabcorp Granted Demerger Approval...

Tabcorp got the not from court to move forward with its demerger into separate casino and gaming businesses. Paperwork lodged with the stock exchange show that as part of the demerger, outgoing Tabcorp boss Elmer Funke Kupper will receive a payout of up to $5.5 million. The scheme booklet also gives the strongest indication yet that Tabcorp will sue the Victorian government over the loss of pokies licences, worth $687 million, due to expire in August next year. Shareholders will vote on the proposal in Melbourne on June 1. If shareholders approve ,they will receive one share in the new casino group, Echo Entertainment Group, for each Tabcorp share they hold and Echo will then be listed on the ASX. Kupper's golden handshake is made up of a $3 million termination payout and up to $2.5 million in shares. He will step down after the demerger, and rejoin the board as a non-executive director after a six-month break. Tabcorp has long maintained that it should be paid a $687 million break fee within a week of any new Victorian poker machine licences that are being issued. But, when he was in office, ex premier John Brumby consistently said Tabcorp was not entitled to compensation. "Tabcorp intends to pursue all of its rights and take all appropriate action in respect of the payment," Tabcorp said in the scheme booklet lodged yesterday. However, the company warned that if the matter went before the courts "the outcome cannot be predicted with any certainty. Despite its strong resolve to pursue this matter, Tabcorp may ultimately not succeed in recovering the payment from the Victorian government", it said. Most analysts agree the demerger deal is a great move from Tabcorp, that will both spread risk, raise money, and show investors that they are moving with the times, not to rest on their laurels. It will also be a point of difference with competitor, Crown Casino. The Aussie casino wars continue.

Snoop Dogg In The House At Jupiters Hotel & Casino, Gold Coast...

Snoop Dog did Jupiters Hotel & Casino Friday when the rap and hip hop star played a 4-hour plus poolside DJ set for 300 fans to officially launch his new album, Doggumentary, in Australia. Snoop took the stage at 6.25pm an hour and a half earlier than his scheduled 8pm start. Performing as DJ Snoopadelic, the Yankee rapper started with a old-school funk, disco and Motown mixed with numbers by Michael Jackson, Rihanna and JaythZ. His nephew our tour buddy' Bow Wow' acted as MC, urging the crowd to make more noise. "Are there any "real' Snoop fans here". Snoop turned up the volume on some house tracks always a sure-fire hit with Gold Coast clubbers including DJ duo Duck Sauce's hit Barbra Streisand. Later in the night Snoop Dogg was joined in a roped-off VIP area, and onstage, by a bush tucker bag of his Supafest R'n'B festival mates. Nelly, The Game, Timbaland, T Pain, New Boyz and Snoop's dad were also in the house. Snoop told the crowd he was filming a clip for a track from his Doggumentary, his 11th studio album, at the pool party. Released in Australia on Friday, the 21-track album features collaborations with everyone from Bow Wow to Gorillaz, Wiz Khalifa, Young Jeezy and country star Willie Nelson. The poolside party included a special Snoop-inspired menu of beef sliders, Snoop Doggs (sausages on sticks), chicken waffles and baby back pork ribs. Snoop and the gang, who played the Brisbane leg of Supafest, at the RNA Showgrounds are understood to be hitting Melbourne within the next 12 hours. Play hard and party harder. Snoop Dogg in the houssssssse.

Aussies love to try their luck. Sure, spin to win, but know the odds, and have fun.

Punters, er readers, stay glued to Media Man reports via Gambling911 for more "can't miss" information on Australian pokies and gaming wars.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming.

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