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23 May 2011

Australian Gambling And Casino Gossip, by Greg Tingle - 23rd May 2011

Australian gambling and casino gossip is all the rage today. Media Man and Gambling911 with all the talk going on under the watercooler down under...

Concern About Australian Youth Gambling Online...

Studies show that an ever increasing amount of young Australians are gambling online, an internationally renowned researcher has advised. Front and centre Jeffrey Derevensky, from Montreal's McGill University. Parents and schools need to be more aware of the prevalence of online gaming, because it is 'the new face of gambling'. "You no longer have to worry about sneaking into a... club that has pokies, you no longer have to sneak into a casino, you can gamble directly online," Dr Derevensky told the press. He started young people could lie about their age when using websites. International online casino sites offer games such as poker and blackjack while internet wagering can apply to sports, reality shows and political contests. In a study out of Canada, Dr Derevensky said parents listed their concerns about online gambling last behind 12 other potentially risky behaviours, such as drug and alcohol use, and unsafe sex. "We need more parent awareness... we need more education in our school systems," Dr Derevensky said. Down under in Aussie land, Melbourne to be precise, its Responsible Gambling Awareness Week. People should be aware that youth gambling issues could lead to breakdowns in family relationships, stealing, poor academic performance and even mental health issues. Online gambling was also popular for teens with smartphones, said Dr Derevensky, the co-director of the McGill University Youth Gambling Research and Treatment Clinic. He believes young folks can get hooked playing free online casino-type games offering high returns, before progressing up the ranks to to paid sites, where substantial jackpots are used as bait.Dr Derevensky's Canadian research showed online gambling with young men aged 14 to 17 increased from 2.7% in 2008 to 6.2% in 2010. Rates among young ladies rose 0.5% to 1.5% during the same period. Australian players can legally access online gambling websites and play for free or for money. The Productivity Commission's 2010 report into Australia's gambling industry said it was not clear how many people participated in online gaming. It showed that online gaming expenditure and use doubled from 2004 to 2008. Roughly $250 million was spent on online poker in 2008, a 170% increase since 2004, while about $540 mil was spent on online casinos, just over twice as much as 4 years earlier. There was a 177% increase in the number of active online poker accounts, with 363,000 in 2008. There were more than 700,000 active online casino accounts, 116 per cent more than in 2004. Tabcorp's online wagering alone snatched over $1 billion in 2007, the report said. The report estimated online gambling down under in Australia could amount to about 4% of gambling expenditure. The Productivity Commission called for the legalisation of domestic online gaming, arguing that better harm minimisation practices could be put into place, but the federal government ruled it out. It's fair to say that political fun and games continue down under, and that gambling remains an extremely popular pastime with Australians.

Crown Casino Security Officers Help Police Rescue Man From Yarra River...

No, it wasn't the Melbourne underworld that sent to the man swimming with the fishes. He did the swim on his own accord and got into strife. Two police officers dived into the river after him at roughly 4.35am today near the Crown promenade in Southbank, between King and Spencer streets. When the cops arrived they found the man in distress and clinging to a life buoy thrown into the river by Crown Casino security officers. The two cops, a senior-constable and a constable, jumped into the river and dragged the man to the bank. The man, 28, from Mulgrave, was taken to hospital and is reported to be in a satisfactory condition. No, he wasn't in the mood or condition to head to Crown to have a punt. Kudo's to Crown Casino security for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Alice Springs Lasseters Hotel Casino Attracts And Kicks Out Under-Age Teen...

This incident almost passed our spies, but we're onto it now, albeit a few weeks after the event. The Northern Territory Licensing Commission has advised Lasseters Hotel Casino in Alice Springs seriously breached its licence conditions by allowing a 16-year-old young lady to gamble, on slots no less. The casino is lucky they are not having their licence suspended. Last November, the 16-year-old girl walked in to the main entrance of the casino, got $10 buck in change from the cash desk, and played four one armed bandits. She played for almost an hour before security asked her for ID and removed her ass. The comish found an appropriate penalty would be to suspend the casino licence for two days. It didn't because the casino had reported the breach the day it happened and had pro actively improved surveillance. The commish warned that the casino licence will be suspended for two days if there is another breach in the next 12 months. Kudos to Lasseters for beefing up security and watching out for young folks not ready for the gambling experience.

Kicking the gambling habit: PR From Tasmania...

The State Government has urged Tasmanians to get behind a campaign to help problem gamblers kick the habit during Responsible Gambling Awareness Week which begins today. The Minister for Human Services, Cassy O’Connor said new international data showed Australians were the heaviest gamblers per capita in the world, and government moves to provide help were timely. “We’ve had a good response to our recent gambling initiatives - including the launch of the Know Your Odds on-line and television campaign,” she said. Ms O’Connor said that the anti-gambling campaign had raised awareness of problem gambling and generated increased public debate. Australian problem gambling has been featured in the latest edition of The Economist – with 2010 survey data from British firm H2 Gambling Capital showing Australians are the world's biggest gamblers per capita, spending over $1200 each last year. Ms O’Connor said the grim statistics added to a recent Productivity Report that showed that $19 billion was spent on gambling in Australia in 2008-09, $12 billion of it on poker machines. "The commission has said that up to 40 per cent of the money spent on pokies comes from problem gamblers, representing a $5 billion drain on an estimated 90,000 people," she said. “There are two campaigns running. The Know Your Odds campaign is all about how gambling works and considers some of the risks associated with online gambling. "Concurrently, an awareness campaign directs those affected by gambling to getting help – either through self-help options online or via face-to-face counselling."Problem gambling affects many thousands of Tasmanians and their families, and it is time we started turning around the damage it is doing to individuals and our community. Ms O’Connor said greater action was being considered at a national level. "I will be joining the Premier, Lara Giddings, at the Council of Australian Governments meeting on gambling reform in Canberra later this week, where the possibility of new reforms will be discussed," she said. "At a local level, good progress is being made on a mandatory code of practice for the Tasmanian gambling industries. This will better protect gamblers and promote a safer environment for those who enjoy gambling as a recreation."

Australian Football League Looking For Consistency In Betting Advertising...

The AFL advised it desires all its broadcasting and venue partners to come to the same agreement on managing sports betting ads and promos. Speaking at a Responsible Gambling Awareness event in Melbourne, Victoria's Minister for Gaming, Michael O'Brien, says gambling advertising during AFL games has become relentless. "We would urge the AFL and other organisations to use their influence to wind things back a bit," he said. Last month the AFL signed a five year deal with TV broadcasters worth $1.25 billion. The AFL's business manager, Andrew Dillion, says sports betting advertising was discussed during negotiations but no agreement was reached. "Where we want to end up is in a position that is consistent across all forms of media," he said. He fully expects a deal will be finalised with broadcasters and stadiums in coming months. O'Brien also supports tough penalties for people who abuse and break rules to profit from sports gambling. The AFL's Adrian Anderson is calling for punters who are caught cheating in sport to face penalties of up to 10 years in prison. O'Brien says anyone who takes money to throw a game is committing fraud. "I would regard as a criminal offence and there should be tough penalties to act as a deterrent," he said. Dillon states the AFL doing a lot to prevent corruption, including appointing an integrity officer and intelligence co-ordinator. "We believe these changes put us at the forefront of Australian sports in dealing with this issue," he said. He says all major bookies are required to report any suspicious betting activity.

A Media Man spokesperson said "With all the developments down under as of late it looks like we are heading towards full regulation of gaming in Australia which we think is a good thing. We're covering a dozen different sectors, but regulation of gaming would assist us in our report and b2b with the sector also, plus sports is so closely related to gambling these days its not funny...but it can be profitable. Punters would like the extra consumer protection also. Hopefully the Gillard government will get on board really soon".

James Packer's Crown Limited Looking To Spend Hundreds Of Millions To Attract Whales And Dolphins...

JP's Crown Limited is to invest at least another $281 million upgrading its Australian casinos. It is also making acquisitions that include consolidating its ownership of the famous Aspinall's Club in London which is part owned by his mate Damian Aspinall. The new funding is on top of $139 million previously put aside for upgrades of the Crown Casino in Melbourne and Burswood Casino in Perth, showing the company's confidence in the market and its talent in attracting whale VIP's. Crown's buys include the Holiday Inn hotel building and associated assets at Burswood Casino for $79 million. "Burswood will be entitled to a greater share of hotel profits," the company said. A further $81 million will be spent upgrading Burswood's gambling floor, catering, convention centre and VIP accommodation services. Crown Casino down in Melbourne will enjoy $132 million in revamps, with a more extensive investment in the gambling floor and catering, plus new bar and lounge that will feature the colourful Shane Warne and the Aussie ex poker champion Joe Hachem as ambassadors. Further upgrades to its VIP facilities were also announced, including refurbishing the casino's jets. Crown and competitors Tabcorp's Star City had announced upgrades to the VIP gambling businesses to meet growing competition from new casino developments in Singapore and Macau. It was in December when Packer, Crown's chairman, advised Australia would need to work harder to compete with new Asian developments and called on other companies to take up some of the slack. "Australian investment in large-scale tourism attractions has been relatively modest in recent years. In contrast, Crown has been and continues to be a significant investor in Australian tourism infrastructure." Crown will acquire a 100% interest in Aspinall's Club. The land cased casino, which also has an online arm, was owned by the Aspinall's Group, Crown's joint venture with the Packer family friend Damian Aspinall. The venture will use the $55 million in proceeds to pay debt. Don't bet against Packer, he's on a winning steak, and delighted in proving the knockers wrong.

Burswood Casino To Crack Down On Smoking...

Western Australia would get the strongest anti-smoking laws in the country under proposals which include a complete ban in outdoor areas where people eat, watch sport or catch buses. The bans are among 15 proposals contained in a Health Department discussion paper being released today, which includes removing a controversial exemption that allows gamblers to smoke in Burswood Casino's high-rollers room. One option is to ban smoking in all outdoor eating areas, which would be an Australian first. "We strongly support these proposals, including banning smoking in Burswood's high-rollers room which exposes staff to smoke just to attract dollars and pander to the big end of town." Dr Mountain said he supported wider bans outdoors because seeing other people smoke gave a visual cue that it was still acceptable to smoke around other people.

Punters, what an loaded Aussie update hey. As always, bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

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

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming. Media Man also publishes Media Man News

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