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02 August 2011

Australian Gambling News, by Greg Tingle - 1st August 2011

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Media Man and Casino News Media with another special feature on Australian gambling news. Be it land based casino news or online casino news, we have your number!


Punter Who Found $200 Convicted Of Stealing...

A Perth man was convicted of stealing for picking up $200 on a casino floor, officials say.

Adrian Lamonica-Miraglio, 22, was found guilty in Perth Magistrate's Court Monday on one count of stealing.

Lamonica-Miraglio, an apprentice refrigeration mechanic, was having drinks with friends at the Burswood Casino in Perth, Australia, March 27th when he noticed the $200 on the floor.

"I noticed there was a note on the floor … I put my foot on it and dragged it," Lamonica-Miraglio told the court. "Once I picked it up there were not that many people around. I hadn't decided to do anything with it."

Mr Hammond told the court it would be “preposterous” to start questioning people inside a casino if money dropped on the floor was theirs.

“I’d imagine there would be a flurry of hands with people saying "It's mine, it's mine,” Mr Hammond said.

“The facts are he believed the money had been abandoned.”

The man conceded he made no effort to find the rightful owner of the money or notify casino staff until questioned by them.

"The accused knew [the money] was not his," Magistrate Wayne Tarr said. "He made a deliberate attempt to conceal it from the victim."

Lamonica-Miraglio's lawyer, John Hammond, said the way his client was treated by the court and by security at the time of the incident was "oppressive."

"He was held in a cell for nearly 3 hours … it was overkill," Hammond said.

Lamonica-Miraglio was fined $500 and ordered to pay more than $300 in court costs.


Passionate Gambler Legal Problem After Breaching Land Based Casino Bans...

An enthusiastic gambler has faced the strong arm of the law - court charged for the 10th time with breaching a ban on entering the Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos.

Ransome "No Randsom" (satire) Williams, a 22 male is front and centre re an exclusion order from Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast and Treasury Casino, the pride of Brisbane aka "Bris Vegas", imposed way back in 2007.

Williams faced Southport Magistrates Court Monday in handcuffs charged with entering or remaining in a (land based) casino contrary to an exclusion order.

The court heard he was caught on surveillance camera at Jupiters at 3.15am last Thursday.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Nicole Conditsis said it was Williams' 10th breach of a casino exclusion order.

Duty lawyer Peter Lancaster said Williams acknowledged a gambling and alcohol problem and arrangements had been for him to go into a Salvation Army rehabilitation program.

Magistrate Brian Kilmartin said Williams had already spent two days in custody and considered this was sufficient punishment.

A gambling insider joked "Now this is one punter who is much better off checking out online gambling via the portals Australia is so well known for".


FITCH Affirms Crown at 'BBB'; Outlook Stable...

August 01 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has affirmed Australia's gaming and entertainment operator Crown Limited's (Crown) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and its senior unsecured rating at 'BBB'. The Outlook on the IDR is Stable.

Crown's ratings are supported by the strong market position of its domestic Australian gaming assets - one in Melbourne, Victoria and the other in Perth, Western Australia. These assets have demonstrated consistent cash flow generation, which in part reflect the contributions from stable and predictable local markets and represent over 50% of consolidated revenue, and in part Crown's position as the sole licensed casino operator in the respective regions. Underlying demand for gaming expenditure is supported by expected continued growth in household disposable income (HDI) and by population increase. Offsetting these strengths is the concentration of operating assets in two casinos from which all cash generation is derived.

The Australian assets are in the midst of a capital-intensive cycle with a significant amount of capex still to be spent over the next three fiscal years. In Fitch's view, not only will expansion and property upgrades improve earnings growth, they will also ensure that Crown is well-positioned, particularly in Perth, to manage the impact on the VIP program play sub-segment from increased competition from new integrated resorts in Southeast Asia. Fitch notes that the challenge for Crown from the Singapore casinos will be the convenience to Singapore (versus Perth) for the VIP player.

Expansionary capex will tail-off considerably from FY13, at which time Fitch expects Crown to generate material cash generation, with free cash flow (pre-dividend) to sales margin exceeding 14%. The agency also takes comfort from Crown's publicly stated commitment to its core Australian operations. This focus factors positively into Fitch's assessment of Crown's overall business risk.

Risk associated with Melco Crown Entertainment Limited (MCE), Crown's key investment outside of Australia, has reduced significantly following the completion of various properties and a ramp-up in earnings. Furthermore, MCE has demonstrated a capacity to access a range of debt capital markets (its RMB bond issue and refinancing of its City of Dreams project loan) without shareholder support.

In view of the concentration of assets, and the business risk profile of gaming companies in general, it is unlikely that ratings would be upgraded by more than one notch, irrespective of credit metric levels. An upgrade may be considered if net adjusted debt (excluding working capital cash) to EBITDA falls below 1.75x on a sustained basis. Crown would need to demonstrate that it has rebounded from the competitive pressures presented by Singapore's integrated resorts, and that it has established a track record relative to these resorts. Another important catalyst to any positive rating action includes significant completion of the extensive capex that Crown is undertaking. This would need to be combined with ongoing evidence that Crown's focus will remain on lower-risk assets.

Conversely, if net adjusted debt (excluding working capital cash) to EBITDA increases above 2.5x, this would be a catalyst for a negative rating action. Also, a significant negative regulatory action or material additional financial support of investments could lead to a negative rating action.

With regards to negative regulatory action, Fitch notes that the profitability from electronic gaming machines may be negatively affected by the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment measures, the introduction of which remains unclear, and the financial impact to Crown difficult to measure.

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