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11 September 2011

Casino News Media: Australia, Asia Pacific, American; Sports Betting And More, by Greg Tingle

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Sport bosses want veto on spot betting...

Australia's seven major sports want to be able to veto types of spot betting, with Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib on board and urging his state counterparts to follow suit.

The state sports ministers will meet on the Gold Coast on Friday to consider a proposal which would greatly increase the criminal penalties for corruption in sport.

The NRL, AFL and Cricket Australia are among those to push for the power to ban spot betting, while they have also joined calls for 10-year jail sentences for gambling-related corruption.

Spot betting, where gamblers place wagers on sometimes relatively incidental elements of games such as no-balls in cricket or corner kicks in soccer, is considered the area of sports gambling most susceptible to corruption.

The problem was highlighted by the scandal involving three Pakistani cricketers on last year's tour of England.

Mr Arbib says it is vital there is a national approach to what is a growing problem in sport.

"There must be national consistent laws in relation to criminality; that is something I am urging all states to sign up to at the state sports ministers conference on Friday," he said.

"We must have in place integrity agreements between sports and the betting agencies."

Sports gambling in Australia, worth $2.8 billion in 2008, is a major growth industry, although there have been relatively few cases of corruption to date.

"Even the perception that something could be wrong is enough to undermine a sport's public credibility," Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said.

The veto proposal was contained in an Anti-Corruption Working Paper endorsed on Wednesday by the Coalition of Major Professional and Participation Sports (COMPPS), which represents rugby (union and league), cricket, AFL, soccer, tennis and netball.

The paper, brought together by former International Cricket Council (ICC) chief Malcolm Speed, had three main proposals.

These included calls for severe penalties for the offence of "cheating in connection with sports wagering" and a requirement that betting providers hand over details of suspicious betting patterns.

The sports also want betting companies to pay a fee for using their "intellectual property rights".

"The recommendations detailed in the working party paper set out to preserve the integrity of Australian sport and stem from a desire from professional sports to stamp out betting related corruption," Sutherland said.

"They are individual and collective actions designed to minimise opportunities for corruption and arm sports governing bodies with the ability to deal with corruption effectively if and when it affects Australian sport."

Gambling is becoming increasingly linked with Australian sport as TV broadcasts exhort viewers to bet on events and odds are displayed on perimeter advertising.

Some of the bodies represented by COMPPS also generate revenue from gambling through sponsorship by betting companies.

"The answer that the sports give to that, and I think it's a good one, is that one of the key aspects is intelligence - to get an early warning," Speed said back in March.

"The best way of doing that is for the betting agencies and the sports to be on the same page so that if there are suspicious betting patterns, they can report that to the sports and the police.

"So it's good they have a close relationship. Whether it needs to be as close as it is, in terms of sponsorship, I think that's the issue they face."


International Gaming Awards 2012 Announced...

International Gaming Awards (IGA) seeks to reward excellence in all areas of the gaming industry. It covers both land casino operations and online gambling operations. IGA has held four successful awards ceremonies and has just announced the dates for the fifth consecutive one. The prestigious event will take place on January 23 2012 at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London. The extravagant event will unite industry professionals from all around the world. The delegates use the awards ceremony to build their brands and also their networks within the industry.

Nominations have been invited for the various categories of awards and will close on October 18 2011. The nominees will be assessed by an expert panel of judges. The categories related to online gambling will be of greater interest. The iGaming Software Supplier category will look at features like originality, competitiveness and innovation in supplying software to online gaming operators. Playtech won the award in 2011. The Mobile Operator of the Year award will recognize simplicity of use, access, reliable technology and integration with other platforms. This is a new category introduced because of the high growth in the mobile sector. Support for responsible gambling is in the limelight and the IGA will felicitate the Socially Responsible Operator of the Year Online. The judges will look for efforts in implementing procedures and safeguards for customers, availability of problem gambling assistance by customer support and initiatives in campaigning for socially responsible gaming.

The Online Casino Operator of the Year award will be one of the most awaited for online casino players. The award will go to the online casino operator that has shown innovation and invention in the casino sector during 2011. The judges will also look at brand identity, marketing, payment processing, usability and games offered. Last year PartyGaming received the award in this category. Awards on similar lines will be given to the Online Bingo Operator of the Year, the Online Poker Operator of the Year and the Online Sportsbook Operator of the Year. Online slots are the heart of online gambling. The winner in the category Slots Operator of the Year (Online) will be a slots operator that has shown growth, offers an array of different slots games to players and has created a brand identity in this sector.

IGA has a tradition of charity as well. It uses the awards ceremonies to raise awareness and financial assistance towards its chosen charities. Proceeds from the 2012 event will support Care International and Children with Leukemia. In a special initiative this year IGA has tied up with the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) for aid to the Horn of Africa crisis.


Council wants more say on pokies...

The Bendigo council is calling for local government to be given a bigger say on poker machine developments.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation has approved a bid for the Bendigo Stadium to install 30 additional machines, despite the council's opposition.

Bendigo Mayor Rod Fyffe says he is disappointed by the decision and says the council will consider an appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

"Local government should have a greater say in the fact that we represent the community, we speak on behalf of the community and certainly I think that our voice should be heard," he said.


Crown Casino resolves taxi dispute...

Crown Casino says it has resolved a complaint by taxi drivers who held a snap strike outside the Melbourne complex overnight.

About 100 drivers refused to take passengers leaving the casino after police issued a number of fines for parking in a no-standing zone.

The taxi drivers say they was not enough space to legally park while they waited for a fare.

Crown spokesman Gary O'Neill says the main taxi feeder at the complex will be fully operational from tonight.

"We will increase the resources of that taxi feeder rank but also ensure that all of the taxi drivers themselves know how the feeder system operates," he said.

"You know, you've got new generations of taxi drivers coming in all the time and maybe they don't fully understand how the feeder rank system works."


Wilkie accuses clubs of bullying Salvos...

Federal independent MP Andrew Wilkie has accused some sections of the poker machine industry of bullying the Salvation Army into opposing his gambling reforms.

On Thursday the Salvation Army's eastern territory of NSW, Queensland and the ACT said it wanted further trials of pre-commitment technologies before fully endorsing the mandatory pre-commitment legislation.

Mr Wilkie says he has been told some clubs are denying Salvation Army officers access to their venues for fundraising.

"Today Clubs Australia and Clubs NSW have truly plumbed new depths," he said.

"To be bullying the Salvation Army, threatening the Salvation Army, misrepresenting the views of the Salvation Army of all organisations, an iconic organisation in this country."

The Salvation Army says when the reforms were announced, some individual committee members at local clubs had told the charity it was no longer welcome to raise funds on their premises.

"Some people said, 'We don't agree and the Salvation Army shouldn't be coming here if it's not in support of the clubs,'" Salvation Army spokesman Major Paul Moulds said, adding there had been a couple of incidents in NSW clubs.

"It was like, 'If you're going to ruin our business, you're not welcome to come here'."

But Major Moulds says the charity's current position on the reforms is not because of pressure from Clubs NSW.

Great work

A Club Australia spokesman says community clubs have continued to support the Salvation Army's great work with donations and access to premises for fundraising, despite its stance on pokies reform.

He says NSW community clubs donated $503,000 to the Salvation Army in the past financial year.

Mr Wilkie has rejected Opposition claims the reforms do not have enough support to pass Parliament.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says a lack of support from regional independent MPs means the changes would not become law and should be abandoned.

However, Mr Wilkie says he believes the reforms do have enough support.

"I remain as confident as ever that these harm minimisation measures will be brought in; that in fact, the Parliament will by May next year pass into law the necessary legislation to force poker machine venues throughout the country to implement these poker machines reforms," he said.

Feeling the heat

The Government must introduce the gambling reforms next year under a deal with Mr Wilkie.

Mr Wilkie says he will walk away from supporting the Government if it does not make an effort to pass the laws.

He says he knows government MPs are feeling the heat over the reforms.

"Full marks to my parliamentary colleagues who are having to go out into their electorates and sell these reforms," he said.

"It is difficult, I understand that.

"It is clear that these reforms are unpopular in some parts of the community, and the industry is capitalising on that and it is making for some tough times for some government MPs in their electorates.

"But I am confident the Government would be aware that these reforms are overwhelmingly popular."

Media Man And Casino News Media Awards

Media Man and Casino News Media have awarded their casino award winners and finalists for August 2011.

Land Based Australian Casino Of The Month: Crown Casino, 2nd The Star (formally Star City Casino), 3rd Burswood Casino, 4th The Reef Hotel Casino (Cairns)

Online Casino Of The Month: PartyCasino.com

*Online casino awards are based on a combination of gameplay, trustworthiness, ethics, customer feedback, affiliate program offerings, word of mouth, customer experience and overall offerings

*Media Man and Casino News Media have been awarding the 'Casino Of The Month' accolade for the land based and online sector since 2009.

Punters, here's 10 of the world's top land based casinos for you to mark down in your travel plans.

Monte Carlo, Monaco: Perched above the Mediterranean and bounded by the French
and Italian coastlines on either side, Monaco provides a spectacular and luxurious setting for the wealthy and the wannabees. Home to the Monaco Grand Prix and the legendary Casino de Monte Carlo, this isn't the place for those on a tight
budget. The magnificent Casino hosts the annual European Poker Tour and was also the scene of several James Bond Films, including the original "Casino Royale" and "Golden Eye".

Paradise Island, Bahamas: Located just off the shore of the city of Nassau, Paradise
Island is best known for its sprawling 'Vegas-by-the-sea' resort, Atlantis. The resort spans seven acres along a lagoon, where guests can soak up the Caribbean sun and choose from a variety of outdoor gaming areas. When in need of a break from
the tables, guests can enjoy the private beach or one of the resorts 20 sunlit pools.

Melbourne, Australia: As Australia's sporting and entertainment capital, Melbourne
offers the perfect option for high rollers looking for a local break. Aussies need look no further than Crown Casino on the southern bank of the Yarra River, which is one of the largest casino complexes in the southern hemisphere. The main gambling
floor stretches more than half a kilometre and the casino was the first to introduce the new game Rapid Roulette, which allows players to place bets on a personal electronic touch screen connected to a central roulette wheel.

Macau, China: Known as the 'Monte Carlo of the Orient,' and the gambling capital of Asia, Macau now rivals Monaco and Las Vegas as one of the premier gambling destinations in the world. With no less than 33 casinos, in addition to local horse and greyhound racing venues, Macau is perfect for the betting junkie. The Wynn Macau
casino is a standout, highlighted by 24-carat gold 'Tree of Prosperity' at the entrance, extravagant water displays and Moon Jellyfish Aquarium at reception.

Baden-Baden, Germany: Situated on the western foothills of the Black Forest and on
the banks of the Oos River, Baden-Baden is not your typical casino town. However, in addition to its hot springs and picturesque countryside, the town is also known for its 200-year-old 'Spielbank' casino - the oldest of its type in Germany. With French chateau-style salons rooms named after historical figures such as Madame Pompadour and Louis XV's mistress, the quirky casino provides visitors with a very unique
gaming experience.

Las Vegas, United States: With over 1700 licensed casinos in operation, Las Vegas
offers the ultimate package for travellers who fancy a flutter. A visit to the famous 'Strip' is a must for any player, whether they're looking for a spin on the roulette table or a game of blackjack - this city has it all. The iconic Caesar's Palace
hotel and casino offers 129,000 square feet of casino space plus an endless smorgasbord of entertainment, shopping and fine dining options, including Cleopatra's barge, a floating lounge perfect for a relaxing drink after a jam-packed night on the
casino floor.

Manila, The Philippines: With a favourable exchange rate, Manila provides great value
for Aussies wanting to live the high-life overseas. The city offers a range of shopping and entertainment options, along with a world-class casino at the Hyatt Hotel. Spread across three levels, the sparkling casino offers the newest in gaming
facilities for both hotel guests and visitors, and is just a short distance from Manila's tourist hub.

Sun City, South Africa: Known as 'Africa's Kingdom of Pleasure,' this luxury resort
and casino complex, just two hours from Johannesburg, boasts two large casinos, two 18-hole golf courses and a wildlife reserve. At the extravagant yet picturesque Palace of the Lost City, guests are treated to stunning valley views from the guestrooms, along with exclusive access to the Grand Pool. The nearby Sun City Casino is the entertainment Mecca of the resort, featuring a myriad of gaming options as well as an indoor jungle of native foliage and water fountains.

Atlantic City, United States: Regarded as the US's 'Las Vegas of the East', Atlantic City in New Jersey is renowned for its gambling, shopping and fine dining. Towering above the banks of the Atlantic Ocean, the Trump Taj Mahal casino is an icon of the city, with an on-site shopping district and an abundance of restaurants and bars. The
157,000 square-foot casino is also hard to miss, with 3,500 slot machines and 200 table games. Unveiled in 1990 by a number of celebrities, including the late Michael Jackson, the casino is the second-largest in Atlantic City and well worth a visit.

Genting Highlands, Malaysia: Nestled on the Titiwangsa mountain range, just an hour's
drive from Kuala Lumpur and 6,000 feet above sea level, the Resorts World Genting offers 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside. This spectacular resort has first-class accommodation, dining and entertainment, while avoiding the hustle and bustle of a capital city. The on-site casino, which covers 200,000 square feet, is Malaysia's sole gaming venue and is divided into separate themed areas, such as Hollywood and Monte Carlo, for the ultimate gambling experience.

Online Casinos:

PartyCasino.com : The world's leading online casino brand and part of Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. Play for free or play for money at PartyCasino.com New players get up to $3000 sign up bonus via Media Man.

VirginCasino.com : Virgin Casino is part of Virgin Games. The parent company is Virgin Enterprises Limited, the creation of the world's most famous and celebrated entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson. Unfortunately the casino does not accept players from many countries due to what is known in legal circles as "grey areas". Most European players can play, but no Americans, Canadians, Australians or New Zealanders.

Captain Cooks Casino : Was once a very popular online casino with Australians and New Zealanders, however we understand these days they can only accept players from a few regions such as Europe, South Africa, Canada and South America.

PKR : Once only a 2D online poker room, they are now more 3D and offer online poker and a good range of online casino games, including classics, Marvel slots and table games.

Media Man's top online casino choice: PartyCasino.com PartyCasino is a multi-time Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' winner and have also won awards from EGR. Earlier this year PartyGaming merged with Bwin to create the worlds leading igaming company, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment.


PartyCasino Gets New Games...

Aztec Gold, Atomic Fruit, Nag's To Riches and Fairies Forest. Check out the new games here.

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