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What's your favorite online slot game? If your answer is along the lines of Cleopatra, Sinatra, Wheel of Fortune, Rambo, Mission: Impossible, Call of Duty or Monopoly Slot, you are quite likely a passionate online casino player, or at least a punter who knows the difference between Min Bet or Max Bet on the "online pokies", as they call them in Australia as well as other parts of the Asia Pacific region - currently dominated by Crown Limited's James Packer in the land based casino world, with Echo Entertainment's The Star (ex Star City Casino) chipping away with their almost billion dollar investment.
It's little wonder traditional bricks and mortar gambling businesses such as Crown Limited and Echo Entertainment are keen to get in the thick of the action in the online gambling world, given that dozens of credible reports including the Australian Productivity Commission lists Australians as some of the most passionate and highest spending punters in the world - online and at venues such as casinos and pubs.
Website portals such as Media Man Games, IGN Games, Gambling911, Poker News Daily and a host of others have come from nothing to build online empires of sorts over the past years, offering a wide variety of games, reviews and information, to an online audience who just can't get enough.
A Man Man spokesperson said "The games which seem to be most popular with online gamers in the Asia Pacific region are what are known as branded slot games - games which ride off an established entertainment industry brand, be it Frank Sinatra, Marvel's Thor and Incredible Hulk, Call of Duty, Hasbro's Monopoly, and you get the idea.
Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, Centrebet and PKR are some of the most popular online gaming brands at the moment, but it doesn't stop other operators from having a go. Bwin.Party, PKR and Centrebet are currently popular with Australian's as they are well known, trusted, offer many sought after games, and have won a number of gaming awards, which builds consumer confidence."
A university study of online gamblers suggests that people who bet on the internet are more likely to take bigger risks while betting than other gamblers.
The survey, conducted by Southern Cross University, found that 80% of people who gambled online were betting on racing and sports, with the remaining 20% using casino game sites, featuring slots, table games and the like.
Dr Sally Gainsbury headed up the study and says are increasing amount of people are betting on sports via mobile phone applications.
"Research shows people look at their mobile first thing in the morning and last thing at night, take it to the bathroom with you," she said.
"This is something that allows you to take a bet anytime the mood strikes."
More than half of the punters surveyed indicated they were spending more money due to the ease of making credit card payments over the internet.
Over the last month media agency Media Man conducted a survey to see if the Australian public thought that Sydney's The Star and Melbourne's Crown Casino were primarily gambling companies, entertainment companies or both. A sample of 100 people found that 87 people thought both companies were gambling and entertainment operations, 8 people thought they were entertainment companies, and just 5 people thought they were gambling - casino only businesses. The findings, reported on the Media Man blog network, demonstrate that Crown and Echo's desire to be known for more than gambling is working.
Delta Goodrem recently performed at Crown Casino, while Al Pacino did his 'One Night Only' career perspective performance at The Star's Lyric Theatre. Both shows got thumbs up and largely positive reviews from the public and news media.
Both casinos er... entertainment venues, do a lot of work for many worthy causes, much of which goes unreported in the press.
*the writer owns shares in Crown Limited.
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