Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Betting On United States, by Greg Tingle - 20th October 2011

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Jim Ryan, the co-chief executive of Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is a very busy man.

In fact, he's invested three of the past five weeks in the United States pushing a presentation that advertised to investors the strengths of the world’s largest publicly-traded online gambling - gaming firm. Ryan’s presentation included a one-page chart that listed the top online poker brands in the U.S. market. The names of once fierce competitors PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, were crossed out in red. Is Party the only real game left in town? Time will tell.

“Where you see the red lines, those organizations have been indicted, so although one can’t predict the future, it’s unlikely you will see those brands back in the U.S.,” Ryan said during an interview. “The brand that has the most consumer awareness is in fact the PartyPoker brand.”

Ryan’s company happens to own both PartyPoker and the World Poker Tour, two of the top online poker brands that did not have their U.S. operations shut down by the U.S. Justice Department in April because they were not facilitating for-money online poker play in America—in the case of PartyPoker since 2006. They also own PartyCasino, a top online casino destination website. The fact that Ryan, who is based in Gibraltar, has recently been spending so much time in the U.S. demonstrates he is optimistic and hopeful for a U.S. comeback. “My focus is on the U.S.,” says Ryan, who is in the final stages of negotiating partnerships with two U.S. companies. “Even though there is no guarantee that online gaming will ever regulate in the U.S.”

For years Ryan and his staff at PartyGaming, which merged with Bwin earlier this year, had to sit on the sidelines, watching how much money PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker were snatching. It was a difficult thing to watch for the top brass and workers at PartyGaming, which was the biggest online gambling company in the world thanks to its domination of the U.S. online poker market until Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006. PartyGaming exited the U.S. market and saw its stock price take a massive hit, while PokerStars and Full Tilt kept their U.S. facing .com websites on air. Party competitors enjoyed somewhat of an unfair advantage, with the rouges using the U.S. market to expand globally at PartyGaming’s expense. “We were beyond the point of frustration,” says Ryan.

Next PartyGaming struck a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, paying $105 million and admitting its U.S. operations had for years violated U.S. law. Meanwhile, PokerStars and Full Tilt continued to operate in the U.S. and claimed that their U.S. operations did not violate U.S. law, pointing to legal opinions the companies had received from top American legal eagles. To many, it appeared like PartyGaming had given a lucrative business away. Even at the company’s headquarters there were doubts until April 2011, when federal prosecutors in Manhattan closed down the U.S. operations of PokerStars and Full Tilt, naming them illegal gambling businesses, and indicted some of their key execs. "I think Party has been vindicated now in getting out when they did and in dealing with the Department of Justice," says Behnam Dayanim, a partner at Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider, who negotiated PartyGaming’s agreement with federal prosecutors in downtown Manhattan.

With all that said, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is not exactly holding a management party quite yet. It's so close, yet so far, from reclaiming online poker’s crown. Operating in highly-regulated and taxed European markets while competing against well-run companies like PokerStars is not for the faint-hearted. Bwin.Party’s stock, which trades on the prestigious London Stock Exchange, has dipped by 50% in 2011. Big corporate mergers can be problematic, but the outfit has also suffered a setback in Germany, where the nation’s top civil court recently decided to uphold an online gambling ban, and been dissed by higher gaming duties across Europe. When the company attempted to take advantage of the April U.S. shutdown of PokerStars and Full Tilt, Bwin.Party found that while some new European players were attracted to its poker brands, revenues remained flat-ish. It wasn’t until Full Tilt’s European regulator suspended Full Tilt’s license in late June that Bwin.Party’s increased advertising and promotional expenditures started to pay dividends. PartyPoker is now the second-biggest online poker room in the world, according to PokerScout, averaging 4,150 cash players during any given time. PokerStars has 22,800.

Ryan, who joined PartyGaming as CEO in 2008, has been waiting for this moment for what seems like forever. He long ago took Bwin’s Norbert Teufelberger to a McDonald’s in La Linea, Spain, and chatted to him at length about the pros of combining Bwin’s strong online sportsbook business with PartyGaming’s poker brands, resulting in the merger that was first announced in 2010. Ryan also fine-tuned his company’s business-to-business capabilities over the last few years with an eye toward finding a U.S. partner with whom he can re-conquer America. "We had to be realistic about where we sat in the food chain," says Ryan. "We figured if the U.S. regulated it would be unlikely that we would secure a license directly, that the laws of the land would be written to allow existing land operators and equipment manufacturers in the U.S. to secure the licenses." Ryan is optimistic about current efforts in Washington, driven by the American Gaming Association and powerful casino companies like Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, to potentially get some sort of online gambling legislation through a divided Congress. Ryan notes he is also preparing for the possibility that online poker gets regulated first on a state-by-state basis.

"We have to be ready for both federal or state," he says. "It feels good to have American taxpaying companies finally driving this.".

If an offshore operator is to succeed in American, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment looks like the firm to place bets with.

Bwin.Party has identified Australia and New Zealand as places to further expand their business, even sponsoring high profile poker players such as Tony G and Stewart Scott (a former Crown Casino 'Aussie Millions' champion.) PartyPoker is one of a number of rumoured brands set to take over the sponsorship spot at James Packer's Crown Casino that FTP once enjoyed. Party look to have as much chance as anyone, probably more so.

In the meantime, poker and casino game players in regions such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, South America, South Africa and beyond can continue to enjoy their gaming.

Poker playing celebs such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Tobey McGuire are understood to be open to sponsorship approaches from Bwin.Party.

Governments of the world - you're throw of the dice.

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Hilton Hotel Zeta Bar ‘extreme cabaret’ students excel, by Greg Tingle - 9th September 2011

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Hilton Sydney’s Zeta Bar continued to bring guests back to the extreme cabaret, now a famous fixture of Friday nights in 'Sin City'.

It was on for young and old tonight as celebrated Australian - Italian creative artist Eva Rinaldi and her team delivered an extremely impressive cabaret presentation.

Tonight's artistic creation was more complex to create than usual so Ms Rinaldi took the opportunity to offer school students Kayleb Cantali and her son, Joseph Rinaldi, some valuable work experience.

Ms Rinaldi said "We absolutely love working with our friends at the Hilton Hotel and the Zeta Bar. Tonight was very special for us because I was able to also include my son Joseph and my nephew Kayleb in our creative arts team. It's work experience time for them and what a fun activity for their high school curriculum. Work experience was never quite this fun in my day. I did the most complicated parts of the painting and design, but I am very proud of the students contribution. The performance and end result was just amazing and oozed extreme cabaret."

Cabaret connoisseurs will be over the moon to hear that the the rumours are getting stronger that the 'Extreme Cabaret' theme will continue at Hilton much longer than the originally forecast 12 weeks. A spy also whispered that Hilton Hotels in New Zealand and even as far as the United Statues are keen to incorporate extreme cabaret into their big entertainment nights.

Tonight it was Human Statue model Anastasiya Bakss made up in a bodypainting based black and red number featuring all manner of risque words like "sexy", "tease", "burlesque" and you get the idea. She read like a book (of the teasing variety). Insiders were overheard comparing it to a famous photo of model Bar Refaeli, who graced the cover of Esquire Magazine a few years back.

The extreme cabaret performances have really added new life into the Hilton's Zeta bar, and we understand it's been great for business as well as far the larger Sydney social scene.

The unlikely joining of extreme cabaret, live music, education and photography really hit the "X" spot tonight and nightlife lovers can't wait for next flirty Friday night to do it all over again at the Zeta.

Special thanks as always to Grant, Manual, Dave and Karina at the Hilton for keeping things running so great for us. Oh, we heard some some guests got tempted to do an overnighter at the Hilton and add themselves to the Hilton Hotel Honours Club. Trust me, its highly recommended.

Up to be tantalised in an acceptable, cool and risque fashion? Snatch the opportunity to do 'Sin City' Sydney like it should be done. It's quite an education, and they do say that there should be fun in learning. Join us in the classroom next week guys and dolls.

*photography by Eva Rinaldi Photography

*artistic creations by Human Statue Bodyart













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Australian Gambling News, by Greg Tingle - 10th July 2011


Media Man Crown Casino James Packer Tabcorp Holdings Star City Games NRL Internet City Of Dreams Macau Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Australia

Australian gambling continues to be red hot. We've got political fun and games, casino developments, revamps, and more. Media Man with the latest and greatest from down under...


Violence At Crown Casino; Punters Death Sparks New Claim...

A Melbourne bloke says he was bashed by about eight Crown Casino security guards who chased him out of the casino and left him a crimson mask. The 40-year-old man's case is 1 of at least 5 being handled by Melbourne law firm Arnold Thomas and Becker involving Crown security staff. The punter alleges that after a verbal war of words with security guards late last year, he was chased out of the casino and bashed by the group of guards. He alleges he was then dragged further down the road, possibly to remove him from the view of cameras, where he was again assaulted. A report was made to police, but a spokeswoman said they were unable to comment on the progress of the investigation. Solicitor Michel Margalit said one case currently being handled by the firm involved a security guard who had been allegedly bashed by a patron. "Our firm has been involved in an alarming number of cases involving allegations of violence at Crown Casino," she said. "It is extremely concerning that these incidents appear to continue at one of Melbourne’s major entertainment venues." The revelations come after 40-year-old Anthony Dunning died in The Alfred hospital on Thursday following a dispute with Crown Casino bouncers on Sunday. Dunning was in the casino's Velvet Room about 10.30pm when he was pushed to the ground and pinned to the floor by up to 6 casino bouncers for 6 minutes. The cause of his death has not been determined. Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles, of the homicide squad, said CCTV footage of the encounter shows a clearly intoxicated Dunning being escorted from the crowded casino. "From what I can see on the video footage, I don't think that he has done anything to provoke them [the guards, but] I can't hear what's being said," he said. "Maybe he said something which gave them some belief that he was going to do something, so it's critical to actually ascertain what was being said." He said the footage showed Mr Dunning was not struggling while he was held down, with his legs, arms and head pinned to the floor, for up to six minutes. While he was on the ground Mr Dunning fell unconscious and suffered a cardiac arrest. Crown Casino did not contact police about the incident, despite having what Senior Sergeant Iddles said was a "moral obligation" to do so. Mr Dunning's friend, Matthew, suffered a broken nose and fractured arm during the same scuffle with guards. Matthew alerted police at 10am on Monday, when Dunning was on life support. A post mortem is being carried out on Dunning’s body to determine the cause of death. Punters and guards are urged to respect one another to keep further incidents at a minimum. The recent casino bashings have been damaging for Australian casinos, namely Crown, but insiders say the casino will bounce back and that the investigation appears genuine.


Crown Casino Patron Suing MSS Security; Casino Gets More Bad Press...

A punter ho claims he was knocked for six by a bouncer aka guard at Crown casino is suing a security firm for damages. As police investigate the death of Crown patron Anthony Dunning this week, it can be revealed that Waqas Ali Khan, 23, is suing MSS Security over an unrelated incident. Khan claims he suffered facial injuries, a fractured jaw, and psychological injuries, including stress, anxiety and depression, according to court documents. Khan was out with friends when he ended up at the casino early on August 1 last year. "He goes out on a Saturday night to have a good time with his mates and he ends up in hospital," said his lawyer, Nowicki Carbone partner Nunzio Tartaglia. He said a security guard had been talking to one of Khan's friends because he believed he was taking a video on his phone, and Khan went to his friend's aid. "A lot of it he does not remember, because he was knocked out," Tartaglia said. "Friends told him he was punched. It was totally unprovoked, from our account." Tartaglia said Khan had had four months off work as a result, and was seeking damages. Khan has filed a writ in the County Court against MSS Security, which he alleges was contracted to provide security services at the venue. Another man told the Herald Sun yesterday that about a year ago, security staff at the casino had tackled him and a friend to the ground and started hitting them, after they'd been asked to leave for being too loud. The man, who wanted to be known only as Tom, claims they were put in thumb locks, mocked, and forced to sing Baa Baa Black Sheep. He alleged they were taken into a back area of the casino and thrown against walls.
"I was pretty scared, to be honest," said Tom, now 22. "It was like a movie. I couldn't believe they would take you out the back and beat you up." A criminal lawyer, who did not want to be named, said it was possible that if the security guards involved in the incident with Dunning were found to have caused his death, they could face manslaughter charges. He said reasonable force could be used for protection, but it could not be excessive. "It must be proportionate to the threat faced." Nowicki Carbone partner Tony Carbone said that a "minute of madness" could cost people dearly. Not only could those involved in violence face charges, but they could be sued; any judgment could hang over their heads for 15 years, and in some cases could lead to bankruptcy. MSS Security and Crown Casino are not commenting.


Land Based Casino Robin Hood Blackjack Ace To Give Back In Australia...

Meet the modern day Robin Hood. He spends a lot of his time on the gambling floors of casinos, taking his winnings and donating them to the needy.

Not much is known about the secretive American but we know this...He plays blackjack under the pseudonym Robin Hood 702, and he is excellent at it. A high-stakes player, he wins thousands of dollars at a time.

He gambles in disguise, donning beards, glasses and hats. And he will visit down under next month to "steal" from our land based casinos and give away his winnings. He has asked Australians to visit his website and nominate a person or family in need of help - such as victims of natural disasters, illness or financial hardship.

"I will then pick a family or individual and fly them to the casino for the weekend, all expenses paid, and while they're enjoying the betterments of life I will be down at the casino playing blackjack for them," Hood advised.

He's given away $1 million plus to date. When he loses, the people Hood has chosen to help still get 50% of their bills paid, even if it means digging into his own savings.

He helped one American family wipe away more than $35,000 in debt, which they had accumulated from medical expenses while their three-year-old daughter battled brain cancer. He gave another woman more than $20,000 to care for her elderly parents.

He has also been known to wander around food courts pretending to be homeless, asking people for a bite of their sandwich and giving hundreds of dollars to those who say yes.

Hood's snack for winning big began when he was introduced to blackjack at 16. "First time I played, I won $122," he said. "I thought I broke the bank. Boy, was I wrong."

He practised his game by watching and learning but he does not like to play online.

He speaks of gambling with the likes of the late, great Kerry Packer..."he was a big gambler" - and being inspired by the late media mogul's generosity. But his mother, whom he cared for before she died, is his biggest motivation. "I watched my mother as a child help other people and do kind things and I just want to do the same."

Though he is much discussed on internet gambling websites and forums, he shies away from talking about his personal life with his Maid Marian (who calls herself Lady Greice) and does not show off his wealth.

"I try to keep the focus more on the gift, and not on the person giving it.
I also want to inspire other Robin Hoods, perhaps doctors and lawyers or business executives, who may consider giving to people in need. I would like to see an army of Robin Hoods."

Readers wishing to nominate themselves or someone they know to Robin Hood 702 can do so at www.robinhood702.com Good luck and be merry.


Star City At Sin City To Reach For The Stars, Dolphins And Whales...

Sydney's Star City is to relaunch in September with a brand new look and new name - The Star.

September 15 is set to be the day of the huge happening.

Looking to establish itself as Sydney's must-see tourist destination, owner Echo Entertainment Group has built an entertainment precinct which insiders say rivals that of Melbourne's Crown Casino complex and Perth's Burswood Dome.

"Until now, Star City did not realise its fullest potential as much beyond a casino," The Star's managing director Sid Vaikunta told the press "Our entire goal here is to, just like a star, create multiple reasons for people to be here. The casino is one amenity amongst several. In the past, the casino has been one amenity of one.

"For us, creating multiple reasons to be here, multiple reasons to come back, that is the fundamental shift from where it has been to where we are going."

Echo Entertainment, which de-merged from Tabcorp last month, has spent $860 million to bring The Star up to scratch with the aim of countering the highly competitive gaming market booming in Macau and Singapore.

In May, gambling and media king James Packer, who has controlling interests in Melbourne and Macau's Crown complexes and Perth's Burswood Casino, controversially said Australia's tourism industry was tired and under siege from more competitive Asian countries.

World Economic Forum figures show Australia's ranking in travel and tourism competitiveness dropped from fourth place in 2008 to an unlucky 13th.

"The market Australia should be aiming for is the affluent and rising middle-class Asian market," Packer said. "That is who Australia needs to be aiming for, because we are too far from Europe and too far from America."

Star City in Sydney faced the double problem of having to wrestle with the gaming growth in Asia as well as the strong offerings of Crown and Burswood.

Crown and Burswood will "complement" The Star and hopefully bring more tourists to Australia as a whole, Vaikunta said.

"This country deserves more than one casino that is talked about and no doubt, The Star should be that to Sydney," he said.

The new development will include restaurants from some of the world's top chefs, among them David Chang, Adriano Zumbo and Stefano Manfredi, as well as a raft of entertainment outlets and retail from everyday fashion to high-end stores.

Echo Entertainment will continue to use its 2000-seat Lyric Theatre, hosting Hairspray The Musical, and is planning a much bigger, world class, entertainment centre with a 4000-seat capacity. A five-star hotel will open later this year, adding 171 rooms to the apartment-style and tower hotel offerings already containing 479 rooms.

Architects have "flipped" the building, meaning Pirrama Rd will provide the main entrance to the complex instead of the previously used Pyrmont St.

"In the past we have been introverted and non-inclusive in our architecture but now we're opening up to the harbour and the city of Sydney," Vaikunta said.

While trying to entice more foreign visitors, Vaikunta said it was also vital Sydneysiders embrace the new precinct. For Echo this also meant coming up with a new name.

"What became clear to us is that Star City is in a beautiful city already, the city of Sydney. We are not a city within a city. So it became a very easy job of just eliminating the word city completely," Vaikunta said.

"First and foremost, The Star has to become a destination for Sydney.

"It has to become a place that Sydney is proud of, a place that becomes a part of the landscape of Sydney. If we are able to deliver, it will become a star within the city."

It'll bring new life to entertainment.

Sporting a new 4000-seat theatre in the planning to open next year, The Star aims to establish itself as Australia's top live entertainment venue.

Its owner, Echo Entertainment Group, has set its goal to attract top international performers like Prince and Elton John for several week residencies as well as big-budget stage productions.

"Sydney is hungry for an events centre that is close, that can accommodate 4000 people with high-end bars, not a bad seat in the house, the best acoustics, and to have it all here," The Star's managing director Sid Vaikunta said.

Illustrating the calibre of artists The Star is targeting, Sir Elton will play two nights at the Lyric Theatre in November as part of extended re-launch celebrations.

And multiple Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey will headline the Sam Mendes-directed play Richard III in the Lyric Theatre for 11 performances from December 1.

Complementing the current facilities, a ton of new and exciting offerings are planned for the precinct.

As well as world-class restaurants with top chefs, the new entertainment centre is planned to house major events such as televised award ceremonies (such as the ARIAs) as well as extended runs of shows for big-name artists and performance troupes like Cirque du Soleil.

"Until the events centre and our entertainment centre is built, we don't really get to throw the kind of events we want to throw," Vaikunta said. "We can explore a production or a review show once the event centre is in place.

"But the potential to have a headline artist, much like Celine Dion did in Las Vegas, or Prince or Elton John, for a headline artist to come here to a city like Sydney, which they love, to have hotel suites and penthouses that they can stay in to do three - or four-week shows is an absolute winning formula."

Las Vegas casinos are famous for having high-profile entertainers as resident artists, performing runs that can go for years. For instance, Celine Dion performed for five years from 2002 at Caesars Palace, Barry Manilow played the Las Vegan Hilton for five years until December 2009, while Prince is performing every Friday and Saturday at The Rio.

"We'd be more likely to bring out big stars for, say, a 12-week run over summer than permanently," Mr Vaikunta said.

CHEFS AND RESTAURANTS...

David Chang - Legendary NY chef will open Momofuku

Teage Ezard - Melbourne favourite will open a contemporary Australian grill

Stefano Manfredi - The famous Italian will treat diners to modern Milanese cuisine

Chase Kojima - To run a contemporary Japanese restaurant in the new five-star hotel

Flying Fish and Chips - Sydney restaurant Flying Fish will operate a fish and chip outlet

Golden Century - An offshoot of the Chinatown institution will open

Adriano Zumbo - MasterChef’s dessert superstar will open a patisserie showcasing his famous treats

SHOPPING...

More than 20 retail stores, featuring leading luxury brands will be found at The Star

The 5500m2 space, also featuring dining outlets, will connect the hotel, refurbished casino and other entertainment venues

PARTIES...

Cherry - A new stylish cocktail bar with views of Sydney Harbour

Rock Lily - A live music bar has opened already, staging Good Charlotte

Lyric Theatre - Currently hosting Hairspray The Musical, seats 2000 people

Concert venue - A 4000-seat entertainment centre to open late 2012

International artists - Elton John and Kevin Spacey begin an influx of OS stars

Halo Bar - showing sport 24/7 on 50 LED big-screen TV

GAMBLING...

300 gaming tables

High rollers flown in via private jet...a Bombardier Global Express XRS

VIP gaming - New luxury area is under construction on level 17

New five-star hotel - 171 rooms including four high-roller suites with butlers

Other - ask the friendly staff and management


Australian Soft Rockers Air Supply To Perform In Michigan, USA...

Island Resort and Casino - Mark it down. July 22 and 23, Australian soft rockers Air Supply will perform at the casino in Harris in the U.P. Tickets are $25.
Tickets are at www.islandresortandcasino.com


Pullman Cairns First Hotel In Australia To Introduce Optimum Service Standards To Boost Chinese Inbound Market - 15th June...

The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns has been announced as the first hotel to be accredited to Accor’s new Optimum Service Standards for Chinese Visitation, paving the way for the hotel to attract greater numbers of Chinese visitors to North Queensland.

The formal accreditation follows this week’s announcement in Cairns by Federal Tourism Minister, Martin Ferguson, of a new 10-year strategic plan aimed at boosting China’s inbound tourism to Australia. He extolled the tourism industry to more actively cater for the Chinese market, which is the fastest growing inbound market for Australia, and already worth over $3 billion a year to the economy.

Earlier this year, Accor - Australia’s largest hotel group with 150 hotels under brands such as Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel and Mercure – announced that it would implement an Optimum Services Standards program for hotels in its group that aimed to attract large-scale visitation from the Chinese and Indian markets. It involved hotels implementing a wide range of services to cater for the specific needs of these two growth markets, and only hotels that met (and maintained) these standards would be accredited to pitch for this business.

Recognising the potential of Chinese inbound for the Cairns and Tropical North Queensland markets, the Pullman has led the way with adopting services to meet the needs of the emerging China market. These include translation of in-room collateral and the Welcome Kit to Mandarin, Mandarin speaking staff available to handle guest queries, all reception staff trained to give basic greetings in Mandarin, Chinese breakfast and mini-bar items, green tea and comfort items such as slippers.

In addition, the Pullman has implemented training for all staff on Chinese cultural practices, so that they can better understand the specific needs and requirements of Chinese travelers.

Commenting on the accreditation, Pullman General Manager, Adrian Williams, said that he was very pleased that his hotel was playing a pioneering role in the national push for more Chinese inbound tourists.

“The growth in Chinese inbound isn’t new, but the pace of the growth highlights the need for the industry to really look at what is being provided for Chinese travelers and to enhance the offer, because this market represents a significant future for our tourism industry,” said Mr Williams.

“Many of the measures under the Optimum Service Standards program are fairly straightforward, but it sends a strong signal to Chinese operators that Australia is not only welcoming their clients, but going out of their way to ensure they feel as comfortable as possible when they are here.

“Cairns and far North Queensland have so much potential for this market. The Great Barrier Reef is the primary draw-card, but Cairns has many other attractions - natural and man-made - that our ideal for Chinese tourists. The climate is appealing, our infrastructure is well developed, there is good shopping and entertainment, high quality restaurants, and our prices are very competitive.

“It was very encouraging that Tourism Minister Ferguson chose Cairns to launch the new China strategy here in Cairns, so it is now up to us operators to translate the strategy into action on the ground.

“The Optimum Service Standards will hopefully lead other North Queensland operators to follow suit and really look at the specific needs of Chinese travelers.”

Pullman Reef Casino Cairns is the largest hotel, tourism and entertainment complex in Far North Queensland, offering 5-star accommodation, the award-winning Tamarind restaurant, the Cairns Wildlife Dome (where visitors can view Australian wildlife icons such as kangaroos, koalas and crocodiles), a range of cafes, bars and shopping, and the Reef Casino.


Casino Slashes Number Of Planned Pokies...

The operators of the Alice Springs casino have reduced the number of extra gaming machines it had planned to install. Earlier this year, Lasseter's Casino started work on a $35 million project that it said would include 100 more poker machines. Shortly after, the Northern Territory Licensing Commission said it had not approved any increase in gaming machine numbers. It said it would take community concerns into account when deciding. Local social welfare groups raised concerns the increase would adversely affect the relatively high proportion of low-income local residents in the central Australian town. The casino released a statement saying the increase is now 30 machines. It said the decision had been made after "community liaising". The extra machines are scheduled to be installed by the end of next year. The casino expansion project is scheduled due to be finished by early 2013.


Former Online Casino A To Head Up Anti Cyber Crime Unit In Australia...

The was the need to create a "hunter" to combat cyber crime in Australia, an expert with a background in online casino design has warned.

Recently appointed Asia-Pacific director of the Global Institute for Cybersecurity + Research, Australian cyber security expert Craig Wright advised there was a lack of fundamental skills in security training.

"Things like .NET have become very sexy. But from a security point of view, assembly language coding has far more relevance," Dr Wright said.

The GICSR is an international non-profit organisation seeking to advance a comprehensive range of cyber security initiatives, cyber innovations and research. It is funded by a range of organisations including the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security in the US.

"When you are reverse engineering malware, you need to have knowledge right down to the base level first, and there is little being done about it anymore," Dr Wright said.

"We are not going into the depth that is necessary to fight, combat and find where the cyber crime initiates."

Dr Wright, an adjunct lecturer at Charles Sturt University, said there should be a focus on creating security specialists with a deeper knowledge base.

"So when a piece of malware or some other code comes out they can understand it at a fundamental level, they can start reverse engineering it, they can pull it apart and see how it was created," he said.

Dr Wright, who designed the architecture for the world's first online casino, Lasseter's Online (no longer online), in the Northern Territory, will focus on establishing a regional centre of excellence in cyber security for the GICSR.

In the past, Dr Wright has also designed and managed the implementation of a number of the systems that protect the Australian Stock Exchange.

The centre of excellence will involve the region's leading research organisations and universities and will initially focus on establishing doctoral research projects in cyber security priority areas such as cyber extortion, identity theft and money laundering.

"The attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated and we are not banding together to actually fight it yet," he said.

Dr Wright said the GICSR would look to establish similar relationships with regional intelligence agencies, governments and security vendors to those that it has in place with the groups in the United States.

The focus of the relationships would be to assist government, industry and security vendors to be much more aligned to cyber threats.

"Until we start approaching this collaboratively and thinking internationally, we are going to have huge problems and they are just going to get worse."


Casino News Media Website Portal Relaunched; International And Australian Content...

The ultra popular casino and gambling news website portal www.casinonewsmedia.com has been relaunched. The blog is updated daily and it also sports numerous news stories tipped off to friends in the business including at the world famous Gambling911.com and Poker News Daily websites. Multimedia can also be found at it's YouTube and don't forget the profiles section where 100s of personalities and brands are showcased. There's even some interviews with the likes of Bwin.Party's Jim Ryan, Virgin's Richard Branson and some Media Man management, of course! Last but not least, don't forget to check out the promotions and advertising sections, but the blog is a must!


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

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com 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

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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TV Week Logies: Underbelly Dirani Wins Logies; Dieter Brummer Crown Casino Assault, by Greg Tingle - 2nd May 2011

This years Underbelly was both a big winner and loser at the TV Week Logies. James Packer's Crown Casino was rocking and rolling, before, during and after The Logies. Australia's night of nights - the TV Week Logie Awards hit James Packer's Crown Casino with a vengeance. Good thing that security was on high alert for The Palladium and JJ's parts of the casino. We are also pleased to report that there was no repeat of last years Twitter-Gate, where one writer was fired for inappropriate Tweets. Plastic handcuffs were not required as far as we can muster, but there was at least one arrest...of an Underbelly star. Media Man with the Crown Casino - Underbelly special live from Crown. Greg Tingle flew down to Melbourne to cover both TV and real life underbelly, learning that life still does sometimes imitate art even in Australian Underbelly...


Photo by Eva Rinaldi Photography

Underbelly: AussieWood and Real Life Big Hits At TV Week Logies...

Life appears to have imitated art at James Packer's Crown Casino in the early hours of this morning when Underbelly actor Dieter Brummer allegedly became involved in an "incident" with up to five security guards.

Victorian police were called to the Crown Casino complex and the 34-year-old bloke from North Bondi was charged with intentionally causing injury, recklessly causing injury, unlawful assault, behaving in a riotous manner and being drunk in a public place. Yes, quite a list.

Crown spokesman Gary O'Neill told the Herald that CCTV footage and a security report was being handed over to police.

O'Neill said he had seen the footage, which he claimed indicated Crown's security guards had "followed the appropriate procedures for dealing with these situations".

He politely declined to comment any further, but shared "People see these things differently, it is now up to the police to do their work."

Following the Logie awards, Brummer was having a drink or five at the JJs Bar inside the Crown Complex, which each year is the venue for the Network Nine afterparty. Channel Nine is the broadcast partner of the Logies.

The Underbelly hit show, which showcases the underworld down under in Australia and has been watched by millions of Aussies, has been one of the network's biggest hits and received plenty of Logies this year.

Brummer and other stars of the show, including Firas Dirani were in a party state of mind throughout the evening.

Reports have come to light that Brummer was asked to leave the Nine party, although this has not been proven at the time we go to press.

Witnesses told the press they saw Brummer being pinned to the carpet outside JJs Bar and heard him screaming at the five guards to "get off me".

Some observers were also seen filming the alleged incident on their mobile phone cameras.

The man was taken from Crown Casino at 2.25am to nearby Prahran police station to be charged.

He will appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court on August 29.

Life can imitate art, for better or worse.


Underbelly's Firass Dirani Kicks Ass At Logies...

For Underbelly: The Golden Mile’s leading man Firass Dirani there was reasons for trifecta celebration after snatching the Most Popular New Male Talent and Graham Kennedy Award For Most Outstanding New Talent Awards, as well as bringing in his 27th birthday, which was on Friday. And in a most entertaining acceptance speech thanked 'Teenage Dream' queen Katy Perry.

Kings Cross based set drama series Underbelly: The Golden Mile was awarded the TV Week Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Drama Series, Miniseries or Telemovie.

The night's first winner Firass Dirani, who was voted the most popular newcomer for his performance in Underbelly: The Golden Mile, begged American pop chanteuse Katy Perry to have his babies before thanking the show's producers "for taking a chance and injecting some flair and some of that caramel flavour into our TV screens".

Insiders say the "caramel flavour" was a reference to the multi cultural thing, given that Durani is not a Caucasian "white" Australian.

Tipsters are confident Underbelly will continue for "one or two years more", with more gambling themes to be incorporated into the smash hit franchise.

Punters, er readers, stay glued to Media Man reports for more "can't miss" information on the Australian casino scene.

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com 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

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited




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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

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Media Man Blacktown Comment

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Hi Reid

Thanks for your enquiry. Judging by existing news media reports Deborah isn't commenting further. I think she is managed by the Harry M. Miller group.

If this may interest you, I think many areas of Sydney have good and bad patches. When I lived at Maroubra Beach it was that way. If you live in a beach side suburb such as a Bondi Beach, Bronte or a Maroubra Beach for example, I think some others parts of Sydney are going to look pretty second best. As far as Bankstown, I think parts of the area are "terrible" (if I compare it to Bondi for example). I wouldn't say the whole area is terrible, but I used to get out there a bit as my late father drove trucks, and I much preferred Newport Beach and Kurrajong.

Looks like some sort of "my suburb is better than yours" sort of war is being played out in the Sydney press. I guess they have to write about something hey. We should all be grateful we are in Sydney. Better than a Iran or Iraq for example, where you might look up in the sky to see where the bombs are dropping. At least in Sydney most folks can get a feed and of course there are government support services in Sydney, Australia also.

If you care to use any of my thoughts / quotes, no problem. Good luck on the hunt.

Best Regards
Greg (currently on location at Abbotsford.... another suburb I like)...


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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Merger Between bwin and PartyGaming Planned to Complete on 31 March 2011

March 15, 2011 - Merger Plan Requirements Now Met in Austria

Following the almost unanimous approval of the merger at the extraordinary general meetings of both bwin Interactive Entertainment AG (bwin) and PartyGaming Plc.

(PartyGaming) on 28 January 2011, the proposed merger was formally entered into the companies' register by the Vienna Commercial Court on 15 March 2011. Subject to the formal approval from the supreme court in Gibraltar, the merger is expected to complete on 31 March 2011.

Share trading on the stock exchange

bwin shares (ISIN AT0000767553) will cease trading on the Vienna Stock Exchange at close of business on 25 March 2011. For administrative reasons, trading in bwin shares on the Vienna Stock Exchange must be suspended for three days prior to completion and also on the day of completion itself (31 March 2011). On 1 April 2011, existing bwin shareholders will receive 12.23 bwin.party depositary interests (ISIN GI000A0MV757) for each bwin share free of charge. These depository interests can then be traded on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol BPTY.L.

The exchange ratio of 12.23 bwin.party depositary interests for each bwin share will result in so-called 'fractional entitlements', rights to fractions of bwin.party depositary interests that cannot be traded on the London Stock Exchange. In accordance with the terms of the merger, these entitlements will be disposed of, and the proceeds of sale credited to the original beneficiaries (former bwin shareholders) in a process that may take up to two weeks. The disposal of fractional entitlements is also without cost to bwin shareholders.

Anti-trust approvals received

Following the approval of the merger in Germany by the Federal Cartel Office and in Austria by the Federal Competition Authority, bwin has now also received anti-trust approval from the relevant authorities in Romania.

Dividend

The new bwin.party depositary interests will carry a dividend entitlement with effect from 1 January 2010. The company's dividend policy will be determined by the new board of bwin.party digital entertainment plc over the next few months.

Media Man, Casino News Media and Global Gaming Directory do have a b2b relationship with PartyGaming, as they do with dozens of other companies in the gaming, igaming, media and entertainment industry.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

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Social Trend: Businesses moving in

According to one new report you can look for more businesses in the social space. Researchers with Gartner forecast that by 2015 at least 40% of 'large enterprises' will be on Facebook. This probably doesn't surprise many of you; but one more facet might: these businesses will use the social network for business as well as pleasure.

According to the report businesses will utilize Facebook to circulate business information, but will also use it for personal information. Customer service, especially, will be the focus as businesses look for more engaging ways to interact with their customer base. Customers, of course, are already looking for businesses in the social space.

"We expect the high-profile nature of social networks and social [Customer Relationship Management] CRM for customer service to rapidly advance adoption from early adopter to mainstream deployments despite the volatile and rapid evolution of social networks in general," said Drew Kraus, Research Vice President with Gartner.

But, before going social, brands need to have a plan of action - because simply throwing up a social networking shingle is not enough. Marketers need to monitor the social space, there should be an employee base whose task it is to watch the socnets and respond to issues quickly.
Facebook and YouTube continue to be the biggest social networks according to Experian Hitwise data. Facebook accounts for more than 60% of social visits, while YouTube accounts for nearly 20%. MySpace has fallen to only about 1% of the social share while Twitter remains under 1%.

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Friday, January 07, 2011

Australian Media Man Head Talks Domain Names, by Greg Tingle - 6th January 2011

G'day punters, entrepreneurs, gambling and casino tycoons, journalists... one and all. Today we explore the world of internet domain names. We look at both generic and general domain names as well as those in the news media, entertainment, adult and gambling sector. Media Man and Gambling911 give you the heads up on domain names so you can try to make heads or tails of all the domain name news and gossip currently doing on down under in Australia and everywhere else in the internet universe.

All of this fuss about internet domain names. Well, your reading about it on either Gambling911 or Media Man Int, two very strong domain names and companies, if there ever was.

The week or so everyone's been buzzing about domain names Gambling.com and now Poker.com.au So, just how good are the names, how much is hype, speculative, and how much is of substance and lets call it "real big business", and will deliver profits and return on investment.

MediaManInt.com Says Gambling.com Is High Risk; Name Already Lost Money In Past!...

The internet domain name www.gambling.com, owned by a Pommie casino group, is up for auction and it don't come cheap.

Introducing Media Corporation, which would you believe paid a massive $US20 million ($19.8 million) for the domain in May of 2005 and earned a cool $US5.5 million from advertising on the website a year later, hopes to fetch more than $US10 million for the name.

The domain name's depreciation in value is largely due to a ban on internet gambling in the United States in October 2006. In some other counties such as Australia and New Zealand, some legal eagles talk of "grey areas" (which are legally untested).

It's worth pointing out that for the record our Media Man Int is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. We cover over a dozen different vertical markets including news, political, travel, lifestyle, technology, community, property, entertainment, a wee tad of adult (and games... both land based, video games and online).

As well informed readers might have picked up on, many industries are intertwined. Many brands such as Marvel Entertainment, Sony, News Corporation and yes, Media Man, have a number of business arms. Marvel has books, comics, lunch boxes and super hero costumes. They are pump out DVDs and even new release blockbuster movies. And, who has not heard of Marvel slot games, which can be found across the Media Man website network. Companies such as PartyGaming, Virgin, Playtech and Centrebet feature the branded Marvel games. The games from Marvel are often featured on website portals. See how it gets complicated. Back to matters at hand, no, Marvel.com is not for sale, not is Marvel - they are owned by Disney. Yes, the company famous for Mickey Mouse and friends.

Gambling, sex and the internet go head in hand, pardon the pun.

The porn friendly nation of Germany is home of tech giant and domain name firm, Sedo. It was Sedo in fact that arranged for the sale of www.sex.com for a record $US13 million last November and its now having a crack and flogging gambling.com, pushed along with a big of media buzz by Media Man and Gambling911 we might add! An ambitious reserve price of $US9 million has been set, but how many genuine takers are out there in a financial climate which is pretty depressed, or as they say in Australia, up the shit.

The actual word "gambling" is ranked No. 1 by out friends at Google via searches and the gambling.com site gets more than 300,000 hits each month which is pretty impressive.

Gambling.com yes, a great name, but what's it worth? The market will decide and your can bet your bottom dollar that the Media Man Network and Gambling911 newshounds will be following up in hot pursuit.

Australian Poker Domain Name Sells For $100,000; Good Or Bad Value Compared To CasinoNewsMedia.com and MediaMan.com.au...

The attractive Poker.com.au domain sold for $100,000 less that 24 hours ago, but experts are saying the price tag was reduced thanks to complex online gambling laws down under in Australia.

The Aussie domain name market has continued to heat up with Poker.com.au selling for $US100,000. However some industry experts reckon the names value may have been reduced because of Australia's restrictions on online gambling.

Legislation released a decade or so ago "restricts" the advertising of interactive gambling services in Australia. David Nye, who runs domain name auction house NetFleet, says the laws means Poker.com.au has sold for considerably less than it would have otherwise.

"There is a Canadian equivalent, Poker.ca, that sold for $400,000 last year. Now, Canada has one-and-a-half times the population of Australia and that site commanded a price much, much higher. One of the aspects involved in all of this is the legislation, and the legislation specifically prohibits the advertising of online interactive gambling. In theory, you cannot have an Australian website advertising these interactive gaming services, and the fines are large."

The current laws also state that it is illegal for any online gambling site to offer services to Australians located in the country...but the current law does not make it a criminal act for Australians to engage in these services.

The Australian Government has even restated last year that it would not lift the restrictions, despite a Productivity Commission report recommending the restrictions should cease.

Nye says that if interactive gambling advertising were allowed in Australia, "you might see prices that were worth 10 times the amount... the legislation has obviously deflated the price".

The poker domain name has been purchased by sports gambling company 888, which operates various gambling - (poker, casino and sports betting) websites internationally and sports Shane Warne as an ambassador. So far, the company hasn't used Poker.com.au for any new service but the website states that "a seriously exciting new poker revolution" is "coming soon".

Nye points out that online gambling is one of the most lucrative practices on the internet, and that continued government opposition to liberalised gambling laws will keep prices down.

"There is huge money in online poker. Some of these poker rooms are bringing many thousands of dollars," he said on the record.

But the Government hasn't budged from its position, with communications senator Stephen Conroy saying last year that the online aspects of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 wouldn't be changed, in fact going against the Productivity Commission's recommendations.

"The Australian Government does not agree with the Productivity Commission recommendation that the Australian Government amend the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 to allow for a liberalisation of online gambling, starting with allowing the provision of online poker games to Australians. The existing rules will continue to apply," the senator went on record with last year.

A Media Man Int spokesperson said "The Australian government needs to get up to speed with the rest of the world. It reminds me a bit like the Wikileaks saga of which Prime Minister Julia Gillard said was illegal, which is complete B.S. The Australian punters and business folks alike are sick of all the B.S and spin coming from the government. The internet is a global industry. Most domain names are dot coms. Most companies in this space have a global presence, global marketing, business and media plan. The world is their audience, whether the founder or director of a companies is a Canadian, American, Australian, South African, Indian or New Zealand resident. It shouldn't matter. The internet is global period, as so is online casino, poker and sports betting. We even have a Casino Legal section on our websites which cover off on some of the legal and technical stuff, but its all pretty complex, and the United States seems to head up much of the confusion, followed by Europe. Someone needs to help the Australian government get with the 21st century".

Now, get this...some have even called for even stricter regulations on the industry. Australia's Independent senator Nick Xenophon said in a submission to the Productivity Commission that the recent arrival of sites such as Betfair, which "allows for an expansion of gambling by virtue of the product that is offered", highlights the need for a more "comprehensive regulatory approach".

Senator Xenophon is currently not returning the calls of Media Man.

Our switched on friend Nye advised the issue is timely given the domain name industry is heating up and approaching red hot, if not white hot levels.

Onto other industry sectors, given Media Man covers basically all of them, it was just last month that retain giant Woolworths (also involved in gambling) purchased Hardware.com.au for $33,000, and Nye expects Electricity.com.au...which just came back on the market – to sell for around $50,000!

"The theory of relaxing these laws is that you're allowing access to poker rooms, you're getting tax revenue which could be in the realms of hundreds of millions per year, and you can regulate the industry. This is one of the most lucrative areas on the internet... but the legislation means the price is lower than it would have been overseas."

For the record, Media Man International is not currently looking to sell any of their domain names in a portfolio which spans of 25 names, many of which are gold and listed on very high ranking website portals and measuring sticks like Hitwise. Media Man has done media coverage and b2b for firms such as Messages On Hold, PartyGaming, Virgin, James Packer's Betfair and Crown Casino, and also Centrebet and Betezy, DGM Affiliates, and more! Oh, readers, if you have what you think is a very attractive offer you can let us know, but don't loose any sleep if we don't get back to you overnight. Still, you have to be in it to win it, so let us know what's on your mind.

Media Man International Profile On Australia
http://www.mediamanint.com/profiles/australia.html

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Ok readers, we hear you... you also want to know some of the best places to play online (that accept Aussies) if your in or around the Asia Pacific - Australia (including Tassie) and New Zealand, so here it is...

PartyCasino.com

Captain Cooks Casino

Betfair (sports betting only)

PKR.com (mainly poker and some casino and sports betting)

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Media Man and Gambling911 remind our readers to keep the following in mind:

Take the time to research and learn games before placing down money

Media Man, Casino News Media and Gambling911 are website portals. Not casinos as such, however are recognised as world leading websites that cover the sector and act as central points to games, news, reviews and more. Media Man's Casino News Media covers casino news, reviews, games, multimedia and more.

Know the odds, set limits and have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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