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James Packer Gambling On 3rd Macau Casino, by Greg Tingle - 18th June 2011

JP's Macau casino joint venture plans to build a massive $US2.5 billion ($2.3bn) casino resort...the group's lucky third in the Chinese territory. This will see them look capitalise on surging gaming revenues in the red hot part of the world.

Melco Crown Entertainment yesterday signed off on a $US360 million deal to gain control of the Macau Studio City project, an "integrated resort project" on hold since the global financial crisis and in planning for more than 10 years.

The firms chief executive, Lawrence Ho, advised the property's theme and demographic target focus would be differentiated from the company's existing Macau property assets, the City of Dreams and the Altira Macau.

Construction is due to start early next year and it is believed the partners have no plans for an equity issue to fund the project.

"We believe Macau Studio City's existing land grant and previously completed site work will allow us to significantly expedite its construction timetable," Ho told the press yesterday.

It will be Melco Crown's second project on Macau's Cotai strip, a vast stretch of reclaimed land situated between the islands of Taipa and Coloane that land based casino developers in Macau, such as Ho and Packer, are promoting as the orient's answer to the Las Vegas strip aka "Sin City". City of Dreams is in Cotai.

Last year, Ho said Melco Crown was prepared to build more casino resort developments in Macau and elsewhere in Asia. Packer's Crown holds a 33.4% stake in Melco Crown.

The Studio City site is one of the last prime land sites available in Macau for development.

It is located at the Lotus Bridge immigration point, making it the virgin resort that tourists encounter via entering Cotai.

Before the financial meltdown, Melco Crown had a management arrangement with Studio City's owners to run the casino at the site, but elected to take control of the project after it became troublesome for the owners to properly fund it within the prior structure.

Melco Crown is understood to have codenamed the deal Project Eagle.

The deal ends 3 long years of delays caused by legal matters and a range of dramas between the Hong Kong and US investors.

Studio City was previously owned by a joint venture between Hong Kong-listed entertainment company eSun Holdings and New Cotai Holdings, an entity controlled by funds managed by US firms Silver Point Capital and Oaktree Capital Management.

New Cotai Holdings will hold a 40% stake.

Melco Crown will pay New Cotai $US100m in 3 instalments over two years.

Before the financial crunch, the casino development was to have included a specially designed 4000-seat arena, a 2300-seat theatre, Asia's first "Playboy Mansion" and 4 new classy hotels - a Ritz-Carlton, a W Hotel, a Marriott and the world's first Tang Hotel.

Last month, Macau gaming revenues rose 42.4% to a record $US3.03bn, what Vegas casino operators dream of.

They were rocketed by the opening of Galaxy Entertainment Group's $US2bn resort development at Cotai, which is nearby to the City of Dreams.

"We remain bullish on Macau's prospects and believe high-quality new supply, such as Macau Studio City, will continue to drive incremental demand," Ho said.

Media Man has been speaking to property and gaming experts about the Packer - Macau developments, with 95% believing that the latest Packer Macau project with be a "good to great business and investment".

Friends, good punting, know your limits and bet with your head, not over it.

 

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Asia Pacific Mega Gambling News Update, by Greg Tingle - 9th April 2011

Newcastle NSW War Pokie Laws...

New poker machine restrictions proposed by Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie will "annihilate" pubs and clubs in the Hunter, leaving hundreds out of work, ClubsNSW Newcastle councillor Jon Chin says. Clubs Australia is launching a $20 million advertising campaign on Monday in an attempt to prevent the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment technology for all poker machines. Banjo, a John "Singo" Singleton company is behind the campaign. Mandatory pre-commitment requires pokies users to commit to a spending limit before they begin gambling. Once they reach that limit they will be unable to gamble again until the following day or longer, depending on what restrictions the player sets for themselves. Chin said the cost of implementing the new technology in the Hunter region would surpass $100 million. This figure did not include the 40% in revenue clubs would experience once the restrictions were imposed, he said. "This means Hunter clubs will lose another $100 million, making it impossible for us to sustain our businesses," he said. Australian Hotels Association Hunter sub-branch vice-president Bruce Woods said there was no evidence to suggest the restrictions would discourage people from gambling. "This won't help pathological gamblers at all but it will lead to a loss of jobs," he said. "We support the clubs' campaign against this, it will affect pubs just as much as clubs".

Online Gaming Strong Growth In Asia...

Online gaming industry has grown into a $US3 billion business that provides a good standard of living to migrant workers in Asia who play games all day and sometimes, all night! Virtual currency is all the rage, it sometimes gets sold to punters abroad for cash. A World Bank study demonstrates an emerging industry in which firms seeking to boost their brands' popularity pay low-skilled workers overseas to become their Facebook fans or Twitter followers. The study, Knowledge Map of the Virtual Economy, is the World Bank's first in-depth look at the impact of online gaming and social media in the developing world. Vili Lehdonvirta, a co-author of the report, advised that the bank should not pour its money into the industry, because he said the deal making violated some of the game publishers' terms of service and was cheating. Known in the business as "gold farming", the game-playing boomed in the early 2000s with games like World of Warcraft and has evolved considerably. Labourers in Asia spend numerous hours each day advancing through levels of an online game, picking up gold, swords and gems that enhance a game player's status. Then gaming studios, which employ the players, sell those virtual goods to online retailers. Next step, the retailers sell on those goods to more than 120 million players globally, many of them in Europe and North America, who don't want to play the games day and night to gather their own. The bank's report indicates that online gaming has a positive impact in Asia because 70% of the industry's revenue remains in the gaming countries, with most of that money going to the gaming studios. Compared with the $US70 billion coffee market...in which only a tiny fraction of the revenue remains in the bean-growing countries...the gaming industry had a "much better development impact", the report states. A report survey checks out on a group of 26 players and studio managers that offers a rough, yet rare demographic look at their lives. Most of the players work out of studios in China, in Beijing or Changsha, capital of Hunan province. They earn an average wage of $US2.70 an hour, $US1 more than Beijing's minimum wage for part-time factory work. "The larger point is that online gaming is often viewed as exploitation, Lehdonvirta said. "Certainly it's not a dream career, but the players are not at sweatshop levels." The gaming studios keep about 60% of the industry's $US3 billion in revenue. Readers, would you like to be a prize gather for the gaming studios on that level of pay? Better not answer!

Samoan Casino Proposal Has Social Concerns For Kiwi, Samoan Locals...

All these places have land based casinos - Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, Macau, Melbourne and just maybe soon - Apia in Samoa. Some business folks have earmarked it as a future gambling destination, and Kiwi group, the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand, is advising against it, citing social harms of a casino will outweigh any economical benefits that the Samoan government will hope to achieve. In an admission of the dangers of gambling, the proposed casino in Apia will attempt to bar locals by only allowing the holders of foreign passports to gamble. Problem #1... many locals have duplicate passports, so getting in to a casino for locals may not be that hard, and don't even bring up the subject of fake ID. Will the region get a land based casino? Stay tuned for updates.

Clubs Australia War On Gillard Labor Government Re Pokie Laws...

Clubs Australia has declared "open warfare" on the Gillard government, preparing a $20 million media campaign to try to stop laws to limit how much punters can spend on poker machines. Last year "Tasmanian Devil" (MM satire) independent MP Andrew Wilkie backed Labor to form a minority government in return for a clampdown on the use of poker machines. Now, the lobby that represents clubs and pubs is wrestling and punching back, with a media blitz targeting Wilkie and Prime Minister Julie Gillard. Both Wilkie and Gillard are in big trouble in the popularity polls, with Labor set to lose the next federal election, following their NSW loss, where it was bloody and crimson mass. Billboards, a website, beer coasters and more It's war on nationwide. The campaign has been criticised as misleading for claiming punters will need a licence to gamble. Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball rejects that. "What we do know is that everyone who plays a poker machine will need to register and obtain a card, and then insert it into a poker machine and set a binding limit. There needs to be player tracking, because how else does the machine know what the player is doing? It will have your private details and your gambling history on it. Now if that's not a licence, I don't know what is." Under Wilkie's master plan, gamblers would have to nominate a dollar figure for how much they are prepared to lose before they start gambling, a scheme known as "mandatory pre-commitment". Wilkie wants the law in place by 2014 and he has the backing of South Australian independent Senator Nick 'Mr X' (MM satire) Xenophon. Senator Xenophon describes the Clubs Australia campaign as a "joke". "This industry is willing to spend $20 million of tax-break money that they get from community clubs - effectively taxpayers' monies, indirectly - to peddle lies in terms of a campaign where they haven't even seen what the final report will say. Whether it's $20 million or $200 million, this mob can spend as much as they like, but they can't spin that they are causing enormous damage out in the community. There are 300,000 Australians who either have a severe gambling problem because of poker machines, or are already showing the signs of one."

Proposed Pokie Laws With Cost 10,000's of Aussie Jobs...

Clubs Australia advise the changes will cost jobs. They want it to be a voluntary scheme and have rejected a government request to hold off on the ad war. "It will cost jobs, for the simple reason that asking Australians to sign on to this licence to gamble will mean they'll do something else," Mr Ball said. "They'll go and gamble online where none of these controls exist, or they they'll go to the TAB - they won't do it at the club.Even the proponent of this, Andrew Wilkie, is saying that this will cost up to 40% of revenue."
It's all hot fodder in Aussie Parliament too. Liberal Steve Ciobo sits on the joint committee on gambling reform, which has been hearing arguments pro and con against a mandatory pre-commitment scheme. "The committee was charged by the Labor party with the responsibility to look at a roll-out of pre-commitment," he said. "But Coalition members will be putting in a dissenting report because the evidence is clear that it's going to cost jobs, it's going to cost investment, and I'm concerned based on the evidence that it will make problem gambling potentially worse." The committee is due to report in the next few weeks. The states and territories have until the end of May to decide if they will agree to the Wilkie-led reforms. If they refuse, the Commonwealth believes it has the power to introduce overriding legislation to impose a national scheme. The pokie industry has shown the willingness to wrestle all the way to the next election, and perhaps even beyond. It's the lovers VS the haters. Who will win, and when will the final victor emerge. Stay tuned.

Sky City Entertainment Group Stocks Fall From Sky...

Sky City Entertainment Group, the casino and hotel operator, fell 0.9% to $3.41 amid media reports that overseas competitors were looking to hire the 500 staff made redundant or on leave without pay due to the closure of the Christchurch Casino. SkyCity owns a 50% stake in the business.

Casino Bouncer Thought Disabled Bloke Was Drunk...

A South Australian man with deasiese cerebral palsy says he was refused entry to the Adelaide Casino because the bouncer thought he was drunk. Mark Thiele was on a big night out with friends when he attempted to enter the casino, but was refused by a bouncer aka "gorilla". Thiele says the bouncer mistakenly thought he was drunk, but the casino is sticking by its decision. "I had said to the man that I wasn't a drunk, I was crippled," said Thiele, talking about his rejection on 7.30 South Australia. "He had said to me he was convinced I was intoxicated even though we said that I had only had a few drinks earlier on in the evening. "So I can't see why I was singled out and everybody else in my party wasn't. There was no difference between any of us besides the obvious. It's a mystery to me really." Last month, he and his friends had walked to the casino from the city's Hindley Street entertainment strip a few blocks away. Thiele has trouble moving his body and for him, walking distances is a big effort. His mate Aaron Nettlebeck says the casino bouncer did not understand. "Walking that sort of distance does get very, very sweaty over that sort of short period. It was a bit infuriating that it happened like that after such a nice evening." Thiele says he has not had a problem at venues until now. "For the vast majority it's never been a problem. Bouncers that I've come into contact with have been understanding and even let me skip the line a few times just to put me at ease," he said. "Obviously it's a stamina thing that I can't walk these long distances and stand in lines and all of these things." He says he is considering lodging a complaint with the commission or under South Australia's liquor laws.The casino's general manager, David Christian, has offered an apology of sorts. "It was certainly not our intention that Mark would have felt discriminated against and I'm sorry that he does feel that way," he said. But he is defending the actions of his staff. "They believe that they made the right call. I would believe that with the calibre we have and the training we put into our security officers, and the level of management that oversees it, that they would be right most of the time."

New Zealand Christchurch Casino Workers Hurting From Earthquake Financial Aftershocks...

Financial and emotional aftershocks are still be felt by the casino sector after a series of earthquakes that rocked the Asia Pacific - Japan and New Zealand region. Christchurch Casino workers are feeling disappointed and even depressed after having failed attempt to get a bigger redundancy payday.In excess of 500 formally happy and motivated casino employees were offered redundancy at the central Christchurch casino last weekend, which was badly damaged in the February 22 quake and has stayed closed ever since the act of mother nature. Anyone who wants to stay at the casino will be paid their holiday pay as either a weekly amount or in a "lump sum". Simply put, they will remain as employees of the land based casino on leave without pay until the the gambling den opens again. The SFWU (Service and Food Workers' Union), which reps for 100 plus casino workers, has a meeting with the casino's managers on Thursday. SFWU strategic industry boss Len 'Razor' (MM tag) Richards said workers were sombre but firm in their desire about securing a more attractive redundancy package. The union power that be were also asking for continued pay for employees that choose to stay on until the casino opens again. However, he advised management was not prepared to increase the amount of redundancy pay for staff, but did agree to request for a government wage subsidy. Due to a private insurance deal and policy in place, the land based casino has not relied upon the $1.5 million government subsidy available for quake-affected businesses. Richards stated that the union has contacted earthquake recovery minister Gerry Brownlee to request assistance to help pay workers who remain employed. SkyCity, half owner of the famous Christchurch Casino, has projected a $130 million plus profit this year. It's not known how much financially the quake cost Christchurch Casino or SkyCity. Christchurch Casino top sheep er top dog...chief executive Brett 'Ask Him' (MM satire) Anderson said about 70% of employees have indicated they will stay with the company rather than take the offered redundancy. He said a number of employees are also being offered jobs offshore. Anderson elaborated "I'm getting phone calls from Australia looking for our people and likewise all over New Zealand, and a few of them have spread their wings. More than a few have gone over to the Gold Coast. It's a lot warmer, it's a lot more stable, you can swim in the sea, the pay rates are better." Anderson said he still does not know when the casino will reopen.Employees have a deadline until Monday to decide whether they will take the redundancy package or stay on. Yep, it's the money or the box. Workers who have not contacted the company by showdown at 5pm on Monday will be deemed to have left their jobs and will be paid out a four-weeks-notice payment, along with their annual leave entitlements. Casino workers, did you get that. D Day is approaching.

A Media Man spokesperson said "In the current global economy anyone with a decent job should be grateful, especially in the casino or gaming sector. Well done to Christchurch Casino management for doing their utmost to assist in their difficult times. Employers will always want to ask for more... its in the nature. Land based casinos generally remain popular around the world so good staff will always be in demand."

Media Man and Gambling911 wish all parties well with their dealings, and hopefully some win - win - wins will still be possible.

States Probe Sports Betting Ads...

Aussie states are uniting to consider a crackdown on an explosion in advertising of sports betting, Victoria's Gaming Minister says. Michael O'Brien last night revealed the betting blitz on sport was being examined by the Council of Australian Governments. "There is growing concern at the extent to which is becoming inseparable from the coverage of major sporting events. Kids are being exposed to it constantly just by watching the footy or cricket," he said.AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said the league had expressed its concerns to stadium managers. Goal posts, boundary line fences and scoreboards at the MCG and Etihad Stadium have been plastered with ads from bookmakers. Demetriou said the alarm was raised during last year's Brownlow Medal telecast. "There seemed to be an enormous amount of (gambling) advertising after each break," he told press. O'Brien said the AFL, which enjoys lucrative sponsorship arrangements with gambling giants, could take responsibility through its media and stadium deals. "It may be that there's an opportunity for this influence to be exercised to ensure the promotion of sports betting isn't allowed to detract from family-friendly objectives of (such) sports," he said. This week, former Demon Daniel Ward revealed in the the newspapers his battle with gambling. "It's always in your face," he said of the ads. "It's like being a drug addict and an advert comes on saying, 'The first 50 people to ring will get a free bag of marijuana'."

Hawkins Former Ms Univervese Lookalike Kahili Blundell Wins Ralph Swimwear Title At Star...

Sin City Sydney babe Kahili Blundell has snatched the Ralph Australian Swimwear Model of the Year comp. The Crows Nest bikini super babe bested more than 2000 babes from all over Australia and Kiwi land to grab the coveted title at Sin Sydney's Star City Casino on Thurday. "I feel more than special right now, I'm blown away and so honoured to be given this position," Blundell said. "I was expecting him to call another number and I stood there thinking 27, is that me? "It's also my boyfriend's birthday, but I realised it was me and I was shivering." The 21-year-old Jennifer Hawkins lookalike works as a personal assistant and dabbles in makeup artistry in her spare time. Blundell says modelling has been tough, slogging it out for 3 years. "Since November I've been training every week for this, thinking about it every night," she said. "I've been brought up to eat very healthy, so I don't have too much trouble doing that, but I definitely exercise a lot. I've been working very hard so thank god it's all paid off." The comp saw the 38 finalists strut their stuff in catwalk parades. Sex bikinis were all the rage. A select group of a bakers dozen were picked, then reigning champ Emmi Moore handed over her sash and championship title to Blundell. "I've been doing this for three years now and this is exactly what I've been dreaming and hoping for," Blundell said. "I'm open to any opportunity and I love challenges. I've obviously done well in the bikini field, so I might just continue on this track for a little while." Burlesque babe Sina King from Underbelly home Melbourne snatched runner-up while second runner-up went to 21-year-old writer - journo type Tiffany Baker from Fremantle in Western Australia.

Australian Boxer Katsidis To Fight Guerrero In MGM Grand Casino Las Vegas Bloody Sunday...

Down under's Australia's Michael Katsidis and his opponent in Sunday's (AEST) interim lightweight world-title fight at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Casino, America's Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, also have powerful stories. Guerrero's world was crushed big time circa 2007 when his wife, Casey, was diagnosed with leukemia. The Californian gave up boxing, giving up his world-title, so he could be by Casey's side and stay close to their young children as she underwent a bone-marrow transplant. Things are now looking up for Guerrero. "Casey has been cancer free for almost a year now," 28-year-old Guerrero, the number one ranked lightweight in the world and a former featherweight and super featherweight champion, said. Last year Katsidis' was having a dream run. The likable 30-year-old blokefrom Toowoomba celebrated his first wedding anniversary with wife Kumiko. He loved being a dad to their one-year-old daughter Kalia and was preparing for the biggest bout of his career, a world-title fight in Las Vegas against Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez. Things quickly went downhill when five weeks before the Marquez fight he learned his 31-year-old brother, champion Australian jockey (horse racing) Stathi Katsidis, had passed away. Just days later Katsidis' longtime trainer, Brendon Smith, received two more bad news calls. Smith's nephew got paralysed from the chest down in an accident and one of the trainer's former boxers passed away. "We got it all within three weeks and just before the Marquez fight," Smith said. Katsidis and Smith made the call to keep training at their Thai boxing camp and take on Marquez at the MGM Grand Casino, a match that would be voted the Fight of the Year after Katsidis floored Marquez to the mat in the third round. Marquez guts and balls by getting up and pounding Katsidis so badly ref Kenny Bayless ended the match in the ninth round, giving Marquez a ninth round technical knockout victory. On the eve of the Guerrero fight, Katsidis and Smith, who kept quite before the Marquez bout, finally opened up about their personal tragedies. Katsidis did not sleep two days before the Marquez fight. "He was emotionally spent before he got in the ring and to do what he did under the circumstances was incredible," Smith said. "I believe if something doesn't kill you it only makes you stronger," Katsidis said. Guerrero has 22 knockouts in his 27 professional victories. "This is truly a fight for boxing fans," Guerrero, who has a 28 win (18 KO), one loss professional record, said. "You are going to see two guys go at it and give it their all." The winner of the match will be named the interim World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organisation lightweight champions. Promoter 'Golden Boy' Oscar De La Hoya has named the MGM card "Action Heroes", with another Mexican legend, Erik Morales, fighting Argentina's exciting welterweight contender Marcos Maidana and in another welterweight battle, Brooklyn's Paulie Malignaggi VS Jose Miguel Cotto. The matches will be broadcast live in Australia on Sunday from 11am AEST by Main Event pay-per-view. "For a boxing card, sounds like it will be value for money for a bit of a change", said a Media Man insider.

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James Packer Crown Casino Whale Talks Tourism, by Greg Tingle - 19th March 2011

Australia's foremost gambling tycoon, James Packer, is growing tied of the Australian government's lack of action in improving the tourism sector, which in return effects his casino tourism arm, with the high rollers, schools of "whales", super dolphins and the like tipping to be swimming more for oriental waters, rather than down under Pacific Ocean way. Yep, that's the general school of thought.

Singapore is continuing a roaring trade in the casino and resort tourism dollar, and insiders think this this may be beginning to really snatch away some potential business from Melbourne's Crown Casino and Burswood, which now boasts two of the most valuable and profitable integrated casino resorts in the world, Packer says the time for talk is over.

"One of the problems for state and federal governments of both political persuasions in Australia is that no one sets any key performance indicators for tourism," he told Rupert Murdoch publication, The Weekend Australian.

"That lets people muddle about on things with good intentions without ever actually making the rubber hit the road. Whereas in Singapore, it is all about the rubber hitting the road.

"They are a country that used to get the same number of tourists as Australia, around 5 million. They are now at 11 million tourists. We are at 5 million. And they have stated publicly that they have an aim and ambition that they will receive 17 million tourists in 2015."

Singapore has bragging rights of 13 consecutive months of record visitor numbers, achieving its highest visitor arrivals for a single month in December with 1.1 million visitors, 16% up on last year.

Experts tip the main attribute in seeing Singapore's big numbers is last year's launch of the $4.4 billion Resorts World Sentosa casino and the $5.94bn Marina Bay Sands, the second most expensive casino in the world.

Both casino resorts are understood to have accounted for 1.7% of Singapore's nominal gross domestic product last year when GDP leap frogged 14.7%.

Packer has a few more reasons than the average Joe to be a bit worried about the rise of the Singapore dragons (no offence to dragons, including dragons in training or Singaporeans). Singapore is writing the "who to" book and blueprint on casino tourism, just when many experts thought Macau were the experts.

The Singapore dragons wrath on the regional casino market gave birth to an 8% dip in VIP turnover at Packer's two dinkum Aussie casinos, Crown in Melbourne and Burswood in Perth, in the 6 months to December 31. Burswood really felt the pain, with VIP whale revenue down 14.3% compared with Crown's 5.5 % dive.

Crown states 15% of its casino revenues comes from high-rollers. That's a considerable amount.

Packer points to the way Australia sells itself to the world, and specifically affluent Asians, as a tourist destination, and he chooses his words carefully.

"We are not saying it is the government's fault. We are saying we would like to work with the government to try and make Australia a more attractive and compelling and successful tourism destination".

The recent Japanese natural disasters, along with our our own floods and cyclones in Queensland, are expected to put increased pressure on Japanese tourism, the fifth-largest provider of inbound tourists to Australia behind New Zealand, Britain, the US and China.

"We all thought the Oprah exercise (where Tourism Australia last year paid $1.5m for 100 minutes of US exposure on Oprah Winfrey's TV chat show) was fantastic, but when I was in America just recently I saw an advertisement with three Americans in a Land Rover driving around a paddock watching kangaroos. And I thought to myself, it is a lovely image but to be kind, it is very niche," Packer says.

Packer says Crown wants more from what he terms his "silent majority partners".

"The total taxes we paid last year to the three levels of government...federal, state and municipal...was well over double our net profit after tax. We believe we are investing in our businesses, providing the government with an excellent economic return for our licences and we also think we are working hard to ensure that our other stakeholders benefit from our business," he says.

"The government is doing very well being the silent majority partner of our company and we are competing against some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world and what we are trying to do is bring more people to Australia to spend money and conduct economic activity here."

Crown and competitor Tabcorp Holdings, owner of 'Sin City' Sydney's Star City and the Gold Coast's Jupiters casinos, are spending billions of dollars on big capital expenditure programs, including revamped VIP gaming facilities, hotels, lear jets and more.

"My impression is that we have spent more on capital expenditure in the past five years than any non-mining industrial company in Australia," Packer says. "I think there is a perception out there that these businesses are licences to print money. They are terrific businesses, but they are not that. These businesses have a very significant ongoing capex requirement, which places limits on the real cash available to be returned to shareholders."

A not particularly well known fact is that last year, Crown received the Employer of the Year award at the Australian Government's Australian Training Awards.

Packer's call for a more integrated tourism strategy for Australia is fully supported by Tourism Australia chairman and ex Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon, who is also on the Crown board. "While I am obviously a director of Crown, it doesn't change the fact that our integrated resorts in Australia must be competitive with those in Asia, especially Singapore," Dixon says.

"This is not just about Crown, it is about...the other integrated resort casinos within Australia."

What Crown and Tabcorp are seeking is additional assistance from government and the private sector on co-ordinating visa access and improving facilities at airports for VIP high roller tourists.

In Singapore, high rolling whales are greeted by officials at Changi airport, and promptly escorted through a private lounge area for fast-tracked customs and immigration procedures.

"We have started some initial discussions with Melbourne and Perth airports, and they are quite interested in the concept," says Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie. He advised there have been communications with government and the state and federal tourism authorities. "The doors seem to be open," he says confidently.

Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson agrees casinos have an important role to play in the nation's tourism strategies, as well he should, but he states there needs to be more research before major decisions are taken that affect the sector.

"Casinos attract high-yield visitors that spend on average double that of other international visitors," he shared.

"Through both our marketing efforts such as the $150m global 'There's Nothing Like Australia' campaign and the National Long Term Tourism Strategy, we will continue to work closely with casinos, airlines, hotels, tour operators and the many other hundreds of thousands of small businesses in the tourism sector to ensure Australia remains competitive as a tourism destination.

"That requires encouraging investment in new stock, finding the right staff and reducing barriers to their employment in the sector, while providing comprehensive research to allow informed decisions to be taken."

Chef and restaurant owner Neil Perry, also a mate and business associate of Packer, whose "lucky" seven Australian restaurants include outlets at Crown and Burswood, agrees.

"While I am focused on local clientele, we need a good mix of international tourists to keep this business vibrant," he says.

Chinese tourists account for $2.8bn to the Australian tourism industry and by 2017 analysts expect that market will be worth about $5.5bn.

Korea, Singapore and Malaysia are also developing markets for Australia.

In January, Chinese tourists jumped 63% for the month, largely a spin off from Chinese New Year celebrations falling in February. Hong Kong visits were up 26% and Malaysia 25%.

At times like these Packer must be glad his had a global strategy in place, and is not totally at the mercy of the Australian market.

Packer and his time are also further developing online gaming and revenue aspects of Crown Limited, as well as getting his 50% Betfair better stocked with more online gaming offerings, acutely aware of recession resistance online based businesses like PartyGaming and also watching his mate, Richard Branson, take his airline, tourism, communication and gaming business to the next level.

Don't bet against Packer, but the smart money from betting agencies says that its safe to bet against the Australian state and federal government - with Labor set to fall, and a new and motivated Liberal - Nationals coalition ready to impress the people and the business sector

A Media Man spokesperson said 'There's no doubt that the Oprah Winfrey effect has some positive spin off for Australian tourism, certainly awareness leaped. Just hoe much different was made to the bottom line thanks to O is unclear. James Packer makes a good point about Australian tourism. We have a lot more to offer than just kangaroos. Bondi Beach is great, but so are casinos like Crown and Burswood, and our sports tourism and events are always, and how about our Aboriginal heritage. We are world class. More people need to help give the Australian government the message. Casinos are an idea place to help keep things going in the right direction, with all of the tourists, smart money and entertainment to be found."

CEO Magazine Rejects James Packer Interview Rumour...

Bean Media Group, publishers of the influential and highly-regarded business publication, The CEO Magazine, have today refused to confirm reports that The CEO Magazine will be conducting an exclusive interview with Australian businessman, James Packer. The CEO Magazine is Australia's leading business magazine focused directly at high-level executives in Australian companies. The CEO Magazine is a bi-monthly title that provides its readers with a wealth of articles discussing business strategy, expert opinion, analysis, corporate case studies, emerging trends, leadership, growth opportunities and challenges facing our country's leading business leaders. The CEO Magazine explores how Australian businesses can improve the way they manage their operations, staff, technology and supply chains with a view to creating a more profitable and successful business. Whilst The CEO Magazine is extremely meticulous in selection for interviews within the title, rumours of a one-on-one interview with James Packer have surfaced this week. "Due to the high profile nature of The CEO Magazine, it is impossible for us to confirm who will be included in upcoming magazines until publication date. Content is kept strictly between the publisher and any leading senior executive that have been chosen for selection," said a spokesperson for publisher, Bean Media Group. The next issue of The CEO Magazine is due out next month. About The CEO Magazine, Australia's leading business title specifically for high-level and senior executives. The publisher of The CEO Magazine is Bean Media Group, a multi-award-winning media company based in Sydney, Australia

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Australia Day Special, by Greg Tingle - 26th January 2011

G'day and Happy Australia Day everyone. Ok, we know some of you punters, journos, high rollers - casino whales, entertainment news junkies, politicians, insiders, outsiders and legal eagles are from across the globe are not Australia, nor have ever been down under, but you get the idea. Did you know that some indigenous Australia's call Australia Day 'Invasion Day'! That's because most history books show that Captain James Cook and his crew invaded Australia on this day in 1988. They are known by a new names including the First Fleet, while some aborigines will always think of them and murderous mongrels, who stole their land and pride. It's easy for many of us to get the point of the blackfellas (affectionate). Media Man and Gambling911 with a bush tucker bag full of Australian gambling, casino, poker, media and sports news. Fair winds...

Queensland Banana Bender State: Pub Pokies And Online Pokies Becoming More Popular?...

One armed bandits are maintaining their popularity in 'The Sunshine State'. It's understand that punters might have only a 1 in a million chance of winning really big, lotto - millionaire style, but they just keep coming back for more. Yep, throw another dime in the pokie baby. Queenslanders "invested" close to $2 billion last year as the punters passion for the slots maintained its fever pace. The total pokies expenditure of $1.81 billion was slightly down on the previous year, it was the third year consecutively the number exceeded $1.8 billion. We're also learned that the 2008 figure of $1.83 billion was an all-time record. Now, this is important - those numbers Do Not take into account the rabid take up and roll our of online poker or sports betting. You know, betting over the global medium - the internet. Overall, Queenslanders spent $7 million less on pokies than last year and $28 million less than in 2008, but it still works out at in excess of $150 million every month down the slots August was the year's biggest month for slot gamblers, who put close to $170 million in the throats of the one armed bandits. August was also the biggest month for gamblers in 2008, with more than $173 million lost. Pokies remain by far the most popular games for punters in Australia, bringing in most of the estimated $17 billion spent on all forms of gambling down under each year. Some insiders think that the reduction in official spending was more a sign of the increased popularity of internet and sports-based gambling. Concentrating on pokie figures, it appears Queenslanders gambled more at the height of the global financial crisis two years ago than they did throughout 2010.

Tassie 'Devil' Gambling Tycoon Devilish Quotes...

David Walsh from Tasmania was such a big hit with the readership we thought we would dig up a few more of the red hot 'The Devil's' quotes, that are too good not to share. First a refresher...Art and gambling do mix, at least that's the experience of Brits Damian Aspinall, Phil 'Tuffers' Tufnell, Australian artist Gina Sinozich, Media Man (bodypaint and burlesque "fetish") and Tasmanian gambling whale - tycoon, David 'Wicked' (satire) Walsh. You will pick up on Dave's affectionate nickname by us later. We like you David, ok mate. Tasmania's most famous or infamous gambling figure, millionaire, David Walsh yesterday gave us a peak into his art exhibit...the biggest (and weirdest) private art gallery in Tasmania, if not the Asia Pacific. The $110 million Museum of Old and New Art is nestled on the banks of Hobart's Derwent River.

Quotes By The Tasmanian Devil!...

"FUCK the art, let's rock'n'roll."

"I think formal curation is a form of mental masturbation."

"I'm not really that interested in a bunch of big names. Most of the works are by people most people haven't heard of and still won't have heard of because there's no wall labels."

"I don't want to lose control (or) something that ends up looking like a pale version of the National Gallery of Victoria".

"Subversive adult Disneyland".

"Please see reception if you are planning a pool party or a ritualistic orgy."

"It's the opportunity to mess with your head. I like the idea of people having a couple of beers and looking at the art, having a couple more and changing their mind."

"Just a privileged guy with a megaphone"

"It’s like a rich man’s soap box. I’m standing on my soapbox and I’m shouting my views like they mean something."

"I’ll take all the popular stuff out. And if you go to the toilet two or three times we’ll recommend a good urologist."

“My brother once said about me that I’d rather be outside a barrel pissing in than inside the barrel pissing out. I’m anti this idea that we know what we’re doing with certainty. I kinda think that most things that are good happen to people largely by accident, but then they start looking for explanations. You see the views of rich, successful people on television, and they tell you why they got rich and successful; they don’t interview all the people who went through the same process and didn’t. I think most things are complete crap. I want to show that you can be fortunate without believing that your fortune was anything other than fortune."

"There are so many things we do that we hide from. We hack open cows and eat their guts but we compartmentalise that away from our lives so we can pretend it’s not happening. And on a larger, more important scale, if each of us acted individually to say ‘OK, we f…ed up the atmosphere, it is our personal responsibility’, humanity would behave in a very different way."

"One of the things about having money is that … I feel a bit of guilt and a level of privilege, and it seems to be an obligation to do something, and since art is what I’ve been doing....but it wasn’t really like that. It was: I bought this small gallery, bought a bigger one, and gradually it became something of this scale. It’s become a lot more serious endeavour than I intended it to be. There’s a bit of thumbing my nose at the establishment and trying to bypass academia, but mainly I just wanted it to be a bit of fun. And it is. And it will be."

"The gambling is all a computer thing that is going on right now".

Website

Museum of Old and New Art

Queensland: Cairns Reef Hotel Casino Poised To Raise Big Bucks For Flood Relief On Australia Day...

Punters, let's all spare a thought for those who have been attacked by the floods on Australia Day. Numerous events are being planed around Australia, from 'Sound Relief' to and initiative from the Cairns Reef Hotel Casino 'Bring on the Sun' It will be one of the biggest events on the Australia Day calendar for the city and all funds raised will go to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal. There's a good old fashioned sausage sizzle, competitions and female performers including the Marlins’ cheer squad. "The whole idea is slanted towards the female performer," entertainment manager Bruce Stewart said. "We’ve got an eclectic blend of female artists coming to perform as well." Cazalys, El Mundo Tapas Bar and the Marlin Coast Bowls Club will also host events to raise money for flood victims. Cairns Regional Council will hold events across the region, including the ever-popular celebrations on the Esplanade. Mayor Val Schier said the council was expecting a good attendance as usual with residents keen to get outside and celebrate our sunburnt country in the green and gold. "Even last year when it poured, a huge number of people came to the Aussie breakfast; we expect the same will happen this year, rain, hail or shine. It is one of those days where people can come together as a community and help celebrate why it is great to be an Australian. We live in a fantastic country and it is good for people to get out and enjoy it." Pubs and clubs will also get into the Aussie spirit with a number of activities on offer. Paradise Palms Resort and Country Club has a patriotic, fun-filled day planned with activities that pay homage to Australia’s heritage such as the much-anticipated pie-eating competition. "Everybody is welcome to come along and have some fun while tucking into our Aussie selection of meat pies, icy beers, lamingtons and classic Australian music by DJ Danny from Millennium Sounds," director of sales and marketing Darlene Holdsworth said.

Events

Join the celebrations

Paradise Palms Resort and Country Club Australia Day celebrations
What’s on: Australian menu served from noon in Restaurant 59, pie-eating and thong-throwing competitions start at 1.30pm. Pies, icy beers, lamingtons and classic Australian music on offer at the resort.
Time: 12pm. Entry free.

Bring on the Sun at Cairns Reef Hotel Casino
What’s on: Entertainment, sausage sizzle, raffles, jumping castle and more with all proceeds going to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal.
Time: 2pm. Entry free.


Shane Warne And Poker Mates Get VIP Star Treatment At Australian Open Tennis Sunday Night...

The spinner got there at 8pm hoping to get star VIP treatment for 14 of his closest mates. In the mix was was Joe Hachem, who he had earlier caught up with at the launch of the Aussie Millions Poker Tournament at Crown Casino. Warne requested an escort (no, not that type silly) when he arrived and posed mostly for photographs with his sunglasses on. He also spent time in Andy Roddick's player's box during his loss to Swissman Stanislas Wawrinka. It been a big couple of days for "poker her" for the legend, playing rendezvous with Liz Hurley in LA. He is expected to play in the second round of the poker tournament and could face off against Gary Ablett Jr and Jeff Fenech tomorrow. Blett made it through to the second round.


Australian Financial Review Goes Gaga For Lady Gaga; Gets Facts Wrong (We Think)...

It took us a few months of going through newspapers but we finally found the AFR to make a slip up, and its a doozy....An article reads "the complex will have a few upmarket bars, including one on the roof, and an events theatre to house live acts – think Lady Gaga – as well as awards nights." With Gaga's level of popularity she would require a much larger venue than Star City. Earlier this year, she - they played two concerts at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, capacity 12,000 or thereabouts. Do the math.

Australia's Kylie Minogue To Do The Colosseum At Caesars Palace Las Vegas: Aphrodite Live...

Mark is down Kylie fans the word over. She's doing Ceasers Sunday May 22, 2011 8pm


Melbourne: Aussie Joker Comedian Performs At Packer's Crown; Raises Cash For Flood Relief...

Melbourne folks at Crown Casino recently enjoyed 'The Jokers Comedy That Rocks' at Crown Casino. James Packer's casino donated all proceeds from last Friday night’s show to Queensland flood victims. Organiser William Leitch has happy with the way things went and showcased an evening with some of the city’s top stand-up artists, including Brad Oakes, Christine Basil and Greg Fleet. It's understood he got close to 150 people to come along, and he may be invited back on upcoming Friday nights.


Top 100 ASX Listed Companies Respond To Flood Cry For Help; Gambling And Gaming Industry Steps Up; Mining Firms and Banking Bastards Lead Charge...

1. BHP Billiton: $1.3 million (in addition, matching employee donations)

2. CBA: $1.35 million

3. Westpac: $1 million

4. ANZ: $1 million

5. NAB: $1 million

6. News Corp: $500,000 and Blue Ribbon campaign

7. Rio Tinto: $1 million ($700,000 to Premier Relief, $300,000 to Emerald community)

8. Wesfarmers: $7.5 million (plus $3.5 million from Coles customers)

9. Telstra Corp: up to $1 million by matching staff contributions (so far $338,000; is also supplying phones and free calls to people affected)

10. Woolside Petroleum: $122,395 (corporate + employees)

11. Woolworths: $6.9 million (matching customer donations in Woolies, Big W, Dick Smith dollar for dollar)

14. Fortescue Metals: Matching staff donations dollar for dollar

15. CSL: $250,000

16. QBE Insurance: not releasing a statement

17. Origin energy: $1 million

18. Macquarie Group: $200,000 (combined staff and company effort with fundraising activities continuing both here and overseas)

19. AXA Asia Pacific: No response

20. Santos: $500,000 plus use of helicopters and vehicles for clean up. Also $50,000 for flooding in WA

21. Coal and Allied Industries: (see Rio Tinto)

22. AMP: $250,000 + matching employee contributions to WA flood appeal up to $250,000

23. Suncorp Group: $100,000 (staff and customers have donated $1.5million)

24. Foster's Group: $500,000

25. Brambles: No response

26. Leighton Holdings: No response

27. Orica: No response

28. Oil Search: No response

29. Stockland: Donated $250,000 to the Premier's flood relief appeal, another $30,000 to the Mayoress Rockhampton regional flood appeal and are matching employee donations dollar for dollar

30. Coca. Cola Amatil: No response

31. Amcor: No response

32. Westfield Retail Trust: No response

33. IAG: No response

39. Crown: Donation tins in Crown complexes and have committed to matching all donations as well as staff contributions

52. Tabcorp Holdings: $1 million

78. Tatts Group: Going to run a dedicated lottery for the Queensland flood appeal where all profits will go to the Premier's Flood Appeal. They ran the same thing in Victoria after the Black Saturday bushfires. It will run on Wednesday 2 Feb in Queensland and is expected to raise $200,000. In addition, another donation will be made from the unclaimed prizes fund of an as. yet undecided amount

79. Fairfax Media: Matching staff donations

100. Seek: Reported it had made a donation to the Premier's Flood Appeal but chose not to disclose how much

Brisbane: Flood Relief Money Gets Spend On Pokies, Vice - Piss Up At Pubs...

It's been reported in a number of Queensland newspapers that the $1000 flood relief grants that went to many good folks in Granville are being used to feed slots and buy piss (beer) rather than food and necessities. Two Maryborough publicans say that in some instances the answer to that is yes, and they are disgusted. One of the publicans was so incensed by the misuse of flood relief money she telephoned Fairfax Media to complain. "A man came in bragging about how he’d got the $1000 payout because he told Centrelink he was stuck in Granville – but he was here the whole time. It makes me sick that people are openly admitting they’ve got the money for nothing, while there are people who’ve died or lost everything." She said Centrelink should have screened the applications more carefully to make sure only people who were genuinely in need received the cash. Another pub owner said his one armed bandits had not stopped buzzing since the grants became available. "We were quiet during the actual floods but this week’s been totally different. The pokies and the bottle shop have been going non-stop." Yeah, Aussie continue to love a punt, rain, hail, shine or flood!

Aussie Millions Game 8 Results...

The London based chap took down the $1,100 8 game mixed event title at Crown Casino in Melbourne adding AUD$23,800 to his almost $1.2 million in career tournament earnings. He entered the final table as the short stack, but managed to grind his way to victory and nudge away Australia's Bruno Portaro for the victory. The event marked Ashby's 8th final table appearance at the Aussie Millions that includes a side-event win back in 2005 and a seventh-place finish in the main event in 2009. Ashby also won his first WSOP bracelet this summer in the $1,500 7 Card Stud event and went well in the $10k H.O.R.S.E. for his biggest career score of $378,027. The 2011 Aussie Millions $1,100 8-Game Mixed event drew 68-players and paid the final 7.

Here are the results:
1 Richard Ashby AUD$23,800
2 Bruno Portaro AUD$16,320
3 Casey Kastle AUD$10,880
4 Daniel Ospina AUD$6,800
5 Oliver Gill AUD$4,760
6 Dane Coltman AUD$3,400
7 Paul Ravesi AUD$2,040

Aussie Main Event Day 1b: PartyPoker And Full Tilt Poker Players Feel The Pain...

PartyGaming's PartyPoker and Full Tilt Poker's powers that be likely won't be celebrating. Ok, they got news coverage and exposure, but its because their players are out. Yep, history maties. Full Tilt went well on Day 1a but Day 1b was rooted. Many of the big name pros went down for the count as locals stepped up. 209 players entered the Crown Poker room but after 7 levels of play, 80 remained. David Oppenheim, Annette Obrestad, Carlos Mortensen, David Benyamine, Andrew Feldman, Steve Yea, Andy Bloch and Gus Hansen were some of the Full Tilt players who died. Other casualties included Luke Santo, Raj Ramakrishnan, George Moussa, Michael Pedley, Graeme Putt, Martin Comer, Dennis Huntly, Jamie Pickering, Bruno Portaro, Casey Kastle, Ben Savage and Tim Marsters. 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem (tweeting he struggled with jetlag following a recent trip to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.) Defending champ, 2010 Aussie Millions Main Event winner Tyron Krost (PartyGaming's PartyPoker pro went down too). A new champ will be crowned in 2011 with plenty of Aussies still in contention. The field kicked off with Jeff Rossier in the lead with 154,900, closely followed by Michael Ottobra (143,400) and Martin Drewe, After winning the Opening Event last week and going deep in another event, Drewe is now set in the chip leaders in the Main Event after getting to 136,100. Jay “SEABEAST” Kinkade did nicely with 128,700, Haibo Chu (113,900), Manny Stavropoulos (85,600), Sorel Mizzi (74,400), Michael Egan (61,100), Kent Hunter (56,400), Jeff Lisandro (55,000), Eric Assadourian (50,300), Scott Montgomery (49,200), Chris Ferguson (45,400), Lee Nelson (30,200), Neil Channing (28,800), Roland de Wolfe (26,100), Aleks Brkovic (24,600), Jackie Glazier (21,900), Grant Levy (18,300), Gary Benson (10,500) and Mel Judah (7,200) amongst those who will return on Day 2. The 3rd and final flight of the 2011 Aussie Millions Main will commence Tuesday with another strong field and a few big names expected. Even Van Marcus will front up. Van, is your Red Ferrari safe this time mate? We're looking for more good fodder to write about. How about do a publicity stunt and make world wide headlines ago. Maybe someone at Crown Casino - Crown Limited might be open to it. Stanger things have happened... like Ferrari's getting stolen on site, casino fights and a man getting stuck in the Crown Casino kitchen grease vacuum.

Aussie Millions Event #9 Day 1b: Rossiter In Front...

It was down to business with players investing AUD$10,600 to buy in all with the goal of becoming the 2011 Aussie Millions Champion. 7 seven levels of play, and the 209-player field went to 80. Jeff Rossiter is in front with 154,900. Martin Drewe, 2011 Aussie Millions Event #1 winner with 136,100 - now 3rd on the leaderboard. Australian Jay Kinkade is on 128,700, and European Poker Tour mainstay Jeff Sarwer sits 5th with 120,500. Randy "nanonoko" Lew has 110,000 and Gavin Griffin 101,700 in 9th ninth and 10th place. Sorel Mizzi, Jeffrey Lisandro, Eric Assadourian, Team Full Tilt's Chris Ferguson, Full Tilt Poker Red Pros Scott Montgomery and Roland de Wolfe, Neil Channing, and Lee Nelson have also all made it to Wednesday's Day 2, but it was touch and go for some of them, testing the skill VS luck debate. Full Tilt Poker $25,000 Shootout Invitational winner David Oppenheim, Annette Obrestad, Carlos Mortensen, Andy Bloch, David Benyamine, Andrew Feldman, Gus Hansen, Joe Hachem, and David Steicke all had to say goodnight nurse. PartyGaming's - PartyPoker Tyron Krost was eliminated in a hand VS Gavin Griffin where his Ace-Queen couldn't best Griffin's Aces. The 3rd and final Day 1 flight commences Tuesday in Melbourne, Australia at 12:30 p.m. local time.

Getting board of poker yet? If so, try your luck er skill at Baccarat or Craps. If your more into luck, check out the slots like Cleopatra, Sinatra, Rambo, Goanna Gold and The Terminator. Rumour goes PartyGaming also have, or will soon get, a World Poker Tour themed online slot game. We recommend punters open an account with PartyCasino, PartyGaming and World Poker Tour, just to have all based covered. Party appears to still be the most popular online casino brand in Australia despite big efforts by the likes of 888. Marvel slot games are forecast to be some of the most popular of this year with Captain America and Thor tipped to hit Australia cinema's this year, with Spider-Man also getting a remake. Whatever your casino game of choice, good luck, and let us know how you go guys and girls. Spin to win.

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.

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Tell us in the forum.

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

News

Aussiewood - Hollywood Entertainment News, by Greg Tingle - 29th November 2010

Sylvester Stallone Sex Film 'The Party at Kitty and Stud's' Sells For $400K on eBay...

Sly, The Italian Stallion himself, is back in action…erotic action, sort of... The rights to a soft-porn film starring Sylvester Stallone four decades ago, was sold on e-Bay for $412,100. The then strapped-for-cash star made his on-screen debut in the 1970 film "The Party at Kitty and Stud's." Stallone played Stud, a young man who, along with his oversexed lover Kitty, enjoys inviting various women into their bed. The 71-minute movie was eventually renamed "The Italian Stallion" by Bryanston Distributors after the actor became famous in "Rocky." Now that the rights have been purchased (the owner has not yet been identified), it's likely the film will be re-released, The Sun reported. In an interview in the 1970s, Stallone, now 64, told Playboy that he was so poor that he had to take the role. "It was either do that movie or rob someone because I was at the end—at the very end—of my rope. Instead of doing something desperate, I worked two days for $200." After filming "Rocky," the erotic filmmakers tried to sell the movie back to Stallone for $100,000, but the actor said he "wouldn't pay two bucks for it," according to AOL's Moviefone. Last year MGM unsuccessfully tried to buy the flick. Sly, you've cum a long way since then.

U2 legend Bono Waits For Table At Australian Bondi Beaches' Icebergs...

Bono snuck into 'Sin City' Sydney on Saturday. He headed for a eat and a drink as he often does when down under. The renowned Irish rock singer, who spent two weeks at Sydney's Bungan Beach with his family in 2006 completely undetected, casually strolled into Rose Bay nosherie Catalina on Sunday for a seafood feed with guitarist The Edge (David Evans) and the eatery's owner, Michael McMahon. On Saturday night he arrived unannounced at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar at Bondi Beach and like a normal person waited or a table at the "no reservations" restaurant. "He was having a red cocktail but didn't finish it because a table became available," advised a deepthroat. No, not a Stallone type of deepthroat you rascals. The U2 360 tour begins in Melbourne this Wednesday night.

Avatar Michelle Rodriguez Star Teams Up With Sea Shepherd In Perth...

Hollywood babe actress Michelle Rodriguez, star of Avatar, was in Fremantle supporting anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd. Rodriguez has been aboard Sea Shepherd’s flagship vessel MY Steve Irwin. The crew are replenishing supplies before heading to the Southern Ocean in December. The trip, dubbed 'Operation No Compromise', will be Sea Shepherd’s seventh mission into the frigid waters of Antarctica to attempt to stop the slaughter of whales by Japanese "scientific researchers". Among the crew are three Perth residents including former Labor Attorney General Jim McGinty’s brother Kevin McGinty, Steven Bennett and Georgie Dicks. Captain Locky MacLean said the crew are looking forward to having Rodriguez on board. The group, which uses rather militant art of war tactics in its fight against whaling, made headlines early this year when their stealth vessel the Ady Gill was "cut in half" by Japanese whalers. This year, a new monohull fast vessel called the Ocean Adventurer will replace the Ady Gill. SS are currently seeking a large sponsor which would give them the naming rights to use 'Godzilla'. Something like that. Sea Shepherd’s Australian Director Jeff Hansen said: "It is great to see high profile people like Miss Rodriguez giving up their spare time to help promote our fight to defend the whales being illegally targeted in New Zealand and Australian waters". Media Man lost good mate Peter Carrette this past weekend, approximately 48 hours after doing photography at the Bondi Beach 'No Compromise' gig at Bondi Beach last Friday. R.I.P Peter. We miss you mate.

Darren Aronofsky Explains 'The Wolverine' Aussie Hugh Jackman...

If you're wondering why "Black Swan" director Darren Aronofsky was hired to tackle "The Wolverine" for 20th Century Fox, wonder no more. Aronofsky himself has broken his silence on the "Wolverine" front in an extensive interview with Movie City News. According to the filmmaker, his reasons for choosing the "Wolverine" non-sequel as his next project are quite simple: in the end, he just wanted to have a good time. "I'm just trying to have fun," he said. "I think, for the first time in my life, you know, every single film that I've done so far I've been the only person in the room who wants to make the movie. And, I kind of am excited about doing a film where actually everyone wants to make it just to see what the experience is like and to see if I can do what I do in that world." It's not like I'm going to change my process," he added. "I'm going to be working with the same team, and making, you know, really trying to do something very, very different and see what happens." During the interview, Aronofsky said that he's received a large amount of support both from franchise lead Hugh Jackman and Fox Studios head Tom Rothman, joking that Rothman "doesn't even know how gutsy it is" that he hired the outside-the-box filmmaker for "The Wolverine." "I've been looking for a situation where everything lines up really well. This just makes sense; I think I'm being hired because of who I am. I'm not being hired to turn into someone. I'm being hired to do what I do. I don't know if (Rothman) knows exactly what he's bought, but we're definitely going to make something great, you know, but it will be very different, and that's what I do. We're going to try and have a great time with it."

John Travolta and Kelly Preston 'Overjoyed' With New Baby Benjamin; Travolata Not Gay...

Living legend and iconic star of Saturday Night Fever (the movies and the online slot game), is delighted with his new baby, but very unhappy about the gay rumours. Actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston took to Travolta's website earlier this week to announce the birth of their 8-pound, 3-ounce son, Benjamin Travolta. "We are overjoyed to announce the arrival of our son, Ella's baby brother, Benjamin Travolta. Born November23, 2010 in Florida, Benjamin is healthy and doing beautifully. Thank you for the congratulations messages and wishes...we are beyond happy about the newest addition to our family," the family said in the message. Travolta, 56, and Preston, 48, announced the pregnancy earlier this year, celebrating with a dozen close friends at a shower held at their Los Angeles-area home. "This baby is such a healing baby," a family friend told People magazine. The pregnancy was the first bit of good news they had shared in a long time. "It's impossible to keep a secret," they wrote in a statement on Travolta's website in May, "especially one as wonderful as this." We want to be the first to share this great news with everyone that we are expecting a new addition to our family," the online statement continued and like this week's update, was signed "Love, John, Kelly and Ella." John Travolta's family has been dealt another blow as reports emerge that he has been allegedly cheating on his wife...engaging in "lewd sex acts with other men" as part of a "secret gay spa subculture." Perez Hilton posted the story on his website along with a cover of the National Enquirer, carrying the headline "John Travolta Caught In Cheating Scandal! "John Travolta has been cheating on Kelly for years!" said Robert Randolph, author of the memoir, You'll Never Spa in This Town Again. "And when the details emerge, he's gonna make Tiger Woods look like a boy scout." John has been married to Kelly Preston for 19 years, with the pair expecting their third child this year. They lost their eldest son Jett in 2009 to an autism-related seizure.

WWE Studios Films Flop At Box Office; Perform Well In DVD Rental Market...

Entertainment trade publication Variety published a report today on WWE Studios's new films strategy "flopping" at the box office, but perhaps finding a market on home video. Variety followed up on WWE's third quarter earnings report last Thursday by noting WWE reported $3.8 million in revenue related to "Legendary," despite the movie drawing a measly $200,000 at the box office. WWE executive Jim Connelly told Variety that WWE is banking on strong storefront marketing at retail locations such as Walmart to help boost DVD and Blu-ray sales of their movies. Variety also reported on WWE pushing their slate of movies to theaters simply for marketing purposes before pulling the movies and releasing them on DVDs. That was apparent with WWE Studios's theatrical release schedule for "Legendary" and "Knucklehead." Related to the planned launch of the WWE TV Network potentially in 2011, Variety reports that WWE is looking to their slate of movies to serve as "more high-profile programming" on the new cable tele channel. Going forward, Jim Connelly told Variety that WWE will be re-evaluating their movie release schedule for 2011 as they begin to roll out the next slate of low-budget movies in theaters with an eye on home video. Variety concluded: "For now, it appears as if the future of WWE Studios will play out on the smallscreen."

Aussie's Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban To Appear On Oprah Winfrey Show Tomorrow; Australia Catches Oprah - Oprah House Mania...

Australian actress Nicole Kidman and huby singer Keith Urban will be on The Oprah Winfrey Show tomorrow. Urban has earlier confirmed that he would be performing in the shows Ultimate Australian Adventure episodes to be filmed later this year. "Tomorrow, two of the hottest Aussies are here! Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban! The countdown to Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure starts now!," says a post on the official Facebook page for The Oprah Winfrey Show. Keith Urban was in The Oprah Winfrey Show earlier this November where he confirmed his performance at the much anticipated episodes set to be shot in Sydney this December. Urban promoted his sixth studio album Get Closer to in the United States. However, the Australia singer did not comment on rumours that his wife Nicole Kidman will also be on Oprah's Australian show. Tomorrow's episode might just confirm if Nicole Kidman will indeed be a guest on December 14 and 15 at the Sydney Opera "Oprah" House.

Mad Max Revamped Movie #4 Will Happen Says Aussiewood Insiders; Fury Road?!...

Remember the Aussie cult film classic that went on to mainstream...Max Max. They got to #3, always with Aussie tough guy Mel Gibson in the lead as 'Max Rockatansky' aka 'The Road Warrior'. Filming will take place near Broken Hill, New South Wales. Gibson will not be reprising his old role in Mad Max 4: Fury Road which will star British actor Tom Hardy alongside Charlize Theron. In November 2006, George Miller had stated that he still had full intentions to make Fury Road, telling the press that he was considering doing the film without Mel Gibson, saying, “There's a real hope. The last thing I wanted to do is another Mad Max, but this script came along, and I'm completely carried away with it." The film's screenplay was co-written with cult British comic creator Brendan McCarthy, who also designed many of the new characters and vehicles. Miller again confirmed his desire to make another Mad Max at the 2007 Aurora film maker initiative. However, he did say he thought Mel Gibson would not be interested in the film because he is too old (not too nuts!)

Billionaire Branson To Launch Apple iPad Lifestyle Mag...

Aussie's live Branson and Virgin, so you'll love this...Word of Sir Dick's plans to publish "Project" for delivery on iPads came shortly after media mogul Rupert Murdoch hinted that his News Corp empire will soon publish a digital newspaper for the hot Apple gadgets. News Corp, owner of The Australian, has been tight-lipped about the project but 79-year-old mogul Murdoch acknowledged in an interview last week that "The Daily" is in the works. Sir Richard said in invitations to the press that "Project" themes will include entertainment, travel, business, design, and international culture. The event in New York City on Wednesday did not indicate whether "Project" would be provided as passenger reading on flights. Billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard owns about half of Virgin Atlantic airline with its aircraft that boast internet-age amenities such as power outlets at seats and wireless connections to the web. He recently said that his Virgin Galactic enterprise is on track to offer commercial space travel within 18 months, and that space hotels are next on the drawing board. Yeah, we know, Branson has appeared in films such as Casino Royale, Around The World in 80 days, and a good spread of other movies and TV specials. If your going to be a media tart, you might as well be very good at it.

Lachlan Murdoch Acquires Ten Network Stake, Joins Shareholder Aussie James Packer...

Lachlan Murdoch, son of News Corp. Chairman Rupert, has recently acquired a little over half of James Packer’s stake in Ten Network Holdings Ltd. Packer bought a 17.88% stake, or 172.2 million shares, in the media group last month through Cavalane Holdings Ltd. Murdoch, through Illyria Nominees Television Pty Ltd. has agreed to buy 93.4 million shares for A$128.2 million, according to a regulatory filing to the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange). The two gents will act in concert in relation to the exercise of their votes, the statement said. Packer and Murdoch agreed to join the board of Australia’s third-ranked television broadcaster last month. Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, lifted her stake in the company to 10%. Packer also owns 49% of Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd. which in turn has 25% of Foxtel, down under's largest pay television operator.

Media Man Showcases Movies; Reviews...

Want more? Check out Media Man Movies here and Media Man Movie Reviews here.

Try not to get square eyes. We're told PartyGaming still has the best movie blockbuster themed slot games on the planet, but you be the judge, jury and executioner. The Media Man has left the building.

 

News

Australian Land Based Casino News Update, by Greg Tingle - 8th May 2010

Australia is home to some of the world's great casinos, hotels and resorts.

While the land down under has over a dozen land based casinos, there's only three that both rate highly and grab the majority of headlines on a global stage. Enter James Packer's Crown Casino in Melbourne, Tabcorp's Star City in Sydney, and Jupiters Hotel & Casino on the Gold Coast.

Media Man and Gambling911 take our eye in the sky look at the landscape of the Aussie land based casino sector and bring you up to speed with what's news down under...

Readers will be aware that there's a "casino war" in the land of kangaroos, koalas and goannas at the moment. You would have to be Blind Fredy not to know about the ultra competitive showdown (and hunt for whales and dolphins) between Packer's Crown Casino down south and Tabcorp's Star City in 'Sin City' Sydney.

Crown Casino and Star City are following the global trend, largely driven forward from Las Vegas and Macau, of offering a total entertainment experience... not just gambling... you know, slots, poker, table games and the like. Whales aka high-rollers, have also demanded the changing face of the sector. Don't get us wrong, the gambling aspect remains vital to the business model and to the punters, but for a variety of reasons Australian casino kings have employed a more holistic model. The reasons include being more government friendly, legal eagle elements and complimenting the larger casino, entertainment and lifestyle sector.

Some of the ramped up services and offerings as part of the industry development include but are not limited to:

Entertainment complex upgrades (including securing more world class acts, more often, to attract the crowds and keep all clients and business partners happy)
Hotel suite refurbishments
Private gambling room upgrades for high rolling VIP's
Sports bar upgrades
Enhanced security - technology and more staff
Gulf Stream Jets aka Lear Jets for international high rollers in a hurry and who demand and casino afford the best


Aussie Casino News Bytes

Crown Casino: Hosted the Logies last week with 1000 guests in attendance. Broadcast on Network Nine Australia. Bert Newton did a fine job as host. One journalist / columnist was fired for what many saw as inappropriate Twitter - ing, including the editor of The Age newspaper. Upgraded website. Management in regular contact with sister casinos, City of Dreams Macau and Altira Macau. 100s more staff to be employed, some of which under the GenerationOne employment initiative, dedicated to helping get Indigenous Australians back into the workforce

Star City: Has expanded their budget by another $100,000 or so. Is ordering 1 or 2 Lear Jets to help better compete with Crown Casino. Upgraded website.

Jupiters Gold Coast: Upgraded their poker room to the tune of a few hundred thousand dollars, Mother Africa Circus of the Senses is showing at Jupiters Theater. Last week a casino courtesy bus was allegedly nabbed by a disgruntle contractor owned money. The case is currently in the courts. Jupiters is nearby to the beaches where major surfing competitions take place annually. Dreamworld (Hollywood On The Gold Coast) is only a short drive away from the casino. Upgraded website.

Burswood Entertainment Complex: Upgraded security, shows include Nitro Circus Live, Cats, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson Tribute Show and Mammi Mia! Burswood is known to put on fantastic community fundraisers. American pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan drew a massive crowd at Burswood late last year for his charity work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Virgin's Richard Branson also did some impressive fundraising on site last month, with folks the world over keen to meet and speak to the entrepreneur. Branson's Virgin Games remains keen to expand the gaming globally, including the AWOMO (A World Of My Own), and perhaps the face to face meetings with the media and political savvy Aussie Casino king, James Packer, won't go astray.

Casino Canberra: Blast From The Past: Are you a baby boomer? Then don’t dare miss Baby Boomers Blast from the Past, the ultimate live entertainment experience. Laugh, dance, party Friday 14 May at Casino Canberra. Watch comic impersonator Chris De Havilland bring to life the likes of Tom Jones, Rod Stewart, Elvis Presley, Joe Cocker, Neil Diamond, and many more baby boomer entertainers. On the 3rd of June - Aussie comedian legends...Austen Tayshus and Elliot Goblet! Austen Tayshus is described as a drunken yobbo's worst nightmare, someone who can out gross you, out yell you and out last you. Austen Tayshus walks a skillful line between the truly offensive and the truly funny. And Elliot Goblet, the master of oodles of clever but unrelated one liners and the odd two liner as well. Both comedians are on one night of classic Aussie humour. Meet the Canberra Raiders NRL Raiderettes! Before Raiders games you have the opportunity to meet some of the Raiderettes and take advantage of the beer and snack footy pack. Galaxy Nightclub - Canberra's hottest nightclub opens from 9pm every Saturday with the beats of the 70's and the best of the 80's. Come and hear the soundtrack of our lives. Galaxy has a NO GLASS policy!

The Reef Hotel Casino: 13th, 14th and 15th May - Lisa Hunt Returns. Soul, Disco & Motown. The way it should sound!

Lasseters Hotel Casino: Dead Centre Show N Shine - Today! - 8th May. Outlaw Drags Spectacular - 9th May


Australian Casino Directory List

New South Wales
Star City Casino (Sydney)

Victoria
Crown Casino (Melbourne)

Queensland
Conrad Treasury Casino (Brisbane)
Jupiters Hotel & Casino (Gold Coast)
Jupiters Townsville Casino (Townsville)
The Reef Hotel Casino (Cairns)

South Australia
Skycity Adelaide (Adelaide)

Western Australia
Burswood Entertainment Complex aka Burswood Casino (Perth)

Tasmania
Wrest Point Hotel Casino (Hobart)
Country Club Casino (Launceston)

Australian Capital Territory
Casino Canberra (Canberra)

Northern Territory
Lasseters Hotel Casino (Alice Springs)
Skycity Darwin (formerly MGM Grand Casino) (Darwin)

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


Online Casinos, Online Poker and Sports Betting

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)

PokerStars.com

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 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

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

 

Australia's Aussie Millions in January 2010 tipped to be biggest and best to date; Stewart Scott, Doyle Brunson, Mike Sexton, Shane Warne, Jeff Fenech, Paris Hilton, Pam Anderson, Tony G, Elle MacPherson all strongly rumored to attend. Rumors that Mickey Rourke and Mike Tyson may check out Aussie Millions

Win your seat at one of Australia's biggest poker tournaments

Asia-Pacific or APAC is that part of the world in or near the Western Pacific Ocean. The area includes much of East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australasia and Oceania). Sometimes the term Asia-Pacific includes South Asia, though India and its neighbours are on or near the Indian Ocean rather than the Pacific Ocean. The term may also include Russia (on the North Pacific) and countries in North and South America which are on the coast of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Although an imprecise geographical descriptor, the term Asia-Pacific became popular from the late 1980s as the economies within the heterogeneous region flourished due to increased regional capital flow, trade and other forms of economic and political interaction. The inclusion of Oceanian countries such as Australia and New Zealand is largely based upon the economic relationships between those countries and their East Asian trading partners to the north.

In some contexts, the region may extend further to include major Asian countries, as well as those around the Pacific Rim, stretching from Oceania, up to Russia, and down the western coast of the Americas. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, for example, includes Canada, Chile, Russia, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. (Credit: Wikipedia).

 

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