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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Improve your hand with the launch of Three Card 2nd Chance™ on Virgin Casino - Press Release

London, 25 June 2008 - Virgin Casino (www.virgincasino.com) today announced the launch of Three Card 2nd Chance™, offering 3 Card Poker fans the chance to improve their hand and earn up to 35:1 on the lucrative ‘Best Hand Bonus’ side bet.

For gamers of all poker playing abilities, Three Card 2nd Chance is one of the fastest growing Casino games, offering an invigorating, fast-paced game that’s quick to understand and easy to play.

With Three Card 2nd Chance, players have the opportunity to turn a weak hand into a winner, by doubling their initial bet in return for a new hand as they try to beat the Dealer.

There are three ways to play and four ways to win Three Card 2nd Chance. Players can either bet on their three card outcome, try to beat the Dealer, or play both ways at the same time. Not only can players earn up to 6:1 on a three card bet, the lucrative ‘Best Hand Bonus’ side bet offers awards of up to 35:1 based on the highest rank of the strongest final hand - whether that hand is the player’s or the Dealer’s!

As with all Virgin Casino games, players can also earn V*Points – Virgin Games’ loyalty points – every time they play. Offering players the chance to redeem their points for further Virgin rewards, including Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles or
cold, hard cash, V*Points can be transferred across Virgin Games portfolio of products, including Virgin Poker and Virgin Bingo.

Premium releases including Cleopatra II™ and Vegas, Baby!™ have already been added to Virgin Casino’s portfolio of games in 2008. Further big IGT names will be added to Virgin Games in the coming months, ensuring a constant stream of new and exciting games to keep players’ adrenalin going.

Virgin Casino launched under the Virgin Games brand in June 2004. The site was refreshed in June 2006, providing players with a greater choice of games and additional means of earning bonus points and rewards.

Three Card 2nd Chance™ is available to play now on www.virgincasino.com

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Virgin Casino

Richard Branson

Las Vegas History

Las Vegas Blooms in the Desert

Las Vegas, in southeastern Nevada, is a booming metropolis with over 500,000 permanent residents, the largest city in the state. It's also an internationally recognized mecca for vacationers, gambling enthusiasts, and fun-seekers. Just the word, "Vegas," has come to be synonymous with fun, extravagant hotels and nightclubs, and 24-hour attractions. Las Vegas, however, as recently as 1900, was just a small oasis in the middle of the desert. The legalization of gambling in Nevada in the 1930's and the influx of vacationers has transformed this sleepy desert outpost into an international resort.

Early History

Las Vegas is named after the Paiute Indian words for "the meadows." Although they are long dried, during the 1800's, areas of Las Vegas Valley contained a series of artisan wells that supported large green spaces - hence the name. John Fremont (for whom the downtown Las Vegas thoroughfare is named), a scout for the US Army Corps of Engineers, was one of the first non-natives to explore the Las Vegas area. He arrived in 1844 and was soon followed by 30 Mormon missionaries, who established a fort and settlement there. The Mormons, however, abandoned the site in favor of Salt Lake City within two decades.

The Land Act of 1885, which offered land to settlers at $1.25 per acre brought an influx of new residents to the area, many of them farmers. The railroad lines, added in 1905, that connected Las Vegas to southern California and Salt Lake City, brought further settlers. Mining companies followed farmers and Las Vegas grew large enough to be incorporated as a city in 1911.

The 1930's: Hoover Dam and the Advent of Gambling

When President Herbert Hoover signed the appropriations bill for "Boulder Dam" (later, Hoover Dam) to be built across the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona in 1930, workers rushed to the Las Vegas area in pursuit of work. Overnight, the area's population soared from 5000 to 25,000 residents. Ever though a separate community for the workers, Boulder City, was later constructed, money and people still flowed into Las Vegas during the dam's seven-year construction.

The legalization and regulation of gambling in Nevada in 1931 set Las Vegas on the path that would lead it to become the mega-resort that the city is today. The first Las Vegas gaming license was issued in 1931 to the Northern Club on Fremont Street. Other downtown Las Vegas casinos followed soon thereafter and the street gained its moniker "Glitter Gulch."

The first Las Vegas Strip hotel, the El Rancho, opened in 1941. It became famous for its "all-you-can-eat" buffet and a Las Vegas tradition was born. Five years later, "Bugsy" Siegel and his mob affiliates opened the Flamingo Resort on the Strip. It was the first Las Vegas resort to combine a luxury hotel, name entertainment, and gambling, and was to become the prototype for the lavish Las Vegas casino-resort in the 1950's.

Vegas in the 1950's

The Flamingo was followed by the Sahara, the Sands, the Tropicana, the Showboat, the Riviera, and several other casino resorts. By 1954, over 8 million people were visiting Las Vegas each year, drawn by the lavish resort and name entertainers as much as by the gambling. Top performers, such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Dean Martin played in intimate cabaret-style theaters.

The 1950's was also the era of nuclear arms testing in Nevada. Between 1951 and 1963, the Atomic Energy Commission detonated over 100 explosions. Despite the dangers (largely ignored and underplayed at the time), many casinos promoted the tests as tourist attractions and even built "sky rooms" from which to view the mushroom clouds.

The 50's also saw the city of Las Vegas develop from a casino town to a functioning city. McCarran Airport was built in 1948; The University of Las Vegas was established in 1957; and the Las Vegas Convention Center opened in 1959. By 1960, Las Vegas had a permanent population of over 64,000.

Howard Hughes and the 1960's

Many of the early Las Vegas casinos, such as "Bugsy" Siegel's Flamingo Hotel, had ties to, and received financing from, organized crime syndicates from the Midwest and East Coast. In the 1960's, this began to change. Corporations, led by the example of Howard Hughes' acquisition of the Desert Inn, started seeing Las Vegas casinos as legitimate business ventures. By the end of the decade, organized crime was all but out of the gaming business.

Steve Wynn, the 80's, and 90's

The opening of Steve Wynn's 3300-room Mirage Resort on the Strip in 1989 ushered in a new era of Las Vegas resorts. Gone and going were the simple gambling halls in favor of huge theme resorts, complete with resident attractions, headliners, and elegant restaurants as well as casinos. Funding for these mega-resort's was unique also. The Mirage was the first resort to be constructed with a junk bond offering. The free volcano attraction in front of the hotel as well as the resident, Siegfried and Roy show became the model for Las Vegas resorts in the 1990's.

The city of Las Vegas boomed also. By 1995, the city's population had skyrocketed to over 350,000 residents, spurred by an incredible 9 percent annual increase in jobs.

Downtown Las Vegas also experienced a renaissance in the 1990's. Fremont Street transformed itself in 1995 into a pedestrian mall, enclosed by a 90-foot high domed screen onto which an elaborate sound and light show is projected every hour after dark. The area also boasts street performers, interesting shopping, and frequent free concerts.

To make more room for the new generation of Las Vegas resorts, developers began imploding, or blowing up, the old 1950's-style hotels and erecting new resort palaces in their ashes. Such was the fate of the Dunes, the present site of the Bellagio Hotel & Casino; the Sands, the present site of the Venetian Resort; and the original Aladdin Hotel in favor of the new Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

Las Vegas Today

Las Vegas today offers something for visitors of all ages. In addition to the lavish casino, the city boasts theme parks, some of the nation's best restaurants, elaborate pool complexes, and one-of-a-kind shopping arcades. Over 34.7 million travelers visited Las Vegas in 2005.

As the city grows, it faces many challenges. The roadway system, particularly in and around the Strip, is increasingly inadequate to handle the huge number of vehicles that travel it daily. In addition, the water supply is becoming stretched as this desert community adds more and more new residents.

What's Next for Vegas?

Las Vegas continues to reinvent itself. New condominium buildings and resort hotels are under construction, and more are proposed. The most ambitious and exciting of these plans is the Project City Center, a 66-acre mixed-use development on the Las Vegas Strip. The plans call for a 4000-room resort and casino hotel, 2800 luxury condominium units, two smaller (400 rooms each) non-gaming boutique hotels, and 470,000-square feet of dining, retail, and entertainment space. The complex will be linked with a state-of-the-art people mover. Project City may just change the face of Vegas once again.

Just Outside of Town

Las Vegas is surrounded by a handful of prosperous suburbs that are as far away in attitude and tempo as can be from the frenetic Las Vegas Strip. Among these are Henderson, Boulder City, and the nearby Nellis Air Force Base.

Boulder City

Boulder City was initially founded as a home for the thousands of workers who flocked to Nevada to work on Hoover Dam (originally, Boulder Dam). Located about 20 miles from Las Vegas, just outside of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, Boulder City is a quiet community of around 17,000 residents. Zoning restrictions, such as requiring hotels to have no more than 35 rooms, have kept the city from becoming a resort area like some of the neighboring communities. Boulder City boasts two public golf courses and a myriad of water sports at adjacent Lake Mead.

Henderson

Henderson, five miles southeast of Las Vegas, is the fastest growing large city in the United States. The city has grown from approximately 175,000 residents in 2000 to around 250,000 in 2005. The quiet upper middle class neighborhood is home to many who work in Las Vegas, but prefer to live a little away from it. Henderson is frequently featured in the hit TV series, "CSI."

Nellis Air Force Base

Nellis Air Force Base, on the northeast side of Las Vegas, is a small community in itself. It is home to over 9000 service personnel and their families as well as civilian base workers. Nellis covers over 11,000 square miles, 60 percent of it undeveloped. Founded in 1940, the base is a major training facility for US and foreign fighter pilots. Nellis Air Force Base is named for William Harrell Nellis, a Las Vegas resident and WWII pilot, who was killed during the Battle of the Bulge. Perhaps the most famous, or infamous, part of Nellis is Area 51, the secretive airstrip and test facility, rumored to be involved in extraterrestrial research. The government has never acknowledged the existence of a government facility at Area 51, although the site is surrounded by armed guards, barbed wire, and motion detectors.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Las Vegas

Las Vegas Strip

Casino Travel

Casino News Media

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Too many poker celebrities? by Greg Tingle - 29th August 2008

Is the celebrity poker market becoming overcrowded? For that matter, is the online casino and online poker market flooded with not only too many celebrities, but too many casino and poker brands?

Let's play word - brand - name association...

Richard Branson - Virgin

Calvin Ayre - Bodog (regardless of the fact he sold it to Morris Mohawk Gaming Group)

Shane Warne - 888

Chris Moneymaker - Poker Stars (and World Series of Poker)... ok, Moneymaker was a regular player, with a great name who "made it", but you get the point

Many online casino and poker websites and portals make no secret of the fact that prefer one of two brands. The exception is when they just back one brand like "The Wizrd of Odds" Michael Shackleford public and shameless pushing of Bodog.. tip, it's got more to do with no pop ups appearing on Bodog, especially considering the current legal going ons at Bodog, which are also of course related to Morris Mohawk to some extent.

Brian Balsbaugh, owner of poker talent agency Poker Royalty explains. "Many poker sites have been successful using top professionals by having them provide content for the site. This gives customers a reason to revisit the site to get updates and instructional information from the top names in poker. That’s done through trip reports and ‘Hand of the Week’ kind of articles, as well as offering the ability to interact with the players themselves."

There's a ton of brands out there in the online casino and online poker world, and just as many affiliate programs.

Media Man Australia opens up on some of its affiliates here and here!

So, who are Media Man's top picks for this month?

Virgin Casino

Virgin Poker

PKR Casino

PKR Poker

Lasseters Online Casino

Media Man Australia Profiles

Celebrity Poker

Poker

Casino News Media

Poker and Casino News

Virgin Casino

Casino News Media Profile Updated

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Casino News Media

AGE gaming event generates strong sales leads - Press Release - 29th August 2008

Initial feedback following this week’s Australasian Gaming Expo has been extremely positive, with exhibitors encouraged by the attendance of quality buyers during the show at Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

“All in all, we welcomed just under 10,000 visitors at the three day exhibition and conference,” said Mr Ross Ferrar, Chief Executive of the organisers, Gaming Technologies Association.

“While the numbers were slightly down on last year’s event, we are not surprised, given the current global and local economic downturn.

“We are pleased that exhibitors received strong sales leads from this year’s event. And, visitors to the trade show also enjoyed the conference and networking opportunities to catch up with their industry peers and colleagues”.

Trade show suppliers at the show are generally upbeat about the future of the gaming and hospitality market, and confident that the Asia Pacific region is at the forefront of technology.

Next year’s AGE is the 20th Anniversary of Australasia’s premier trade show for the gaming industry, scheduled for 16-18 August 2009.

Gaming Technologies Association, who organise and host the event, promise a spectacular gaming show next year.

“The gaming industry is global, with the Asia Pacific region leading the charge for future growth while providing the experience and knowledge gained from decades of successful operations,” said Mr Ferrar from GTA.

This year’s Australasian Gaming Expo showcased more than 200 exhibitors over three halls at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, and the unique AGE Gaming Conference. Entry to both the exhibition and the conference was complimentary to industry delegates, courtesy of the GTA.

The 2009 Australasian Gaming Expo and 20th annual event will be held 16-18 August 2009.

GTA hosts and operates the annual Australasian Gaming Expo (AGE) and the New Zealand Gaming Expo. Further information about the AGE is available at www.austgamingexpo.com

Gaming Technologies Association (GTA) is a not-for-profit industry association, established in 1990 as the Australasian Gaming Machine Manufacturers Association for the purpose of promoting the development of the manufacturing resources of Australia. GTA members provide technology and equipment to hospitality venues in over 250 jurisdictions around the world. GTA's members are Ainsworth Game Technology, Aristocrat Technologies, Aruze Gaming Australia, Global Gaming Industries, IGT (Australia), Konami Australia, and Stargames Corporation.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Poker and Casino News

Casino News Media

Australian Casino News Blog Goes Live

Australian Casino News Blog Goes Live.

This compliments the Media Man Australia network, including Media Man Australia, Casino News Media, Travel Tourism Media and Australian Sports Entertainment.

Blog

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Virgin Casino: Spin the wheel of fortune with Virgin Casino's new 3 Wheel Roulette - Press Release - 27th August 2008

London -- Virgin Casino today announces the launch of 3 Wheel Roulette - an exciting new version of the most popular casino game in Europe.

Offering players triple the excitement and three times the chance to win on every spin, 3 Wheel Roulette is sure to be a hit with avid Roulette players.

Not only is the action tripled in 3 Wheel Roulette, the award potential is also supercharged thanks to the game's new Colour Up Bonus'. Based on the combination of the final numbers appearing on the three wheels, a single Colour Up Bonus' bet makes players eligible for a number of different awards, including 100x and even 1,000x pays.

And the action doesn't stop there. Advanced graphics allow players to enjoy ultra-realistic ball movement based upon motion capture of actual roulette wheels. Turbo Play' mode meanwhile, enables players to accelerate the pace and excitement of the game, while faster play kicks in when players re-bet and spin with a single click - the perfect play options for those who enjoy life in the fast lane.

As with all Virgin Casino games, players can also earn V*Points - Virgin Games' loyalty points - every time they play. Offering players the chance to redeem their points for further Virgin rewards, including Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles or cold, hard cash, V*Points can be transferred across Virgin Games portfolio of products, including Virgin Poker and Virgin Bingo.

Premium releases including ELVIS - A Little More Action , Cleopatra II and Da Vinci Diamonds have already been added to Virgin Casino's portfolio of games in 2008. Further big IGT names will be added to Virgin Games in the coming months, ensuring a constant stream of new and exciting games to keep players' adrenalin going.

Virgin Casino launched under the Virgin Games brand in June 2004. The site was refreshed in June 2006, providing players with a greater choice of games and additional means of earning bonus points and rewards.

3 Wheel Rouletteis available to play now on www.virgincasino.com

* 3 Wheel Roulette and Colour Up Bonus are trademarks or registered trademarks of IGT in the U.S. and/or other countries, and is used with permission. U.S. and international patents pending.

About Virgin Games

Virgin Games (http://www.virgingames.com), a subsidiary of Virgin.com Ltd, launched in June 2004 and has quickly established itself as one of the leading gaming websites in the UK. Virgin Games comprises three distinct entertainment offerings, giving consumers the chance to play their favourite online games the Virgin way:

Virgin Casino, part of the Wagerworks network, provides a taste of Vegas online, with classic casino offerings like blackjack and roulette, as well as popular feature slots like Elvis, Cleopatra and Vegas, Baby!

Virgin Poker, part of the Boss Media network, offers a huge array of games and content for beginners through to experienced pros - as well as the most generous loyalty scheme in the industry. The successful Virgin Poker Festivals, which take place in casinos around the UK throughout the year, now allow gamers to experience the fun of Virgin Poker offline too Virgin Bingo, part of the St Minver network, offers cash prizes worth thousands of pounds in the progressive jackpots, as well as regular promotions and an unrivalled loyalty scheme.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Roulette

Virgin Casino

Virgin Poker

Virgin Games

Casino News Media

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Online Casinos Of The Month - Media Man Australia

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PKR Casino

Lasseters

888.com

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Poker and Casino News

Online casinos and poker rooms hack into clubs

The worst kept secret in the industry is way out in the open... Internet casinos and online poker rooms have had a considerable negative effect on the bricks and mortar casino and club industry.

Granted, one armed bandits are not deal in traditional casinos and clubs, however findings released from government, clubs and online measurement companies, to name a few, all clearly demonstrate the internet influence on the gambling sector.

Bricks and mortar casinos and clubs who fail to integrate a sound internet strategy into their business, marketing and media plans are going to find the going particularly tough.

In recent months Australian gaming tycoon, James Packer, head of PBL Media, has even pulled out of casino deals. Could it be long until Packer starts making much more noise about the online casino sector? Perhaps a NineMSN savour in the wind.

Popular tourism destinations such as Bondi Beach, Cairns and the entertainment district of Western Australia are likely to not be adversely effected as some older and less densely populated venues.

Clearly, the push is on to attract both new players, and younger players. To achieve this establishments will need machines that can compete with the best that the online casino and poker sector offers, and that is not going to be easy.

There's room for both traditional casinos and internet casinos, however the stakes remain as high as ever.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Poker and Casino News

Casino News Media

Casino News Media Profiles Updated

Media Man Australia Profiles

Casino News Media

Income Access Launches Two New Media Channels - Press Release - 25th August 2008

The affiliate marketing solutions provider for the online gaming industry, Income Access, has launched a video channel and igaming news and commentary blog.

Montreal, QC August 25 2008 - With the aim of more actively participate in the online gaming community, Income Access (http://www.incomeaccess.com) has launched an online video channel and industry blog. Through these content channels, Income Access intends to engage other industry players and stimulate discussion about some of the issues facing the industry.

"Launching these new media channels is an exciting new way to engage the online gaming community," said Nicky Senyard, CEO of Income Access. "The online gaming industry is such a dynamic and interesting one. By offering this multi-media content we will be able to spread awareness about topical issues and give back to that community."

The Income Access video channel (http://incomeaccess.blip.tv) features high-definition video interview with major industry players. The first series of video interviews has launched and will continue to run over the coming weeks. All video interviews have also been optimized for mobile phone distribution.

The video interviews are also being published on a new Income Access blog (http://comment.incomeaccess.com). Featuring news and commentary from the online gaming industry, this blog will deal with online gaming issues that transcend marketing. The categories of this news and commentary blog include:

Industry Trends

Legislation

News

Technology

and Video

This first series of video interviews was filmed at the Next Generation in Gambling conference in Montreal. At that conference, Income Access spoke with many industry players about their expertise and perspectives on major industry issues.

Interview subjects included ecommerce experts, gaming executives, and technology entrepreneurs. Video interviewees include:

Cantor Gaming CTO/CIO, Ron Rushin:

http://comment.incomeaccess.com/2008/08/18/mobile-gaming-from-cantor-gaming

CentSport.com's founder, Victor Palmer:

http://comment.incomeaccess.com/2008/08/16/advergambling-or-gambling-20

Second Life's Chris Collins:

http://comment.incomeaccess.com/2008/08/15/the-future-of-ecommerce-and-second-life

Media Man Australia Profiles

Income Access

Casino News Media

Cantor Casino Launches Niche Affiliate Program in Income Access Network - Press Release - 21st August 2008

Affiliate marketers targeting savvy, experienced online gamblers are invited to join and profit from the newly-launched Cantor Casino affiliate program in the Income Access network.

Montreal, QC August 21, 2008 - Affiliate network Income Access has announced the launch of the Cantor Casino affiliate program. Through this program, Cantor Casino affiliates can benefit from a choice of CPA or revenue share commission structures, no negative rollover, dedicated affiliate support and a variety of marketing tools including flash banners, text links, content and HTML mailers.

Publishers who choose to promote Cantor Casino through their new affiliate program in the Income Access network can choose either a flat 25% revenue share commission, or a 75pound CPA. No negative rollover/carry-over means that any negative commissions incurred will be wiped clean at the start of the next month.

UK customers comprise 90% of Cantor's customer base. This new affiliate program is expected to benefit affiliates who target gamblers based in the United Kingdom. While offering all the old favourites, the program will also appeal to affiliates with strong blackjack or roulette themed sites.

Targeting gamblers seeking new excitement, Cantor offers their own suite of patented games, such as Statjack�, Xtra Odds� Baccarat, and Cantor Financial Odds. Cantor is also planning several new games for autumn 2008.

Cantor Casino is a well-established brand that caters to discerning, experienced gamblers with an interest in unique games and loyalty rewards. Customers enjoy a unique 15% cashback program, a 50pound match bonus for new players, and excellent payout odds, particularly on all blackjack games.

Cantor affiliates are expected to benefit from Cantor's ongoing efforts to stay at the forefront of technology in online gambling. Cantor Casino CTO/CIO Ron Rushin explained these efforts in a recent video interview:

http://comment.incomeaccess.com/2008/08/18/mobile-gaming-from-cantor-gaming.

To learn more about the Cantor Casino affiliate program in the Income Access affiliate network, or to sign up, please visit:

http://www.incomeaccess.com/merchant_detail.asp?merch=52.


About Cantor Casino

Cantor Casino (www.cantorcasino.com) is owned and operated by Cantor Gaming Malta One Limited. Cantor Casino operates under license issued by the Lotteries & Gaming Authority, Malta. The casino gaming system is developed and maintained by Cantor Gaming.

Cantor Casino is part of the global Cantor Fitzgerald Group of Companies, a premier global financial services provider. For over 50 years, Cantor Fitzgerald Group has been a recognised leader and expert in the specialised areas of equity and fixed income capital markets. Cantor Fitzgerald offers financial services to the institutional equity and fixed income markets. Their products and services include sales and trading, investment banking, asset management, market data, and market commentary.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Income Access

Casino News Media

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Souths pokie ban voted down, by Brian Robins and Dylan Welch - Fairfax - 18th August 2008

South Sydney Leagues club has delivered a humiliating defeat to Peter Homes a Court and Russell Crowe's proposal to ban poker machines - just three members supported it among more than 100 who voted yesterday.

"This was a vision that a lot of people embraced," said Souths Leagues Club president Bill Alexiou-Hucker yesterday, after the vote.

"No one - not one charity, no corporations, no community that flooded the football club with congratulations over a no-poker machine venue - ever contacted me to see how they could help us.

"We were left to do it. It was going to be a very tough ask.

"The board felt it couldn't offer the members the sorts of things that it wants to without the poker machines."

But Mr Holmes a Court said it was not a blow to his plan, which was backed by the actor, to completely ban poker machines.

He praised the board and said despite the defeat of the no-pokies resolution, the club still planned to divert revenue streams away from poker machines.

"Their plan is about good food and beverage and a gathering place and de-emphasising revenue from poker machines."

Yesterday's vote, he said, showed that "very significant progress had been made".

Souths has 60 poker machines, which generate half the club's annual income of $3.5 million when it is operating. The club is closed for redevelopment.

The idea was to sell the poker machine licences and use the proceeds to reshape the club so that it could rely on income from renting out facilities, for example, to generate the revenue shortfall.

Mr Holmes a Court had said it was not ideal for the club to rely on pensioners and others on a fixed income to put money through poker machines at the club.

Several club members yesterday said it was up to them to spend their money how they wanted, and not up to "some blow-in from the west" to tell them not to play poker machines, was how one member put it.

"It was nice in theory, but as a business practice, it was suicidal," Souths member and Katoomba publican Sean Glassford said.

"As a businessman, someone who runs a hotel, while they're an evil thing, they also provide entertainment for people and provide me, in my business, with a revenue stream that I can put back into entertainment.

"It's good in theory [to ban poker machines] but you'd have to have another business plan to generate that sort of money."

One of the three club members at yesterday's general membership meeting to vote against poker machines was Col McCann, who said there were still companies that wanted to invest in a club without poker machines, "but we've never asked the question".

Mr Alexiou-Hucker said the rebuilt Souths Leagues club still hopes to be ready for business "by January-February next year". The development application for the proposed redevelopment is close to being completed and the financing is also in place, he said.

After his return home last night from the Souths victory over Manly Mr Holmes a Court, who stood down as executive chairman this year, said: "Utopia exists a long way from here and we're just trying to make progress every day."

Media Man Australia Profiles

South Sydney Rabbitohs

Poker

Gaming

Poker and Casino News

Casino News Media

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Virgin Casino News Blog

The Virgin Casino News Blog is on the air.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Virgin Casino

Richard Branson

Casino News Media

A revamped Vegas stakes its future on class, By Neil Breen - News.com.au - 18th August 2008

"Where are you going?" asks the chirpy black guy behind the desk, who's directing human traffic at Las Vegas' amazingly efficient McCarron International Airport.

"To the Luxor," I reply.

"OK, $6," he says and hands me a small white disc. "Here's your ticket: take it to the driver at the van over there."

My "ticket" is a casino chip. What else would they use for a bus ticket in Vegas than the ultimate currency of gambling?

And I laugh at the price – $6 to get from the airport to my hotel. Las Vegas was built around gambling tourism, so the airport is just 10 minutes from the Strip and its gambling dens.

I've just made it to my room when the phone rings. It's someone from the Las Vegas Convention and Tourism Authority, who I've organised to meet the following day.

"I expected to just leave you a message," he tells me. "What are you doing in your room? You're in Las Vegas." Apparently, there's no time to waste.

It's been 11 years since I was last here. In some ways it's the same and in others it's unrecognisably different.

For a start, there are new casinos and a different feel to Vegas than on my visits in 1995 and 1997. The new casinos are completely different to the ones that went up in the 1980s and 1990s; they're more ambitious, if that's possible, even though Vegas has long been famous for ambitious building projects.

Although older stars – such as Caesar's Palace, The Mirage and Treasure Island – still shine, the new breed of casino is more about class than tricks.

Right now, bang in the middle of western side of the strip, a project more ambitious than any other in the city's 100-year history is roaring to completion.

Called CityCenter, it's a six building self-contained "city", occupying nearly 31ha of some of the world's most expensive real estate, at about $US20 million an acre (0.4ha).

The project's total cost is more than $US8 billion and includes a 4000-room, 61-storey casino complex, two 400-room high-end non-gaming hotel rooms, 2650 luxury condominiums spread throughout the six buildings and retail, entertainment and dining covering 46,450sqm.

CityCenter, due to be finished late next year, has its own hospital and will employ 12,000 workers.

Beyond the mind-boggling statistics, the most interesting thing about CityCenter is the minimal emphasis placed on gambling in its slick marketing material.

It's true it will have a casino: all hotels in Las Vegas do (bar Trump Towers after The Donald was repeatedly denied a gambling licence).

But the way CityCenter is going about its business is very "new" Las Vegas. These days, the emphasis is on luxury, entertainment, food, relaxation and shopping rather than gambling. In fact, it's as though gambling is just a side issue, almost an embarrassing one at that.

I walk The Strip and wonder what's happened to the signs advertising mindless heavyweight fight nights, cheap second-rate shows and ghastly buffets featuring $2.99 shrimp cocktails. Until the late-1990s, Vegas was fuelled on these and the gimmick casinos that people would go to gawk at. The widely-held perception is that Vegas is still like that. It isn't.

In 2003, for the first time, gambling was overtaken by "other revenues" as the city's No.1 income source, and the gap has widened slightly each year since.

Yes, Las Vegas is still a massive gambling city – but it's also now a premiere dining and shopping destination.

The world's great chefs, from French masters such as Alain Ducasse and Joel Robuchon to UK firebrand Gordon Ramsay and American superstar Thomas Keller, have set up astonishing palaces to fine dining – it is possible to have a $500 meal in a grand belle epoque dining room, washed down with $10,000 wines.

The shopping is equally superb. Many famous labels have a store here, from Tiffany & Co to Rolex, while the great American department stores such as Saks 5th Avenue, Nordstrom and Macy's have giant outlets at the Fashion Show Mall.

The Bellagio is where the Vegas revolution began with a bang, when, in October 1998, visionary Steve Wynn outlaid $US88 million on the opening night party, including a performance by Cirque du Soleil.

The Bellagio's luxury and opulence – all done without gimmicks such as a giant fake pyramid or a fake New York skyline – quickly made other casino hotels in Las Vegas look ridiculous.

Just 21 months before The Bellagio was launched, for instance, New York New York opened to world-wide publicity. However, its garishness quickly looked passe.

Since 1998, most casinos have followed The Bellagio's lead, with The Venetian, its sister The Palazzo and Mandalay Bay as temples of taste rather than showiness.

Wynn himself has reloaded. He let control of The Bellagio and his other hotels, such as The Mirage and Treasure Island, go in 2000, when he sold Mirage Resorts to MGM Grand Inc.

He then used the cash to snare 93ha on The Strip to build Wynn Las Vegas and a replica structure, the soon-to-be-opened Encore, next door.

At Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, he has changed tack again. Even though he pioneered the idea of the show out front of the casino to draw patrons in (Treasure Island's sinking pirate ship show, for example), his new casinos have no street show, meaning people must venture inside to check out what's on offer.

The Wynn-inspired high-end ventures have had a flow-down effect, dragging the mid-range casinos to a higher standard.

All now have a plethora of restaurants and offer shopping and shows.

When I go looking for them – for nostalgia's sake if nothing else – I find the all-you-can eat buffets do still exist, but they're no longer advertised.

As for the shows, competition has driven the standard of performers through the roof.

The weekend I'm here, the artists performing include Cher, The Police, Robin Williams, David Spade, Toni Braxton, Barry Manilow, David Copperfield and Jay Leno. Even Air Supply is playing, at $US33 a ticket.

For me, the gambling is fun enough but not the be-all and end-all in Las Vegas.

During my weekend, I manage to fit in a Police concert at the MGM Grand, dinner at the superb TAO Asian Bistro at The Venetian, several other great meals, a half-day trip to the spectacular Red Rocks Canyon just outside the city's western fringe, a quick visit to the upmarket LAX nightclub at the Luxor, although I was nowhere near young, nor "LA" enough to fit in, some retail therapy and a few hours by the massive Luxor pool.

Did I expect to do all this when I boarded the bus for the Luxor? Sort of, but I was stunned, and uplifted, by the change.

Las Vegas is now a destination for all travellers, including families, and a must for anyone venturing to North America. Even if it's just for a look, some great meals and shopping.

How to make the most of Las Vegas

* Stay on The Strip. All the action is there and everywhere else is a bust. Try to stay midweek, when room rates are slashed.
* Key mid-range casinos include Luxor, MGM Grand, Excalibur and Bally's, with high-end options including The Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and The Venetian. If you're down on your luck and need a cheap option on the Strip, try the Imperial Palace.
* Avoid Circus Circus at all costs. Travel agents here still have it on their books, but it is a run-down stinker.
* The best gambling casino is still Caesar's Palace. It's magnificent after all these years and has been kept in tip-top condition.
* Explore The Strip yourself. Unlike in other major tourist spots, your hotel won't help you much, as it wants you to stay and gamble. Buy The Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper for $US1, with its daily visitor guide.
* Do not take a taxi down The Strip at night. The traffic is unbearable.
* Bypass the hordes of illegal Mexican immigrants in oversize T-shirts handing out advertising cards for hookers – the saddest sight on The Strip.
* Get out of Las Vegas, at least for a half-day, to check out the amazing surrounding sights including Death Valley, Red Rocks Canyon, Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Use a tour company, like Pink Jeep Tours, for these day trips.

The Sunday Telegraph

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Thousands to visit Gaming Expo - Press Release - 19th August 2008

More than 10,000 people are preparing to visit the Australasian Gaming Expo this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, according to the Australasian Gaming Machine Manufacturers Association (“AGMMA”).

“We are very pleased with the response to this year’s event” said AGMMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Ross Ferrar. “Representatives of clubs, hotels and casinos around Australia and from overseas have registered to attend and we are looking forward to welcoming our industry colleagues.

“Every Australian state will be represented, along with international delegates from Antigua, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, the Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States, among other countries. Several hundred gaming executives are also visiting from New Zealand, which is very well represented both in the trade exhibition and in the Gaming Conference.

“We’ve already started building the stands – and with over 200 exhibitors, from gaming machines to floor coverings and from uniforms to furniture – the exhibition, which is open from 10am until 5pm this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday really must not be missed. More than 1,500 trucks are now unloading a vast array of equipment, which is being assembled, tested and polished by more than 4,000 exhibitor staff in preparation for thousands of exhibition visitors.

“The Gaming Conference has also proven popular, with more than 1,000 industry professionals registering to attend. A great list of speakers is presenting including Allan Pease, Peter Capp, Tan Jose (comedy MCs), cricket legends Mark Taylor and Sir Richard Hadlee, Senator Nick Xenophon, Mike Shackleford and an expert industry discussion panel – and that’s just the first day (Sunday 24 August)” said Ferrar.

“On Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 August, we really get down to business with conference speakers addressing key issues. Rod McGeoch and Ross Greenwood lead a feature-packed program, with the focus on the serious issues facing gaming in the Hospitality Industry. From legislation and regulation to future gaming technology, this conference will cover the key areas.”

The Australasian Gaming Expo, now in its 19th year, is renowned as the region’s premier annual gaming occasion for the Hospitality Industry. The event is held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour. Entry to both the trade exhibition and the Gaming Conference is complimentary for representatives of Gaming Industry Organisations.

Further information about the Australasian Gaming Expo is available at www.austgamingexpo.com

Media Man Australia Profiles

Casino News Media

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Casino (Wikipedia)

A casino is, in the modern sense of the word, a facility that houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships and other tourist attractions. Some casinos are known for hosting live entertainment events, such as stand-up comedy, concerts, and sporting events. Today, there are more than 4000 casinos worldwide.

History of the term casino

The term "Casino" originally meant a small villa, summerhouse or pavilion built for pleasure, usually on the grounds of a larger Italian villa or palazzo. There are examples of such casinos at Villa Giulia and Villa Farnese. In modern day Italian, this term designates a bordello (also called "casa chiusa", literally "closed house"), while the gambling house is spelled casinĂ² with an accent.

One of the first known casinos was established in Venice around 1638. During the 19th century, the term "casino" came to include other public buildings where pleasurable activities, including gambling, and sports took place. An example of this type of building is the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island.

Not all casinos were used for gaming. The Copenhagen Casino was a theatre, known for the use made of its hall for mass public meetings during the 1848 Revolution which made Denmark a constitutional monarchy. Until 1937 it was a well-known Danish theatre. The Hanko Casino located in Hanko, Finland - one of that town's most conspicuous landmarks - was never used for gambling. Rather, it was a banquet hall for the Russian nobility which frequented this spa resort in the late 1800s, and is presently used as a restaurant.

History of casinos

The precise origin of gambling is unknown. The Chinese recorded the first official account of the practice in 2300 B.C., but it is generally believed that activity of gambling, in some way or another, has been seen in almost every society in history. From the Ancient Greeks and Romans to Napoleon's France and Elizabethan England, much of history is filled with stories of entertainment based on the games of chance.

In American history, early casinos were originally known as saloons. The creation and importance of saloons was greatly influenced by four major cities; New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago and San Francisco. It was in the saloons that travelers could find people to talk to, drink with, and often gamble with. During the early 20th century in America, gambling became outlawed and banned by state legislation and social reformers of the time. However, in 1931, gambling was legalized throughout the state of Nevada, and Las Vegas, presently known as "Sin City", spawned America's first official casinos. Soon after, in the state of New Jersey, Atlantic City joined the Casino industry in 1978 to become America's second largest gambling city.

Gambling in casinos

In most jurisdictions worldwide, gambling is limited to persons over the age of license (18 or 21 years of age in most of the United States and 16 to 21 in most other countries where casinos are permitted).

Customers gamble by playing slot machines or other games of chance (e.g., craps, roulette, baccarat) and some skill (e.g., blackjack, poker) (for more see casino games). Games usually have mathematically-determined odds that ensure the house has at all times an advantage over the players. This can be expressed more precisely by the notion of expected value, which is uniformly negative (from the player's perspective). This advantage is called the house edge. In games such as poker where players play against each other, the house takes a commission called the rake. Casinos often give out free items, known as comps to people who are gambling. Often, in most casinos, the more money a player uses the more benefits or comps the player get.

Payout is the percentage won by players.

Playing with house money refers to the situation where a winning player is placing bets with money that has been won from the casino.

Security

Casinos focus greatly on security, considering that this is a 30 billion dollar industry. Large amounts of currency move through a casino, tempting people to cheat the system. Security today consists of cameras located throughout the property operated by highly trained individuals who attempt to locate cheating and stealing by both players and employees.

Modern casino security is usually divided between a physical security force, which patrols the casino floor and responds to calls for assistance and reports of criminal and/or suspicious activities, and a specialized surveillance department, that operates the casino's closed circuit television (known in the industry as eye in the sky) system in an effort to detect any misconduct by both guests and employees alike. Both of these specialized casino security departments work very closely with each other to ensure the safety of both guests and the casino's assets.

When it opened in 1989, The Mirage was the first casino to use cameras full time on all table games. (Credit: Wikipedia).

Media Man Australia Profiles

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High roller Rob Karam charged in $2bn drug plot, by Keith Moor - Herald Sun - 16th August 2008

Banned Crown casino high roller Rob Karam has been charged over a plot to import six tonnes of chemicals to make ice and speed with a street value of $2 billion.

The conspiracy to import pseudoephedrine charge is in addition to those laid against him last week over the world's biggest ecstasy bust.

Mr Karam, 41, of Kew, was one of Crown's top 200 gamblers until Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon banned him from the casino last year.

Australian Federal Police have also charged Fadl Maroun, 26, over the attempt to smuggle six tonnes of pseudoephedrine into Melbourne from China.

Mr Maroun, of Preston, is also facing charges over the world's biggest ecstasy bust, the 4.4-tonne AFP seizure in Melbourne of 14.5 million pills worth $450 million.

He and Mr Karam are due to appear in Melbourne Magistrates' Court to face charges in March.

AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty yesterday revealed joint operations between the AFP, Australian Customs and various state police forces had led to 38 people being charged in the past month.

Mr Keelty said the charges related to 14.6 tonnes of drugs with a street value of $3 billion.

He said 23 of the arrests related to the world's biggest ecstasy bust in Melbourne.

Two months before he was charged over the ecstasy and the six-tonne pseudoephedrine plot, Mr Karam revealed he was about to fight the lifetime gambling ban imposed on him by Ms Nixon.

"I maintain my innocence and I'd like to know why I was excluded, because the Chief Commissioner has not given me a reason," he said.

Section 74 of the Casino Control Act allows Ms Nixon to ban people from entering or remaining in a casino.

The Herald Sun last week revealed a global drug syndicate was allegedly involved in repeated attempts to flood the Australian market with world-record hauls of ecstasy.

That global network is allegedly dominated by a Calabrian organised crime gang.

Australian Customs chief executive Michael Carmody yesterday revealed the seizure of 662kg of pseudoephedrine worth $52 million.

It arrived in Sydney by ship on August 8 from Thailand, hidden in fruit juice cartons.

Four Sydney men were charged yesterday.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Crown Casino

Casino News Media

Friday, August 15, 2008

Casino News Media

Welcome to the Casino News Media blog.

This web blog compliments the news media coverage of the casino, poker and gaming industry by Media Man Australia, the Sydney based media and publicity company.

This blog will also compliment the coverage offered by the Poker In The Media blog, another blog published by Media Man Australia.

News and information will include general news, scoops, interviews, articles, press releases, events, gossip, and of course affiliate programs.

In coming weeks and months Media Man Australia, Australian Sports Entertainment and Travel Tourism Media will be collaborating closely on a number of casino, gaming, lifestyle and tourism initiatives, and we look forward to bring you the news scoops on that front, in addition to covering the industry as a whole.

Thanks for reading.

Greg Tingle
Director
Media Man Australia (editor and founder of Casino News Media)

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