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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Media Man Australia - March 2009

This is the Media Man Australia monthly update as we get ready to enter a new month.

March 2009 proved to be a most significant month for Media Man Australia and we suspect for most people and companies.

The sentiment on the street and in the boardrooms is that Australia nor the rest of the world has yet to see the worst of the financial crisis, recession, crush, or whatever other terms we wish to use to describe it. It's well and truly a casino economy.

The "casino economy" was a catalyst in Media Man Australia further ramping up its activities in the casino, online casino, resort, financial news and tourism sector.

As you likely know Media Man Australia is primarily a media, publicity and portal development company. MMA was born in Sydney, Australia in 2001.

In 2005 we become fully aware that the casino, online casino and professional poker poker business had some exciting and potentially lucrative ties in with the media company and internet portal development business. It was our former client Keith "Bendigo" Sloan, poker commentary and trainer who tipped us off, and it must be said that "Bendigo" was right on the money as far as poker and casinos being made for TV in addition to convergent media opportunities.

In our time managing "Bendigo" we also expanded our online presence in the media, new media, poker and casino space, and were certainly able to see our business get to the next level.

Over the past few years we have noticed the trend of business giants such as Richard Branson's Virgin Group expand into other lifestyle sectors including launching their Virgin Casino - Virgin Games and James Packer's Crown Casino offering more of a total entertainment experience via bring in world class entertainment acts and in house facilities to their casino in Melbourne and Burswood Entertainment Complex in Western Australia. Billionaires such as Mr Branson and Mr Packer has also experienced their ups and downs with the financial markets and only last week caught up for a chat at the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix. Last month Donald Trump referred to the casino business as a "disaster", however the casino business is not the online casino business, and here down under in Australia things are a bit different to Las Vegas and Atlantic City which are somewhat saturated with debt laden land based casinos.

Just as in any business their are individuals and brands who stand head and shoulders about the rest and there are others which raise a number of questions and concerns.

As the founder and director of Media Man Australia and Casino News Media you can imagine that I get asked for my opinion and experience with a number of media, new media and casino entities. Here's is a list, not complete by any means, of a range of companies that we have had positive dealings and experiences with:

Virgin Enterprises Limited

Virgin Games

PartyGaming PartyCasino.com PartyPartners.com

PKR

World Poker Tour

World Series of Poker

Playtech

William Hill

Rewards Affiliates

Captain Cooks Casino

Microgaming

Cryptologic

Betezy

National Rugby League

Crown Casino

Hilton Hotels

Marvel Entertainment

InterCasino.com

JackpotCity

Moneybookers

Betfair

Australian Stunt Academy

Maxx-G Aerobatics

Drasin Productions

Richard Bradley Productions

Casino Affiliate Programs

Gaming Portal Webmasters Association

Gambling911

DGM

World Wrestling Entertainment

Layfield's Energy

Google

Fairfax

News Corporation

Foxtel

Craig's List

The Bondi View

ABC

Again, this list is not complete by any means. Please see the Media Man Australia and Casino News Media websites for more information and company reviews and articles.

What to expect from Media Man Australia in the coming months?

Media Man Australia will be at the forefront of important news stories, especially those which concern both the online casino and censorship debate and the ACMA "blacklist".

We will be continuing our policy of supporting many worthy causes at the same time via our online listing of the Social and Community Entrepreneurs and Charity portfolio. Our favorite worthy causes include Virgin Unite, Variety, beyondblue, The Salvation Army and The Shane Warne Foundation.

The Media Man Australia network will continue to expand in an online and offline capacity.

The main websites in the Media Man Australia online portfolio are:

Media Man Australia

Casino News Media

Australian Casino News

Australian Sports Entertainment

Marvel Slots Online

Party Casino News

Casino Travel Tourism

We also also assisting our friends and associates at Travel Tourism Media.

Expect to see one or two Media Man Australia websites turn up again in the Hitwise top ten lists and our Alexa rankings further improve.

The good old fashion work - life balance will remain a focus. Some good places to check out on that front include the offerings from Virgin Limited Edition and Universal Peace Centre Retreat. MMA also have an online Mind, Body and Spirit portfolio. If your looking into air travel check out Webjet, Virgin Blue, V Australia and Qantas.

We're set to break more leading news stories and will also continue to play a major role in new and exciting developments in the publicity business. I am known to say, "we don't advertise" however the internet could be seen as one giant advertisement and positive word of mouth could also be seen as a form of advertising.

Movie Reviews

There's been some great movies released so far in 2009 and some potential blockbusters just around the corner.

Movie Profiles

The Wrestler

Iron Man

Slumdog Millionaire

Watchmen

Wolverine

12 Rounds

Game Reviews

The Godfather

Wolverine

Lucky News Network

No Worries

Bush Telegraph

Goanna Gold

The Hulk

Cleopatra

WWE Legends Of WrestleMania

News

Access the world's major news services online here and here.

That's a wrap for March. Remember, you only live once so make the most of it.

Thanks for supporting Media Man Australia.

Greg Tingle
Director
Media Man Australia

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Australians are Biggest Gamblers in the World, by Danielle Almond - Gambling Online Magazine - 27th March 2009

A Canadian report has recently discovered that Australia is the biggest nation for gambling in the world. The report showed that Aussies and New Zealanders spend an average of $435 online every month.

The report has obviously been seen by some as more ammunition for online gambling to be banned in the country as it allows punters to use credit. This is to come as sad news to many Australians as added to this there have been other reports that the government is anticipated to be the next to ban online poker rooms.

20,000 adults were surveyed for the study which was conducted by the University of Lethbridge professors Robert Wood and Robert Williams.

Professor Wood said, “Australian Internet gamblers do report high average monthly gambling spending than the overall average we observed among our sample. This would suggest that Australian Internet gambler do indeed spend more on gambling compared with Internet gamblers from most other countries.”

Australian gambler, Greg Tingle, said, “This report confirms my suspicions and my own findings. Online gambling is red hot in the land down under. I think this officially marks a gold rush for the promised land.” Those who believe these finding should bring about a ban on gambling include Gerard Byre, the Salvation Army’s problem-gambling service co-coordinator, who said, “We would encourage bans on any capacity to gamble on credit and believe the Federal Government should take a lead on this. People are certainly reporting more and more sage of online gaming. We’ve got a culture in NSW where gambling is the state past time.” (Credit: Gambling Online Magazine)

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Aussie Senator Blames Russian Mob for Blacklist Errors

Statement "casts significant doubt on the Government's ability to filter the Internet," says Sydney Morning Herald

March 27, 2009 (CAP Newswire) -- On a Q&A program aired on Australian television last night, Australia's Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, finally admitted error regarding the leaked blacklist of websites that the government is reportedly considering blocking.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald's recap of the session, more than 2,000 questions were submitted regarding the Aussie government’s "hugely unpopular policy" of Internet censorship. The audience even ridiculed and laughed at the senator’s responses, according to the article.

The main point of controversy regarding the blacklist is the inclusion of many sites that are perfectly legal, including gambling sites. When asked why the blacklist, which is supposed to focus on illegal activities, included a number of non-criminal websites, "Senator Conroy said it was the result of a 'Russian mob' that targeted small businesses and published questionable content on their websites,” wrote Asher Moses in the Sydney Morning Herald article.

“The admission by Senator Conroy on ABC television's Q&A program last night casts significant doubt on the Government's ability to filter the internet without inadvertently blocking legitimate websites,” the article continued.

Nick Minchin, a spokesman for the Opposition political party, was also quoted in the article: "This error only came to light because content from the secret blacklist had been publicly leaked. Under Senator Conroy's regime how many similar errors will result in the wrongful filtering of legal sites and content?"

"When he wasn't blaming the Russian Mob, the Minister was still invoking hateful, extreme content and protesting that they don't intend to censor 'political' content," commented Colin Jacobs, spokesman for Electronic Frontiers Australia, in the article.

"But this doesn't address questions of how the secret list is administered, how the Government hopes to classify millions or billions of web pages without making any mistakes, or why an expensive national filter has to be applied at the ISP level in the first place."

Click here to read the article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Playtech 2008 Revenues Climb 70 Percent

27th March 2009

Playtech, a leading global designer, developer and licensor of software for the online and mobile gaming industries, has announced its audited full-year results showing a 70 percent increase in total revenues to €111.5 million.

The Isle of Man-based firm revealed that casino revenues improved 68 percent from €47.4 million for the year before to €79.4 million while those from poker grew 73 percent to €30.1 million from €17.4 million.

Capping off the good news for Playtech while many others in the industry struggle, net profits increased 55 percent to €40.7 million resulting in a net profit margin of 37 percent, which was slightly down on 2007’s 40 percent.

Playtech also reported an encouraging start to 2009 with daily average revenues for the first eleven weeks up 2.3 percent compared to the final quarter of 2008. In addition, revenues from its software licensing deal with William Hill that created William Hill Online were approximately 40 percent greater for the first eight weeks of 2009 than those generated by former customers over the final period of last year.

'Playtech continues to perform extremely well, delivering healthy growth for shareholders and meeting management's demanding expectations,” said Roger Withers, Non-Executive Chairman for Playtech.

'Our landmark agreement with William Hill Online is on course to offer significant benefits to the company's earnings in 2009 and further strengthens Playtech's position.

'Management's strategy to focus on growing its presence in regulated markets has enabled the group to enter Italy, signing-up four leading Italian licensees in the process, and we expect to announce further developments in this regard.

'Our successful share placing in June of 2008 demonstrated the faith investors have in the company and its management. Despite the difficult macroeconomic outlook for 2009, I am confident that the group will successfully navigate these challenges. As a result, the board is highly confident of its prospects for 2009 and beyond.'

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Australians Are The Biggest Gamblers In The World - Gambling911 - 26th March 2009

A report out of Canada paints Australians as the biggest gambling degenerates in the world. The report, obtained exclusively by The Sunday Telegraph, shows Australian and New Zealand gamblers spend an average of $435 online every month.

This is five times what punters put through poker machines and has prompted renewed calls for bans on online gambling, which allows people to bet using credit.

The study also found the prevalence of problem gambling was up to four times higher for Internet gamblers than those who used traditional means such as poker machines.

More than 20,000 adults from 105 countries were surveyed for the study, conducted by University of Lethbridge professors Robert Wood and Robert Williams.

"Australian Internet gamblers do report higher average monthly gambling spending than the overall average we observed among our sample," Prof Wood said.

"This would suggest that Australian Internet gamblers do indeed spend more on gambling compared with Internet gamblers from most other countries."

Australian Media Man for Gambling911.com, Greg Tingle, rejoiced at the news.

"Ahoy. This report confirms my suspicions and my own findings... online gambling is red hot in the land down under... Australia. I think this officially marks a gold rush for the promised land. Our phone hasn't stopped ringing, and there's a constant stream of overseas enquires.

"The Australian government's ACMA website blacklist doesn't appear to have slowed down those seeking to make a killing down under. We're seen a trend in more .net ventures taking off and online casinos are generally keeping the "play for free" or "play for money" option. Australian newsrooms are also starting to run more stories regarding the online gambling sector and most are surprisingly balanced stories. We're gladly assisting them on (some) of the inner workings of the online casino industry." (Credit" Gambling911)

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Rewards Affiliates Super-Sizes Commission Rates in April

Enormous 60% commission structure is almost double the standard rate

March 26, 2009 (CAP Newswire) -- Starting next week and running throughout the entire month of April, leading affiliate network Rewards Affiliates will be offering a stunning 60 percent commission on all new referrals to the CasinoRewards.com family of Internet casinos.

“Sixty percent is almost double the regular commission offered by Rewards Affiliates,” the company stated in a press release, “and no doubt one of the highest rewards structures in the casino affiliate program industry.”

Named “Best Casino Affiliate Program” at the First Annual CAP Awards held last year, and with an affiliate manager who’s been named Best Casino Affiliate Manager two years in a row, Rewards Affiliates is widely acknowledged to be one of the premiere affiliate program networks in the online gaming industry.

There are 19 online casinos in the CasinoRewards.com family, including such popular destinations as RewardsRiches.com, BlackjackBallroom.com, YukonGoldCasino.com, CaptainCooksCasino.com, and CasinoClassic.com.

View the company’s press release for more information.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Australia Blacklist May Cost Election - Gambling911 - 25th March 2009

The controversy continues regarding Australia's leaked list of blacklisted websites which included, among others, the legal gambling enterprise, Betfair, as well as some online poker portals.

"We didn't know [about the ban]," said Betfair CEO Andrew Twaits. "We've been licensed to operate in Australia for three years and have never received a complaint or any allegation that Betfair locally or globally is not allowed usage by Australians. The global Betfair site is used by Australians every day."

Some 2500 websites were reportedly brandished as "unacceptable for viewing by Aussies". Besides numerous porn websites, there were YouTube links and poker room sites listed as well.

Poker sites on ACMA's blacklist include big names like partypoker.com, fulltiltpoker.com, 888.com, pokerroom.com, pokerstars.com, and mansion.com.

"As many as 400,000 Aussies are playing poker on the Web," an industry spokesperson told Network World, adding the amount gambled could be $US1000 per person every year.

But portal news websites like PokerNews.com were also on the blacklist. It was not immediately known if Gambling911.com was on the list as well.

Even more shocking, a Queensland dental surgery website was also among those blacklisted.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who is pushing for the Web filtering, claimed that porn had been implanted into the dental surgery website by hackers.

"Australians have proven themselves to be very pro active, passionate and rather effective protesters and activists over the decades," said Australia Media Man, Greg Tingle. "Australia is also home many Internet entrepreneurs and self styled publishers."

Tingle added: "Australia is also known for its fearless whistle blowers, likely the most notable being "The Human Headline" Derryn Hinch. Hinch and others have risked (and done) jail to stand up for justice! The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, of which I'm a member, have enjoyed some strong successes in protecting the rights of journalists.

"To state the obvious the matter of censorship is of significant relevance and interest to journos and their editors. There's an old expression by a wise man in New York... "News is something, someone, somewhere, doesn't want someone else to know, everything else is PR! Nathan, the Australian government "blacklist" is huge news. It appears that by making websites or whatever "illegal" and "banned" it boosts interest and makes them every more sought after.

"Many industries have thrived in an underground and underworld type environment in the past including some of Australia's (unadvertised) land based casinos, as showcased on Network Nine's 'Underbelly'. Bottom line... Australians do care a rats ass about censorship."

Thus far, Conroy shows no sign of backing down.

Speaking at a Sydney press conference Thursday morning, Conroy said the leaked list would serve only to publicise Web sites that promote terrorism, hate and child porn.

"Does the [leaked blacklist] mean we are going to stop blocking access to the sites? No. People can continue to put up the lists if they are proud to do that," Conroy said.

"It is completely untrue that the leaked blacklist contains political content. This is a list which contains sites that promote incest, rape, child pornography and child abuse.

"If people think [leaking the list] is a victory for free speech, to make available that sort of information, they have a perverse sense of free speech. You can oppose the filter and not be a supporter of child pornography, but equally you can support the filters and still be supporter of free speech. (Credit: Gambling911)

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Aussie Blacklist Controversy Escalates - CAP

Leaked lists of banned websites "closely resemble" the government's official list, according to Australian insiders

March 25, 2009 (CAP Newswire) -- At first, Australia Communications Minister and Senator Stephen Conroy denied that the recent lists of websites that appeared on Wikileaks (a website dedicated to publishing and commenting on “leaked documents alleging government and corporate misconduct”) had any connection to the Australian government's official watchdog lists.

Now, it appears that he may be changing his story.

"Senator Controy admitted that the latest list, dated March 18th, 'seemed to be close’ to ACMA’s current blacklist," writes Chloe Lake, Technology Editor for Australia’s news.com.au, in an article from today’s online edition.

(ACMA, or the Australian Communications and Media Authority, is the department that mandates government intervention in that country's media and communications. An official government blacklist of Internet sites would most likely come from this office.)

What was really controversial about last week’s leaked lists, though, was the inclusion of many reputable, widely respected companies among the thousands of pornography and criminal activity-related websites -- including Betfair, the world's largest betting exchange.

Many in the Australian media are understandably upset at the list, and the implications it represents -- that the Aussie government can randomly select which Internet destinations it allows its citizens to visit, without any kind of public hearing on the matter.

“When ‘they’ (‘they’ usually being the government) tell us it’s ... for our own good and to ‘trust us’, it’s time to be concerned,” Media Man Australia’s Greg Tingle told CAP. “The recent actions by the Australian government regarding censorship of the Internet are the sort of actions that inspire riots, something our friends in America and France would be well aware of.

“When things become ‘illegal’ or ‘banned’, the world history books effectively show that these matters become more popular, often more profitable, but less regulated, so that consumer protection measures are reduced or dissolved.”

Mr. Tingle goes on to claim that not only Betfair but also PokerStars and PokerNews are on the published lists, although whether this is true or not is difficult to confirm in an official capacity.

So, the big question comes back to authenticity: Are the lists really the official black lists of the Australian government?

That still hasn't been confirmed -- and perhaps cannot be, given the understandable reluctance of Aussie politicians to claim responsibility for such a controversial topic.

Independent Australian news agency Crikey has been reporting furiously on the topic, publicly calling on Senator Conroy's office to confirm whether or not the new lists were indeed the ACMA blacklist. The jury is still out on whether or not it is, but the lack of an official denial or confirmation is just adding fuel to the fires of controversy at this point.

If there's a silver lining, it's this: Perhaps this storm of criticism will inspire the Aussie government to rethink the very notion of Internet censorship, a concept to which most citizens seem firmly opposed.

Read the Crikey coverage here; and click here to read the news.com.au coverage.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

City gambles on online betting mergers - The Guardian - 23rd March 2009

There is a growing school of thought which believes that the online gaming sector is ripe for consolidation.

Mergers between existing operators could lead to substantial savings, given the widespread duplication of operating and software costs. And it is also possible that gaming companies without a major online presence could be tempted into jumping into the market through acquisition. However it is unclear whether any moves will be made before any settlements with the US Department of Justice over the longstanding disputes relating to the various companies previous US activities.

In a 12 page note on possible deals - concentrating on online operators targeting rivals - Evolution Securities analyst Ivor Jones said:

"Long talked about, we believe the sector will start to consolidate soon.

"Current trading news across the sector is, by and large, not great. The recession and increasing secular maturity are combining to deflate near-term growth expectations. The longer-term benefits of deregulation are still some way off. When merger and acquisition [activity] starts there is likely to be rush of deals by companies which don't want to be left behind and we expect share prices to rally rapidly. Investors who want to play the consolidation theme should take positions now."

Evo's suggestion for the most interesting link-up is 888 taking on rival Sportingbet:

"Strategically this would bring together high quality casino and sports betting businesses. We would expect revenue benefits from cross-selling each product across the combined customer base. In addition Sportingbet pays third party royalties on its casino which could be eliminated as could the, relatively minor, amounts 888 is paying for its sports book. Geographically 888 is over-dependent on the over-competitive UK and the combination would give an improved channel for 888's UK cashflow to be invested in developing markets."

Next comes the possibility of PartyGaming adding Germany's Bwin :

"The biggest casino and poker operator combined with the biggest sport book (and substantial poker and casino business) would create a clear leader among the listed companies. Germany is the largest single market for both companies but Party's geographic footprint is westward, UK, Canada and France where Bwin points more east and south, Greece, Spain, Italy."

Another permutation could be Bwin buying 888:

"Similar to our comments on 888/Sportingbet, the casino/poker business gets bigger and gets a great sports book as a driver of traffic. The combined group would be much less dependent on the struggling UK and able to apply its increased cashflow to developing markets."

And then there is the suggestion of PartyGaming buying, not Bwin this time, but 888:

"The cost savings and combined casino, poker revenues would be material but we would see it as a priority to add a competitive sports betting product, something both companies have so far failed to do."

PartyGaming is currently 4.5p higher at 257.25p, valuing the business at just over £950m. 888 is worth around £360m at its present price of 104.75p, down 0.25p. Sportingbet has added 0.75p to 45p, giving it a market capitalisation of around £220m.

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Gambling News Down Under: Australia Website Blacklist Debacle - Gambling911 - 24th March 2009

Evidence is mounting that the list of websites published by Wikileaks is almost certainly ACMA's "secret" blacklist. Senator Stephen Conroy claimed the first leaked list, dated August 2008, was too long to be real. 2395 URLs instead of 1600-odd. However, more recent lists, leaked late Friday night, are another story.

"There's not much if any room for doubt that the Wikileaked lists of 11 and 18 March are anything other than the ACMA blacklist," says Irene Graham, who maintains censorship information website Libertus.net.

Even apart from the giveaway file name, "Websites_ACMA.txt", ACMA' statistics for November 2008 say they added an item "RC-Publication" that month. That means an electronic version of a print publication, like a book or magazine (remember them?), which had been "Refused Classification". It's the only "RC-Publication" item ACMA has ever blacklisted.

When books are banned, it's not a secret. The Classification Review Board's database shows, to choose a completely random example, that on 27 February, 2007, they banned The Peaceful Pill Handbook by Phillip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart.

Mainstream media reported that Nitschke then published the book online in October 2008, hosted outside Australia. The leaked blacklist dated 11 March, 2009, shows the relevant website added on 12 November, 2008 -- the same month ACMA added their solitary banned book to their list. Coincidence? Yeah right.

"This is turning into the Grim Reaper and Y2K of 2009 all in one!" says Australian Media Man, Greg Tingle. "I wouldn't be surprised if this stays one of the hottest news stories in Australia for all of this year. This effects ever man, women and child. The word on the street is that the Australian government has gone to far and will be thrown out of office at the next election." (Credit: Gambling911)

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Australian Gambling News: Tasmania Wants to Force Breaks on Gamblers - Gambling911 - 23rd March 2009

The Tasmanian government wants to reduced the number of people addicted to pokie machines by forcing them to take breaks.

The Treasurer Michael Aird has announced a range of measures to further protect people addicted to poker machines.

They include a mandatory code of practice for gambling, reducing the maximum bet on poker machines.

"The more player breaks you can induce the more you can mitigate player behaviour," Aird said.

"'They' are at at again!" declared Australia Media Man, Greg Tingle. "'They' are wanting to control people's behavior. They are Government and organisations with hidden agendas. ‘They' are sometimes church groups, lobby groups and government spooks. ‘They' are everywhere and amongst us."

Tingle also warns of the language that "They" use in describing the need to control gambling behavior.

"Be watching out for the word ‘mitigate'," he says. "It's another word for ‘Control'. Mitigate - To moderate (a quality or condition) in force or intensity!"

....Good Friday Bets Won't Happen In South Australia: Gambling Minister Tom Koutsantonis says he wrote to UNiTAB, which owns the South Australian TAB, to make clear it is not allowed to take bets on Good Friday.

He says UNiTAB has withdrawn its plan for the Good Friday trial.

"The TAB were about to, for the first time in SA, have a trial. They were going to open a call centre and take internet bets. On Good Friday and Christmas that's illegal in SA and in breach of their agreement," the Minister said.

"If they continued with that trial they could have been open to a $60,000 fine."

....Internet Service Provider Pulls Out of Australia Censorship Trial: Australia's third largest internet provider, iiNet, has withdrawn from the Government's internet censorship trials, saying it could not "reconcile participation in the trial with our corporate social responsibility".

The move comes after the anonymous whistleblower site Wikileaks last week published a leaked copy of the secret Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) blacklist of prohibited websites, which forms the backbone of the Government's censorship policy.

That list included online poker sites.

"The ISP's have started to pull out of the trial, starting with iiNet, now that the Government's real agenda is becoming much clearer thanks to the leaking of information about the list," Tingle said.

"Industry rumours indicate that not only has Betfair been banned but also PokerStars and PokerNews.com I can't wait to find out if our Casino News Media has made the Government's hate list also. They don't always see eye to eye with journalists or gaming entrepreneurs, so I'm betting I'm on the list! I would also bet that if Gambling911 gets a .com.au they will make the list also!"

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Monday, March 23, 2009

New Zealand And Australia The World Leaders In Online Gambling

Most people would think that the most online gambling is taking place in the US. Those people would be wrong if one is to believe the findings of a new study done by University of Lethbridge professors Robert Williams and Robert Wood.

The study was uncovered by The Sunday Telegraph and the results indicate that New Zealand and Australia are the world leaders in terms of online gambling. They both average over $400 a month worth of bets from gamblers.

The study consisted of surveying over 20,000 people from 105 countries. Australia and New Zealand gamblers admitted to betting $435 on an average online, per month. That figure exceeds any other countries.

"Australian Internet gamblers do report higher average monthly gambling spending than the overall average we observed among our sample," said Professor Wood, "This would suggest that Australian Internet gamblers do spend more on gambling compared with Internet gamblers from most other countries."

Some suggest that Internet gambling needs stricter regulations in Australia. The use of credit cards to gamble online is a main concern for at least one problem gambling coordinator from the Salvation Army.

"We would encourage bans on any capability to gamble on credit and believe the Federal Government should take a lead on this," said Gerard Byrne. Centrebet is at the center of the online gaming industry, with a ten percent revenue increase from online betting over the past year..

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Online Casino Software Giant Playtech Earns Big

Online casino software provider Playtech released full 2008 earnings this week, reporting a massive increase in profits driven by a surge in revenues. Prior to tax, the company claimed €40.69m, well up from the €26.9m earned in 2007.

Playtech remarked that its agreement with William Hill Online is on course to offer significant benefits to its earnings in 2009 and further strengthens its position. The income from the joint venture with William Hill generates approximately 40% more income than the daily average income the company generated from its former customer during the previous quarter.

The group also announced a major, exclusive multi-year licensing agreement with MGM interactive, Inc. to use all of its Rocky and Pink Panther images and logos, paving the way for exciting new Hollywood slot games.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Party Casino Renews Casino Conquest $3000 Giveaway

The PartyCasino Conquest promotion is back for the month of March! Simply earn one Party Point at PartyCasino during the contest dates and you will be automatically be entered into a daily prize draw.

Money is given away daily until to 30th of March when thousands in prizes will be distributed to those top Casino Conquest point getters from the entire contest week. The top fifteen positioned players on the Conquest leaderboard will earn cash as their reward with first place being $3000!

Each day of the Casino Conquest promo will also feature a $500 draw for players who earn just one point while playing PartyCasino games. The contest begins at 00:00 ET on March 23rd and runs unti 23:59 ET on the 30th of March.

If you're curious but wanting to take it slow, don't worry. PartyCasino just recently lowered their minimum deposit to just $25!

PartyCasino.com offers over 50 games including themed online slots like Top Gun, Mission: Impossible, The Terminator, Saturday Night Fever and Gone With The Wind. Membership with PartyCasino allows players to use their accounts at other popular PartyGaming sites like Party Poker and Party Gammon.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Leaked Aussie Ban List Includes Betfair (Update)

Betting exchanges chief Downunder reported "outraged"

March 19, 2009 (InfoPowa News) -- New revelations on the leaked Australian government secret blocked site list at Wikileaks (see previous report) are adding fuel to the fire Down Under, with the online betting exchange group Betfair reportedly on the list of sites which government agency the Australian Communications and Media Authority wants ISPs to block.

According to the publication Computerworld, Betfair CEO in Australia Andrew Twaits is outraged that the respectable multi-billion dollar company has been blacklisted under the government Internet content filters, a move that could cost the company dearly and is almost certain to trigger litigation if true.

Twaits was unaware that Betfair had been blacklisted when contacted by Computerworld, and said there had been no contact with Betfair by the ACMA prior to the blacklisting.

The global Betfair.com site was one of many legitimate sites blocked by the ACMA, including dentists, bus companies and even a tour operator, all without notification or justification.

"We didn't know [about the ban]. We've been licensed to operate in Australia for three years and have never received a complaint or any allegation that Betfair locally or globally is not permitted to be used by Australians," said a disturbed Twaits. “The global Betfair site is used by Australians every day.”

Under the Interactive Gambling Act, it is illegal for overseas companies to offer gambling services to Australians and Betfair blocks local customers from accessing its U.K. poker and casino products.

Twaits said Betfair is probably the only company in the world that blocks its customers from accessing the overseas gambling services.

“I need to find out what the implications are and how we got on the list,” Twaits said. “I'm amazed that this has happened.”

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Playtech Success Story Continues

Strong growth in revenues delivers significant 2008 profit increase. Sportsbook software acquired.

March 19, 2009 (InfoPowa News) -- Releasing its 2008 full-year results this week, online gambling software developer Playtech has reported a surge in profits, driven by strong growth in revenues. The company posted FY profit prior to taxation of €41.45 million, up from Euro 26.83 million over the 2007 corresponding period.

Profit advanced 55 percent to €40.69 million from €26.3 million in FY 2007, with earnings per share well up at €17.3 cents compared with €11.7 cents in 2007.

Adjusted net profit surged 79 percent to €78.6 million from €43.9 million a year before, with adjusted earnings per share of €33.4 cents (2007: €19.5 cents).

Annual revenues soared 70 percent to €111.45 million (2007: €65.66 million) following strong organic growth of its existing licensees and the expansion of its portfolio through additional licensees.

Online casino revenues totaled €79.4 million, an increase of 68 percent on 2007's €47.4 million, and online poker revenues rose by €73 percent to €30.1 million (2007: €17.4 million).

Management advised that the first 11 weeks of 2009 had shown revenues up 2.3 percent on the 2008 average. The joint venture with the William Hill group was delivering an average daily income to Playtech about 40 percent greater than the daily average income the company generated from its former customer during the previous quarter.

Additionally, the group noted that it has finalised the terms of agreement for Gamenet S.P.A., owned by CRIGA, to join its standalone Italian online poker network.

Playtech remarked that its agreement with William Hill Online is on course to offer significant benefits to its earnings in 2009 and further strengthens its position.

The group also announced a major, exclusive multi-year licensing agreement with MGM interactive, Inc. to use all of its Rocky and Pink Panther motion picture brands. Playtech will be able to use these brands across all of its gaming products, including Internet casino, poker, bingo and on all of its platforms online, mobile and T.V., as well as on stand alone and server-based gaming terminals, via Videobet.

Playtech CEO Mor Weizer revealed that the company has acquired sports betting and betting exchange software from Player2Players. Under the terms of the agreement, Player2Players' software may be integrated into Playtech's existing platforms and would be available to Playtech licensees.

Weizer said two notable achievements defined an excellent year for the company: raising £112 million in June (see previous report) and the transaction with William Hill Online than flowed from it.

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Betfair Banned: CEO Outraged - Gambling911 - 19th March 2009

Following leakage of an Australian "Ban List", Betfair CEO Andrew Twaits expressed outraged with government officials. Twaits was unaware that his company's website had been blacklisted as part of an effort to prevent viewing of child pornography.

"We didn't know [about the ban]. We've been licensed to operate in Australia for three years and have never received a complaint or any allegation that Betfair locally or globally is not allowed usage by Australians.

"The global Betfair site is used by Australians every day."

The implications are enormous. Earlier today, Gambling911.com reported on how the list of websites blacklisted in Australia expanded to over 2300. These included YouTube links and some Christian websites along with online poker portals.

"We're will the madness end? The report stats that Betfair bas been banned in Australia! Is horse racing betting, boxing betting and eating meat pies and driving Holden Cars going to be banned also?" asked Australian Media Man Greg Tingle. "That's the direction things are heading in".

"I will repeat my thoughts on on a worldwide trend when things get "banned"... Citizens (and business) revolved and industries go underground, sometimes generating more money, however the risks increase and consumers and the industry no longer enjoy the same safeguards as it becomes unregulated".

"In addition, matters of insurance can becoming tricky, as an insurance company may be hesitant to insure a business sector which the government of the day deems "illegal". I have a strong suspicion some of the stuff the Australian government is doing is actually illegal. As they say, the law is an ass, and it appears that Australia has too many jackasses in political office at the moment."

Perhaps Tingle was referring to The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, who on Thursday condemned the reported leak and publication of a list which includes prohibited internet addresses.

"The leak and publication of prohibited URLs is grossly irresponsible. It undermines efforts to improve cyber-safety and create a safe online environment for children," Senator Conroy said.

"Under existing laws the ACMA blacklist includes URLs relating to child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime."

"No-one interested in cyber-safety would condone the leaking of these addresses."

But Tingle believes Conroy is doing more harm than good with such assertions and attempts to censor.

"I predict that these jackass submissions by government are going cause more problems than they cure". (Credit: Gambling911)

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Australia Banning Online Poker Sites - Gambling911 - 19th March 2009

In a leaked report obtained by the website WikiLeaks.com, it was revealed that Australia's list of 2395 "banned website" stretched well beyond the realm of child pornography and "how to murder" websites that most other civilized nations also deem "inappropriate".

The Sydney Morning Herald included - among other things - sites pertaining to gay and straight porn, euthanasia, a few Christian websites and some YouTube links.

But most disturbing of all perhaps: The list included banned online poker portals.

"It does look like there will be several online poker and online gambling sites that will soon be blocked at the ISP level by the Australian Government," suggests the website AintLuck.com.

That said, the Australian government has run into quite a bit of opposition with its plan to block websites.

University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt said the leaked list "constitutes a condensed encyclopedia of depravity and potentially very dangerous material".

He called it "the concerned parent's worst nightmare" as curious children would inevitably seek it out.

"It seems to me as if just about anything can potentially get on the list," Landfelt said.

The blacklist is maintained by ACMA and provided to makers of internet filtering software that parents can opt to install on their PCs.

Colin Jacobs, spokesman for the online users' lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said the leak was not surprising and would only get worse once the list was sent to hundreds of Australian ISPs as part of the Government's mandatory internet filtering policy.

He said the Government could be considered a "promoter and disseminator of links to some pretty unsavoury material".

"The list itself should concern every Australian - although plenty of the material is unsavoury or even illegal, the presence of sites like YouTube, MySpace, gambling or even Christian sites on the list raises a lot of questions," he said.

Australian Media Man, Greg Tingle, expressed deep concern over this issue with Gambling911.com.

"Big Brother is at it again. Telling us what's right, what's wrong, what to read, what not to, what to look at on the web, what not to, what not to say et al. Given I'm a qualified journalist and speaking out against censorship, I guess I should expect to be arrested next."

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today condemned the reported leak and publication of a list which includes prohibited internet addresses.

"The leak and publication of prohibited URLs is grossly irresponsible. It undermines efforts to improve cyber-safety and create a safe online environment for children," Senator Conroy said.

"Under existing laws the ACMA blacklist includes URLs relating to child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime."

"No-one interested in cyber-safety would condone the leaking of these addresses." (Credit: Gambling911)

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Patrick's Pot Of Gold

Pot of Gold, 16th to 18th March 2009

The casino leprechaun is holding a pot of gold worth $25000 in cash prizes, points and bonuses. He'll be popping up every now and again to give away his gifts so watch out! You could pick up anything from cash prizes to PartyPoints if you spot him.

Simply play at Partycasino.com any time between 16th and 18th March and wait for the leprechaun to make an appearance. You don't have to opt in: just play as normal.

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

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March Madness Is Upon Us

40 million Americans will be gambling to some extent this week

March 17, 2009 (InfoPowa News) -- More than 40 million Americans will be in gambling mood this week, probably generating revenues in excess of $12 billion according to media estimates, and despite the recession as they bet in office pools, on the Internet and through sportsbetting outlets on the 64 teams involved in the NCAA college basketball championships.

The phenomenon called March Madness started when the seedings for this year's college basketball championship tournament were announced at the beginning of this week, focusing the nation's attention on basketball and tempting even non-gamblers to take a flutter as the tournament becomes a conversation point and draws acres of media coverage. Massive television coverage of the games perpetuates the excitement both at home, in social venues and at work.

Especially at work. Consultants Challenger, Gray and Christmas regularly keep their fingers on the business pulse at this time of year and report that the decline in productivity due to March Madness disruption in the workplace could be as high as $2 billion.

For the online sports betting websites it's usually bonanza time, regardless of the U.S. Department of Justice's attempts to kill off the pastime. However, in January 2009 the much-delayed regulations for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) came into force, and may impact betting activity. The UIGEA sets out to disrupt financial transactions with online gambling companies, dragooning the U.S. financial services industry into enforcing its provisions.

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CryptoLogic Claims It Is Positioned for Profitability

Final quarter and FY results released

March 17, 2009 (InfoPowa News) -- Veteran online gambling software development company CryptoLogic announced its financial results for the three months and full year ended December 31, 2008 this week. The results reflect a transitional year in which the company's new management team repositioned CryptoLogic's business, signed 10 new customers, and advanced a restructuring plan to return the company to profitability in 2009.

The full-year summary released by the company shows that it has:

* Launched new growth strategy and restructuring to return to profitability and cash generation in 2009, driven by Internet casino, games development and licensing to top gaming/entertainment brands

* Executed an agreement for a shared poker network with GTECH Corporation's subsidiary, Boss Media AB, substantially reducing costs while improving liquidity for players: integration of all poker customers to be completed on March 19, 2009

* Secured 10 new customer contracts, including 888.com, PartyGaming, BSkyB and GigaMedia

* Released 34 new games, featuring big brands such as Street Fighter II, Sub-Mariner and King Kong

* Revenue of $61.5 million (2007: $73.7 million), in line with market expectations

* Net loss of $32.7 million (2007: net profit of $5.5 million), reflecting write downs of impaired assets, non-recurring restructuring costs and currency factors, as announced previously

* Diluted loss per share of $2.55 (2007: $0.47 diluted earnings per share)

* Net cash of $43.8 million (2007: $77.5 million), slightly above guidance

Quarter 4 results are summarized as:

* Revenue of $11.4 million (Q4 2007: $20.4 million)

* Net loss of $26 million (Q4 2007: $4.3 million net profit) including write downs of assets and program costs, non-recurring restructuring costs, departure costs for ex-CEO, and currency factors

* Diluted loss per share of $2.05 (Q4 2007: $0.36 diluted earnings per share)

* Restructuring resulted in $1.4 million in cash costs and $19.2 million in non-cash charges, in line with the company's guidance

* Received initial revenue from new licensing contracts signed during 2008, including 888.com

Management expects the following to be achieved going forward:

* The company is on track to achieve its full-year 2009 guidance provided on January 15, 2009, assuming no further deterioration in economic conditions and stabilization in currency markets:

* Net income in the range of $9-$10 million

* $8 million revenue from 2008 customer signings

* Full-year cash generation post-restructuring of $11-$13 million

* Diluted full-year earnings per share target of $0.65-$0.71

Management reports that the company has entered 2009 with momentum from new agreements with Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and DC Comics, Gaming Technology Solutions plc and Paramount Digital Entertainment.

"In the fourth quarter, we unveiled a bold strategy to refocus CryptoLogic on its core strengths -- and on a return to profitability in 2009," said Brian Hadfield, CryptoLogic's President and CEO. "Our restructuring program is ahead of schedule. With a lower cost base, 10 new customers signed to date and a highly profitable 'build-once-license-often' model -- coupled with the financial strength to weather difficult global economic conditions -- CryptoLogic is on track for a substantial turnaround this year."

Hadfield adds that 2008 was a transitional year for CryptoLogic. The company's new management took office in late February 2008.

"Following a fundamental review of the business and a renewed focus on customer acquisition, CryptoLogic unveiled a new growth strategy and restructuring program in October 2008. This strategy -- now in an advanced stage of execution -- is to achieve long-term growth, sustained profitability and strong cash generation by focusing on CryptoLogic's successful hosted Internet casino business and the development and licensing of the company's highly acclaimed branded games," he said.

Restructuring and rightsizing the business includes a plan to reduce annual operating costs by approximately $13 million through various initiatives. Approximately $8.5 million of the savings will come from a reduction in employee expenses; about $2.5 million from infrastructure and facilities downsizing, including a 75 percent reduction in server and office rental costs; and about $2.0 million in savings from operational efficiencies across the business. CryptoLogic is on schedule to complete the restructuring program by the end of Q2 2009. Due to rapid and decisive action undertaken last year, the company expects to return to positive cash flow from Q2 2009.

As announced last year, CryptoLogic is about to integrate its Internet poker licensees with those of GTECH Corporation. The move gives CryptoLogic's poker licensees and players access to a larger network with a combined average of 15,000 active players, at a far lower cost to the company. CryptoLogic will continue to provide a full-service offering for its licensees and receive ongoing revenue from its poker customers. This integration of the network will be completed on March 19, 2009.

The company significantly increased its customer acquisition activities in 2008. As a result, 10 new contracts for both hosted Internet casinos and the licensing of branded games were signed during 2008 compared with just one in 2007. The company's new customers include 888.com, PartyGaming, GigaMedia, BSkyB Group, Orbis, The Poker Channel and Betjacks. These agreements offer significant revenue potential for 2009 and beyond, as the company expects to launch up to 30 branded games by the end of the second quarter.

In January 2009, the company further expanded its channels to market with a strategic partnership with Gaming Technology Solutions plc ("GTS"), a leading global supplier of platform solutions for online gaming operations. Under the agreement, CryptoLogic's top-performing games will be made available to GTS customers, which include many well-established European brands. GTS and Orbis are major distribution channels to the e-gaming sector and are completing the integration of CryptoLogic-developed branded games into their platforms this quarter. As a result, the company is well positioned to earn revenue from these channels as they roll out CryptoLogic games to their extensive customer base.

The company has launched the CryptoLogic Centre for Innovation, where customers, partners, universities and others can participate in defining and guiding the future of e-gaming. The first game from this center will be released in April 2009. By moving from concept to delivery in less than four months, this will be the fastest development of a game in CryptoLogic's history. As part of the new strategy, the company will unveil a new brand identity based on "extraordinary e-gaming innovation," in conjunction with the company's annual report.

First quarter 2009 results are assessed as encouraging but include estimates of an additional cash cost of up to $2.1 million related to the restructuring in the first half of 2009, in line with guidance.

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More Movie Online Casino Themes from New CryptoLogic Deal

Online gambling software provider gains exclusive online slot rights to "Braveheart", "Forrest Gump", "Beowulf", "Beverly Hills Cop", "Ferris Bueller", "Ghost"

March 17, 2009 (InfoPowa News) -- Dublin-based Internet gambling software provider CryptoLogic has clinched another movie theme deal that will see famous characters of the silver screen presented in online slot themes. The company has announced a multi-year exclusive slots agreement with Paramount Digital Entertainment that will bring some of the most famous movie characters in history to the Internet casino world beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Under the agreement, CryptoLogic gains the exclusive rights to offer online slot games based on more than 20 of Paramount Pictures' collection of feature film titles, including "Braveheart", "Forrest Gump", "Beowulf", "Beverly Hills Cop", "Ferris Bueller", "Ghost" and many others. CryptoLogic also has the opportunity to build a dedicated gaming site that would house all of its movie-themed games. The first games will launch in several international territories.

Brian Hadfield, CryptoLogic's president and CEO, said: “We are very excited about this new relationship with Paramount Digital Entertainment as it both vindicates and enhances our strategic position. It’s been proven that CryptoLogic’s branded games drive Internet casino revenue -- and we look forward to a mutually profitable relationship with this global entertainment leader.”

"As the online gaming industry continues to evolve as a destination for gamers, we feel that our films are a great fit for those looking to play on this new platform,” states Luke Letizia, Vice President Interactive Licensing Paramount Digital Entertainment. "We are excited to be able to work with CryptoLogic, a leader in this space, and are confident that they will develop games that are on par with the quality and caliber of Paramount Pictures properties.”

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Playtech Signs Up Major Spanish Land Operator

Agreement could give gambling software provider a solid entry to a Spanish regulated online gambling market

March 16, 2009 (InfoPowa News) -- London-listed online gambling software developer Playtech plc has scored another important coup, signing up Casino Gran Madrid, one of the largest and most prestigious land-based gaming operators in Europe, as a licensee for its online casino and poker products.

Under the terms of the license agreement, Playtech will provide CGM with its casino platform and poker product, through its iPoker network, as the operator launches its online operations.

Mor Weizer, Chief Executive Officer of Playtech, said: "We are delighted to have secured this agreement with one of Europe's largest and most respected land-based operators. We expect this to be a significantly value accretive relationship, exemplifying our strategy to increase the number of regulated markets in which we operate."

Both parties are committed to meeting all the Spanish regulatory requirements, a Playtech spokesman stressed. CGM has already been working closely with Playtech's development and customer support teams to devise a suite of products tailored to meet the unique demands of CGM's players, offering a wide variety of games specifically designed to appeal to the gaming patterns of CGM's customer base.

Weizer continued: "We are pleased to add further regulated markets to our sphere of operations. Playtech's gaming platform is supported by a transparent and efficient management system which an increasing number of customers view as integral to their future business plans."

Jorge Casanova, Director of Information Systems of Casino Gran Madrid, commented: "Our agreement with Playtech strengthens CGM's leading position in the Spanish casino market. With our casino brand and games available online we are delighted to be leading gaming development in Spain through Playtech's innovative, secure and transparent system."

Industry analyst Collins Stewart described the deal as strengthening Playtech's credibility in a growing regional market. "The Madrid region is one of the leaders of Spain's online gambling regulation drive, meaning the deal also reinforces Playtech's strengthening regulated position," the company said.

Playtech plc is due to release its full-year results on Thursday this week, in what is anticipated to be a positive annual report.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Australia Gambling News: Reports on Playtech, Tabcorp, Bodog - Gambling911 - 15th March 2009

Our man on the scene in Australia reports that business is booming and everyone wants in on the burgeoning online gambling industry. Even with news that certain politicians are trying to block the Internet through filtering systems (now deemed as a "failed attempt"), few operators and affiliates of online gambling seem at all concerned.

Playtech

Tingle, who heads up Media Man Australia and gaming offshoot, Casino News Media, reports a rise in profits and has expanded his online portfolio to 6 website portals (4 specifically gaming), and thus far has managed to avoid the more negative side of news, in an industry know for journalists attacking their own. Tingle's background includes 5 years in journalism, with numerous leading news stories to his name. In recent years Tingle's has expanded on his early successes in the online gaming b2b and publicity side of things, notably with Virgin Games - Virgin Casino, PKR, JackpotCity and some hits and misses with PokerListings. Tingle has just signed up a major new client, William Hill, which is proving to be a most profitable and go ahead venture, and has also struck a considerable deal with the head of Online Gambling Insider.

Tingle advises that he's just putting the final finishing touches on their Marvel Slots Online, ready to capitalize on the recent Marvel Entertainment - Playtech deal (Marvel slots were previously all but exclusive to InterCasino). William Hill now runs off Playtech software, so it stands to reason that a number of Marvel themed slot games will soon be available under the William Hill banner, and quite possible via other casinos employing Playtech software.

PartyGaming and their PartyCasino.com are expected to make more announcements regarding the Playtech and Marvel happenings in the near future industry insiders are saying, and the industry awaits good news or bad news from InterCasino and PartnerLogic, which have been effected by the recent wunderkind deal involving Marvel Entertainment, William Hill and Playtech. We will spare you the actual figures and share prices of InterCasino, Marvel, William Hill and Playtech, but InterCasino is looking down, whist the outlook looks brighter for the latter.

Tabcorp Holdings

Suffering a very public major embarrassment, being stung with a 12 million dollar dud cheque from a well known "chronic gambler" (a former casino "whale" we understand), Tabcorp appear to be spending up big on PR. They are also looking for return on investment of their 475 million revamp of their Star City Casino in Sydney. Their casino chain which also includes Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast has been not surprisingly watching out for users of Apple ipod card counting software, some of which is said to be going under a name as "card shark"!

Bodog

Americas and Canadian favorite online casino whipping boy, Calvin Ayre of Bodog infamy is still M.I.A., but numerous residences of his are up for sale in what must be the "fire sale of the century". Bodog was once one of the world's Hitwise and industry sector "top ten" websites, but those days are clearly ancient history, as will be his mansions if the squatters are not removed soon. Tingle believes Bodog could enjoy success in Australia, even with the "ghost of Calvin" since his Playboy image would go over well there. Bodog is expected to make some moves Down Under in the coming year. (Credit: Gambling911)

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PartyGaming Returning to the U.S. Market? - Gambling911 - 14th March 2009

News that PartyGaming, the once largest online poker firm, looks to final settle with the U.S. government has been translated in some circles as the company will be returning to the United States market. They pulled out shortly after passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in October 2006 and lost millions of dollars in doing so. Their share price was riddled.

PartyGaming PLC reported its annual earnings on Wednesday with a profit of $66.9 million, which was a $25.3 million increase from 2007. Overall revenue fell 1 percent to $472.9 million.

When one looks at PartyGaming, they see a company that is almost stagnant, though not exactly in "survival mode". After all, Party is the 4th biggest online poker room in the world despite losing a lot of footing over the past two years.

"The reality is that PartyGaming was double the size of its nearest competitor, PokerStars, at the time it pulled out of the U.S. market," stated Payton O'Brien, matriarch of the Gambling911.com website. "Saying PartyGaming has lost significant market share is like saying China has lost half of its population. China would still have a larger population than the United States. India would become the new PokerStars in such a scenario."

PartyGaming chief executive Jim Ryan said this week that his company is making "good progress" in its discussions with the U.S. Attorney's office whereby they may have to pay a sizable fine for previously taking bets from online players in America. It is speculated that the fine will be around the $150 million mark, even though co-founder Anurag Dikshit recently plead guilty and must pay a $300 million fine.

As for returning to the U.S. market, that's not likely to happen in the next 12 months as legislative efforts to overturn the UIGEA will take some time, but Party is looking forward to "the right time" when "circumstances allow for a return".

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

It's a family affair at Party Casino

13th March 2009

GIBRALTAR -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- PartyCasino.com is pleased to announce what they think is an industry first with BOTH a father and son scooping huge jackpots in EXACTLY nine months to the day! The father and son are British but prefer to remain anonymous.

On February 24th 2009, 'ScottishAOD' won the $1,358,857.49 Gold Mega Jackpot on the Mega Fortune Wheel. This jackpot was particularly closely followed as it looked at one point that the PartyCasino.com record of $1,571,974 paid out to one player on the 8th October 2006 was under threat. His father, 'Takemystack7', also won a Gold Mega Jackpot but for $763,356.33 on the 24th May 2008! Between them they have won $2,122,213.82 off PartyCasino.com in exactly nine months to the day. It was certainly a case of like father, like son.

ScottishAOD is 29 years-old and a financial advisor who has played on PartyCasino.com for four years. Like his father, he plays frequently and his biggest previous single win was $8,000.

"It was great telling my Dad about my jackpot win," said ScottishAOD. "I loved it - he reacted with jealousy and disbelief that I had won more than he did! There is a bit of karma involved in this since my old man rubbed his win in so much – it was simply great to win and even better to win more than him!"

Asked if he was planning on buying his father a present he said: "I'm sure I can slip him a few quid to tide him over for the next few days. I've got plenty of plans for the money. Mainly, however, I intend to invest the monies to further retirement funds. Some would say this has been the luckiest nine months of my life, however, that honor still goes to the first nine months I met my wife."

A PartyCasino.com spokesman said: "What is truly remarkable is that their super delivery of big bucks was exactly nine months apart to the day! The father planted the seed and the son gave birth to a remarkable piece of online gaming history. Father and son are both doing well."

PartyCasino.com offers over 50 games and pays out over $10 million EVERY DAY to players and continues to expand rapidly. Highlights include film themed slots such as Mission:Impossible, The Terminator, Top Gun, Saturday Night Fever and the recently added Gone With The Wind.

PartyGaming Plc is the world's leading listed online gaming company. Founded in 1997, the Group is a constituent of the FTSE 250 share index and the FTSE4Good Index Series, which measures the performance of companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards. PartyGaming's shares are listed on The London Stock Exchange under the ticker: PRTY. PartyGaming's principal brands are PartyPoker.com, EmpirePoker.com, PartyCasino.com, PartyBingo.com, PartyGammon.com, PartyBets.com, PartyMarkets.com and Gamebookers.com.

PartyGaming is regulated and licensed by the Government of Gibraltar and by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and is certified by GamCare as a responsible gaming operator. For more information, please visit http://www.partygaming.com

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James Packer Scraps Cannery Casino Resorts Crown Casino Deal - Gambling911 - 13th March 2009

Australian billionaire James Packer has a $1.75 billion takeover of Cannery Casino Resorts LLC and sold his Australian cattle ranches to Guy Hands U.K. buyout company, Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd. Packer's Crown Casino enterprise, Australia's biggest, rose 13.5 percent on the news. Had the deal gone through, Packer would have obtained three Nevada casinos and a racetrack near Pittsburgh.

The 41 year old Packer's fortune shrank to half this past year according to Forbes Magazine. Crown lost 56 percent of its value and the Las Vegas casinos are not faring that much better.

"Anyone who is looking to borrow to buy an asset, particularly one whose value was set before the economic meltdown, has not been viewed kindly by investors," said Sean Fenton, who manages about $324 million at Tribeca Investment Partners in Sydney. "Some investors have been waiting for a resolution to this deal before getting back into the stock."

Australian media has been especially hard on Packer as of late, claims Media Man Greg Tingle.

Insiders close to the James Packer situation almost universally agree that he appears to have made two main business mistakes," Tingle told Gambling911.com last week.... "The One.Tel telco fiasco in Australia back in 2001. One.Tel was a 1 billion dollar mistake. The other more recent mistakes being buying land based casinos in the Macau region (at top dollar), but James was not to know the ass would fall out of the market. Some analysts say some of the casino investments are worth next to nothing. Hang on, wouldn't James Packer be paying people good advice on what to buy, what not to, and how much to pay? Packer didn't have a luxury of a crystal ball.

"The good news for Packer and the rest of us is that history shows us that global recessions don't last forever, or do they? The global economy has been punishing Packer for the past few years and it's largely matters which are outside his control, so I think the Australian's press should give him a break and try to reflect a more balanced approach to journalism in regards to covering the business of being James Packer."

The Cannery deal was part of more than $3 billion of North American gambling-industry acquisitions Packer has made since inheriting Australia's biggest fortune when his father died in December 2005.

Cannery is controlled by Bill Paulos and Bill Wortman's Millennium Gaming Inc. and Oaktree Capital Management LLC.

According to Bloombert, Crown will pay a termination fee of $50 million, which may go up to $250 million if it doesn't get regulatory approval to call off the deal. The casino operator will also pay Cannery $320 million to subscribe for a preferred instrument that could be converted into a 24.5 percent holding.

Packer's company will have the option over a two-year period to buy the rest of Cannery on the same terms as the original agreement, the gambling company said in a statement today.

Crown scrapped the deal less than a month after posting a first-half loss triggered by writedowns to its U.S., Canadian and U.K. casino investments.

Packer slashed the value of stakes in Harrah's Entertainment Inc., Station Casinos Group and Aspinalls by 90 percent as recessions in North America and Europe curbed gambling demand. (Credit: Gambling911)

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Crown strikes new deal with Cannery - The West Australian - 13th March 2009

Burswood Entertainment Complex owners, Crown, has struck a new deal for the Cannery casino group in the United States, which could result in Crown owning all or part of Cannery.

Crown said on Friday that it and the vendors of Cannery Casino Resorts - Millennium Gaming and an affiliate of Oaktree Capital Management - had terminated the $US1.8 billion Cannery acquisition agreement of December 2007.

Crown said it had paid the vendors a $US50 million termination fee.

The parties recognised that the preconditions to completion would not be satisfied in time to allow the purchase as proposed to proceed,” Crown said.

Crown and the sellers have also entered into further binding commitments in relation to Cannery.

Cannery operates four casinos in Nevada and Pennsylvania and was to have been Crown's first casino acquisition in the US.

Crown said that under the new arrangements, it could end up paying $US370 million for a 24.5 per cent stake in Cannery.

The $US370 million includes the $US50 million break fee under the original deal.

Crown will also have an option over the next two years to acquire the rest of Cannery for about $US1.4 billion.

Each transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

If Crown fails to obtain regulatory approval for the first transaction, it will pay the vendors a further termination fee of $US200 million, bringing the total termination fees paid to $US250 million.

If regulatory approval is not granted, Crown will take a stake of just 4.1 per cent in Cannery for $US40 million.

Crown considers these new arrangements represent a satisfactory outcome for its shareholders, Crown said.

Crown is looking forward to working cooperatively with the Cannery team to continue to grow the business including the launch of the new Meadows permanent casino in Pittsburgh which is due to open in April 2009.

Crown shares were up 69 cents, or 13.27 per cent, at $5.89 at 12.45pm.

In February, the James Packer-linked Crown group reported a net loss of $409.7 million for the first half of fiscal 2009.

The loss occurred after Crown made writedowns of $547.5 million on its stakes in casinos in Canada, the US and the United Kingdom, which had been affected by the economic downturn in those countries.

Crown's revaluations included a $454.9 million writedown on minority holdings in the Fontainebleau, Stations, and Harrah's casinos in the US.

Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie admitted at the time that Crown had agreed to buy Cannery at the top of the market.

Mr Craigie said in February that the Cannery casinos in Las Vegas were struggling against economic headwinds affecting the Las Vegas gaming sector, but the Meadows temporary casino at Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, also part of Cannery, had strong revenue growth.

The original Cannery acquisition was conditional upon Crown obtaining gaming licences in Nevada and Pennsylvania.

It won approval from Nevada in January.

But the approval process hit a snag when James Packer's sister, Gretel Packer, and three family trusts sought to withdraw from Crown' sgaming licence application before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, saying that the process will breach their privacy.

Crown had said in February that it remained committed to completing the Cannery acquisition. (Credit: The West Australian)

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