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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Odds Look Good For Gamblers - Forbes - 10th July 2009

Internet gambling seems like a recession-proof business and even the reluctant U.S. might ride the train.

LONDON - Despite warmer weather and tough economic conditions, sofa spuds are still playing high rollers in virtual casinos. On Thursday online gaming firm PartyGaming, reportedly a takeover target of Nasdaq-listed rival Gigamedia, saw a jump in shares as much a 7% after it said trading in the second quarter has been robust with revenues in line with the first quarter.

Gibraltar-based PartyGaming, one of the world's biggest online gambling firms, also said casino sales had significantly increased from the previous quarter, driven by a substantial increase in the number of games being offered on its PartyCasino site.

"Casino is developing into a major success story and recent poker initiatives are getting traction. We are maintaining our forecasts at this stage but there are increasing grounds for optimism," said Wyn Ellis, an analyst at Numis in London.

The recent jump in PartyGaming shares might be just a premonition of a much bigger rally next September as industry analysts expect a 2006-anti online gambling law to be scrap in the U.S. by the end of the fall.

"There is a reasonably good chance that the U.S. will introduce some positive online legislation in terms of gambling first at a state level in September and then at a federal level," said Nick Batram, an analyst at KBC Peel Hunt, a brokerage firm in London.

Last May, Rep. Barney Frank introduced a bill to propose that online gambling be legalized and regulated in the United States. PartyGaming's shares have hovered around the $3.80 mark ever since they dropped from nearly $15.00, just after to the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in October 2006.

But PartyGaming shares, along with rival 888 Holdings, could see a rebound soon. "Some of the share prices have already discounted the U.S. opening up the online gambling markets and the possibility of some sector consolidation, but shares in European online gambling companies will rally European rally there is an element some of the share prices already discounting the US opening to a degree or some sector consolidation," said Batram, adding he still expects shares to rally once regulation for companies in the U.S. is relaxed.

Yet he warns PartyGaming's shares and other stocks like Gigamedia probably won't reach the historic highs they enjoyed before the outlaw act of 2006.

The U.S. government could raise more than $50 billion over 10 years from taxes on legalized online gambling, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Online gambling generated revenue of $6 billion last year in North America, more than a quarter the global total of $22.6 billion, up from $17.6 billion in 2006, according to H2 Gambling Capital.

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Indigo Packer celebrates her first birthday - News Limited - 28th July 2009

She may be a billionaire baby but it seems little Indigo Packer, who turned one yesterday, delights in the same simple pleasures as any tot.

Yesterday, the only daughter of casino tycoon James Packer and his model wife Erica received a stream of presents delivered to the family's penthouse apartment at Sydney's Bondi Beach.

While the birthday girl kept a low profile, her father popped out in his new set of wheels, an expensive white Bentley, only to discover on arriving home that many of his pals had been showering his daughter with gifts.

Even the dog walker, who turned up for the family's retriever, had a gift.

It's amazing how many friends will line up to pay their respects when daddy's a billionaire.

Missing from the parade of well wishers was Katie Holmes, wife of Packer's great mate Tom Cruise.

Holmes was on the Mt Macedon set of her film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, shooting scenes with her co-star Guy Pearce.

Cruise is yet to return to Melbourne from the US.

It remains to be seen whether Holmes and her daughter Suri, 3, will catch up with the Packers on Sunday when she has a break. No doubt, though, a sizeable gift has been despatched.

Holmes is, after all, staying at Packer's palatial penthouse at Crown while in Melbourne. (Credit: News Limited)

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Chairman Frank's Bill to Regulate Internet Gambling Reaches 50 Co-Sponsors

WASHINGTON, July 28 PRNewswire-USNewswire -- We are pleased to report that there are now 50 members of Congress signed on as co-sponsors of the Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267), legislation introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services

"Reaching this milestone illustrates that momentum is growing for a shift in U.S. policy and a rewrite of U.S. Internet gambling laws," said Jeffrey Sandman, spokesperson for the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative. "The list of supporters will continue to grow as more representatives are educated on the subject and increasingly hear from their constituents that Internet gambling regulation presents the only viable way to protect consumers, since attempts to prohibit the activity have completely failed. We also expect an increased spotlight on Internet gambling as a way to augment federal revenues and help cover the cost of necessary policy initiatives."

Among the bipartisan group of 50 co-sponsors are many senior ranking representatives, including George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor; John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the Committee of the Judiciary; Charles Rangel (D-NY), chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means; Edolphus Towns (D-NY), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; Pete King (R-NY), ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee; and Ron Paul (R-TX), vice-chairman of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee. (A complete list of co-sponsors is included below.)

Rep. Frank's bill would establish a framework to permit licensed gambling operators to accept wagers from individuals in the U.S. and mandates a number of significant consumer protections, including safeguards against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, fraud and identify theft. Additional provisions in the legislation reinforce the rights of each state to determine whether to allow Internet gambling activity for people accessing the Internet within the state and to apply other restrictions on the activity as determined necessary. The legislation also would allow states and Native American tribes with experience in regulating gambling to play a role in the regulatory process.

An analysis shows that collecting taxes on regulated Internet gambling would allow the U.S. to capture much-needed revenue in an amount ranging from $48.6 billion (excluding online sports gambling) to $62.7 billion (including online sports gambling) over the next decade.

The following is a complete list of Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267) co-sponsors:

Alaska
Don Young (R At-Large)

Arizona
Raul Grijalva (D 7th)

California
Michael Thompson (D 1st)
George Miller (D 7th)
Michael Honda (D 15th)
Linda Sanchez (D 39th)
Bob Filner (D 51st)

Colorado
Jared Polis (D 2nd)
Ed Perlmutter (D 7th)

Connecticut
Joe Courtney (D 2nd)

Florida
Robert Wexler (D 19th)
Alcee Hastings (D 23rd)

Hawaii
Neil Abercrombie (D 1st)

Idaho
Walt Minnick (D 1st)

Illinois
Luis Gutierrez (D 4th)
Bill Foster (D 14th)

Indiana
Andre Carson (D 7th)

Massachusetts
James McGovern (D 3rd)
Barney Frank (D 4th)
Michael Capuano (D 8th)
William Delahunt (D 10th)

Michigan
John Conyers (D 14th)

Nevada
Shelley Berkley (D 1st)

New Hampshire
Paul Hodes (D 2nd)

New Jersey
Robert Andrews (D 1st)
Frank LoBiondo (R 2nd)
John Adler (D 3rd)
Steven Rothman (D 9th)

New York
Tim Bishop (D 1st)
Steve Israel (D 2nd)
Peter King (R 3rd)
Carolyn McCarthy (D 4th)
Gary Ackerman (D 5th)
Joseph Crowley (D 7th)
Jerrold Nadler (D 8th)
Edolphus Towns (D 10th)
Mike McMahon (D 13th)
Charles Rangel (D 15th)
Paul Tonko (D 21st)

North Carolina
Melvin Watt (D 12th)

Ohio
Steve Driehaus (D 1st)
Tim Ryan (D 17th)

Oregon
Earl Blumenauer (D 3rd)

Tennessee
Steve Cohen (D 9th)

Texas
Ron Paul (R 14th)
Ciro Rodriguez (D 23rd)

Virginia
Bobby Scott (D 3rd)
Tom Perriello (D 5th)
James Moran (D 8th)

Washington
Jim McDermott (D 7th)

About Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative

The Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative promotes the freedom of individuals to gamble online with the proper safeguards to protect consumers and ensure the integrity of financial transactions. For more information on the Initiative, please visit www.safeandsecureig.org. The Web site provides a means by which individuals can register support for regulated Internet gambling with their elected representatives.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

China bans online games which glamorize gangs

BEIJING - China has banned websites featuring or publicizing online games which glamorize mafia gangs, saying violators will be "severely punished," state media reported on Tuesday.

The Culture Ministry said such games "advocate obscenity, gambling, or violence," and "undermine morality and Chinese traditional culture," the official Xinhua news agency said.

"These games encourage people to deceive, loot and kill, and glorify gangsters' lives. It has a bad influence on youngsters," the report said, citing a ministry circular.

In games like "Godfather" people can play at being hitmen or gangsters, Xinhua said.

"The ministry ordered its law enforcement bodies to step up oversight and harshly punish those sites that continue to run such games," it added, without elaborating.

In the early years of Communist rule, the government almost totally extinguished mafia-like gangs, but they have made a comeback in recent decades as China relaxed its social and economic controls.

Despite their involvement in unsavory activities like human trafficking and drugs, movies and television series made in Taiwan and Hong Kong about gangs are very popular in China.

The online game industry in China is expected to grow by between 30 percent and 50 percent this year, with a sales revenue of 24 billion yuan ($3.51 billion) to 27 billion yuan, according to officials.

China has about 200 million online game players, and more than 300 million Internet users, the largest number in the world.

The Chinese government has closed hundreds of websites in an ongoing crackdown on online porn and "vulgar content" that in some cases has netted dissident sites.

The campaign is part of a broader tightening of the media ahead of October's 60th anniversary of the founding of Communist China.

But the government backed down on a plan to require that Green Dam filter software be pre-installed on all new computers to block supposedly pornographic or other vulgar content. ($1=6.830 Yuan)

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Former 888.com marketing chief Matt Robinson joins PartyGaming

LONDON - Matt Robinson has left his position as vice president of brand marketing at online gambling brand 888.com to join rival company PartyGaming.

He joins Gibraltar-based PartyGaming in the lead UK marketing role and will report into chief marketing officer John Welch, who joined this week from Centrebet.

PartyGaming owns a number of brands, including PartyPoker, PartyBingo and PartyCasino.

Robinson joined 888.com five years ago, and oversaw the appointment of Grey London to its global ad account earlier in the year. According to a company spokesman, Robinson is yet to be replaced.

It was revealed this week that Grey resigned the 888.com account due to a number of disagreements over fees. The brand has called a pitch for the £3m account.

In June, it was announced that PartyGaming signed a deal with Channel Five to launch a new, Five-branded online bingo and casino service.

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ESPN To Broadcast Four WSOP Events

HONG KONG — The upcoming election of Macau's new leader offers something of a rarity in this Chinese gambling city: a sure thing.

There's one candidate, Fernando Chui, and odds are overwhelming he'll be rubber-stamped Sunday by a 300-member election panel in the former Portuguese colony's first change of leadership since its return to Chinese rule a decade ago.

But his all-but-assured victory comes at an uncertain time.

Macau is the only place in China where casinos are legal, but this world-leading gambling center has been reeling from the economic crisis.

The territory's white-hot growth has cooled as gambling revenues have fallen. With fewer visitors, hotel rooms sit empty and multibillion dollar projects have been shelved. A city that couldn't hire workers fast enough to build and staff its new resorts now faces creeping unemployment.

Chui, 52, a former culture minister from a prominent local family, has said little about his plans for the gaming industry. The industry has its own wish list, including cuts to a gambling tax they say is too high and blunts Macau's edge over lower-taxed Singapore, where new casinos are due next year.

But few expect radical changes for now. Analysts say Chui will likely maintain existing policies governing taxes, licenses and the number of gambling tables. Significant shifts would likely need Beijing's tacit approval.

"There's nothing much he can do because everything is in the pipeline," said political analyst Larry So of Macau Polytechnic Institute. "Everyone accepts gambling policy in the near future is designed to slow the industry because it grew too fast."
The incumbent, Edmund Ho, announced last year that Macau will not issue new casino licenses and approve new applications for additional gambling tables or slot machines in the near future.

However, there are hopes that Chui's election might lead Beijing, as a goodwill gesture to a new administration, to end visa restrictions that curb visits by mainland Chinese, Macau's biggest customers by far. The rules were imposed last year by China — in what was seen as an attempt to cool the local economy — stop government officials from gambling and control money laundering. They are often blamed for sliding revenue growth.

Chui has pledged to diversify the territory's gambling-driven economy. He talks of luring more visitors with conferences, exhibitions and Macau's many cultural and historical sites.

"If I am elected, I shall take an integrated approach to development and make great efforts to promote the sustainable growth of gaming-related industries," he wrote on his campaign Web site.

Chui comes from Macau's elite. His family has sprawling business interests in property, construction, tourism and commodities. He has a doctorate in public health from the U.S., was culture minister for 10 years and served as a lawmaker before that.

He was a front-runner from the start of the race to elect a successor to Ho, who has served for 10 years.

In the nomination phase, the election commission — which is stacked with Beijing loyalists — gave Chui 286 of the 300 votes. None of the three other candidates was able to garner the minimum 50 nomination votes required to challenge him. But under the electoral rules, a poll is still required Sunday, and Chui must receive 151 votes to win his five-year term as the new chief executive — which appears to be a mere formality.

He would take office on Dec. 20 when Macau marks the 10th anniversary of its reversion to Chinese rule.

Unlike neighboring Hong Kong, Macau has a history of strong pro-China sentiment and only a token presence of pro-democracy opposition lawmakers. (Credit: AP)

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

PartyGaming to focus on mainland Europe - 23rd July 2009

PartyGaming aims to focus on continental European as it rolls out Cashcade and Party bingo brands alongside more white-label deals, the company has advised.

PartyGaming has acquired Cashcade for £71.9m, with an additional payment of up to £24m dependent on performance.

To grow its share in rapidly rising global online bingo market, PartyGaming will look to B2B deals such as those recently inked with Italian land-based lottery services provider Intralot and Cirsa, which just happen to be the largest land-based bingo operator in Spain.

A PartyGaming spokesperson said "expect us to do more B2B deals" to take a slice of the global online bingo market, which is set to grow from US$1.5bn to US$2.8bn by the end of 2012, according to industry data business H2 Gambling Capital.

"Europe is the exciting area for us. Cashcade will be helping us build the PartyGaming platform while continuing to building their own brand, but we will also be looking to build market share through more B2B deals following those with Intralot, Cirsa, DM and Channel 5".

"Cashcade has recently grown its share of the UK market to 23%, so they’re really at the top of their game in terms of taking share from other competitors".

PartyGaming advises it has the necessary access to the cash and debt markets required to play a role in the unfolding consolidation play, following its recent settlement with the US DOJ. Party had £193.1m cash on the balance sheet at of 31 December 2008. The £95.9m total consideration for Cashcade and the settlement of £72m to the US DOJ will however be met from this.

PartyGaming finance director Martin Weigold advised in a conference call to journalists that the company had already been engaged in "extensive discussions" with banks in relation to raising funds for further M&A activity.

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PartyCasino Jackpot Tops $3 Million Mark

24 July 2009

GIBRALTAR - (PRESS RELEASE) - In recent minutes the PartyCasino Gold Mega Jackpot has exceeded a record $3,000,000! To celebrate this landmark, the world's largest online casino has introduced the chance to win a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S to the player who has earned the most PartyPoints by the time the jackpot is won, starting today!

If the jackpot is won within two weeks from today (Friday 24th July) the player who earns the most PartyPoints by playing the Gold Mega Jackpot games: The Godfather, Mega Fortune Wheel, Super Joker, Super Mystic, Super Fortune Wheel and Super Star wins the sports car. There is a leaderboard running through PartyAccount and if the jackpot is won within two weeks one of PartyGaming's Palladium Lounge VIP hosts will call with the news that the Porsche has been won.

If the Gold Mega Jackpot is not won within two weeks from the 24th July cash prizes will be awarded to players 1st - 300th on the leaderboard. 1st to 5th ranked players will share a prize pool of $50,000.* From there on, players ranked in every 10th place will get $1,000. Winners will have the choice of a cash alternative of $80,000 in place of the Porsche. In all cases PartyCasino.com will pay the value of the Porsche or the Porsche itself only (worth £67,000), but will not pay any taxes that may apply to the winner in their country of residence. This is based on UK prices of a new Porsche 911 Carrera 4S. For more details and terms and conditions please see your individual PartyAccount.

A PartyCasino.com spokesman said: "The Gold Mega Jackpot has exceeded a staggering $3,000,000 and the Porsche promotion has kicked-in. The Gold Mega Jackpot may not have hit for a while but the Super Jackpot has been hit three times this week alone and twice within 24 hours! Three separate players have walked away with $285,831.61, $56,746.14 and $51,386.44."

PartyCasino now offers over 120 games and pays out well over $10 million EVERY DAY to players. The world's largest online casino continues to expand rapidly - in fact the number of games on PartyCasino.com has DOUBLED in just six months and there are a lot more games to come! Recent popular additions include old school classics such as King Kong and Wheel of Fortune.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

PartyGaming Likely to Buy Cashcade

July 20, 2009 (CAP Newswire) -- News sources across the media spectrum have been speculating for weeks about the likely purchase of U.K.-based online gaming marketing firm Cashcade by a larger online gambling company. The two most likely contenders to purchase the site have been rivals PartyGaming and 888.

Now, it looks as though PartyGaming has outbid 888 and is close to sealing the deal. 888 is reportedly dismissing the development as of little importance, although it is more closely allied with Cashcade. (888 currently provides the software for Foxy Bingo, the parent company of Cashcade.)

Both companies’ stock prices rose today on the news, with 888’s jumping even more than PartyGaming, despite the fact that it will likely lose out on the bidding war. Click here to read more at Forbes.com. (Credit: CAP Newswire)

Greg Tingle comment...

The PartyGaming purchase deal of Cashcade happened and is history now. PartyGaming paid GBP71.9 million for the London-based bingo and casino operator Cashcade, and will pay up to a further GBP24 million subject to Cashcade's future profit performance, according to number news media reports. I believe that PartyGaming has now firmly cemented itself as the market leader. Out of Europe Euro Partners (Casino Tropez, Europa Casino etc) isn't staying still, with a push into the Asia Pacific region via the web, and Belle Rock Entertainment (JackpotCity, Lucky Nugget and more) are pushing ahead via the web and talk of Belle Rock to make a traditional media push. Aspinalls Online Casino and Aspinalls Online Poker are ramping up online, with their Vegas Partners Lounge connection. In Australia PokerStars still have strong footing and branding, as does 888's Pacific Poker. It will be interesting to see what's next for PartyGaming's traditional bingo brand, PartyBingo, given the latest bingo acquisitions. In Australia the PartyGaming deal with Cryptologic re Marvel themed slot games has proved a big winner, at least from our data here at Media Man Australia, and the Party connection and deal with Paramount Pictures for a number of Hollywood themed slot games is working a treat. Mission: Impossible and Top Gun's Tom Cruise has recently been in Australia, and he has history with Australia's James Packer (Crown Casino and City Of Dreams), so you can just imagine the increased interest in PartyCasino themed slot games. Mr Packer and his family also have some positive history and dealings with Aspers Damain Aspinall, and his father, the late great, John Aspinall. That connection could prove to be an ace up the sleeve for Aspinalls, as part of the PartyCasino - Paramount Pictures blockbuster slots - Cruise - Packer tie ins, with Media Man in the thick of the action. Oh, not to be left out Virgin Entertainment Limited's Sir Richard Branson has done public meeting with Packer in Australia a few months ago, and Virgin Games are rumoured to be soon releasing another slot game or two, quite likely a Hollywood themed slot, following the PartyCasino slot strategy and Transformers path. Marvel have started production on a Thor movie and the Iron Man II (movie) is on the way. If you were to bet CrytoLogic, NextGen Gaming and PartyGaming will have something to do with their igaming adaptions and promotion. A high level person at PartyGaming / PartyPoker is rumoured to be assisting the Asian Poker Tour, which isn't that far north of Australia, with both regions being part of the Asia Pacific (just ask Australian prime minster, Kevin Rudd), who is very proficient at speaking in a number of Oriental languages. Mr Rudd is not such a big fan of igaming however. PartyGaming of course have things sorted with the US DOJ, so that can only serve Party well with their ramping up in the Asia Pacific region. I wouldn't be surprised to even see their brand pop up in the upcoming poker themed movie out of Asia, Poker King. So, overall, PartyGaming is looking in a very strong position. The have parted with some cash and and further cemented their leading market position, and other igaming and gaming operators are doing their utmost to stay in the race with new campaigns, new games and the like. Whatever side of the industry your in its hard to argue that its not exciting times in the gaming industry, as the business does its best to be a good corporate citizen and to do the right thing by regulators and players. PartyGaming certainly looks to be playing their cards right.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

IGT launch new gaming cabinet - 22nd July 2009

IGT launched its new gaming cabinet, the IGT bluechip Neo, at Grand Pavilion, Rosehill Gardens yesterday.

More than 250 people attended the launch of IGT's bluechip Neo, which even sports impressive ergonomic design and technology features.

In addition, 6 new IGT's slot games were launched at the event.

IGT (Australia) managing director, Andrew Hely, said "This is IGT’s game of the future. There are so many innovations packed into it and I believe it takes gaming performance for both players and venues, to a completely new level".

Live entertainment to compliment the launch included Tiffani Wood, showgirls, and Barry Humphries’ Sir Les Patterson.

Sir Les Patterson, the IGT bluechip Neo, and the new games will be exhibited in Brisbane on the 23rd of this month.

Expect to see an IGT stand at the Australasian Gaming Expo (AGE) on the 16th to 18th August.

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PartyGaming Buys Cashcade To Grow Online Bingo Mkt Shr

LONDON - PartyGaming PLC (PRTY.LN) Thursday acquired Cashcade Ltd. for GBP95.9 million, a move aimed at significantly increasing its share of the $1.5 billion global online bingo market.

It's the online gambling company's first deal since its settlement with authorities in the U.S. over its defunct operations there.

PartyGaming will initially pay GBP71.9 million for bingo and casino operator Cashcade, and up to a further GBP24 million subject to Cashcade's future profit performance.

The deal, which is being financed by existing cash, was well received by investors and boosted PartyGaming shares by 5.5% as of 0954 GMT in a lower London market. The stock has risen 27% since January, and 17% over the past 12 months.

Cashcade is partially owned by debt-laden newspaper publisher Independent News & Media PLC (IPD.DB), which holds an 18% stake, and private individuals.

Cashcade's online bingo websites include Foxy Bingo, Think Bingo, Bingo Scotland as well as casino sites such as Getminted.com and Foxy Flutter.

PartyGaming expects the deal to be earnings enhancing before amortization of intangibles in 2009.

Cashcade's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation more than doubled to GBP12.2 million in 2008 from GBP4.9 million a year earlier. It booked net revenue of GBP44.9 million in 2008, up from GBP28.5 million.

PartyGaming Chief Executive Jim Ryan said the Cashcade acquisition provides the group with "an excellent platform to build a meaningful share of the $1.5 billion global online bingo market."

"Our longer-term strategic objective is to become the market-leader in online poker, casino, sports and bingo," Ryan said in a statement.

Daniel Stewart analyst James Hollins said the deal is "extremely attractive, providing an immediate boost to earnings and a market-leading position in online bingo." Hollins has consequently raised his target price to 366 pence from 339 pence, and with 56% upside to Hollin's target, he retained his buy rating.

Other parties who were reportedly interested in Cashcade included 888 Holdings PLC (888.LN) and Paddy Power PLC (PLS.DEB).

Independent News & Media, which is haggling with its bond holders over EUR200 million of overdue debt, will receive EUR15.3 million for its Cashcade stake after costs. It may also receive incremental proceeds in 2010 and 2011, subject to certain earnings targets being met.

In April, PartyGaming agreed to pay $105 million to U.S. authorities, and in turn the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York agreed not to prosecute the Gibraltar-based company or its subsidiaries for providing Internet gambling to customers in the U.S. before the federal government's ban of the industry in October 2006.

At the time, Ryan said: "We are now well-placed to seize organic as well as strategic opportunities that previously were beyond our reach."

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Internet Gambling Makes Push in Asia Pacific Region

The past month has seen a surge of both established and not so established Internet Gambling and other gaming companies make a push into the Asia Pacific region. Greg Tingle, Special Contributor to the Gambling911.com website and Australian correspondent, takes a look at the Internet gambling sector in that region. He also looks at the online poker component. Tingle is also the proprietor of Media Man out of Australia.

It appears apparent that some of the gaming entities have more than just a casual interest in Australia, judging by some of the game titles. Try "Goanna Gold", "Cool Bananas", "Kangaroo Zoo", and "Shaaark" on for size!

PartyGaming saw some of their PartyCasino.com titles enjoy a rise in popularity as Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible and Top Gun) fame, and his partner, Katie Holmes, have been spending time in Melbourne, using James Packer's Crown Towers as a base.

Aspinalls are making a push with their Aspinalls Online Casino and Aspinalls Online Poker. Aspinalls have quite a colourful history, with the late, great, John Aspinall said to have ties and friendships with Australia's Packer family. In recent years it has been reported that Australia's James Packer has done business deals with Damian Aspinall. No doubt Aspers would be most welcome to accommodate the needs of casino whales, in both an online and offline capacity. Aspinall Jr has been spotted out and about with Australia's Elle "The Body" MacPherson a number of times over the past year, so Aspers wins points for that alone.

Titan Casino and Titan Poker both Playtech powered casinos have also identified the Asia Pacific region as a go ahead region for growth. Titan have come up with some impressive and generous bonuses for signing up at their online casino brands.

JackpotCity and Lucky Nugget Online Casino, both part of the Belle Rock Entertainment family, rose to prominence in Australia last year with their promotion of blockbuster movie hits, Tomb Raider and Hitman. JackpotCity is powered by Microgaming, which incidentally is also the software that powers Australia's Captain Cooks Casino. Captain Cooks Casino is by all accounts a favorite with the Aussies, so it looks like a battle of sorts may be on the horizon for the patronage of players who prefer Microgaming.

Casino Club and Slots Club, both powered by Boss Media, proudly have "Kangaroo Zoo" in their casino game stable. In recent months they have added more games, revamped the websites, and enhanced multi currency options.

Euro Partners, the European gaming powerhouse is embarking on a campaign pushing forward their highly respect casino brands into the Asia Pacific. Sources advise to be watching out for Casino Tropez and Europa Casino, to name but a few.

Virgin Games maintains presence in Australia and their Transformers online slot game is impossible to miss, thanks to the blockbuster movie launch last month. Virgin looks to have taken a page out of the Marvel Entertainment book, pushing forward a traditional entertainment brand. Marvel Entertainment is working on a Thor movie, so one would expect the Thor slot game to enjoy some renewed popularity. Virgin Casino top brass has recently gone on record via the Virgin.com website portal about the ups and downs of the online casino and igaming industry. Virgin's Richard Branson has approximately 200 companies in a range of industry verticals, so Virgin are certainly spreading their risk. Virgin recently ceased their Pikum! brand, however they remain one of the world's strongest and most respected brands. Let us not forget that celebrated film producer and director, Steven Spielberg has made a financial killing in the gaming sector over the decades, however it's his movie making that most of the world knows him for.

PKR.com have ramped up their progressive games and online slot game offerings, so they can expect to see more casino fans flocking to their casino, better known for the 3D casino and online poker experience. PKR are looking to continue their red hot streak in media, building upon their recent promotions tied in with the World Series of Poker, and are said to be sponsoring a number of upcoming events including the Asian Poker Tour, which is enjoying strong presence in Macau and Philippines of late.

To help cope with the current interest from the world's igaming and gaming entities, Australia's Media Man Australia, the media and publicity company, has ramped up portal development operations and also plans to launch more website portals including more for the gaming sector. MMA's Casino News Media, Australian Casino News and Classic Slots Online have been reporting a rise in rankings in recent months, as they strive to achieve Hitwise Australia top ten status. Media Man director, Greg Tingle, reckons its online a matter of time before Australian gaming figures, John "Singo" Singleton and Gerry Harvey, make a major play into Australian online gaming space, most certainly in the horse racing sector. Pokies baron, Bruce Mathieson, continues to do very well out of his pub pokies deal with Woolworths and the like. Media Man Australia is preparing a pitch to put to their connections at TVS Channel 31 Community TV, and sees the igaming and gaming sector as a new source of revenue for the community media sector. The gaming sector is said to be a significant source of revenue to fund Media Man's philanthropic and community endeavours, so TVS would do well to consider their pitch. Australia's SBS are said to also be open to approaches on new revenue streams, and ABC online has increased their online gaming involvement, with an online "Grandstand's Ultimate Ashes" game available, adding to their "Good Game" offerings.

The Australian government would be watching the igaming developments unfold in the US and Europe, as the game of skill vs games of chance debate continues. Now many sports betting experts are arguing that sports betting is largely a game of skill, following recent court findings on poker. You can bet that the UFC is watching this space closely and a number of sports betting operations in the US are said to have broken records with UFC 100, including BetUS.com, with the Brock Lesnar fight being the prime money maker, both for betting and Pay-Per-View buy rates. One can bet that Sen Stephen Conroy's office would have now heard of the upcoming motion picture staring Kevin Spacey, 'Casino Jack'. Spacey plays lobbyist Jack Abramoff, known for his Indian casino connections and lobbying. His career sees him land him in jail. Expect to hear whispers about the movie by the Tabcorp and Crown Casino fraternity.

Australia has seen a number more incidents at bricks and mortar hotels, pubs and casinos, so having a bet on the pokies at an online casino may be even safer and more enjoyable that one might have first thought. As always, take note of the casino and brand names and reputation, and gamblers are advised to know their limits, meaning set a financial limit and stick to it. In addition, gamblers are advised to ensure their gambling stays enjoyable, and if it stops being fun, its most likely time to stop. As the old Aussie term goes, Bet with your head, not over it.

Our friends at Gambling911, CAP, GPWA and eGaming Review see the gaming and igaming industry as being one of the world's most recession resistant industries, but certainly not recession proof.

Certainly mainstream press in Australia is starting to cover the industry in more details, with regular coverage being offered to the likes of PartyGaming, Joe Hachem (PokerStars connection) and the World Series of Poker.

Whatever side of the gaming, igaming and gambling sector you look into, there's plenty of exciting developments, be it technology advancements, legal developments or just new games, as the industry does its best to be a good corporate citizen and do the right thing by authorities, gaming regulators and players.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Independent News & Media sells Cashcade stake to PartyGaming, by Mark Sweney - The Guardian - 23rd July 2009

Owner of the Independent secures €15.3m from digital gambling group as it attempts to restructure its debts

Independent News & Media has sold its 18% stake in Cashcade, the owner of gaming brands including Foxy Bingo, for €15.3m (£13.2m) to digital gambling group PartyGaming.

INM, which earlier this month sold down its stake in Indian newspaper publisher Jagran Prakashan to pay off debts, said that it will receive "incremental proceeds" over the next two years as long as earnings targets are met.

INM, the owner of the Independent and Independent on Sunday, said that the sale of its Cashcade stake was part of its "de-leveraging" strategy as it attempts to negotiate a debt restructuring with investors during a financial "standstill" period.

The sale of the stake is part of a buyout of the entire Cashcade operation by PartyGaming in a deal worth £95.9m. The deal is comprised of £71.9m in cash and a further £24m depending on future profit performance.

Cashcade, which owns brands including Foxy Bingo, Think Bingo, GetMinted, Foxy Flutter and free-to-play website Cheeky Bingo, reported profits of £7.5m in 2008.

"Cashcade provides us with an excellent platform to build a meaningful share of the $1.5bn global online bingo market," said the PartyGaming chief executive, Jim Ryan. "Our longer-term strategic objective is to become the market leader in online poker, casino, sports and bingo."

Last month Channel Five struck an exclusive deal with PartyGaming to launch an online bingo and casino service. (Credit: The Guardian)

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Titan Casino Boosts Conservation Efforts

17th July 2009

Leading environmental organizations, from the Wildlife Conservation Society to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), work tirelessly to protect the world's endangered animals from extinction. Animals such as African elephants, black panthers and dolphins, that have been hunted, poached or fallen prey to mankind's destructive interaction with their natural habitats.

As an e-gaming platform, TitanCasino.com is making its own small contribution by promoting these creatures on three of its nine newly launched games: Dolphin Reef, Panther Moon and Safari Heat.

Titan Casino Manager, Robin Steele, stated: "We are encouraged by the launch of our new games and hope to bring much needed attention to this important issue. Titan Casino takes pride in providing world-class entertainment to our members with these exotic-themed games."

The new online slot machines host a variety of innovative game elements, including a "Gamble" option, where players have the chance to double all or half of their line winnings in a special bonus round. Other features include, "free-games" bonus rounds where players earn more money as the reels spin, a "pick-type" bonus round and a variety of scatter symbols. These exciting features provide increased chances of winning big, both for concerned players and the animals they hope to protect.

Greg Tingle comment...

The connection of sorts between technology related companies, in this case Titan Casino, and environmental matters, via animals, is a bit different, but I like it.

Hey, we are all one, no matter what industry and chosen profession.

The wildlife connection worked for Virgin, rock stars and others with The Prince's Rainforst "Frog" project, PETA's done promotions with Dennis Rodman (also has a slot game) and Mickey Rourke (who is a dog lover), and we here at Media Man Australia assist everyone from Save The Whales Again, Sea Shepherd, to Virgin Unite, to broader nature campaigns like Indigenous projects, and we have an igaming news media and publicity arm.

PartyGaming have Goanna Gold and Shaaark, Microgaming have Bush Telegraph, and Boss Media 'Kangaroo Zoo'.

The Titan Casino wildlife connection works. Casino winners may feel inspired to even make a generous donation to a charity who supports wildlife.... Titan Casino - bring out the animal in you! Woof.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

PartyGaming, Aspinalls, Titan Casino, Titan Poker, JackpotCity, Casino Club, Slots Club, Belle Rock, Euro Partners and others target Asia Pacific

The past month has seen a surge of both established and not so established igaming and gaming companies make a push into the Asia Pacific region.

It appears apparent that some of the gaming entities have more than just a casual interest in Australia, judging by some of the game titles. Try "Goanna Gold", "Cool Bananas", "Kangaroo Zoo", and "Shaaark" on for size!

PartyGaming saw some of their PartyCasino.com titles enjoy a rise in popularity as Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible and Top Gun) fame, and his partner, Katie Holmes, have been spending time in Melbourne, using James Packer's Crown Towers as a base.

Aspinalls are making a push with their Aspinalls Online Casino and Aspinalls Online Poker. Aspinalls have quite a colorful history, with the late, great, John Aspinall said to have ties and friendships with Australia's Packer family. In recent years it has been reported that Australia's James Packer has done business deals with Damian Aspinall. No doubt Aspers would be most welcome to accommodate the needs of casino whales, in both an online and offline capacity. Aspinall Jr has been spotted out and about with Australia's Elle "The Body" MacPherson a number of times over the past year, so Aspers wins points for that alone.

Titan Casino and Titan Poker both Playtech powered casinos have also identified the Asia Pacific region as a go ahead region for growth. Titan have come up with some impressive and generous bonuses for signing up at their online casino brands.

JackpotCity and Lucky Nugget Online Casino, both part of the Belle Rock Entertainment family, rose to prominence in Australia last year with their promotion of blockbuster movie hits, Tomb Raider and Hitman. JackpotCity is powered by Microgaming, which incidentally is also the software that powers Australia's Captain Cooks Casino. Captain Cooks Casino is by all accounts a favorite with the Aussie's, so it looks like a battle of sorts may be on the horizon for the patronage of players who prefer Microgaming.

Casino Club and Slots Club, both powered by Boss Media, proudly have "Kangaroo Zoo" in their casino game stable. In recent months they have added more games, revamped the websites, and enhanced multi currency options.

Euro Partners, the European gaming powerhouse is embarking on a campaign pushing forward their highly respect casino brands into the Asia Pacific. Sources advise to be watching out for Casino Tropez and Europa Casino, to name but a few.

Virgin Games maintains presence in Australia and their Transformers online slot game is impossible to miss, thanks to the blockbuster movie launch last month. Virgin looks to have taken a page out of the Marvel Entertainment book, pushing forward a traditional entertainment brand. Marvel Entertainment is working on a Thor movie, so one would expect the Thor slot game to enjoy some renewed popularity. Virgin Casino top brass has recently gone on record via the Virgin.com website portal about the ups and downs of the online casino and igaming industry. Virgin's Richard Branson has approximately 200 companies in a range of industry verticals, so Virgin are certainly spreading their risk. Virgin recently ceased their Pikum! brand, however they remain one of the world's strongest and most respected brands. Let us not forget that celebrated film producer and director, Steven Spielberg has made a financial killing in the gaming sector over the decades, however it's his movie making that most of the world knows him for.

PKR.com have ramped up their progressive games and online slot game offerings, so they can expect to see more casino fans flocking to their casino, better known for the 3D casino and online poker experience. PKR are looking to continue their red hot streak in media, building upon their recent promotions tied in with the World Series of Poker, and are said to be sponsoring a number of upcoming events including the Asian Poker Tour, which is enjoying strong presence in Macau and Philippines of late.

To help cope with the current interest from the world's igaming and gaming entities, Australia's Media Man Australia, the media and publicity company, has ramped up portal development operations and also plans to launch more website portals including more for the gaming sector. MMA's Casino News Media, Australian Casino News and Classic Slots Online have been reporting a rise in rankings in recent months, as they strive to achieve Hitwise Australia top ten status. Media Man director, Greg Tingle, reckons its online a matter of time before Australian gaming figures, John "Singo" Singleton and Gerry Harvey, make a major play into Australian online gaming space, most certainly in the horse racing sector. Pokies baron, Bruce Mathieson, continues to do very well out of his pub pokies deal with Woolworths and the like. Bodog's Calvin Ayre is rumored to still being eyeing off Australia, and is making a splash on Facebook and Twitter. Media Man Australia is preparing a pitch to put to their connections at TVS Channel 31 Community TV, and sees the igaming and gaming sector as a new source of revenue for the community media sector. The gaming sector is said to be a significant source of revenue to fund Media Man's philanthropic and community endeavors, so TVS would do well to consider their pitch. Australia's SBS are said to also be open to approaches on new revenue streams, and ABC online has increased their online gaming involvement, with an online "Grandstand's Ultimate Ashes" game available, adding to their "Good Game" offerings.

The Australian government would be watching the igaming developments unfold in the US and Europe, as the game of skill vs games of chance debate continues. Now many sports betting experts are arguing that sports betting is largely a game of skill, following recent court findings on poker. You can bet that the UFC is watching this space closely and a number of sports betting operations in the US are said to have broken records with UFC 100, including BetUS.com, with the Brock Lesnar fight being the prime money maker, both for betting and Pay-Per-View buy rates. One can bet that Sen Stephen Conroy's office would have now heard of the upcoming motion picture staring Kevin Spacey, 'Casino Jack'. Spacey plays lobbyist Jack Abramoff, known for his Indian casino connections and lobbying. His career sees him land him in jail. Expect to hear whispers about the movie by the Tabcorp and Crown Casino fraternity.

Australia has seen a number more incidents at bricks and mortar hotels, pubs and casinos, so having a bet on the pokies at an online casino may be even safer and more enjoyable that one might have first thought. As always, take note of the casino and brand names and reputation, and gamblers are advised to know their limits, meaning set a financial limit and stick to it. In addition, gamblers are advised to ensure their gambling stays enjoyable, and if it stops being fun, its most likely time to stop. As the old Aussie term goes, Bet with your head, not over it.

Our friends at Gambling911, CAP, GPWA and eGaming Review see the gaming and igaming industry as being one of the world's most recession resistant industries, but certainly not recession proof.

Certainly mainstream press in Australia is starting to cover the industry in more details, with regular coverage being offered to the likes of PartyGaming, Joe Hachem (PokerStars connection) and the World Series of Poker.

Whatever side of the gaming, igaming and gambling sector you look into, there's plenty of exciting developments, be it technology advancements, legal developments or just new games, as the industry does its best to be a good corporate citizen and do the right thing by authorities, gaming regulators and players.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Independent News & Media set for £20m cash boost - 20th July 2009

LONDON - Indebted newspaper group Independent News & Media is in line for a £20m cash injection after a deal was struck for its minority-owned Cashcade online gaming business to be sold to PartyGaming.

The group behind The Independent and The Independent on Sunday is in need of the money to help refinance a €200m (£172m) bond which was originally due to be repaid in May.

It is also attempting to sell its price comparison business Verivox.

IN&M owns 20% of Cashcade, which PartyGaming is buying for £100m.

PartyGaming is understood to be paying £75m of this upfront and the remaining £25m at a later date depending on the business's performance this year and in 2010.

Details of the sum IN&M is due to receive were unavailable but if proportionate it is likely to receive £15m now and £5m at the later date.

IN&M's current "standstill" agreement with the holders of the €200m bond is in place until July 24.

The Sunday Times has reported that the agreement is expected to be renewed until late August or early September.

The acquisition of Cashcade, which owns well-advertised bingo website Foxybingo.com, is likely to be the first of many in the sector for PartyGaming.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

PKR Poker and PKR Casino Gain Additional Exposure In Australia

PKR Poker and PKR Casino have gained some further exposure in the Asia Pacific region via both some more prominent exposure on the Media Man Australia and Casino News Media websites, in addition to their expansion of progressive games and slot games.

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The Asian Poker Tour Macau To Star As Backdrop For New Chinese Poker Film

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, July 19, 2009 - AsianLogic, owners of the Asian Poker Tour, are delighted to announce a historic first for poker in Asia. The hotly anticipated Asian Poker Tour Macau Festival, taking place 12-23 August 2009 at the Galaxy Starworld, will be featured in a ground-breaking Chinese language poker movie. Many believe the film will have a similar impact on poker in Asia as the 1998 Hollywood film Rounders did in the western world.

The movie is provisionally titled 'Poker King' and will be directed by famous Chinese language director Chan Hing-Kai and Janet Chun and, produced by Amy Chin and Chan Hing-Kai. It tells the story of two bitter poker rivals competing for world championship glory. The cast will be all-star, A list Chinese actors and pop stars with a cinema release across the region set for later this year. Actors with the coveted starring roles include Louis Koo, Sean Lau Ching -Wan, Stephy Tang, Cherrie In and Josie Ho.

There have been several famous gaming films in the region, most notably the 1989 Chinese language classic 'God of Gambler's' starring Chow-Yun-Fat which spawned dozens of spin-offs - but 'Poker King' is set to be the first release that focuses on poker.

Tom Hall, CEO of Asian Logic, owners of the Asian Poker Tour said: "This is a very exciting project and is sure to provoke even more excitement about The Asian Poker Macau Festival in August. Players across the region and throughout the world are encouraged to come to the Starworld and play at the Asian Poker Tour Macau - the movie crew will be needing lots of extras and even players to take on roles if they choose! Rounders, starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton, is always highlighted as a key catalyst for the growth of poker in the western world. 'Poker King' has the promise to deliver this and potentially much more. Gross revenue from poker in Macau is estimated to have risen by 400% in 2008 alone and continues to rise and with this blockbuster movie the game could become even more popular in a land where baccarat is king. Think of how many people have seen Rounders and at least quadruple it and you can only speculate at the kind of impact 'Poker King' could have on the game. We're delighted to be involved."

Asian Poker Tour Macau is a hotbed for the world's top poker professionals and negotiations are ongoing about giving the Tour's sponsored ambassadors 'The Poker Pack' significant roles in the film. The Pack includes recent World Series of Poker bracelet winners JC Tran and Steve Sung, as well as Quinn Do, Nam Le, David 'Chino' Rheem and Kwang Soo Lee. Together, they are amongst the most feared players on the world circuit.

The Asian Poker Tour Macau Festival will run from August 12-23, 2009 at the Galaxy StarWorld Hotel and Casino in Macau. Last year, the event attracted some of the most famous names in the game. Poker legend Doyle Brunson was one of those that attended and said: "I thought Las Vegas was the gambling capital of the world but I was wrong, it feels like coming home." The Main Event was won by 20-year-old US hotshot Yevgeniy Timoshenko, who scooped US$500,000 after emerging triumphant from the star-studded field that featured players from over 40 countries. Timoshenko has gone on to become one of the hottest talents in the game after taking down the WPT Championship earlier this year.

This year's Asian Poker Tour Macau Festival will be bigger and better with 12 days of non-stop poker action and fun. The buy-in is set at US$4,300 (US$4000+$300). Aside from the Main Event, the Asian Poker Tour Macau Festival will feature the largest range of side events ever seen in Asia - guaranteed to make the poker fest even more exciting and appealing to players at all levels. Organizers and tournament director Matt Savage promise a lengthy and varied side event schedule that will appeal to all tastes, details of which will be confirmed in the near future. High-limit games and sit-n-go tables will run throughout the duration of the festival.

The last Asian Poker Tour event was held in the Philippines in January 2009 and was won by Manila rounder Neil Arce, who scooped US$185,000 for first prize after overcoming a field of 262 players from over 40 countries. The runner-up was the Republic of Korea's Steve Yea, who repeated his second place in the Asian Poker Tour Macau 2008.

Like 2008, online qualifiers are also expected to flock to the StarWorld as the Asian Poker Tour continues to gain support from leading online poker networks hosting satellites to the Main Event. The Asian Poker Tour is supported by the iPoker Network, Titan Poker, DafaPoker, PKR, PartyPoker, 32 Red Poker, Betfriends, Ongame Network, Red Kings, 888.com, and Bwin. Full details can be found at www.asianpt.com

World Series of Poker" and "WSOP" are registered trade marks of Harrah's License Company LLC. No license, affiliation, sponsorship, or endorsement is claimed, or should be inferred from the use of these trademarks here. AsianLogic is not licensed by or otherwise affiliated with Harrah's License Company LLC or the World Series of Poker, in any way.

ABOUT ASIANLOGIC (ALOG) OWNERS OF THE ASIAN POKER TOUR
AsianLogic is a leading online and land-based gaming company focusing on the Asia-Pacific markets. AsianLogic owns and operates eight online casino brands and two online poker rooms as well as land-based sportsbook operations through its MegaSportsWorld brand. It is a specialist in Asia-specific games such as Mahjong, Cho-Da-Di, Do-Di-Zhu and 13 Card Poker. The Company owns and operates the Asian Poker Tour. The Company also maintains a corporate advisory team specialising in the gaming sector which is an active investor in gaming-related businesses as well as providing consultancy and analytical services. AsianLogic enjoys strong commercial relationships with leading gaming providers including Playtech, ID Games and LVS. Founded as ESL in 2002, AsianLogic employs over 300 employees, the majority of whom are based in the Philippines.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

PartyCasino.com Wins Media Man Australia Online Casino Award

PartyCasino.com has been awarded the Media Man Australia and Casino News Media "Online Casino Of The Month" for the 2nd month in a row.

The accolade was awarded based on a combination of elements including user experience, innovation, trustworthiness, customer service, gameplay, affiliate program offerings, newsworthiness and company values.

PartyCasino.com is one of a number of PartyGaming brands.

The most popular PartyCasino.com games of late include The Godfather, Mission: Impossible, Top Gun, Cleopatra, Monopoly, Goanna Gold and Rambo.

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

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Crown Casino News Profiles Updated

The Media Man Australia, Casino News Media and Australian Casino News Crown Casino News profiles have been updated.

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Clubs accuse Tabcorp of bullying over pokies, by Cameron Houston - The Age - 19th July 2009

Gaming giant Tabcorp faces a second investigation by the consumer watchdog over claims it has bullied venues to sign up to its new business plan to supply and service poker machines.

In a move that will break the duopoly held by Tabcorp and Tatts Group by 2012, all Victorian pubs and clubs will be able to buy pokie entitlements from the State Government at auction next year, enabling them to freely source and purchase poker machines.

Under the new gaming framework, pokie venues must return their existing machines to Tabcorp and Tatts by 2012. They can then buy the number of machines they are entitled to from the two gaming giants, from interstate or directly from the manufacturer, Aristocrat Leisure. However, it is believed Aristocrat is unable to supply Victorian venues with 27,000 new machines by 2012, so most venues will be forced to buy their machines from Tabcorp or Tatts.

In a bid to shore up business beyond 2012, Tabcorp has allegedly been trying to pressure clubs into signing now with its new venture, Tabcorp Gaming Solutions (TGS), which will charge venues a daily rate of $39 for each of its 13,500 machines.

A TGS contract obtained by The Sunday Age reveals the offer would lock venue operators into a six-year deal in return for machines and a range of marketing and monitoring services. Several club managers claim Tabcorp has threatened to remove their poker machines if they refuse to sign up — meaning they could be left with no machines on their premises, regardless of how many entitlements they buy at auction next year.

Shepparton Club manager Rod Drill said Tabcorp told him he risked losing machines if he rejected the offer. "It sounded like a cheap threat and that's how we took it. The Government has told us we can own and operate the machines, which is something we can do by ourselves. We don't need them [Tabcorp]," he said.

Mr Drill is urging the Brumby Government to ensure that by the time the new system is introduced, enough machines are available for venues that have bought entitlements.

Clubs Victoria executive director Margaret Kearney said she had asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate Tabcorp's conduct. "They are trying to frighten clubs into signing an agreement that is grossly weighted in their favour," she said.

The ACCC is already examining allegations that Tabcorp tried to persuade Clubs Victoria not to bid for a gaming licence in March last year by offering a $20 million inducement.

Yesterday, Tabcorp spokesman Bruce Tobin rejected claims the gaming giant had coerced venues into signing up to its TGS venture. He accused Clubs Victoria of attempting to destabilise the venture, which is to be launched in Melbourne next week.

"Tabcorp seriously questions the motives of these allegations on the eve of the launch," Mr Tobin said. (Credit: The Age)

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World Series of Backgammon Joins Jadestone's New Backgammon Network - CAP

Official launch and press conference July 24, 2009 at the Palm Beach Casino, Cannes

July 15, 2009 (Stockholm, Sweden) – Jadestone Networks, the Nordic based owner and operator of multiplayer gaming networks GamArena and DiceArena, announced today that the World Series of Backgammon (WSOB) is joining their new backgammon network. The official launch will take place on Friday July 24, 2009 in Cannes at the WSOB live event.

The backgammon network, built on Jadestone’s cutting edge DiceArena multiplayer platform, was launched in June and it already includes partners such as bwin, Nordicbet and PAF. The WSOB joins it during a period of rapid growth in player numbers and it will bring with it significant backgammon expertise and a large base of keen backgammon players.

“We’ve already seen that backgammon is a tremendously popular game,” said Robert Henrysson, CEO at Jadestone. “All of our partners are hungry to launch our new version and player numbers in the network have grown every day since early June. We want to become the largest network and to be the first choice for dedicated backgammon players across Europe and this partnership with the WSOB underlines just how serious we are.”

Andy Bell, Managing Director of the WSOB, is also excited about the new partnership and said that: “We’ve been building up to this online backgammon launch on our WSOB site for some time, but we think it was worth the wait; the Jadestone platform is absolutely the right solution for us. From July 24 all backgammon enthusiasts will be able to play online via our site and qualify for WSOB offline events in cities such as Cannes and Prague and for the WSOB Championship in London this October where the expected prize pool will top €300,000. We have a strong field of players lined up to get rolling on our new online site.”

The Jadestone backgammon network is fully compliant with all commonly used competition rule sets and includes the same extensive operations and anti-fraud systems as other DiceArena games. It is an integrated part of the Jadestone Arena games ‘super network’ which means that it shares the player identity system and liquidity with other multiplayer games networks including GamArena. It is available across Europe with support for 25 languages.

On July 24, 2009 the WSOB and Jadestone will officially launch the WSOB branded backgammon site during the Cannes WSOB event at the Palm Beach Casino. Qualifying tournaments for the Prague WSOB event will be online and open from that day.

###

For more information please contact:

Andrew Pegler
UK Director, Jadestone
andrew.pegler@jadestone.se

Andy Bell
Managing Director, WSOB
ab@worldseriesofbackgammon.com

About Jadestone
Jadestone is a leading developer of fully managed online game solutions. From great games to secure backend, Jadestone delivers quality services to both players and distribution partners. Jadestone's expanding portfolio of products include the award winning DiceArena(TM) dice games network; the acclaimed GamArena(TM) skill games network; Championship Manager Online(TM) – the football management game; and several innovative mobile games. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, the company is privately owned and funded. For more information about Jadestone and its products, please go to www.jadestone.se

About World Series of Backgammon
The WSOB was launched in 2006 and has established itself as the premium backgammon tour and competition organizer on the planet. Its offline tournaments have attracted more than 200 of the world’s best backgammon players to events in Cannes, London and elsewhere and such events have been broadcast on TV in more than 60 countries. www.worldseriesofbackgammon.com

Greg Tingle comment...

The timing looks to be good, with the World Series of Poker still in many peoples minds, and I think both news media, industry media, and punters will pick up on it. WSOB is likely keen to pick up a few whales also. PartyGaming is another company that has a Backgammon product, PartyGammon, however I don't believe that Party ever pushed hard on their backgammon offering, however I may be mistaken. It did form part of their whole PartyGaming offering however, and gets mentioned in their various press releases, in the series of websites section. Multiplayer games are very hot at the moment and because of this reason we here at Media Man Australia and Casino News Media are developing our own dedicated multiplayer game sections on our website portals. I think the WSOB looks like its going to be a hit, based on the release and other information found online. Their website looks to be of a high standard, which is always a good sign, and of course they have wisely been in touch with CAP, so the word is getting out.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Online casino classic slots most popular

Research findings from media, publicity and portal development company, Media Man Australia, and their igaming arm, Casino News Media, indicate that classic slot games remain the most popular online games in most regions of the world.

Original titles such as Cleopatra, Monopoly, Da Vinci Diamonds lead the way in most markets.

Other themed slots which have become part of pop culture enjoying strong following include Wheel Of Fortune, Tomb Raider, Hitman, Transformers and a number of Marvel Comics titles.

Marvel's The Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, Fantastic Four and Iron Man are also starting to be thought as classics, with their history tracing back to the mid 1950's in many cases when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were busy developing these super hero characters.

The popularity of these themed slot games has facilitated the creation of a number of themed casino game website portals such as Classic Slots Online, Marvel Slots Online and Marvel Heroes Casino.

A number of industry insiders are predicting that other future classic slot games will include iconic WWE Superstars such as Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and the late, great, Andre The Giant.

North Sydney's NextGen Gaming are said to have already started work on an Andre The Giant slot game, and the rumour mill says that PartyGaming's PartyCasino is in the running to pick up the title in either an exclusive or non exclusive deal. PartyGaming already has a connection to the WWE with its relationships and history with such greats as Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, both of which feature in current PartyCasino games, RAMBO and THE TERMINATOR.

New variations of these slots are on the cards, be it MegaJackpots, Gold Mega Jackpot, slots tournaments or multi player promotions.

The competition to put out the best games and promotions possible is fierce with industry giants such as PartyGaming, IGT - International Game Technology - WagerWorks, Boss Media, Microgaming, CryptoLogic, Eidos Interactive, Playtech, Real Time Gaming, NextGen Gaming and others pulling out all the stops to satisfy player and industry demands.

Our top five online slots from the top are:

Cleopatra

Monopoly

RAMBO

TOMB RAIDER

THE TERMINATOR

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Marvel Slots Online

Marvel Heroes Casino

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$200,000 in casino chips 'found in car' - 18th July 2009

A Hells Angel member has been charged after police allegedly seized a satchel of cash from his vehicle and more than $200,000 in casino chips from his Sydney north shore home.

Officers from Strike Force Raptor stopped and searched a car about 3pm (AEST) yesterday as it was leaving a premises at Waverton.

They allegedly found the cash and moved on to a home, where they seized bottles that allegedly contained a liquid prohibited drug.

An amount of casino chips valued at $205,100 were also found, police said.

A 30-year-old man, who police allege is a member of the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang, was charged with dealing with the proceeds of crime and possessing a prescribed restricted substance.

He was granted conditional bail and is expected to appear at North Sydney Local Court on August 11.

Strike Force Raptor was established to target bikie gangs and their associated criminal enterprises.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

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Queensland pubs say cheap food pulls in more pokie punters, by Melanie Christiansen - The Courier-Mail - 16th July 2009

Cash-strapped families visiting clubs for a cheap night out are the reason for a rise in Queensland's pokies spending, industry insiders claim.

Figures show people gambled away a record $1.86 billion on gaming machines in the state's clubs and hotels last financial year.

That included $882 million lost in the first six months of this year - up from $859 million for the same period last year - despite measures the State Government claimed would limit spending on the pokies this year.

Some anti-betting campaigners blame the rising pokies splurge on people gambling to escape financial and other worries but Clubs Queensland chief Doug Flockhart said most people punted responsibly.

He believed more people were playing the pokies as a result of a change in dining habits as people eat out at local clubs instead of taking the family to a more expensive restaurant.

''We've seen a significant increase in food and beverage sales in community clubs,'' he said. ''Maybe, as part of the economy, people are redirecting their entertainment habits.

''Mum, dad and a couple of kids can have a night out (at a club) and it might cost $60, instead of $150, and therefore there is room in their budget to maybe put $20 on a machine, if that's their inkling.''

With latest figures showing increased spending on the pokies - despite a cap on the number of machines and reduced gaming hours - the State Government has announced a review of controls on the industry.

Tourism and Fair Trading Minister Peter Lawlor said yesterday he would consider all options, including imposing new restrictions. He said that could include a further rollout of card-based gaming, which allows players to pre-set the amount they are prepared to gamble. (Credit: The Courier-Mail)

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