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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Crown Limited AGM: Rev Up 6%, Hit By Singapore, by Greg Tingle - 30th November 2010

G'day punters, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, poker nuts, politicians, super whales, journalists, ... one and all. Today we have the run down from Crown Limited's annual general meeting that took place in Perth, West Australia. Media Man and Gambling911 report from beautiful Perth...

What a huge 24 hours its been for our friends at Crown Casino. Earlier today the Crown Limited AGM was held, Crown Casino remaining the Aussie crown in the jewel, and tonight Crown Casino hosts the Sports Performer Awards. Drinks have been flowing all around, and the pokies have been happily singing along. Cleopatra and Queen Of The Nile never sounded so good, and Shane Warne's positive impact and buzz has been bouncing off the walls and is on the tip of everyone tongue.

Crown powers that be tell us revenue from its Australian casino and hotel operations since the commencement of the financial year are up on the same period in 2009, so that's the good news. We'll give you the bad new later.

The combined gaming revenue from Crown Casino in Melbourne and and Burswood Entertainment Complex in Perth between July 1 and November 24 was up roughly 6%, chief executive Rowen Craigie told the gathering.

Craigie was speaking at the group's annual general meeting in Perth, Western Australia, earlier.

Non-gaming revenue in the same period was up by roughly 5% on the same period last year, not including the impact of the newly opened Crown Metropol hotel, pretty much next door to Crown Casino.

Including the Metropol, non-gaming revenue was up a modest 13% on the previous corresponding period, Craigie advised.

The Singapore Effect...

Ok, so overall Crown Limited is still one of the strongest gaming and gambling companies on the planet.

Crown has spent more than $1 billion over the past 4 years, and is to spend another $800 million to update and expand its facilities over the next few years.

Competitors, Tabcorp, is in the midst of its own redevelopment of Star City which, with the cost of the extra licence payment to the New South Wales government to make way for the work, represents about $1 billion of capital expenditures. That redevelopment is understood to be a key factor in the proposed de-merger of Tabcorp’s casino and other gambling interests. Getting ready for Packer in a few years maybe?

A key factor for both firms investing so much in their casinos was a goal to protect and expand their VIP customer bases, while they face stiff competition from the new casinos in Macau and, more recently, the 2 new "complexes"...Crown refers to them as "integrated resorts"...in Singapore. Star has wrestled to attract a reasonable share of VIP revenues, but maybe the tide will soon turn.

Crown had been pretty cool, no fussed about the 2 new Singapore resorts, based on its experience of the opening of the Macau casino resorts. Despite compound annual growth of 34.7% in Macau’s gaming revenues since the last quarter of 2005, Crown and Burswood have been pretty much unaffected, but who really knows what is around the corner.

It had initially appeared that the explosion of gambling capacity in Macau...there has been more than $17 billion spent on building the Macau complexes – was actually benefiting Crown by significantly expanding the pool of VIPs in the region. Crown was optimistic the opening of the Singapore resorts earlier this year would have a similar impact, but the jury is out for the moment.

It could well be too early for that sort of effect to show up...the Singapore casinos, which opened in January and April, would still be fresh an in their honeymoon period, like a new bride.

Packer and Craigie are understood to be concerned that those complexes are hurting Crown’s VIP visits and volumes.

Packer made noise of the government support the Macau and Singapore complexes receive, both the supporting infrastructure and promotional activities, because of their perceived capacity to help stimulate tourism. Tourism growth in Singapore is up 22% this year and Singapore has set a target of increasing tourism numbers from a modest 9 million visitors to 17 million by 2015, Crown says. Some segments of the Australian news media were keen to dismiss the tourism aspect of land based casinos, but now most newsrooms have come to their senses, despite the still odd media "beat up" on casinos, gambling and all that.

Crown is calling on the federal and state governments, the tourism industry and Asian-focused tourism operators to work more closely to lift Australia’s stagnating tourist numbers.

Despite Crown’s claimed status as the largest non-airline tourism operator, it is unlikely at this stage of the game it will get any direct government assistance in the current political climate, particularly given the anti-gambling stance taken by at least two of the independents in Canberra.

The strong Aussie dollar, the depressed state of the local industry and the increased regional competition for high net worth tourists, however, means there out to be an increased focus and spending on tourism generally.

Regaining its share of the international VIP market is critical to Crown Limited. So is increasing its 16% share of VIP revenues is crucial to Tabcorp’s casino strategy and massive investment. Crown estimates more than 35% of its revenue...more than $850 million a year...comes from international visitors. Don't even get us started on "funny money"... you know, the allegations of money laundering and "cleaning" of money via Crown (and pub) pokies.

Bad News...

Ok, the bad news. He said turnover from VIP high roller punters aka "whales" at the Melbourne and Burswood casinos in the first 21 weeks of the financial year was down 10% on the same period last year, which is enough to raise some concern, especially when one joins the dots and analyses the likely cause, and its not just the global financial crisis, or crunch, if your prefer.

"We are continuing to see an impact from the opening of the two new integrated resorts in Singapore and are yet to capitalise on the opportunity to capture the new business that Singapore potentially offers," Craigie said reading off his notes.

Good News...

The Metropol Hotel, which opened last April, was achieving better than expected occupancy rates and room rates were "firming'', he disclosed.

Melco Crown Entertainment, Crown holding a 33.5% stake, has disclosed a "broad-based improvement" in the performance of its champion resort City of Dreams, Macau, the meeting was made aware.

In some much needed good news, Melco reported improved revenue and earnings in the 3 months to September 30 compared with the same period last year, Craigie said.

Crown Limited shares finished off down 3 cents at $8.21.

Awards...

It's been a big month for casino awards.

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has also come back with seconds, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for November, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

Australian Land Based Casino Of The Month: Crown Casino, Runner Up: Star City

Oh, we almost forgot...Media Man and Casino News Media 'Casino Babe Of The Month': Jenny Woo, 'Poker Babe': Kara Scott, 'Gambling Babe Personality': Pamela Anderson.

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Wrap Up...

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

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

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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PartyPoker Introduces Five Star Poker Challenge

PartyPoker Introduces Five Star Poker Challenge

In December, PartyPoker will unveil the Five Star Poker Challenge, offering 31 freerolls worth $5,000 each plus other high-stakes cash prizes. PartyPoker offers some of the industry’s most unique promotions every month.

All you have to do to take full advantage of the Five Star Poker Challenge is rack up five Party Points in a single day. That’s it; that’s really all you have to do. When you amass five points, PartyPoker will grant you entry into a $5,000 freeroll the next day. There are 31 freerolls that will be held in total, meaning that the site is putting up over $150,000 for this part of the Five Star Poker Challenge promotion.

Now, if you qualify for five of the aforementioned $5,000 freerolls, you’ll score entry into a $50,000 freeroll that will be held on January 2nd. You’ll be ringing in the new year in style as you vie for a five-figure prize pool, all for playing on one of the world’s largest online poker sites.

In addition, repeat winners of the $5,000 freerolls will be in for a special treat. Win two daily $5,000 freerolls and you’ll take home a $5,000 cash prize. If you manage to win three daily freerolls, then your prize will be increased to $50,000. Finally, any PartyPoker player who manages to take down five daily $5,000 freerolls will win a colossal $500,000 cash prize.

Your $5,000 freeroll victories don’t have to be consecutive; rather, they can happen on any days during the promotion. Finally, PartyPoker is offering up one $5,000, $50,000, and $500,000 bonus, so start playing early to claim your prize, as jackpots will be paid out on a first come, first served basis.

Text found on PartyPoker’s website explains how bonuses can be claimed: “To make a claim, players must send an email to info@partypoker.com and confirm their account name. PartyPoker will respond to all claims within 48 hours in order to verify all claims and ensure no fraudulent play has taken place.” PartyPoker expects to pay out bonuses within 48 hours.

The $5,000 tournaments will kick off at 15:00 ET each day during the Five Star Poker Challenge. According to PartyPoker’s terms, a “day” runs from 00:00 ET to 23:59 ET, so make sure to pick up five Party Points during this time span to qualify.

Also in December, PartyPoker is holding the VIP Gift Accumulator for its VIP members. All players need to do is earn Party Points. Then, at certain thresholds, they’ll receive rewards for their play, ranging from a $50 cash prize to a $5,000 World Poker Tour (WPT) buy-in. Other prizes include $100 in cash, an iPod Touch, $700 in cash, and a 16 GB iPad, which will likely be one of the hottest gift items for the holiday season. All prizes are cumulative, which could make for a pretty full stocking come Christmas morning.

The VIP Gift Accumulator also includes a prize draw that will shell out $10,000. The top payout in the prize draw is $5,000, with cash sums of $3,000 and $2,000 also available. The VIP Gift Accumulator promotion runs from December 1st to 14th, with the prize draw occurring on December 17th. Players must opt into the VIP Gift Accumulator in order to participate.

The WPT buy-in is good for any event before March 31st. Players who would rather not head to a live poker tournament can opt for a cash alternative of $3,500. In order to check out how many VIP Gift Accumulator points you’ve earned, head to your PartyPoker account after you’ve opted in.

Visit PartyPoker for the full rundowns of the Five Star Poker Challenge and VIP Gift Accumulator. (Credit: Poker News Daily)

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Crown Casino: Sports Performer Awards, by Greg Tingle - 30th November 2010

G'day punters, sports nuts, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, poker nuts, politicians, super whales, journalists, ... one and all. Today we dish up sporting feast as Melbourne's Crown Casino plays hosts the annual Sports Performer Awards. Media Man and Gambling911 hunt down the hottest sports stories in the world just for you...

Tonight's the night, at Crown Casino, if your into sports that is, and we don't mean poker.

Very cleverly James Packer owned Crown Casino continues to put on a bush tucker bag of activities, events et al... some gambling related, some not. It's all part of his 'World Of Entertainment' which JP has been selling for a few years now.

Regular G911 and Media Man readers will recall other events that are hosted by Crown included Warnie tapings, 'The Logies', Brownlow Medal awards, and the upcoming 'This Is Your Life'.

Well, tonight (Tuesday) Crown does elite sports.

Let's see... we've got Alicia Coutts (swimmer) and Mark 'No Bull' Webber (F1 ace) in the mix of a world class line up of elite sports men and women.

The winner of the super cool sports performer of the year will get a handy $50,000 payday and a Raymond Weil timepiece valued at $3900. The watch might end up on eBay, but that's another story punters.

The top individual award line up is: Webber, Huegill (swimming), Coutts, Mitchell, Torah Bright (snowboarding), Todd Carney (NRL), Stephanie Gilmore (surfing), Lydia Lassila (aerial skiing), Chris McCormack (ironman), Neil Robertson (snooker), Dane Swan (AFL) and Steve Hooker (athletics).

Who will be Australia's top athlete? We've got Cadel Evans, Matthew Mitcham and Craig Alexander.

F1 legend Webber is a fav of ours and finished third in this year's F1 championship. Webber's performance is amazing when you consider the Red Bull team appeared to treat him as their #2 driver for the season, and you can look up the history on this website.

Collingwood midfielder Swan was a awesome performer all year and significantly assisted the Magpies end a 20-year premiership hiatus.

Snooker ace Robertson grabbed the world championship before going on to top the rankings and win the World Open. Readers will recall some of the history when the favorite got stuck in a sports betting scandal, but enough of that for now.

Aerial skier and Vancouver Olympic gold medallist Lassila went on record that she was was "surprised" and "very grateful to be nominated". Lassila won this year's The Don Award at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame induction ceremony, so she's on a roll.

The nominees for the team performance of the year are the Matildas (soccer), Kookaburras (hockey), St George Illawarra (NRL), Collingwood (AFL), Queensland State of Origin (NRL) and Team Vodafone (V8 Supercars).

How about coach of the year? Ok, we've got Ric Charlesworth (hockey), Gai Waterhouse (horse racing) and Mick Malthouse (AFL) in the field of contenders.

Young performer of the year? Try on for size Melissa Wu (diving) and Jessica Watson (sailing), and swimmer Matthew Cowdrey for the sports performer of the year (with a disability).

Crown Casino Mate To Call And World Class Cricket (And Business) Spinner...

Shane Warne TV News...

Warnie sweetly beat Channel Ten shows The Good Wife and House. Australian TV critics expressed some optimism after viewing the first Warnie. Herald Sun's TV writer Colin Vickery went with the show "a solid first innings". "Warne doesn't have the skills of the famed British interviewer (Michael Parkinson) but the former Aussie spin king has a knockabout charm that brought out the best in his guests," Vickery said. Veteran interviewer and radio host Derryn Hinch told the newspaper he was pleasantly surprised after initially fearing the show "had bogan written all over it". "Take it for what it is, it's entertainment and I think Shane Warne has, what I've seen at this stage, done a pretty good job," Derryn 'The Human Headline' Hinch said. "It's just straight up and down, it's folksy and chatty, it's light and entertaining and it will go quite well." Professional blogger Karl Quinn, from The National Times, a Fairfax Media publication scribed the program as "neither a disaster nor a world-changing event". "It was exactly what you might expect from Shane Warne: affable, blokey, and not to be taken too seriously," Quinn said. Other celebrities to feature on the show include Sting, Pink, Chris Martin and Daniel Radcliffe. Quotes From Warnie And Guests...Warne: "Did you ever think, 'I wish I could be a plumber for a day, or drive a truck and deliver beds or deliver pizzas?'" Packer: "To be honest, not a lot. I sometimes wished I was you, but if I can't be you I'm happy being me." Sam Kekovich: "A life spent making mistakes is more honourable and more useful than a life spent doing nothing," he said. Claiming he was quoting George Bernard Shaw, but everyone knew who he was really talking about. Our rating: 9.5 out of 10. Yep, Warnie hit em for 6, with Packer chipping in being a good sport, making sure it would be a success. Not quite a Packer whacker, but not a puff piece either. Warnie could well be heading for a jackpot next week. Don't change your dial, and always remember to spin to win.

Awards...

It's been a big month for casino awards.

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has also come back with seconds, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for November, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

Oh, we almost forgot...Media Man and Casino News Media 'Casino Babe Of The Month': Jenny Woo, 'Poker Babe': Kara Scott, 'Gambling Babe Personality': Pamela Anderson.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Did you enjoy the Crown Casino sporting news? Tell us in the forum.

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

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis. They also publish Australian Sports Entertainment http://www.australiansportsentertainment.com

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Casino News Media: PartyCasino Wins Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Award

PartyCasino.com Wins Media Man Online Casino Award

PartyCasino.com has been awarded the Media Man and Casino News Media "Online Casino Of The Month".

PartyGaming's igaming suite has grown a custom to winning awards since they first opened for business in 1997.

The competition for the coveted award was intense again this month with massive bids from both WPTCasino.com, Captain Cooks Casino, Virgin Casino, Betfair, PKR and Noble Casino however there can only be one winner... ladies and gentlemen, that's PartyCasino.com

The award follows PartyPoker's EGR Poker Operator Of The Year and PartyGaming also made the shortlist for EGR Operator Of The Year. Recently PartyGaming's PartyPoker.com also won the Casino News Media "Online Poker Website Of The Month".

The Media Man - Casino News Media accolade is 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 Heist, Circus, Rambo, Palladium Slot, The Godfather, Sinatra, Slotbox, Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Mission: Impossible, The Terminator, Cleopatra, Sinatra, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, Monopoly, Resident Evil, Melon Madness, Wheel Of Fortune and Mega Fortune Wheel.

The PartyCasino.com jackpot is currently approaching the $2 million mark. Players can also compete for The Big One and Marvel Hero Jackpot, playing the Marvel super hero themed online slot games.

PartyCasino's most recent game releases include Shaaark! SuperBet, Crocodopolis, Alice's Wonderland, Glamour Puss, Super Cubes, Heist, Palladium Slot and Circus Slot.

PartyGaming CEO Jim Ryan has gone on record advising PartyCasino will soon feature more Hollywood blockbuster themed slots. A few in the know journalists and media agents have been recently tipped off that an all time classic movie adaption will be showcased in the PartyCasino portfolio within 1 month. PartyCasino has the world's most impressive line up of Hollywood themed games, and more are just around the corner.

PartyCasino.com and PartyPoker.com customers can also benefit from rewards and bonuses via PartyPoints and the Palladium Lounge. Be certain to check out the PartyCasino exclusive "Cash Machine" that is being championed as one of the greatest online casino promos ever.

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

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Monday, November 29, 2010

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

G'day punters, entertainment news junkies, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, politicians, super whales, journalists, one and all. Today we have a special Aussiewood - Hollywood entertainment news round up for you. From the golden sands of Bondi Beach, the Opera House in Sydney, over to Perth, all the way up to our friends in Hollywood, you will be sure to get stars in your eyes today. Media Man and Gambling911 continue to bring you some of the most interesting and news on the planet. Lights, camera, action...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Billionaire Branson To Launch Apple iPad Lifestyle Mag...

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

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

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

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

Awards...

It's been a big month for casino awards.

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has also come back with seconds, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for November, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

Oh, we almost forgot...Media Man and Casino News Media 'Casino Babe Of The Month': Jenny Woo, 'Poker Babe': Kara Scott, 'Gambling Babe Personality': Pamela Anderson.

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Readers... er, punters, how did you like our special Aussiewood - Hollywood report? Did you get stars in your eyes? Tell us in the forum.

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

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer media, entertainment industry and political commentary and analysis. They also publish Australian Sports Entertainment http://www.australiansportsentertainment.com and Hollywood Slot Games

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Centrebet appoints new MD - 25th November 2010

Wagering and gaming firm Centrebet Ltd has promoted Michael McRitchie to managing director.

Mr McRitchie, who is currently deputy managing director, will commence in his new role in January, Centrebet chairman Graham Kelly told shareholders during the company's annual general meeting in Sydney on Thursday.

Centrebet unveiled a five-year plan earlier this month that aimed to double the company's market share of Australian corporate bookmaking from the current 10 per cent.

Dr Kelly said Mr McRitchie, who has been deputy managing director since December 2008, was a key contributor to the new strategic plan.

"Michael is extremely well qualified to lead the business through its next phase of growth," Dr Kelly said in prepared remarks.

Con Kafataris will remain as executive director, reporting to the board, for a transition period of between six and 12 months before becoming a non-executive director, Dr Kelly said.

Dr Kelly said current trading conditions were strong, with the growth in the Australian market driving gains in total underlying revenues.

He said that based on the continued strength of the Australian trading performance, local earnings would form a greater proportion of earnings in fiscal 2011, compared with the prior year.

In fiscal 2010, Australian standalone underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) made up 80 per cent of total underlying EBITDA, he said.

Centrebet closed up one cent at $1.475. (Credit: Wires, AAP, Google News)

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Australian Casino Wars: Star City Official Opening, by Greg Tingle - 27th November 2010

G'day punters, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, poker nuts, politicians, super whales, journalists, politicians... one and all. Today we have the scoop on the quietly promoted official launched of Star City, the re branded and upgraded former Star City Casino aka Pyrmont Workers Club. Media Man and Gambling911 take bets, so to speak, on whether $1 million dollars ($760m for a start), can make all the difference at Star City as they strive to become Australia's leading land based casino. Dreaming or a genuine possibility? Let's go swimming with sharks up Darling Harbour to take a closer look...

Star City in 'Sin City' Sydney did a bit of a soft (*ock)... not rock, launch last night night, perhaps in a bit of a risk management tactic. Not quite a "bottom of the harbour scheme", but search for the connection.

A pretty low key event with a smallish crowd, no doubt all supporters. No protesters or big fans of competitor Crown Casino, we suspect!

The odd insider guest made it past the beefed up casino bouncers gorillas and the like, and gamblers a plenty, with some dolphins, whales, and even a super whale we hear. They parties and celebrated the official opening of the first segment of the expensive revamp.

The gaming floor now faces north, and the joint does have a better vibe that what it used to, which is not so impressive, as it sort of sucked for a few years. You can even breath in there, and there's also enough room to swing a cat, Cleopatra, or goanna by the tail.

Last night was pretty bloody quite when you consider the $760 million rebuild of join.

It's been tipped as one of the most expensive redevelopments of an Australian property in history. The workers and machines have been working pretty much around the clock to make it happen. Some parallels can be drawn with the Dubai developments, but we suspect working conditions are a touch better here, and no slums too close by either to spoil the shine and smiles.

There's also going to be another luxury hotel, making it two, and this one will be 12 stories high. It's a 5 star affair too punters. Got the keep those whales satisfied, and Tab don't want to loose them to the online casinos you know.

The top couple of floors are for the whales and super whales. Tuna and algae will have to make other arrangements. No sure what happens to octopuses, unless their name is Paul (from Germany).

Private jets will be at the ready for the VIP's and whales play. Star are also aiming to fly in the world's top performing artists and others who can cast their net far and wide. Get the punters in, the whales, and watch the cash come in - that's the general plan. They want Star hip and cool again. Everyone's fighting for the entertainment dollar.

The $100 million entertainment centre is currently awaiting additional planning approval. The suites, bigger than most city apartments, come with their own butler, and birdie whispered about ladies of the night (we think they might be in the "services directory", and are just down the road, unless call outs - room service is organ - ised. Back to the PR guidelines casino jack.

A new whiz bang entertainment centre, with seating ranging from 1500 for banquets to 3000 for music concerts, and up to 4000 with some folks standing, can be at the top of the complex. It weights a ton. Think like a 15-storey office tower, requiring strengthening of the old casino foundations. That's part of the reason the project is taking so long.

At least lucky 7 top chefs from Australia and abroad, including the celebrated David Chang, who is making his first tour outside New York, will be dishing up what is understood to be some of the world's top tucker. Especially for casino food, quite different from airline munchies.

Who lead the design of this new monster? Nick Sissons, along with with Fitzpatrick and Partners. On record he says "The common approach for casinos, particularly in north America (where Star City took early inspiration) is to build a themed, air-conditioned box whereby you build a shed and fill it with activity and then theme the outside with those branding concepts. We took the almost directly opposite approach - turn the casino inside out. Sydney has a degree of sophistication about outdoor dining, people seeing each other and being seen. Our influences were more to do with exteriors, water, light, technology."

Yank Sid Vaikunta learnt the casino biz in the original 'Sin City' Las Vegas and the now try hard ish Atlantic City, and was hunted down to oversee the redevelopment as Star City's managing director. He was pretty busy hunting down restaurateurs willing to bring new attractions to Star City dining and entertainment. He had a big pay cheque, and a bit budget to boot.

He is mindful not to criticise the past administrators to much, opting to champion and talk up the future. "This property deserves to offer more back to Sydney in terms of entertainment. The fact that we're investing nearly $1 billion is an indication of our belief that there is a lot of work to be done. We see nothing but opportunity in this area. What somebody might have perceived 15 years ago is irrelevant to us." But he acknowledges "existing customers have for some time been screaming for a better product", one that offers much more than the chance to spend up having a punt. We all know many Sydneysiders turned away from Star as much Star went stale and old, but that was in the past, so will we give them a second chance?

"The real growth is in taking what I call the Star City prospects - the rejectors, if you will - and really build a place where people go," Vaikunta says. "I can pull up here on the harbourside, have dinner, cocktails, watch a show, use the spa, check into the hotel, have a business meeting or a social function, go to the casino, the nightclub...creating a variety of reasons for people to come. It's speaking to a wider Sydney than we've spoken to before."

The casino, owned and operated by Crown Limited competitor, Tabcorp, is in a business of risk, built on risk, and a mixed reputation. More journos, punters and insiders are starting to feel that Tabcorp might have just got it right, but just how long it may take Star to gets its return on investment is anyones bet.

A Media Man insider said "Tabcorp's Star City wants to become Australia's number one land based casino in the worst way. If they have invested too much based on emotion and figures out of whack remains to be seen. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor is the new version of Star. Crown's James Packer and friends are not loosing any sleep over it, but in 2 to 5 years, who knows. Maybe Packer might have bought Star by then, so Tabcorp might be just dressing up the old joint to make it more appealing to JP, and a few other select billionaires in the position to by the joint. In the spirit of fair play, we wish Star well, but not too much good luck. It's all good fodder for the ongoing soap opera that is the Aussie casino wars".

Awards...

It's been a big month for casino awards. Ok, as you read earlier, Macau's Altira Macau was awarded the prestigious Forbes Five Star Ratings for the second year in a row, so Packer and the Ho family continue to work their magic.

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has also come back with seconds, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for November, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

Oh, we almost forgot...Media Man and Casino News Media 'Casino Babe Of The Month': Jenny Woo, 'Poker Babe': Kara Scott, 'Gambling Babe Personality': Pamela Anderson.

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Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Who will eventually win the Australian casino wars? - Star City (Tabcorp) or Crown Casino (Crown Limited). When will a true victor emerge, and is Packer just plotting to buy them out when he's ready? Tell us in the forum.

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

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited (and is considering buying some shares in Tabcorp).

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Online gaming companies in for huge 2011, by Greg Tingle - 23rd November 2010

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Could online gaming firms be in the mix of the top stockmarket investments to make in 2011?

The listing of Betfair (BET) at the conclusion of October on a fancy multiple and the $3.3 billion megamerger between PartyGaming and Bwin (PRTY), due to complete in the first quarter of 2011, appears to have added spark to the industry of late.

Then there is the prospect, albeit slight, of the liberalisation of the US igaming market which has put the industry firmly on investors' watch list, including ours, for next year.

It is understandable, as even a snapshot look at the stockmarket gains of the world’s biggest online gaming companies between circa 2004-2006 reveals just how quickly fortunes were made and lost.

The iGaming Global Top 30 Index, an index of the stockmarket performance of the biggest 30 online gaming companies, surged 40% between July 2004 and August 2005. This was followed by 12 months of extreme volatility before sinking thanks to a controversial piece of legislation in the US.

Since 2006, online gaming’s real story has been dominated by America’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

The multibillion-pound global industry virtually collapsed in a heap after its biggest market - the US - was closed down overnight when Congress introduced a surprise clause to legislation in September 2006, in effect making internet betting illegal. Not only was that a blow for investors - it was a hugely expensive one.

British-based companies were among the biggest casualties.

As soon as the London Stock Exchange opened the following Monday morning, shares in PartyGaming - then a FTSE 100 member - dived by 58%, while rivals 888 Holdings (888) and Sportingbet saw their shares slide by 26% and 64% respectively, wiping an estimated £4 billion off the sector's value.

The companies were forced to focus on opportunities in other parts of the world, but the businesses have never fully recovered from the impact of losing their most lucrative market. Last year, online gambling was worth an estimated $5.4 billion (£3.5 billion) overall, a figure that could rise to $12-$16 billion if the market was opened up, analysts say.

Despite the recent loss of a sympathetic Democrat majority in Congress last month, there is renewed hope of floated gambling companies being dealt a good hand on both sides of the Pond.

The new Republican chairman of the House financial services committee is likely to be an old-style Alabaman named Spencer Bachus.

Yet he is likely to listen to the prospects of a reinvigorated gambling sector for the ailing US economy. The Federal government’s non-partisan accountants, the Joint Committee on Taxation, have estimated online gambling could generate between $10 billion and $42 billion in new revenue by 2019, depending on the number of states that opt into a federal regulatory programme.

Yet he is likely to listen to the prospects of a reinvigorated gambling sector for the ailing US economy.

The Federal government’s non-partisan accountants, the Joint Committee on Taxation, have estimated online gambling could generate between $10 billion and $42 billion in new revenue by 2019, depending on the number of states that opt into a Federal regulatory programme.

And you can see why if you glance at the forecast numbers.

With the US nationwide unemployment rate at 10%, 48 of 50 states facing budget shortfalls and a Federal deficit approaching $1.3 trillion, the economic backdrop against which to promote regulation and taxation of internet gambling has arguably never been more favourable.

Yet those companies poised to get a real boost should America legalise online gambling, such as the impressive PartyGaming/Bwin combine, are getting excited about the future.

"We are seeing things from a legislative perspective that are quite exciting for us," says Jim Ryan, chief executive of PartyGaming, whose comments undoubtedly reflect the mood of a growing contingent of gambling operators on both sides of the Atlantic.

There has been speculation that PartyGaming and Bwin have decided to merge at this time precisely because they will be better placed than any other operator to seize a huge market share should the US decide to legalise online gambling. You only have to look at the market share that Party was able to capture by becoming one of the first operators into the online poker market back in 2001.

Analysts agree the enlarged company is in a strong position to exploit the opening up of the US market.

In a note to investors recently, the Morgan Stanley leisure analyst Vaughan Lewis said: "The overall political tide is moving firmly in favour of regulation, rather than prohibition.

"With its expertise... market-leading technology, strong marketing capability and good brands, we think the combined entity of PartyGaming and Bwin would be extremely well positioned to benefit from any market opening in the US. We include nothing in our forecasts for the US, so any new market here is pure upside."

And in a recent Barclays Capital research note, the investment bank said: "In the event of Federal regulation, we believe PartyGaming would be the likely key beneficiary.

"Under this hypothetical scenario, we estimate the potential [underlying profits] uplift could be 94% for PartyGaming and 58% for Bwin and 888. On a state-by-state hypothetical scenario, we estimate the uplift for the group would be considerably lower, but still meaningful."

Meanwhile, at the end of October analysts at Numis published a note saying there is 50% upside potential at Party when the merger with Bwin completes in March 2011. With the shares trading at around 230p at the beginning of November Numis have put a price target of 400p on the stock.

The PartyGaming/Bwin merger has got the other big companies in the sector scurrying around to do similar deals. They don't want to be left behind in what will become a gold rush should the US legalise online gaming.

888 and Sportingbet are also possible future takeover targets as the industry consolidates, but only once their legal liabilities in the US market are cleared. Serious negotiations in the PartyGaming/Bwin merger were only concluded once Party had secured a $105 million settlement with US authorities.

Analysts say a resolution would clear the way for 888 and Sportingbet to re-enter the lucrative US market should moves to overturn the 2006 legislation succeed.

Sportingbet has already acted telling shareholders at its latest results meeting that it had made a £22.8 million settlement with the US Department of Justice over an investigation into illegal internet gambling. The agreement means the firm will avoid being prosecuted in the US for accepting online bets made by Americans between 1998 and 2006.

Sportingbet would hold the most appeal to potential bidders, analysts reckon, pointing to its very strong market positioning in Australia and commenting that Ladbrokes (LAD) and William Hill (WMH) could be interested in a takeover.

Liberum Capital analyst Richard Taylor recently highlighted the strength of Sportingbet’s sports betting business, which he said had one of the best gross margins in the sector at around 10%. In addition, he said Sportingbet’s management was open to a bid, having previously stated up to 55% of their cost base could be removed.

Another former giant of the sector, now somewhat depleted thanks to the UIGEA, is 888.

Analysts say 888's attraction would be the potential for cost savings in a tie-up with a rival online gaming operator, and that Party/Bwin might be a possible buyer. What would make it attractive is that both Party and Bwin use 888 as a supplier.

However, the Shaked family who founded the company, and who control over 50% of the shares, would be looking for a price significantly above the 40p at which the company currently trades.

There have been whispers among London traders in the last few weeks that a £262 million, or 76p a share, cash bid from a much bigger industry player, possibly US entertainment giant Harrah's, which already has close business links with 888 could be on the cards.

Certainly 888 chief executive Gigi Levy has said recently that he looks at consolidation as one of the possible routes to realising shareholder value.

Another giant of the industry looking to become bigger still is the mighty Betfair. Having listed on the LSE at the end of October at 1,300p, the shares soon touched 1,600p-plus, as tracker funds piled in confident it will canter into the FTSE 250 index at the December review with a market value above £1.6 billion.

If things are hotting up at the Federal level for the online gaming industry there are also some exciting developments at state level.

So far in 2010, four states have considered whether or not to legalise some combination of online poker, casino gaming and sports betting: Iowa, Florida, California and New Jersey.

The state making most headway is New Jersey, where internet gambling has been under consideration by lawmakers since 2001. It is finally receiving serious consideration in the state Senate where two bills, which would legalise internet sports betting and casino gaming respectively, have already passed the committee stage this year.

From California to New Jersey to Florida, more state and federal congressmen are taking the reality of a legal online gambling regime a lot more seriously.

Whoever wins the race, state or federal, one thing is clear: more and more stakeholders in the US are finally coming around to understand the risks and implication of a ‘do nothing’ strategy. This is an opportunity cost and gambling companies are getting their bets on regardless.

But ongoing political deadlock clearly poses a real threat to regulatory efforts at all levels of American government. But even as gambling industry stakeholders duke it out in the halls of legislatures around the country, as well as on Capitol Hill in Washington, the very fact that the conflict between them is intensifying signals that interest and investment in pushing for online gaming regulation is rising.

With billions of dollars out there to harvest and market share to win, the entire online gaming sector looks ripe for an upturn in coming months. Investing in online gaming companies has always been a white knuckle ride - and there looks to be every sign this particular circus is once again rolling back into town.

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Casino Cheat Gang In Court: Australia, Italy, UK, USA..., by Greg Tingle - 28th November 2010

G'day punters, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, poker nuts, politicians, super whales, journalists, politicians... (and cheats!) one and all. Two of the world's most successful casino cheats have been stopped in their tracks, sort of, having had their day in court. They hit Australia, Britain, China, Italy and god knows where else, cheating casinos across the globe out of millions of dollars. Media Man and Gambling911 play Pink Panther, and Cluedo and Heist with this special report...

Two of the world's most successful international casino cheats have had their day in court.

The rumour mill says the duo, understood to be part of a larger casino crime group, enjoyed time down under in Australia, having a soft spot for both Crown Casino in Melbourne and Star City Casino in 'Sin City' Sydney.

Last Friday they faced court and admitted they possessed hell of a lot of fake IDs, which they used in land based casinos they were banned from across the world. It's understood they didn't target online casinos.

Using a clever global strategy, the pro active gang upper ranked Francesco Baioni, 64, and Frank Camilleri, 61, travelled the world cheating casinos out of a bucket load of money.

Police and other law enforcement had described them as "notorious" and "professional". The crooks have served time in America after cheating their way to "vast" amounts of cash.

Baioni, of Rackstraw House, Primrose Hill, was handed down a 12-month sentence suspended for 18 months. Camilleri, of Derrick Road, Beckenham, was sentenced to nine months suspended for the same duration.

Both were also issued with an 18-month curfew between 11pm and 6am and were barred from all premises regulated by the Gambling Commission for 18 months.

Police would not discuss the tactics that landed the Italian duo so much money over the years but did reveal they had operated in countries including China, Australia America and Britain.

Roulette is understood to be a favorite of the duo, and industry talk is one of them would distract the dealer, and the other would move chips on the table into winning positions.

Both were busted on CCTV cameras at various central London casinos conducting reconnaissance visits, testing the water, and attempting to sign up for membership, using false identities. In one case, Baioni was filmed being refused membership at a casino after the false identity he was attempting to use was flagged up on the operator's computer system as "barred".

The daring pair were caught following an intelligence-led operation by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service's Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command. On August 9 search warrants were executed at their homes and Baioni was arrested.

Detectives discovered "a large quantity" of fake Italian identity papers containing pictures of Baioni and Camilleri. All had false names.

There were also tons of false identities awaiting pictures and individual passport photographs of both fellas prepared to be attached to the documentation. On August 23 Camilleri was arrested at Gatwick Airport when he flew back from Malta.

Casino crooks and shady figures in the gambling industry have often come unstuck at airports, and this helps explain why some casino tycoons in the likes of Malta, Cyprus and Antigua do not travel on commercial airliner. Sometimes their private aircraft have also been intercepted.

Both crooks were charged and just last month Baioni admitted 9 counts of possessing false documents with intent, possessing articles for use in fraud, and making articles for use in fraud. Camilleri admitted 8 counts of possessing false ID documents with intent.

Remember, crime doesn't pay, unless you're very good at it. You're throw of the dice.

Awards...

It's been a big month for casino awards. Ok, as you read earlier, Macau's Altira Macau was awarded the prestigious Forbes Five Star Ratings for the second year in a row, so Packer and the Ho family continue to work their magic.

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has also come back with seconds, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for November, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Did you enjoy learning all about the international casino fraudsters? Tell us in the forum.

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

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

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Casino News Media: Win A Dream Holiday And Guaranteed Entry Into WPT Celebrity Invitational; PartyCasino Big One Near $3 Million

‘The Big One’ at PartyCasino.com is nearing $3,000,000 while the accumulated jackpots on the world’s largest online casino are nearing $4,000,000! ‘The Big One’ is structured as a five tiered pool. The highest tier - Colossal Cash - seeds at $1.5 million, the biggest online jackpot seed in the industry, and currently stands at $2,840,000. Customers can play for ‘The Big One’ through traditional slot Melon Madness and the recently introduced Snow Business. Somebody is going to win very big!

PartyPoker.com recently introduced anonymous heads-up tables. How does that change your game? We asked Kara Scott et all for their views.

Win A Dream Holiday And Guaranteed Entry Into WPT Celebrity Invitational

Gibraltar – 16th November 2010 -- PartyPoker.com is offering customers the opportunity to indulge themselves in the world of the rich and famous by winning a four-day dream holiday to Los Angeles, including a seat in the prestigious WPT Celebrity Invitational at the Commerce.

A PartyPoker.com spokesman said: “Win one of our amazing prize packages and we’ll make sure you live it up in one of the coolest cities on the planet. Last year we took package winners on a tour of Hollywood and Beverley Hills as well as organising a fun-filled day at the world-famous Universal Studios – and this time it could be you experiencing the A-list lifestyle. As well as the sightseeing you’ll also get a seat at the exclusive WPT Celebrity Invitational. This event is packed full of celebrities and big names from poker but we’ve made sure our winners will have their place among the elite for a chance to win a major slice of the $200,000 prize pool.”

"These packages are sure to be popular. We don’t know how many of the 14 packages we’ll give away in each weekly satellite so remember, once they’re gone they’re gone and the promotion will be over."

PartyPoker.com’s Los Angeles packages include:

Four nights’ hotel accommodation
$2,000 spending money
Our world-renowned hospitality throughout your stay in Los Angeles
Guaranteed entry to the WPT Celebrity Invitational

There are a wide range of daily qualifiers that run until the 19th December or until 14 packages are given away. Daily freerolls mean there is the chance to win the trip to LA for free!

The WPT Celebrity Invitational is the curtain raiser for the LA Poker Classic and takes place on the 18th – 19th February 2011 – the event is overseen by WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage. The event is strictly invite only. Amongst the celebrities spotted in the field in 2010 were Ricki Lake and Terri Hatcher, with reality star Trishella Cannatella and poker pro Thor Hansen making the final table. Amateur Leron Washington took the $100,000 first prize.

Full information can be found at: PartyPoker.com

Please note that players have to be 21 to take part in the WPT Celebrity Invitational.

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Asia Pacific, Aussie Gambling And Entertainment News, by Greg Tingle - 27th November 2010

G'day punters, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, poker nuts, politicians, super whales, journalists, politicians... one and all. Today we dish up an Australian and Oriental giant size feast. Media Man and Gambling911 circumnavigate the globe to satisfy your culinary delights. 2, 4, 6, 8, dig in, don't wait...

Shane Warne TV Update...

Warnie sweetly beat Channel Ten shows The Good Wife and House. Australian TV critics expressed some optimism after viewing the first Warnie. Herald Sun's TV writer Colin Vickery went with the show "a solid first innings". "Warne doesn't have the skills of the famed British interviewer (Michael Parkinson) but the former Aussie spin king has a knockabout charm that brought out the best in his guests," Vickery said. Veteran interviewer and radio host Derryn Hinch told the newspaper he was pleasantly surprised after initially fearing the show "had bogan written all over it". "Take it for what it is, it's entertainment and I think Shane Warne has, what I've seen at this stage, done a pretty good job," Derryn 'The Human Headline' Hinch said. "It's just straight up and down, it's folksy and chatty, it's light and entertaining and it will go quite well." Professional blogger Karl Quinn, from The National Times, a Fairfax Media publication scribed the program as "neither a disaster nor a world-changing event". "It was exactly what you might expect from Shane Warne: affable, blokey, and not to be taken too seriously," Quinn said. Other celebrities to feature on the show include Sting, Pink, Chris Martin and Daniel Radcliffe. Quotes From Warnie And Guests...Warne: "Did you ever think, 'I wish I could be a plumber for a day, or drive a truck and deliver beds or deliver pizzas?'" Packer: "To be honest, not a lot. I sometimes wished I was you, but if I can't be you I'm happy being me." Sam Kekovich: "A life spent making mistakes is more honourable and more useful than a life spent doing nothing," he said. Claiming he was quoting George Bernard Shaw, but everyone knew who he was really talking about. Our rating: 9.5 out of 10. Yep, Warnie hit em for 6, with Packer chipping in being a good sport, making sure it would be a success. Not quite a Packer whacker, but not a puff piece either. Warnie could well be heading for a jackpot next week. Don't change your dial, and always remember to spin to win.

Melco Crown Entertainment's Altira Macau Awarded Forbes Five Star Ratings for the Second Year...

Melco Crown Entertainment Limited, a developer and owner of casino gaming and entertainment resort facilities focused on the Macau market, announced today that Altira Macau has been awarded the Forbes Five Star ratings in both Lodging and Spa categories for the second consecutive year. Altira Macau is a luxurious casino hotel located in Taipa, Macau, which is developed, owned and operated by Melco Crown Entertainment. Mr. Lawrence Ho, Co-Chairman and CEO of Melco Crown Entertainment, said: "We are honored to receive this very prestigious recognition again for Altira Macau's exceptional commitment in ensuring each and every guest experiences the true art of hospitality. Altira Macau has emerged as the top choice for travelers seeking flawless comfort and sophistication during their stay in the city. "Altira Macau represents Melco Crown Entertainment's in-depth understanding of the hospitality landscape in Asia and its commitment to the diversification of Macau's tourism industry. The awards reinforce our role in the transformation of Macau into an international travel and leisure destination for the most discerning guests." Forbes Five-Star Lodging Awards are granted to hotels with exceptionally distinctive luxury environment, offering consistently superlative, personalized service and extensive amenities and treatments. Forbes Five-Star Spa Awards are granted in recognition of the same level of exceptionally distinctive spa experiences located within a hotel.

Politics And Gambling Do Or Don't Mix? You Be The Judge...

Problem gambling report strengthens resolve for gambling reforms...(Greens)

ACT Greens Parliamentary Convenor, Meredith Hunter MLA, has described a Gambling and Racing Commission report into problem gambling as timely and an informative addition to moves by the Greens and Government to reform ACT gaming machine laws. “This report very clearly identifies the mood in the Canberra community for reforms that do more to reduce the harms caused by problem gambling,” Ms Hunter said. “The report shows that more than 5% or 14,000 Canberrans show symptoms of problem gambling. “What is even more troubling is that only 19% of those who do have a gambling problem have even accessed a problem gambling service. It is often not until problem gamblers seriously consider suicide that they seek help. “A Greens Bill before the Assembly is targeted at securing adequate funding for problem gambling support services and further research into gambling. “These services need more funding in order to be accessible and to reach people before they are in crisis. “The Greens legislation is designed to work with other reforms which have been flagged both locally and federally,” Ms Hunter said.

The Greens Gaming Machine Amendment Bill:

- Requires licence holders to contribute 0.75% of their gross gaming machine revenue to the Problem Gambling Assistance Fund
- The fund is to be managed and distributed by the Gambling and Racing Commission to organisations that provide assistance to problem gamblers
- This new funding would mean around $1.3 million is dedicated to addressing problem gambling, an increase of $0.9m on what was allocated by the clubs this year.

Candidate deals out criticism over casino support ads...

An independent candidate in the seat of Mildura is threatening legal action unless the National party withdraws television advertisements that began airing at the weekend. The ads say candidate Glenn Milne supports the proposed Jewel Casino, although Mr Milne has publicly stated he is not in favour of the development. The Nationals say by exchanging second preferences with pro-casino candidate Doug Tonge, Mr Milne is effectively supporting the casino. However, Mr Milne says the ads are wrong. "No and that has never been my campaign. I think the Nationals, they're the ones running it, they're really starting to grab at straws now because they are worried about losing the seat with their lacklustre member," he said.

New report shows extent of gambling in the ACT...

Minister for Gaming and Racing Andrew Barr said a new report released today on the prevalence of gambling in the Canberra community highlighted the need for the ACT Government to introduce reforms to address problem gambling. “The Prevalence Study into Gambling and Problem Gambling in the ACT, by the Australian National University’s Centre for Gambling Research, is the most significant study of its kind to be conducted in the ACT since 2001,” Mr Barr said. “The level of problem gambling in the Territory was measured as 0.5 percent of the adult population, which is about 1370 adults. This compares to 0.4 percent in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia and 0.7 percent in Victoria. “The report found that 45 percent of people gambling weekly or more on activities other than scratch tickets and lotteries, had at least some symptoms of problem gambling and 5.6 percent were identified as problem gamblers. “55 percent of those who played gaming machines weekly or more often were experiencing some symptoms of problem gambling and just under nine percent, or one in eleven, were classified as problem gamblers.” The study found 70 percent of adults in the ACT had gambled at least once in the last 12 months. Thirty percent of adults (or 82,000 people) had played gaming machines in that period and 10 percent of gaming machine users played weekly or more. The study also found 70.3 percent of Canberrans thought ATMs should not be available in gaming machine venues and 57.8 percent thought the number of gaming machines should be reduced in the ACT.
Mr Barr said the ACT Government was committed to addressing problem gambling and had flagged a significant package of reforms to the Assembly earlier this month. “As part of the total reform package, the Government supported in-principle a Bill from the ACT Greens to introduce a mandatory contribution by the operators of gaming machines to a central problem gambling assistance fund,” Mr Barr said. “While supporting the Greens Bill in-principle, the Government will propose that the problem gambling assistance levy be set at 0.6 per cent, rather than the 0.75 per cent proposed by the ACT Greens. “We will also reduce the number of gaming machines in the ACT’s gaming machine ‘cap’ by 143 which would see the number of machines available in the territory drop from 5200 to 5057. “Multi-venue club groups will be able to transfer gaming machines internally subject to the social impact and needs assessment currently outlined in the Gaming Machine Act 2004. “The reforms also outlined an increase in the required percentage of community contributions from 7 per cent to 8 per cent of net gaming machine revenue and the consideration of requiring other operators, such as Casino Canberra and ACTTAB Ltd, to contribute to the gambling assistance fund in the future.” Mr Barr said there were some positive findings in the study. The ACT gambling participation rate had fallen slightly in the last decade and between 2000-01 and 2007-08 per capita gambling expenditure in the ACT fell by 21 percent in real terms. “But alarmingly the study also showed those with gambling problems often didn’t reach out for help. The ACT Government will continue to work with clubs and support groups to try to increase the number of people seeking support services,” Mr Barr said. “I will also continue to work with local clubs and the Federal Government when it comes to reforms to address problem gambling."

Burswood Casino Gets Yet More Violence...

An 18-year-old man underwent surgery after a fight broke out on the dance floor of a venue at Burswood Casino in the early hours of yesterday. Police spokesman Samuel Dinnison advised that a group of men began fighting, and the 18-year-old victim received a head wound. He said the victim alleged that one of the men threw a glass bottle at his head, but said he could not yet confirm if the bottle broke on his head, or that the incident was a glassing. Dinnison said the bottle may not have broken, and the blunt force of the bottle may have caused the injuries. Another man was taken into police custody and questioned over the incident, but he was released without charge. The victim is in a stable condition and will undergo surgery later today at Royal Perth Hospital.

ACT: Getting Help For Problem Gamblers: Last Resort...

A new study has found most problem gamblers in the ACT do not seek help until they are considering suicide. The research carried out by the Australian National University for the ACT Gaming and Racing Commission found 70 per cent of Canberra adults gambled at least once in the past year. Researchers surveyed 5,500 residents, making it the most significant study of its kind conducted in the Territory since 2001. Nearly 60 per cent of those surveyed want the number of pokies in the ACT reduced and more than 70 per cent think ATMs should be banned from poker machine venues. According to the survey, less than 1 per cent of Canberrans are considered to be problem gamblers. "If you benchmark the rest of Australia the ACT is about in the middle," said ACT Gaming and Racing Commission CEO Greg Jones. "We're talking just the problem gamblers those that scored the highest risk on this index, they made up 0.5 per cent of the total adult population. That compares to 0.4 per cent in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia but Victoria was 0.7 per cent." But Mr Jones says the number of people with symptoms of problem gambling is of growing concern. "We're talking about those that are low and medium risk which are getting close to showing some of those signs," he said. "What we found in our survey was 5.3 per cent of our adult population are showing some signs or some symptoms of problem gambling and that's about 15,000 adults in the ACT. "The survey found problem gamblers and those at risk do not usually seek help until they are at risk of or are contemplating suicide. Mr Jones says it appears seeking help is a last resort. "This is very disturbing. This is going to be the focus of the Commission and ANU's future research," he said. "That came as a little bit of surprise to us and that is going to be our focus over the next few years, identifying who the problem gamblers are and what their issues are and why they don't seek help are of our research over the next few years. "Maybe we need to change the way we market our health services. Maybe we need to change how we deliver our health services." Lifeline Canberra CEO Mike Zissler says the finding is concerning. "This is part of the evidence we have. When we do our intake with people we talk to them extensively and we find about 20 per cent have thoughts of suicide," he said. "How we get people to come and avail them of our services is a real issue. "It's a challenge we face as we move forward."

'Not the answer'

Jeff House from ClubsACT says the report has some useful data but he would be worried if the ACT Government based new policies on it. "I think what the report shows is that we have to get better at providing services to the people that need them," he said. "Every time a measure like banning ATMs comes up, there's a very simple question that needs to be asked - will this help the problem gamblers? "I don't think we should be demonising all people who gamble. We need to target problem gamblers and those at risk. We need to deal with them sensitively and effectively. Treating every gambler as a problem gambler is not going to achieve that." Mr House says banning ATMs and reducing the number of poker machines is not the answer. "If we have more widespread and more sophisticated education campaigns, that would help," he said. "I think there is a range of things we can do and we should be talking about those things rather than these sort of broadbrush measures like reducing machine numbers and banning ATMs."

Pokies cut

The ACT Government says it might have to ask the Commonwealth for more money to compensate for any drop in poker machine revenue. At the launch of the report, Gaming Minister Andrew Barr foreshadowed cutting 143 poker machine licences bringing the number in Canberra to just over 5,000. However Mr Barr admits the Government would feel the cost of that decision through decreased taxation revenue. "The nett gaming machine revenue is in the order of $175 million - the ACT Govt collects about $35 million in taxation," he said. "We know the Territory budget couldn't survive without that level of revenue, that's effectively one per cent of the territory budget, but I think we'd all be more comfortable if we were less reliant on that revenue base."

Sydney - Five Dock Pokie Plans On The Way; Council And Residents At War!...

Five Docks's Illinois Hotel has been given the green light by Canada Bay council to build an outdoor pokies and smoking area. The approval allows for a maximum of eight existing pokie machines and ten people to be in the outdoor area until 3am six days a week. The new and exciting rear area will be built at the back of the hotel where a smoking terrace was illegally built back in 2007. Addressing the meeting, hotel neighbour Arthur Ciantar said the gaming area would increase noise and smoke pollution for those living around the pub, which is a pretty fair dinkum call. "I think it would be unfair for the council to consider this proposal over the welfare of residents and value of our property," Ciantar said. Liberal Michael Megna was one of two councillors who voted against the development application on noise and health grounds. "This is slap bang in the middle of a residential area… sure have a smoking area, but they don’t need pokies in there," Cr Megna said. Before voting in support of the hotel’s alterations, Mayor Angelo Tsirekas said other pubs and clubs such as the Concord RSL, had been allowed to build similar areas. "This is not a precedent, other clubs are doing it...we approved one similar at the last meeting,” Cr Tsirekas said. As part of the development’s conditions, hotel staff will be required to regularly ask patrons to keep the noise down and the volume of pokie machines will have to be kept at a low level. It was not ascertained at the meeting how these provisions would be enforced. Chair of the Gambling Impact Society NSW Kate Roberts said the move will harm those most vulnerable to pokie machines. "The business they are hoping to capture are those most addicted to the machines who, if they want a smoke, will have to push the pause button to go outside," she said. "This means they have to stop the routine or the cycle they’re in and may be more likely to actually think about what they are doing." Illinois Hotel’s manager but did not receive a comment. More fireworks are expects, as other Sin City councils look on with an eagle eye, always on the lookout for more revenue streams. Who will get lucky... the council, the residents, or both?

Americans Taking Over Star City Casino; American - Oriental David Chang To Cook Up Storm At Star...

He's been described as the world's hottest young chef, David Chang, of Momofuku in New York, is opening a restaurant in Sin Sydney... at Star City in fact. In a coup for the operators of Star City, the 33-year-old will open in the revamped casino in September next year. The American-born son of South Korean migrants owns four restaurants, including one with two Michelin stars. He's is on Time magazine's 2010 list of 100 most influential people. Chang mixes classic French training with Asian influences but said: "I just say it's American food and we try to serve something delicious because there's nothing worse in the world than leaving a restaurant and thinking you got ripped off." He was tipped to open his first venue outside New York in Los Angeles but "I've just fallen in love with Australia. I'm just fascinated by the food scene in Sydney and Melbourne. "People are excited about food in Australia. It's fresh and it's energetic. "New York will always be home but there's something in Australia that Americans have never opened up at - Australians are very serious about their food, their coffee culture and their drinks. It's a fascinating place." "It's up in the air. We have some ideas but nothing hammered out." Chang is Star City's headline act for its $860 million redevelopment. He will join a line-up that includes Chase Kojima, formerly with Nobu restaurants, whose restaurant will be in the casino's new five-star hotel. Teage Ezard of Melbourne will open a steak and seafood restaurant, Steve Manfredi will open an Italian restaurant, and the pastry chef Adriano Zumbo will open a cafe. We're hungry, how about you?

Betfair: The Ashes...

Powerhouse betting exchange Betfair is to launch an integrated campaign to coincide with the commencement of the first Ashes Test in less than 24 hours. In the campaign former Ashes winning England captain Michael Vaughan is outed as the ultimate “Urn-coat”...betting against his own country with Betfair during the Ashes. The campaign centres on Vaughan’s attempt to hide his identity as a 'Betfair Australian', and explain why his money is on Australia for this summer’s Ashes. Two unbranded viral video clips were seeded last week prior to the official launch and have so far recieved more than 150,000 hits combined, with some insiders tipping its some sort of record... for the betting meets ad sector down under. Other social media aspects included a colourful Twitter conversation between Vaughan and former Aussie batsman Darren "Boof" Lehmann giving the nod to the viral footage. This surged the 30 second TVCs of the Vaughan interview as well as ink, and a Facebook account that will link Betfair and Vaughan’s Twitter account and outdoor executions. Vaughan will also spend time today (at time of submission) the eve of the first test war...conducting a series of interviews with Australian radio stations. Betfair Australia marketing director David Pisker said: "What could be a simpler expression of our value proposition than having the Ashes-winning Captain of an English cricket team turning his back on Queen and Country to take advantage of Betfair’s superior value on Australia this summer.". The ad is expected to remain on the banned list from Australian TV, even though most tele watchers will chase it up on YouTube.

Rinehart; Australia's Richest Woman Join Network Ten Board...

Ten Network Holdings Ltd advised Gina Rinehart has become a director of the television broadcaster four days after acquiring a 10% stake in the company. Rinehart will join the board following the company's annual general meeting on December 9. Rinehart on November 22 bought a 10% stake in Ten and the company's confirmation of her board seat had been widely expected. The move comes two days after billionaire James Packer carried out his promise to sell half his newly acquired stake in Ten to good mate and fellow billionaire Lachlan Murdoch. Rinehart is the fourth billionaire on the Ten board. Fellow billionaire and WIN TV owner Bruce Gordon holds 14% while Packer and Murdoch each now hold a stake of about nine per cent.

Awards...

It's been a big month for casino awards. Ok, as you read earlier, Macau's Altira Macau was awarded the prestigious Forbes Five Star Ratings for the second year in a row, so Packer and the Ho family continue to work their magic.

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has also come back with seconds, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for November, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

Oh, we almost forgot...Media Man and Casino News Media 'Casino Babe Of The Month': Jenny Woo, 'Poker Babe': Kara Scott, 'Gambling Babe Personality': Pamela Anderson.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Did you enjoy the Asia Pacific - Oriental adventure with us? Tell us in the forum.

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

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

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