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Monday, January 30, 2012

Oliver Speidel Wins 2012 Aussie Millions Main Event Melbourne Native Earns $1,600,000 AUD

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The 2012 Aussie Millions Poker Championship Main Event was the talk of the land based casino and poker world.

With a field of 659 entrants from all around the world turning up at James Packer's Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. But in the end the title stayed down under, with Melbourne’s own Oliver Speidel emerging victorious.

The 26-year-old banker was well rewarded for his win, taking home a cool $1,600,000 AUD, a diamond-encrusted gold ring, a Rolex watch, and and Aussie Millions trophy.

The $10,600 no-limit hold’em Main Event began on January 22nd, and went for seven days.

Speidel entered the final table second in chips with 3.415 million, likely feeling confidant in his game after making two final tables already at the 2012 Aussie Millions.

Speidel took the chiplead early on at the final table, and continued from there. By the time that play was four-handed, he controlled more than half of the chips in play. Speidel maintained his lead all the way into heads-up play with Kenneth Wong, of Hong Kong.

Wong started the heads-up battle off with a small comeback, but his ambitions of victory were soon history. The final hand was definitely a bit of a downer, with Wong getting the last of his chips in the middle with 9 hearts and 9 clubs, only to find himself in bad shape against Speidel’s A spades A clubs. The board brought was useless, and Wong was eliminated in second place. For outlasting all but one of the 659 entrants, Wong was awarded $1,000,000 AUD.

Here's the details from the seven-handed final table:

Place Player Earnings (AUD) POY Points
1 Oliver Speidel $1,600,000 2,100
2 Kenneth Wong $1,000,000 1,750
3 Mile Krstanoski $610,000 1,400
4 Mohamad Kowssarie $405,000 1,050
5 Patrick Healy $300,000 875
6 Bjorn Li $230,000 700
7 Yann Dion $170,000 525

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Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment CEO Sees Legal Online Gaming In US Soon

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Legalized online gambling in the U.S. is now a case of 'when', not 'if', Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment PLC (BPTY.LN) Co-CEO Jim Ryan said Wednesday, adding that he expects the foundations to be laid this year.

But speaking at the ICE online gambling conference in London, the co-chief executive advised that establishing it up will take time.

The process of passing legislation, drawing up regulation, vetting and licensing operators will likely last through 2012, he said, and he speculates that actual operations likely won't happen before next year.

Partygaming, which last year merged with Austrian peer Bwin to form Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, along with other European operators withdrew from the U.S. market in 2006 shortly after then-President George W. Bush signed a bill designed to prohibit U.S. banks and credit card companies from processing payments to gambling websites.

Partygaming paid a $105 million fine as part of a non-prosecution deal with the DOJ (Department Of Justice) in 2009, for admitting indirect contravention of US law, but in anticipation of a relaxation of the rules, Bwin.Party last year inked a joint venture with U.S. casino operators MGM and Boyd to operate online gaming if and when it became legal in the U.S.

Ryan's confidence comes after a recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Justice, which clarifies the scope of the Wire Act, a law that in the past has been used stop online gambling sites. The ruling essentially gives U.S. states the green light to allow gambling within their borders, according to online gambling experts.

Still, Ryan said this doesn't mean the company is in line to recoup any of the $105 million fine.

Bwin.Party and its joint venture partners have already applied for a preliminary suitability review in Nevada which will lay the groundwork for gaining a license there once regulation is agreed.

Ryan also told the press the sale process for its Ongame poker network is very advanced and he expects to be able to announce further news in the not too distant future.

He confirmed recent reports that the company is looking for an executive to head up its payments processing division CQR with a view to ultimately taking it public, but said this was several years away.

He said the company wants to expand its online payments operations outside of the gambling sector to build an online merchant market place, increasing the value of this asset and ultimately realising shareholder value by listing it on the stock market.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Aussie Millions At Crown Casino, Melbourne: Phil Ivey Wins 2012 Aussie Millions $250,000 Super High Roller


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James Packer’s Crown Casino continues to host the annual Aussie Millions Poker Championships. Here's the latest on one of the world's most prestigious poker tournaments.

The 2012 Aussie Millions $250,000 Super High Roller commenced on Saturday and went till the wee hours of the morning on Sunday.

Phil Ivey snatched the $2,000,000 first-place prize after defeating Patrik Antonius heads up.

The last live tourney Ivey showed for was back in November for the APPT Macau, but there was no win back then.

First, he placed 12th in the Main Event for $100,000, and then went on to get the largest score of his career by winning the Super High Roller.

The event attracted 16 players, and they all had to buy in with 6 figures - no misprint. The top three spots were set to be paid and a bubble of $800,000.

Among the stars taking part in the event were last year's champion Erik Seidel, last year's runner-up Sam Trickett, Tom Dwan, Jason Mercier, John Juanda and Sorel Mizzi. In addition, the event had a handful of businessmen including Richard Yong, Paul Phua and Winfred Yu.

The first player eliminated was Dwan, who went down at the hands of Gus Hansen. After the elimination of Nick Wong, Seidel busted during Level 5. He exited thanks to $100,000 Challenge winner Dan Smith after his pocket eights couldn't overcome Smith's jacks.

After Yu got out in sixth place and Mizzi in fifth, the largest bubble of the year was set to take place. The two players joining Ivey and Antonius were Daniel Negreanu and Gus Hansen. From that bunch, the only man not doing so well was Negreanu, who turned out to be the bubble boy.

On his final hand, Negreanu was all in from the big blind with the during the 5,000/50,000/5,000 level for around 750,000 after Antonius raised to 100,000 from the button. Antonius called holding two jacks and was able to hold up as the board ran out .

Hansen was the next to go down, collecting $800,000 for his finish after getting all in on the flop with the against Ivey's. Ivey built to full house and then the river completed the board.

When heads-up play began, Ivey held a slight lead with 2.2 million in chips to Antonius' 1.8 million. He won a big pot about 45 minutes into the match to extend his lead to 7:1 before the final hand came up.

Antonius was eliminated in second place. For his runner-up finish, Antonius snatched $1,200,000.

With his win, Ivey leaps over Negreanu into second place on the all-time money list. Even with his long absence from tournaments, Ivey performed awesomely at Aussie Millions. Many think Ivey is the greatest player in the world.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

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

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

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment's gaming 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 Virgin Casino, PKR Casino and Captain Cooks 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 Bwin.Party'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 Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment 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.

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Co-CEO Jim Ryan has gone on record advising PartyCasinowill 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 Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, as they do with dozens of other companies in the gaming, igaming, media and entertainment industry.

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World's Biggest Gamblers; History Of Bets At Casinos - Kerry Packer, David Walsh Et Al


Lloyd Williams plays blackjack with the late Kerry Packer at Melbourne's Crown Casino

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Want to try your luck at a casino? ... Land based or online - there's all sorts of options out that, but first here's some real life stories regarding whales aka VIP high rollers at casinos, the racetrack and elsewhere.

PS: how about those Aussies - they will bet on anything won't they. World's biggest gamblers we heard.

Zeljko Ranogajec – Bookies beware! Allegedly, the world’s biggest gambler is an Australian billionaire of Croatian descent. After studying law in Tasmania, Ranogajec got a job in a casino where he learnt the tricks of the trade. Starting with an initial stake of hundreds, he went on to win millions on casino betting before turning his attention to horses. He now employs a full staff to compare odds and find him the best bets, putting around $1 billion a year on races around the world.

Kerry Packer – Staying Down Under, the late Kerry Packer was the media-mogul who was a thorn in Rupert Murdoch’s side – and a prolific gambler. This was the man who would happily walk into casinos and wager millions, supposedly losing $28 million in three weeks of gambling while in London. Another time he lost $15 million on the roulette tables, the staff saying he walked out with "no regrets". However, on his better days he has won up to $7 million in one casino betting session. There’s even a legend that Packer made a bet of $100 million dollars on the toss of a coin, but his opponent backed down.

Akio Kashiwagi – Known as ‘The Warrior’, this Japanese businessman became a casino legend before meeting a violent end. A master of baccarat, he regularly wagered $200,000 a time in US casinos, once winning $6 million in one night. However, he wasn’t always so lucky; he died in 1992 after being stabbed 150 times with a samurai sword while still owing casinos millions.

Archie Karas - Perhaps the most extraordinary of recent legendary streaks is possessed by Mr. Archie Karas, a Greek immigrant, who in 1992-1993 had one of the greatest runs in Vegas history. Starting with a borrowed stake of ten thousand dollars, Archie went on a rampage of poker at Binion's Horseshoe, defeating 15 of the world's greatest poker players in head-to-head competition, including World Champions Chip Reese, Stu Unger, Puggy Pearson, and Johnny Chan. When he ran out of poker competitors, Archie headed to the Horseshoe's craps tables where he won millions more. At one point in his run, Archie possessed all of the Horseshoe's $5,000 chips -- over 11 million dollars worth. When the run was over, Archie was up over 17 million dollars between poker and craps, all at the Horseshoe.

Betfred vs Betvictor – The names behind two of the biggest high street bookies were involved in what may have been the biggest sports betting wager in British history. Fred Done of Betfred fame and Victor Chandler of Betvictor bet on the outcome of the Premier League in 2005. Fred and Victor supported Manchester United and Chelsea respectively, so they wagered £1 million, as you do. It was Chelsea who came out on top and Done paid up in one of the best bets we’ve seen; what could be better than two sports betting giants walking it like they talk it?

Steve Whitely – Arriving by bus with a free ticket to watch racing at Exeter, 61-year-old heating engineer Steve Whitely turned a couple of quid into millions back in March last year. He didn’t bother to compare odds or make an effort to find the best bets, he just used his two pounds to make a Tote bet. A few hours later and he was minted after winning the jackpot when he correctly predicted all six of the winners. So, what is Steve’s sage advice to budding punters who want to win millions? “I like racing, yeah, but I don’t know nothing about it, do I?” Cheers Steve.

David Walsh - Not a great deal is know about this Tasmanian - Australian, but he founded MONA - (Museum of Old and New Art). Australian press has described him in a few colourful ways, such as - "multi-millionaire professional gambler and one of the nation's leading art collectors - dismisses himself as "just a privileged guy with a megaphone". He might be right. But the world is about to discover just how wonderful, disturbing, beautiful and occasionally challenging that megaphone is". In the second year of his science degree at the University of Tasmania, he was asked by friends to develop a model that would enable them to win at blackjack in the nearby Wrest Point Casino. When he discovered that the scope for winning at card games was limited he dropped out of his degree and, for most of the ’80s and early ’90s, spent 100 or more hours per week developing a mathematical model that would enable him and his partners to win at other forms of gambling, especially horseracing. This he now pursues on a large scale in a number of countries. There is a network of people involved in Walsh’s outfit, most notably his business partner of 30 years, Zeljko Ranogajec. Walsh met Ranogajec at university where the latter studied law and economics before he too dropped out to pursue a career in gambling. Walsh describes Ranogajec as a “relentless motivator and a loyal friend” who, despite not sharing his interest in art, has provided financial support for his collecting mania “whenever my cashflow dried to a trickle”. As Walsh inelegantly puts it: "I am throwing the shit, he is happy to be the fan. And he doesn’t even like the shit."

Other names whose win/loss positions move in the multiple millions in a single night include Malaysian tycoons Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay and Quek Leng Chan, Indonesia’s Putera Sampoerna, and Hustler founder Larry Flynt.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Virgin Bingo launches brand new advertising campaign

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James Packer and Richard Branson

Wednesday 25th January, 2012: Virgin Games, the leading online gaming company, has launched a brand new television advertising campaign for its bingo site – Virgin Bingo.

The latest advert is part of a £500,000 marketing campaign to run in the first quarter of 2012. It is a new concept for Virgin Bingo and is a departure from its previous animated advertisements. The new ad takes on a Willy Wonka meets Virgin theme. Staged in an imaginary factory where Virgin Bingo is made, a woman is taken on a backstage tour of the fantastical premises where Oompa-Loompas have been replaced by happy, dancing Virgin staff. The new commercial also introduces Virgin Bingo’s new welcome bonus: “Deposit £10 and play with £35”, as well as new exclusive Virgin Group prizes.

The campaign focuses primarily on women aged between 25 and 54 - the core target market for online bingo - with day time scheduling on channels such as Five, a range of Sky UK and ITV digital channels.

The 30 second advert was produced by ABF Pictures with Manning Gottlieb OMD acting as media planners and buyers. The advert is scheduled to run for multiple campaigns throughout the year across both terrestrial and freeview channels.

Simon Burridge, CEO of Virgin Games, commented: “This new advert has a flavour of Willy Wonka for adults about it. It has lots of energy, excitement and fun – just what consumers have come to expect from a Virgin advert.

“We first advertised Virgin Bingo on TV in 2010 and have witnessed fantastic customer acquisition rates as a result. We’ve found that TV advertising is a natural fit for bingo. Consumer trust and a sense of security and familiarity are very important attributes for a bingo brand. Being part of the Virgin brand helps to reassure customers that they are playing with a reputable company, while TV ads raise awareness of our existence and help to reinforce that trust and brand awareness.”

Matt Barraclough, Creative Director at ABF Pictures, commented: “We were thrilled to have the opportunity of working with the Virgin Games team. A brand like Virgin allows us to think bigger and look at online bingo in a different way. We wanted to stand out from traditional bingo commercials and do it in a very Virgin way.

“The commercial itself was produced over three months. The action was captured on green screen and the entire factory backdrop was then created using 3D modelling and animation. The inspiration for the advert was the core Virgin brand values: Fun, Value for Money, Innovation, Quality, Competitive Challenge and Brilliant Customer Service. We combined these values and used iconic Virgin styles to create an exciting and memorable advert.”

Founded in 2004, Virgin Games has over 1,000,000 players and over 295 games on its site. Through the introduction of a custom built Virgin Games platform in 2008, Virgin Games seeks to provide its players with the widest possible choice of casino games.

*Sorry, Virgin Games does not currently accept U.S, Canadian, New Zealand or Australian players. See World Casino Directory.


Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Branson

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

PartyCasino VS Virgin Casino iGaming "war" continues

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PartyCasino.com - Accepts Canadian, Australian and New Zealand players. PartyCasino new players get up to $3000 sign up bonus. Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is the world's largest and most succesful igaming company.

VirginCasino.com - No US, Canadian, Australian or New Zealand players. £100 sign up bonus. Virgin Games is part of Richard Branson's Virgin Enterprises Limited.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Casino News Media - Media Man - Global Gaming Directory - News Update - 25th January 2012

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Clubs relieved over pokies backflip...

Clubs across the New South Wales mid-north coast are breathing a sigh of relief after the Gillard Government dumped Andrew Wilkie's pokies reform deal.

Instead of the independent MP's nationwide plan, the Commonwealth has proposed a two-year trial on the pre-commitment technology in the ACT.

The trial in the ACT will begin next year, ahead of possible national rollout in 2016.

The president of Clubs New South Wales for the far north coast and Clubs Taree, Carl Guy, says it will be a good way to test the effectiveness of the system.

"The costs are exorbitant on Wilkie's proposal," he said.

"Our club here [Taree] we'd be talking about $2.2 - 3 million.

"The end result of the trial will determine ... which system they will use and how much it'll cost.

"Irrespective it will cost clubs money to put these systems in which means changing the current machines."

Mr Guy says the trial will reveal the problems that regional clubs across the nation had been complaining about.

"Anything is better than what was proposed by Wilkie," he said.

"A trial, I think, will bring out the issues that the general public and a lot of people don't understand, the ramifications and the good that the clubs do for the community.

"It's just had such a flow-on effect, it was just disturbing for all directors right throughout the industry to think what is the next step."


E-gaming barrier is lifted in U.S...

The U.S. Department of Justice recently decided that the 1961 federal Wire Act only applies to sports-related gambling. This is huge news for the potentially lucrative state-sanctioned online gaming industry. It could pave the path for agreements between legal gaming states or internationally, claims renowned gambling legal expert I. Nelson Rose.

He writes that this virtually eliminates federal anti-gambling statutes. Multi-state lotteries have existed for years, and in any case federal law does not consider poker a lottery. The only laws left are those that go after organised crime, but that requires there be another legal violation.

With intra-state games like legalised poker, many other states may eventually allow some form of online gaming to boost their revenues. That is the main reason why gaming has enjoyed such expansion in the past 15 years.

The key question all operators should ask is: how will it affect us? Will there be opportunities for us to participate in some way? Or will online gaming prove to be a threat similar to home video games, which siphoned off revenues from street and arcade operators after their introduction in the mid-1980s?


OpenBet games update & challenge darts champ Phil the Power Taylor on our stand 5165 at ICE!...

Read on to find out about our latest games releases and the top land-based slots we're converting thanks to our partnerships with Aristocrat, Cool Games & Inspired Gaming

The Hoff
David Hasselhoff, a.k.a. "The Hoff", International Superstar and self-proclaimed King of the Internet, takes you for a spin with this great new game from MX Gaming. "Are you ready to hassle the Hoff? Check out my amazing new slot, packed with pure awesome, and you’ll hear me sing till money pours into your pockets!" The real thrill comes with two highly engaging bonus features: The Hoff Free Spin bonus and The Hoff Walk of Fame bonus. Help the Hoff navigate his high-profile celeb-life-path and make huge winnings along the way. Launching soon.

Geisha
Players have fallen in love with the Geisha, another fantastic game from Aristocrat®, makers of some of the most entertaining slot games in the world. Geisha's original creators developed this popular 5-reel, 20-line game with all the fun, excitement, colours and graphics of the original casino version now available online. Geisha waits for you in her exotic world where dragons roam, lotus flowers bloom, birds soar and majestic mountains touch the sky. Watch Geisha double your wins in the main game feature and even triple them in the free games!

Wicked Winnings II
Ready to get wicked? You'll have a devilishly good time with the online version of this incredibly hot slot game from Aristocrat. Remember, sometimes it's good to be bad - so check out the game that fires up the casino fun no matter where you are! Stick your pitchfork into great features such as Power Pay, for a chance to win 15 free games, and a special respin feature. Wicked Winnings II is the second title we're launching from Aristocrat's comprehensive games portfolio.

Masters Snooker Cashdrop
Having teamed up with renowned sports promoters, Matchroom Sport, Professional Darts Corporation and World Snooker, OpenBet offers a stellar line-up of new casino content including this latest release. Right on cue! Make a break and enjoy the red-hot atmosphere of this stylish slot game. Whether "kissing the pink" or "potting the black", you'll go potty for Masters Snooker Cashdrop. A spot-on game with more than 147 ways to fill your pockets! Are you in the frame?

The Cube
Based on a BAFTA Award-winning ITV1 prime time show on its 4th series, Electracade developed this exciting 20 line slot packed with special effects, 3D challenges based on some of the favourite games from the show and exciting bonus rounds. This game which lets your players take on The Cube is sure to get your players' adrenalin racing and drive incremental revenue to your games site.

Jungle Bucks
Monkey around in the magical world of Inspired Gaming’s latest HD slots game, Jungle Bucks, available online soon thanks to OpenBet and Inspired's partnership. Rich with HD graphics and bonus features, such as Monkey Madness, Rampant Rhino and Lucky Lizard, this game is also progressive-enabled to add jackpot excitement.

Treasure Island
Transport yourself to the magical world of Treasure Island and find the hidden booty to win big prizes. A number one game in the UK and Italian land-based markets, Inspired Gaming's Treasure Island is a bonus feature-rich game with high quality graphics and exciting bonus features. Spin five pirates to win the progressive Chest of Treasure for the ultimate jackpot excitement. Treasure Island is also available in multiple languages and currencies, as with all our games.

Double Dragon
Double Dragon, live and performing well across bookmakers’ retail estates, is coming online due to OpenBet’s partnership with Cool Games. Double Dragon captures the feeling of the Orient with rich graphics and classic casino features players love. The Dragons offer plenty of entertainment, with an innovative awards system rewarding players with free spins, cash awards and mystery bonuses. With beautifully crafted artwork, themed symbols and audio, Double Dragon is a sure favourite.


OPENBET INTRODUCES “THE HOFF” TO CUSTOMERS...

OpenBet Casino unveils new celebrity-branded content with partner, MX Gaming

Fast cars and famous faces meet fame and fortune in the online gaming world as OpenBet announces ‘The Hoff’ as the latest celebrity/big name to join OpenBet Casino. Working in partnership with MX Gaming, OpenBet will launch a fully branded David Hasselhoff slot game and scratchcard that will be available to all customers from early 2012.

Featuring one of the most recognisable faces in television and throughout the world, The Hoff online games will boast a broad demographic appeal with high-octane gameplay, rich graphics and compelling concepts featuring real life imagery and footage of the legendary David Hasselhoff. Aimed primarily at the bingo and casino markets and available in numerous different skins, the main concept of the games will be to help David Hasselhoff’s character along his eternal quest of becoming a millionaire celebrity and will include humorous twists along the way. Various free spins and a super wild feature will also boost player retention and chances of winning the main prize.

Star of iconic shows including Knight Rider, Baywatch, America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent, “The Hoff”’ and his global appeal will reach fans across the globe and entertain players off air and online. Known as a home to top brands, OpenBet’s leading casino portfolio is looking better than ever. These titles will slot neatly alongside other celebrity games including Baywatch and Hulkamania featuring Hulk Hogan.

David Loveday, Chief Executive of OpenBet, comments; “OpenBet is proud of its leading portfolio of branded content and the introduction of David Hasselhoff’s iconic “Hoff” character is further evidence of the innovative way OpenBet brings interesting content to its customers. The much loved Hoff persona allows OpenBet to bring games that are not only quirky and fun but appeal to a wide range of customers.”

David Hasselhoff, world-renowned actor, singer, producer, enthuses; “The name of the game is to work with the right partners to produce fun and new interesting material. I look forward to working with OpenBet and MX Gaming to give bookmakers, bingo providers and lotteries the opportunity to jump in on the action and rev up gaming audiences far and wide.”

Ike McFadden, Director of Business at MX Gaming, added; "We always look for ways to bring our film and TV experience to the gaming space, but our recent shoot in Hollywood with David was flat-out one of the most fun experiences we've ever had on-set. He's fun, energetic, and the perfect crossover act for the online gaming world."

Fans will have a chance to see him live in an exclusive London engagement 2 March, called “An Evening with David Hasselhoff” where he will debut his new album “This Time Around”.


NYX Gaming Group – providing the buzz at ICE...

NYX Gaming Group, the recently formed software provider incorporating NYX Interactive and NextGen Gaming, to provide a refreshing way to do business at ICE this year.

London, January 19, 2012:

The recent formation of the NYX Gaming Group incorporating Stockholm based NYX Interactive and Sydney’s NextGen Gaming will provide Operators with premium gaming innovation and flexible gaming systems in true partnership. At ICE 2012 not only will the group be showcasing its latest products, but they have enlisted the help of a professional coffee barrister to keep visitors alert during the busy week.

The NYX Gaming Group will be demonstrating several new products, including NextGen Gaming’s newest premium slot title, the 50-line Merlin’s Millions which will soon be available to Operators via new and existing aggregator partners. NextGen are proud of their reputation for delivering exceptional game performance and game longevity that translates into profit for partners and an immersive gaming experience for their players.

Also on show is the new and innovative NYX Bingo product alongside the NYX MOVE mobile gaming system, providing players with the superb functionality of the PC games they’re familiar with on their tablet and mobile devices. Completing the new product offering, ICE will exclusively host the first trade show airing of the group’s Social gaming application which launched in December 2011.

Matt Davey, CEO for the NYX Gaming Group, commented “The tie-up between NYX Interactive and NextGen Gaming creates a refreshing alternative for many Operators and World Lottery Members in the i-Gaming space. We are delighted to be able to showcase NYX innovations alongside new NextGen slot titles at ICE 2012”

Join the new NYX Gaming Group team at ICE on stand 5430.

Web: www.nyxgaminggroup.com

About NYX GG
The NYX Gaming Group has offices in London, Stockholm and Sydney providing flexible gaming solutions to some of the largest World Lottery Association members and gaming operators across the globe. NYX has previously won several awards including “Innovation in Bingo” at the 2010 E-Gaming Review Awards. Both NYX (EMEA) and NextGen (Asia Pacific) have been listed in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 listings for the respective regions.

NYX Interactive offer a top-level gaming portfolio of gaming products including the leading Bingo solution, built on a fully-flexible account and back office system which supports all parts of an Operator’s business.

NextGen Gaming is the industry’s leading platform agnostic provider of engaging and profitable repeat play Slots, providing entertainment for players and profits for Operators.


Playtech to acquire sportsbook developer...

After purchasing interactive gambling and betting games developer Ash Gaming last month for £23 million, online gaming software designer and supplier Playtech Limited has now agreed a deal to buy the entire issued share capital of Geneity Limited.

Established in 2006, Geneity is an online lottery and sportsbook software provider based in the London suburb of Chiswick and Playtech is set to pay an initial cash consideration of £11 million subject to working capital adjustments with £4 million of this due to be held in escrow for 30 months.

London-listed Playtech stated that a further £4 million will be payable ‘subject to certain agreed deliverables to be provided by Geneity’.

“Sportsbook is often the prime entry point for companies into online gaming,” said Mor Weizer, Chief Executive Officer for Playtech.

“Over the past year the pace of change in the sportsbook segment led us to believe that we needed to acquire experienced developers to immediately give us a market-leading capability. Geneity will deliver a range of features key to Playtech's sportsbook such as in-play betting and a broader range of sports on which to wager.”

Geneity currently has a deal to provide its sportsbook software to Gala Coral Group through to the end of the year while its lottery solution is being utilised by the Health Lottery. Other clients include Betfair and Ladbrokes with the firm reporting unaudited revenues for the year to the end of March of £2.3 million alongside profits before tax of £820,000.

“Geneity is delighted to be joining the Playtech family, the synergies between the respective companies and products are very strong,” said Will Slater, Managing Director for Geneity.
“At Geneity we've created a highly advanced sportsbetting platform with integrated in-play algorithms, per channel pricing and a scalable and modular architecture.

“It's very exciting to be able to offer our sportsbetting platform to a wider audience alongside Playtech's existing best-of-breed products.”


Amaya signs Aristocrat licensing deal...

Server and network-based gaming specialist Amaya Gaming Group has announced that it has entered into a three-year development and licensing agreement with a subsidiary of Australian land-based casino systems supplier Aristocrat Leisure Limited.

Montreal-based Amaya revealed that the deal will allow its Chartwell Technology subsidiary to adapt a number of Aristocrat gaming titles including Wild Panda, Pompeii and Where’s The Gold for use in online and video lottery terminal (VLT) applications.

“The online gaming opportunity is becoming increasingly attractive as a number of jurisdictions around the world are considering regulatory changes that would allow new domestic gaming websites to operate,” said Darcy Krogh, Business Development Vice-President for Amaya.

“This agreement strengthens Amaya’s position by supplementing our existing online gaming content with Aristocrat titles, which are well known among casino customers worldwide.”

Amaya stated that the online titles it will develop based on Aristocrat games are to be subsequently distributed through its virtual and land-based VLT channels.

“Aristocrat’s proven slot content is ideally suited to transition to the online space as our initial titles have shown,” said Gillian Findlay, Online Gaming General Manager for Sydney-based Aristocrat.

“Online gaming is growing rapidly and Amaya’s strong distribution helps expand the reach for our extensive portfolio to more players.”


iGaming Business Wins Best Industry Publication of the Year...

24th JANUARY 2012 (London, UK) - iGaming Business, information provider for the online Gambling Industry, was recognised last night as the Best Industry Publication of the Year 2012 at the International Gaming Awards (IGA). This category is rewarded to the publication that has pushed the boundaries in above-the-line reporting, with innovative special feature highlighting and involving the reader more effectively into the publication.

The organisers of the event explain the merits of the awards 'The International Gaming Awards 2012 is supported and enhanced by well renowned industry insiders as well as gaming clients from all tiers of the gaming world. Listening carefully to the views of gaming clients and industry professionals, we are able to recognise and celebrate the biggest and best charity event of the year with class.'

These awards are bestowed on nominees by expert judges who are deeply involved in the gaming sector, such as the Senior Vice President of Communications/Government Relations at Caesars Entertainment Corp, the Founder and Director of Sportingbet Plc, the Founder & Owner of
PokerScout.com, the Vice President of Public Affairs of the Canadian Gaming Association, the founder of the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) and many more. This result is a reflection on the readership and scope of iGaming Business magazine.

'Winning was an incredible feeling, especially as we had such worthy competitors for the award.' Explains Alex Pratt, Head of iGaming Business 'But in the end, I'm glad that our efforts to continuously provide the industry with the best analysis, worldviews and high class editorial meant that we came home with the trophy. It makes us as determined as ever to win again next year and keep improving and innovating.'

More information on iGaming Business can be found at www.iGamingBusiness.com


Isle of Man calls renewed...

The Isle of Man government has renewed its calls for potential operators and developers to come forward and declare their interest in applying for the island’s newest casino licence.

The government is due to close its process of seeking expressions of interest for the new casino and five-star hotel on January 31. In previous statements, the government had indicated that hundreds of responses had been received.

“We have been pleased with the number of interesting responses we have received to date,” said John Shimmin, Minister for the Department of Economic Development. “The Isle of Man feels that the time is right to diversify its dynamic and growing economy through the establishment of a permanent hotel and casino resort, providing a further location for gaming activities for residents and visitors alike.”

Tenders submitted will involve consideration by the Department of Economic Development, which will be liaising with Global Betting and Gaming Consultants and the island ’s Gambling Supervision Commission.

“We hope that development of a new hotel and casino will be a catalyst for growing visitor business on the island through the next decade,” said Department of Economic Development Director Tim Craine.


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Monday, January 23, 2012

Pokies argy-bargy waste of time, says Julia Gillard - 23rd January 2012

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PM Julia Gillard is sticking by her decision to pull back from a deal on poker machine aka slot machine reforms, stating there is no point to parliament engaging in political argy-bargy over the issue.

The Prime Minister insists there is insufficient support in parliament's lower house for mandatory pre-commitment, despite her deal with independent MP Andrew Wilkie following the 2010 general election.

Instead the government will fund a trial of the problem-gambling measure across the ACT in 2013 ahead of a possible national rollout in 2016.

The decision has pissed off anti-gambling advocates and Mr Wilkie, who has withdrawn support for the minority Gillard Government.

It is however welcomed by Labor backbenchers who have felt the stress of an awesomely effective campaign war by the registered clubs sector.

Ms Gillard says there is no point in putting Mr Wilkie's measure to the parliament because it does not have the support of the coalition and key crossbenchers.

"We can have all sorts of political argy-bargy and end up with nothing," she told press today.

"Or we could get a piece of legislation through the parliament that will deliver real change."

Other government measures will include limits on ATM cash withdrawals at gaming revenues.

Ms Gillard also flagged the government may be prepared to consider a trial of $1 bet limits on "low-intensity" poker machines.

But she said that measure, proposed initially by Mr Wilkie and backed by the Australian Greens, was the most costly option to address problem gambling.

The Prime Minister has defended the decision to pay ACT clubs at least $37 million to take part in the mandatory pre-commitment trial.

The Government will pay clubs a monthly compensation fee for the year, and is also offering a total of more than $1 million for training, specialist workers and business planning.

It has not ruled out there could be more compensation as the trial is reviewed.

"We need the cooperation of the clubs to have the trial," Ms Gillard said.

"To go down the path ... you don't give them full compensation would equal having no trial."

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Hulk Hogan Pro Wrestling God Tours Casinos; Sports Entertainment News Update, by Greg Tingle

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Sylvester Stallone Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon

From Bondi Beach, Australia to Japan, Canada, the USA - most of the world knows of Hulk Hogan.

Who can forget the Hulk-A-Mania Australian tour from a few years ago where he feuded with long time rival Ric Flair, and how about the wrestling angle at the then Star City Casino (now The Star), where it appeared at first that Hogan and Flair went at it for real when Flair implied he "had" Hogan's wife "Jennifer", before Hulk did! Now, that would start a fight and boy did the blood flow. The action was so hot that Seven News decided to purchase the video camera footage from the Media Man agency for a considerable sum.

The red did turn to green, as the old wrestling kayfabe saying goes, but not anywhere near as much as the Australian promoter or Hogan would have prefered.

The arena numbers in Australia were on the downside so much that it was largely responsible for TNA Wrestling deciding not to to ahead with an Australian tour.

The only American (or actually global) pro wrestling - sports entertainment company that he since graced Australian shores is the one and only WWE, headed up by promoter genius Vince McMahon. Once in a while Hogan teases a return to the WWE, and the two do have some line of communication. Take note that McMahon has old Hogan rival Flair getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame again (with the other 3 Four Horseman members) the night before WrestleMania, so anything can and does still happen in the WWE. Read up on other recent Media Man WWE news for more on that matter.

This writer would like to see Hogan and Flair both become official WWE spokespersons at some point, but if its to be - they need to make the move soon. Father time is ticking away.

Pro wrestling cousin of sorts, UFC from the MMA world is about to hit Sydney, Australia for a third time, but it ain't wrestling. Note, Brock Lensnar from the UFC and pro wrestling world, has left the UFC recently suffering a loss at the hands of Alistair Overeem at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, USA.

Hardcore pro wrestling fans of the WWF and ECK ilk will likely know this bit of trivia. It was Lesnar that "injured" Hogan's back in 2002 which was the official reason that The Hulk didn't visit down under back then. The back story is that Hogan and McMahon couldn't come to business terms. What's left to say but that's the pro wrestling industry.

Wrestling icon Hulk Hogan was at Speaking Rock Casino and Entertainment Center last week.

Hogan was there for the Micro Championship Wrestling event held at the venue.

Hogan was accompanied by the Nasty Boys, Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags, as well as Ed Leslie, better known as Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, the former WWF Tag Team Champion (having held the title with wrestling legend Greg "The Hammer" Valentine).

Micro Championship Wrestling has a show promoted by Hogan on TruTV. The show, which screens as midget wrestling which has been up and running since August. Note we called them midgets, not dwarfs, so haters lay off ok. Some of the wrestlers also like to be called "little people". Whatever, they are full of excitement, talent and fun, and don't mind sharing it with the world.

Australia's Foxtel doesn't currently get TruTV, so we can't enjoy Hogan's midget wrestling show on the box at this stage, but we're hopeful time will change that. Foxtel is going to soon get a new Factual channel, so there's hope yet wrestling fans.

Hogan is the most recognizable figure in the history of professional wrestling from his success in the business since the 1980s. Hogan's also had many of movies and a host of other high profile shows and projects. Hogan's star power even ecliped "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Gorgeous George (Wagner) and Bruno Sammartino (for you old school wrestling fans out there).

Hogan enjoyed high level feuds with the likes of Andre the Giant, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Paul "Mr Wonderful" Orndorff, King Kong Bundy, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, "The Magnificent" Don Muraco, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and "Macho Man" Randy Savage.

On the big screen Hogan has starred in "No Holds Barred," "Suburban Commando" and "Mr. Nanny." He has also made appearances in Rocky III and Walker, Texas Ranger. One can argue that current WWE superstars, John Cena, "The Rock" and Steve Austin took off where Hogan finished as far as mixing wrestling and movies. Roddy Piper is widely regarded as the most talented actor that pro wrestling ever produced. From time to time Piper does his famous "Pipers Pit" talk show segment for the WWE as well as helping out a few other smaller wrestling promotions.

Hogan even had his own reality TV show called "Hogan Knows Best.", and it wasn't long before daughter Brooke, did her own "Brooke Knows Best" show.

Hogan became a household name while in Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (WWF), now known as WWE, which enjoyed a live event in Las Cruces, New Mexico on Sunday at the Pan American Centre.

He is currently signed to the Impact Wrestling - Total Nonstop Action wrestling promotion and has a range of business projects on the go including in the TV, gaming, casino and internet b2b sectors.

Recently, Hogan has made headlines on celebrity websites for his divorce, his son Nick's car crash, daughter Brooke's music career and the pending removal of his world famous moustache (to satisfy some Hollywood movie producers).

Other

Ric Flair is almost as famous as long time rival Hulk Hogan, who along with Flair is currently under contract to Impact Wrestling. Most would argue that Flair is one of the greatest pro wrestlers in history, while Hogan has earned more income from wrestling and wrestling related activities than just about anyone else.

* The writer has a b2b agreement with the WWE (WWE Shop)

* Wrestling legend Andre The Giant gets online slot game via Richard Branson's Virgin Casino.

* Hogan recently released his Kinnect-based "Hulk Hogan's Main Event" game which got mixed reviews from the gaming industry. The game promo goes "Get pumped and bring the pain in the first full-body wrestling game on Kinect for Xbox 360! In Hulk Hogan’s Main Event Hulkamaniacs can train with wrestling icon Hulk Hogan himself. As your mentor, Hulk will help you build your own wrestling personality and school you in the art of showmanship to win over the crowd. Entertain roaring fans with brutal stunts, combos, even devastating chair hits, that will knock your opponent to the mat or out of the ring. The crazier and wilder your motions, the more high impact your wrestling performance is in your living room ring!"

* Hulk Hogan is also tipped to be soon getting his own online slot game. His Hulk-A-Mania game is being developed by Endemol Games. Endemol is the company behind the famous Big Brother franchise, so you know they know about marketing and publicity. The Media Man agency is tipped to soon come to business terms with Endemol.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

PartyCasino News: PartyCasino 5 Star Vegas Dream Ticket

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PartyCasino.com Wins Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Award

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2012 Aussie Millions Day 10: Pedley Wins Event #6; Krost Wins Tournament of Champions

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Animal: "Punk is living out my brother's dream"

Bin Laden Movie Remains Top-Secret, Joel Edgerton Says

PartyGaming, PartyCasino, Bwin Do Deal With Las Vegas Land Based Casinos

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Positive Macau Numbers to Drive Melco Crown Entertainment and MGM Resorts This Earnings Season - 19th January 2012

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Five Star Equities Provides Stock Research on Melco Crown Entertainment & MGM Resorts...

NEW YORK, NY, Jan 19, 2012 - Casino stocks have been on the upswing this week as positive news out of China helped drive shares of gaming companies with a heavy presence in Macau higher. China said its economy grew by 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter, which was slower than the previous quarter. Analysts, however, consider these levels "robust," the Associated Press reports. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for the Resorts and Casinos Industry and provides equity research on Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. MPEL +0.27% and MGM Resorts International MGM -0.39%.

According to data published by the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (GICB), gross gaming and gambling revenues in Macau totalled 269.058 billion patacas (US$33.632 billion) in 2011. MacauHub.com reports that revenues in 2011 were an almost five-fold increase on revenues in 2006 (57.521 billion patacas). Revenues also jumped from 189.588 million patacas in 2010.

By the end of 2011, there were 34 casinos in Macau, 20 of which were owned by Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, three by Venetian Macau, five by Galaxy Casino, three by Melco/PBL Jogos (Macau) and one each by Wynn Resorts and MGM Grand Paradise.

A recent article from Forbes helps explain why Macau continues to grow at such a rapid pace. For example, Macau has initiated a series of initiatives to encourage visitors, Forbes reports. The tiny island investing in new transportation links to ease travel for Chinese visitors. Now, a new railway line connects Macau to Guangzhou in China and a new road bridge links it to Hong Kong.

With China's middle class continuing to expand, Forbes highlights an increase in disposable income in China's population, which is driving the growth of mass market in Macau.


Melco seeking Studio City loan...

Local gaming operator Melco Crown Entertainment is in negotiations with banks to try to raise up to MOP 16 billion in debt to fund the development of long-delayed Macao Studio City project.

According to sources quoted by Bloomberg, the Hong Kong-listed company is seeking a loan of around USD 1.5 billion (MOP 12 billion) and will also issue bonds worth USD 1 billion (MOP 4 billion), Reuters adds Melco is currently negotiating with banks to ensure the financing, in case there are not enough takers. The company is about three to four weeks away from hiring banks, sources said.

A source claims the debt will be used to build up Macao Studio City. Last year Melco Crown’s co-chairman Lawrence Ho Yau Lung said the operator would invest USD 1.7 billion (MOP 13.6 billion) in the development of the Cotai project. He added that construction would commence in 2012 and the property may open in 2015.

But there is still no word on whether Studio City will have a casino. On Wednesday the secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io, told lawmakers the introduction of a gaming space at the project has not yet been approved.

“And in order to make it a reality, of course, we would need the necessary gaming tables to make the project financially viable for us,” Ho acknowledged last August. The son of ailing tycoon Stanley Ho Hung Sun said he was confident of gaining authorities’ support.

“Before we even undertook investing in the Macao Studio City project, we had dialogue and communication with various levels of the Macau Government and they have been very supportive throughout the way,” Ho said.

Melco and the other five gaming operators all climbed in Hong Kong trading yesterday on expectations they will benefit from more mainland China visitors during the coming Lunar New Year holiday.

“Investors are expecting the footfall in Macau casinos to rise during the Chinese New Year,” said Edwin Fan, an analyst with Bank of China International in Hong Kong, quoted by Bloomberg.
But the holiday period will come too soon for new resort Sands Cotai Central, which will open “between March 22 and 27,” wrote HSBC Global Research’s Sean Monaghan in an investors note.

The analyst, quoted by Macau Business, believes the resort will account for 28 percent of Sands China’s earnings for 2013.


Melco Crown Jumps to Two-Month High in U.S. on Loan Speculation...

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. rose to a two-month high in U.S. trading on speculation the Macau casino venture between billionaires Stanley Ho and James Packer is seeking a loan to fund the development of a new project.

American depositary receipts of Melco gained 3.2 percent to $11.18 by 10:41 a.m. in New York, the highest intraday level since Nov. 9. The ADRs, each representing three common shares in the Hong Kong-based company, have increased 6.2 percent over the past three days.

Melco Crown approached banks to finance its Studio City project in the former Portuguese colony city that is the only place in China where public gambling is allowed, according to four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the details are private. The loan may be about $1.25 billion, two of the people said.

Studio City will be an integrated resort with a “theme and demographic focus” aimed at differentiating it from the company’s existing portfolio of assets, according to Melco Crown’s website. The company is about three to four weeks away from hiring banks, the people said.

Melco Crown’s shares gained 2.2 percent earlier today in Hong Kong to HK$28.15, the equivalent of $3.63 per share. The ADRs are trading at a 2.7 percent premium over the Hong Kong stock.


MGM China Leads Gains in Macau Casinos Ahead of New Year Holiday...

MGM China Holdings Ltd. and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. led gains in Macau casino operators on expectations they will benefit from more mainland China visitors during the coming Lunar New Year holiday.

MGM China advanced as much as 6.9 percent to HK$11.48, the highest intraday level since Nov. 9, before trading at HK$11.38 at 11:34 a.m. in Hong Kong. Galaxy Entertainment climbed as much as 5.8 percent, its biggest intraday gain since Dec. 1.

The week-long Lunar New Year holiday kicks off on Jan 23 and tourists from mainland China tend to boost gambling and shopping revenue in Hong Kong and Macau during that period.

“Investors are expecting the footfall in Macau casinos to rise during the Chinese New Year,” said Edwin Fan, an analyst with Bank of China International in Hong Kong.

Casino revenue in Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, rose 25 percent in December to 23.6 billion patacas ($3 billion), as Chinese tourists spent more. Chinese gamblers have fueled growth in the former Portuguese colony, where gambling sales have more than tripled in the past four years.

Wynn Macau Ltd. rose as much as 5 percent and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. as much as 3 percent.

Sands China Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed unit of billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas-based company, climbed as much as 4.4 percent. SJM Holdings Ltd., Asia’s biggest casino operator by revenue, gained as much as 3.4 percent.


Packer eyes another big investment in Perth casino, as Chinese tourism soars...

Gaming billionaire James Packer is believed to be eyeing another massive investment in Crown's casino in Perth, talking with the state Government about acquiring land for a new hotel and entertainment complex.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett is supportive of the idea of another hotel for the listed company.

The report follows the casino group's decisions to change the casino's name from Burswood to Crown Perth, and Packer's comments he wanted to do more build up more attractions such as golf course in the city.

Sources close to the project expect Crown to invest under $1 billion, the paper says.

Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale says commercial has outperformed residential property in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

"If you were to generalise, you'd say commercial has outperformed there and it's reasonable to take this as another vote of confidence in the medium-term outlook in the WA economy as a whole," Dale says.

Dale says there are signs that hotels, warehouses and the office sector have good growth outlooks, he says.

"At the same time, you seem to continue getting these ticks in the box for aggregate economic conditions in WA, but there are a lot of sectors – such as residential – that are losing out."

Packer last year raised eyebrows by saying Australians over-estimated the effectiveness of their tourism campaigns, and risked ignoring the emerging Asian middle-class.

The Crown Perth plans come as official tourism figures show short-term arrival figures were up 0.8% in the year to November but short-term resident departures soared 8.1% over the same period.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, released yesterday, show that the number of tourists from China rose by 19.7% in the year to November 2011, followed by a 6.3% rise from India, a 3.2% rise from New Zealand and a 1.1% rise from Singapore.

Conversely, tourist numbers from the United Kingdom fell by 6.5%, 5% from the United States, 8.8% from Korea and 9.9% from Japan.


You bet, internet gambling on the rise...

Internet gambling is on the rise, with convenience and accessibility contributing to its popularity, research has found.

The findings follow the largest survey of internet gamblers to date in Australia with more than 6680 people participating in the self-selected, online questionnaire.

Dr Sally Gainsbury, from Southern Cross University’s Centre for Gambling Education and Research, said internet gamblers had significantly more positive attitudes towards gambling.

“People appear to be gravitating towards online gambling because of the availability and the convenience,” she said.

“It can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

“But for people with existing gambling problems, internet gambling may create additional risks.”

Dr Gainsbury said overall the research showed internet gamblers were not more likely to be problem gamblers but they did appear to be at higher risk of developing problems.

She said internet gambling posed particular risks to players; it was constantly available and people could play online in private with relative anonymity.

More than half of the 450 problem internet gamblers responding to the survey said the use of credit cards or internet bank transfers increased the amount they spent compared to less than one in 10 of the 2270 non-problem internet gamblers.

Southern Cross University and the University of Sydney conducted the research.

Anita Hartley at Mission Australia’s North Coast Gambling Counselling Service is not surprised by the research findings.

“Our service is seeing a steady increase of people with online gambling issues and it is a real concern,” she said.

Ms Hartley said she had seen first-hand that it did appear to target the vulnerable.

She said we needed a strong approach to work out sensible safeguards for people, including good government regulation.

“We would encourage the Australian government to take a leading role in influencing the design of global consumer protection standards while online gaming is still in its infancy,” Ms Hartley said.

Internet gambling’s popularity has soared in the past few years with trends indicating an increasing number of people starting to gamble online.

More than half of the survey participants started gambling online from around 2006.

Mission Australia recognises while Australia has a ban on online gaming, Australians can gamble using offshore websites.

“While we do not wish to see a proliferation of online gaming in Australia, we also recognise that a well regulated Australian industry could help to reduce the impact of unscrupulous overseas providers,” Ms Hartley said.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Packer's Melco Crown eyes $2b in new debt - 19th January 2012


Profiles

Casino James Packer Melco Crown City of Dreams Altira Macau Lawrence Ho Gaming Crown Casino Australian Casinos

James Packer’s Melco Crown joint venture, one of the six licensed casino operators in Macau, is looking to raise up to $US2 billion ($1.92 billion) in debt to fund a new project in the former Portuguese colony, according to sources.

Proceeds will finance Melco's plans to build Macau Studio City, a $US2.5 billionn-plus gaming and entertainment resort on the developing Cotai strip, said one source.

The debt funding will feature a loan-cum-bond combo with the loan expected to be for around $US1.25 billion and the US dollar bond for the remainder, according to another source. The borrower is in discussions with banks for the loan financing and is seeking underwritten commitments.

Melco's last visit to the loan markets was in May 2011 when it raised $US1.2 billlion through a dual-tranche financing comprising an $US800 million term loan and a $US400 million revolver. The term loan amortises to 50 per cent and has a two-year grace period. The blended average life is 4.1 years.

ANZ, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of China Macau, Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank were coordinating lead arrangers and bookrunners on the fully underwritten facility. The deal paid top-level blended all-ins of 208-308 basis points over Libor.

In May 2010, Melco raised $US600 million through an eight-year non-call four global bond paying a coupon of 10.5 per cent.

Melco is a joint venture between Mr Packer's Crown and Lawrence Ho, son of the Macau gaming mogul Stanley Ho. Crown has a 33.4 per cent stake in Melco Crown Entertainment, which runs the Altira Macau and City of Dreams casinos.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

International Game Technology to Acquire Social Gaming Company Double Down Interactive

-Transaction propels IGT into a leadership position within social gaming
-Double Down is anticipated to contribute rapid user and revenue growth
-Combination allows IGT to leverage Facebook distribution channel
-Acquisition estimated to be accretive to IGT's fiscal year 2012 adjusted earnings

Profiles

IGT Gaming iGaming Facebook Las Vegas United States Online Gaming


International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT - News), the global leader in the design, development and manufacture of gaming machines and systems products, as well as online and mobile gaming solutions for regulated markets, has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Double Down Interactive LLC – a leading online social gaming company and developer of the popular DoubleDown™ Casino found on Facebook.

Launched in April 2010, the DoubleDown™ Casino is the world's largest virtual casino and one of the top 4 social media games in 2011 as rated by Facebook. According to AppData.com, DoubleDown™ Casino currently has 4.7 million monthly active users, up from 3.3 million in October 2011. With a broad and expanding portfolio, Double Down offers blackjack, slots, slot tournaments, video poker, and roulette to social gamers all around the world.

The total consideration includes $250 million in cash, $85 million in retention payments over the next two years and up to $165 million in cash payable over the next three years subject to Double Down meeting certain financial performance targets. IGT expects to fund the transaction from cash on hand.

The addition of Double Down provides IGT instant size and scale in the fast growing world of casino-style social gaming and is expected to broaden IGT's popular gaming titles beyond the physical casino to Facebook, the world's largest social network with over 800 million global users. This powerful distribution model is anticipated to provide IGT an opportunity to entertain players with consistent, ubiquitous, thrilling gaming experiences across multiple platforms.

"Double Down and IGT share complementary cultures focused on innovation and creativity. Both companies are committed to providing unrivaled quality, service and entertainment to millions of players," said Greg Enell, CEO of Double Down. "Leveraging IGT's Research and Development, global reach, and best-in-class content will provide our loyal player base with an even more robust experience and is expected to augment Double Down's growth trajectory."

"As technological innovations increasingly influence consumer behavior, social dynamics are quickly transforming entertainment and gaming experiences everywhere," said Patti Hart, CEO of IGT. "The addition of Double Down launches IGT into a leadership position in social gaming, extends our global reach through new mediums, and leverages our unmatched expertise in game development. We intend to drive meaningful value from this rapidly growing distribution platform that reaches a new, but complementary, demographic of gamers."

The transaction is estimated to be accretive to IGT's fiscal 2012 adjusted earnings and is projected to close within the second quarter of its current fiscal year. Greg Enell will continue to lead Double Down and the company's operations will remain in Seattle, WA after the acquisition is complete. Through the integration, IGT will operate Double Down with the appropriate level of independence needed to continue to foster exceptional growth.

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including, but not limited to, the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. The final purchase price is subject to certain post-closing adjustments.

Conference Call Information
IGT will host a conference call regarding its acquisition of Double Down on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, at 5:00 a.m. PST. The access numbers are as follows:

Domestic callers dial 888-606-7043, pass-code IGT
International callers dial 1-212-547-0361, pass-code IGT

The conference call also will be broadcast live over the Internet. A link to the webcast is available at the IGT website: http://www.IGT.com/InvestorRelations. If interested parties are unable to participate during the live webcast, the call will be archived until Friday, Jan. 27, 2012 also at http://www.IGT.com/InvestorRelations.

Interested parties who cannot participate at the time of the call may listen to a taped replay of the entire conference call commencing at approximately 7:00 a.m. PST on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012. This replay will run through Friday, Jan. 27, 2012. The access numbers are as follows:
Domestic callers dial 888-568-0521
International callers dial 1-402-998-1495

About Double Down Interactive
Double Down Interactive is the leading casual games developer of "fun to play" casino experiences on the Internet. With veterans from top online game companies, the team is committed to providing consumers an online social casino experience that is unrivaled by anything else available. Anyone can play at the DoubleDown Casino by visiting http://apps.facebook.com/doubledowncasino/ or www.doubledowncasino.com. Double Down Interactive is based in Seattle, Washington.

About IGT
International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT - News) is a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of gaming machines and systems products, as well as online and mobile gaming solutions for regulated markets. More information about IGT is available at www.IGT.com or follow IGT on Twitter at @IGTNews or Facebook at www.facebook.com/IGT.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties concerning the proposed acquisition of Double Down Interactive, including the expected benefits of the acquisition to IGT and IGT's strategic, financial and operational expectations for its business, including the Double Down business following the closing of the acquisition. Actual events or results may differ materially from those described in this press release due to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, among others, the possibility that the transaction might not close or that the closing may be delayed, IGT's integration of Double Down, its products, technologies and employees may experience difficulties, and the anticipated benefits of the transaction to IGT and its customers might not be realized. More information about potential factors that could affect IGT's business and financial results is included in IGT's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including under the captions "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" in IGT's Annual Report on Form 10-K for its 2011 fiscal year, and available on the SEC website at www.sec.gov and on the investor relations section of IGT's website at www.IGT.com. All information provided in this release is as of January 12, 2012 and IGT does not intend, and undertakes no duty, to update this information.


Double Down Interactive LLC, International Game Technology - M&A Call

Operator

Good morning, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to International Game Technology's Conference Call regarding the acquisition of Double Down Interactive. [Operator Instructions] Today's call is being recorded. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Matt Moyer, Vice President of Investor Relations. Sir, you may begin.

Matthew G. Moyer

Thanks, Kim. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to IGT's Conference Call regarding the acquisition of Double Down. On the call today are Patti Hart, CEO; and Pat Cavanaugh, CFO.

Before we begin, I'd like to remind listeners, our discussion will contain forward-looking statements concerning the proposed acquisition of Double Down that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ materially from those described in our discussion due to a number of risks and uncertainties. Information about potential factors that could affect IGT's business and financial results are included in our filings with the SEC, including our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and in our press release relating to the Double Down acquisition. All information discussed in this call is as of today, January 13, 2012, and IGT does not intend and undertakes no obligation to update this information to reflect future events or circumstances. With that in mind, I'll turn over the call to Patti.

Patti S. Hart

Thanks, Matt, and thanks to all of you for taking time to join us this morning. Yesterday, we announced our entry into the rapidly growing world of social gaming with our agreement to acquire Double Down Interactive. Double Down is the developer of the world's leading virtual casino found on Facebook. This investment is consistent with our strategic objective to lead the wave of change coming to gaming around the globe. We have always delivered products and innovation across all available distribution channels with the end player experience in mind. The acquisition of Double Down is consistent with our historic approach and allows our games to be accessible to the broader space of players in all relevant format and across all leading edge outlets. The addition of Double Down further solidifies our interactive gaming leadership and is compelling for the future growth of IGT. With more than 1 million daily active users, DoubleDown Casino is attracting more than 10x the average number of daily visitors to Las Vegas, while also delivering positive adjusted EBITDA and is adding users and growing revenues at impressive rates. We will operate Double Down with a level of independence necessary to continue to foster exceptional growth. This transaction marks another important step towards the execution of our plan to prioritize higher growth opportunities that we believe will result in strong returns for our shareholders. The combination of IGT and Double Down is compelling for both companies, but also for gamers around the world and our stakeholders. I'll now turn the call over to Pat.

Patrick W. Cavanaugh

Thanks, Patti, and good morning everyone. As we indicated in our press release, our definitive agreement to acquire Double Down is for a total consideration that includes $250 million paid out in cash, $85 million paid out in retention payments over 2 years and up to $165 million that could be earned subject to the company meeting certain financial performance targets over the next 3 years. The final purchase price is subject to customary post-closing adjustments and is expected to close within this fiscal quarter. The transaction was priced to reflect the value that IGT identified in Double Down based on a variety of factors, including growth rates of the company, financial performance, technology and competency of senior management and is in line with comparable valuations. We expect Double Down to be accretive in our fiscal 2012 adjusted earnings. However, currently it is too early to accurately determine the size of the potential accretion. We currently anticipate including Double Down in our interactive revenues, which are accounted for in our gaming operations line of business. At this time, we are not changing our fiscal 2012 adjusted earnings guidance. With that, I'd now like to turn the call over for questions. Operator?

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And our first question comes from Joe Greff with JPMorgan.

Joseph Greff - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Pat, Patti, Matt, if you can talk a little with the background of this deal, how was this deal sourced? Was it the competitive situation? You talked about the valuation is in line with some other comparable transactions. Can you help us understand those transactions or what you looked at on a comparative-valuation basis? And then, when you think of strategically what this does for you, what are the returns if this is just a platform for social gaming? And if you can talk about how this might interface with an effort for online poker or online gaming subject to obviously the legislation being passed and all that good stuff?

Patti S. Hart

A lot of step in line, Joe. Thanks for that. That gives us a chance to maybe answer a lot of questions. So I'll add some comments and then let Pat as well. So I mean, as you would suspect, I mean, we have had our eye on the social gaming part of the marketplace for quite some time. Seeing that -- with the regulatory environment currently as it is in the U.S., a need to provide to our customers and to patrons around the globe an experience that is more reflective of what our gaming experience is today with our machine and game experience. And the free play experience in our research just does not provide the kind of compelling entertainment experience that our patrons are used too. So we've had our eye on the social casual gaming with virtual currency for some time. Double Down, you run into everybody at all of these conferences, so Double Down is someone we've had conversations with off and on when it comes to partnerships and sharing content and what have you. And at some point, it turned into a more curious conversation. Strategically, I'll let Pat talk to you about some of the comps in a second, but strategically, this is an important fit for us. It does a number of things. I think it begins to allow us to reach a younger demographic with our core competencies, what we do best, which is create great gaming experiences that include a wager. A wager of some sort of consideration, in this case, it happens to be a virtual currency. To reach that younger demographic and to educate the younger demographic that today doesn't necessarily enjoy our games even when they're in a casino environment. So it allows us to begin to educate, it also allow us to reach the deeper into the social fabric for our core products to really add a social layer to the core gaming experience and in a land-based environment. So it's a real move forward. I believe in convergence and the creation off a true global gaming ecosystem that allows you to play on any device with any sort of currency around the globe. And so, it strategically fits nicely for us. And I think having the opportunity to add the leading virtual casino, if you will, to our portfolio of products is very powerful for us. So Pat, you want to talk about the comps for this.

Patrick W. Cavanaugh

Sure. Sure, Joe. If you look at it, I mean, when we buy anything as most companies, we look at valuation on a number of metrics. And so, if you were to look at this acquisition compared on a DCF or preceding gaming transactions or discount equity value, what you'd find in, and I would highlight obviously the most visible public comp out there recently is Zynga. What you'll find is, we paid a reasonable value for this business. It's obviously more than something we might pay for in our core business just because of the phenomenal growth rates that this segment is experiencing. So you're going to -- you're going to pay up for that. But we feel it's reasonable, and we're excited about the opportunity.

Operator

And our next question comes from Bill Lerner with Union Gaming.

William J. Lerner - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

A couple of questions. One is, I guess just technical and the other is more, I guess, more strategic. On the technical, there's -- these numbers of course are floating around out there and reported with frequency about daily users and billings and all this other stuff for sites like this. But the one thing I just wanted to clarify, are you guys talking about -- when these numbers of $140,000 a day in revenue are attributed to Double Down, which we understand are much higher now, are those gross? Are those net? Are those billings? What is that number and helps us model this more accurately is the first question. And then I guess, I have another one for Patti. Just generally speaking, why not -- as we think of the size of the acquisition, $500 million or up to $500 million, tremendous amount of capital, obviously, you have great liquidity, but why not build this yourself, right? I mean, you could -- I believe do a similar deal if not the same or maybe a better deal with Facebook. You've got resources and content. But why not do something like this yourself? These guys, I understand, started this business relatively speaking not too long ago, but is it a race to get this done because of the timing of online poker legislation at the federal or state levels? Or is there something about this that I guess, maybe we're just not understanding?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, so I'll take the second half, and then I'll let Pat talk to you a bit about the billings and gross versus net. Yes, we did as you would imagine, we did a fairly exhaustive make-versus-buy analysis within the company. And I would say it was driven by a couple of things. One is, if you take Double Down as an example, they were founded 2009, so they're about 2 years in to where it is today, and that's kind of building from scratch with a maniacal focus on one thing. And so, the first was a time to market that it was likely longer than 2 years for us to go from scratch inside of a company that already has a product, and we do believe that time to market is important in this particular space. I mean, Zynga is a relatively new company. Double Down is -- most of the players in this market are relatively new. And there's new entrants coming every day. And the first mover advantage in this marketplace really matters because liquidity equals members in this environment. So the more liquidity you have, the more interesting your product is. So the land grab for liquidity will impact product performance over time. So I would say the first was about time to market. The second was really distraction to our core business. I mean, our core business is the most valuable piece of IGT, and to distract from the core business to attempt to build something that was so far removed because the important element of Double Down is the social fabric. Something that we do not have expertise in. So we would have to not only build the expertise, we would have to hire people. It would take us some time, and we felt that it would be hard to do inside the core business. And then from a cost perspective, it didn't look all that different actually. If you look at a 2- to 3-year time window and the hiring of people and the buildup of skills that we thought that it was fairly close from a cost perspective. So we really value the time to market in this one, and that's why we moved now and why we chose not to build it ourself. Pat?

Patrick W. Cavanaugh

Excuse me, Bill, on your technical question around revenue. I think the best way to think about this is, think about it in net bookings meaning less the amount paid to Facebook. And you'll find a few -- if you review Zynga's public filings that's very consistent. I think they're probably the best precedent that we have to go on out there. It's an evolving space, obviously it's new, and so it's evolving on a number of fronts particular from an accounting perspective, revenue recognition is evolving, but also on this gross versus net revenue. And we view this as a B2B to C type business, so net sounds like a more appropriate because the relationship is really between us and Facebook and then to the end consumer. So recording that net relative to the number that you quoted. I know that I saw that in an article out there. I don't know if we really have anything to remark on at this point given that the transaction hasn't closed, but will more to follow as the transaction closes.

William J. Lerner - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Pat, just to clarify, so you're saying net -- so net after Facebook credits or whatever in a quarter was actually called in this business. So net after Facebook is paid is...

Patrick W. Cavanaugh

Correct. Correct.

Patti S. Hart

Yes, it's actually a reverse. It's basically that we generate -- Double Down announcing, we already -- Double Down generates revenues through Facebook and then Facebook remits 70% of the gross revenues to Double Down.

Operator

And your next question comes from Cameron McKnight with Wells Fargo.

Cameron Philip Sean McKnight - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Patti, a question for you and then I'll have a couple of follow-ups. If we were to speak to some of your customers, let's say MGM, Boyd, Caesars. What do you think's their reaction to this deal would be?

Patti S. Hart

Well, I have actually as you can imagine done that already. So I think it will take them a while to digest it and understand what it really means to them. I think in the case of our friends at Caesars, I mean, they've made a similar acquisition with Playtika, so I mean, they understand the need to be in this -- part of the universe as well. I would say my -- the way I think about it for them is, we spent $500 million of our shareholders' money to add capabilities that will benefit them that will provide them an on-ramp capability in the social gaming space in virtual currency ahead of real money wagering in the United States that we have added some capabilities from a convergence perspective, and that we will be working with them to educate the new generation of gamers in the places that they go to determine their loyalties for entertainment experiences, which is in the social media world. So I believe this is very positive for our existing customers. If we didn't think that, we wouldn't have made the acquisition because that's who we live to serve. So we think it's very positive for them. But on the other hand, this is also an opportunity for us to reach more broadly into a marketplace with our gaming experiences that we're not reaching today in the land-based environment. So -- and hopefully bring those to our customers' doorsteps.

Cameron Philip Sean McKnight - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Right, sure. And I mean, presumably the cost of developing an online, let's say for example, slot machine, property or product versus one that's designed for a box is vastly lower. What sort of R&D in progress are you guys acquiring with this deal, and specifically I'm referring to the potential to move into mobile apps and indeed other distribution networks and other social networking platforms?

Patti S. Hart

Well, I think the Double Down workforce, very nimble, a business cadence that we'll have to adjust to, I'm sure. And they have every intent to move into mobile apps. All of the places that you interact with the social world, whether it's on your mobile phone or your laptop or your notebook or your iPad. They will -- their intention is to take their product and experience to every place that Facebook touches today. And so, we'll expect that the same will happen in the new environment with us. From an R&D perspective, I think you can assume that they look very similar to any other technology company at their stage in that the lion's share of the operating expenses is R&D because they're just all about making products today. They have very little operating expense beyond that. So we will pick up not only the expense of those folks, but cover it up with revenue and profit, but also the skills, which is something that we need to enter into the new devices that today we're not engaging with.

Chad Beynon - Macquarie Research

Right, great. And then just a final quick question for Pat. Pat, you stated in the release that you expect the deal could be slightly accretive to EPS, presumably that is -- that calculation backs out any of the intangibles that the auditors would require to amortize post deal?

Patrick W. Cavanaugh

That's correct, Cameron.

Cameron Philip Sean McKnight - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

And will you be breaking out or do you envisage you're going to break out interactive going forward, say in fiscal '13?

Patrick W. Cavanaugh

Yes, that's one of the ongoing analysis is, do we break that out. And so, yet to be determined, but there is a reasonable likelihood that, that could happen.

Operator

Our next question comes from Robin Farley with UBS.

Robin M. Farley - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

I wonder if you could just -- I know you're not prepared to talk about the specific multiples that you're using for evaluation, but can you just give us a sense of, is it an EBITDA multiple or a multiple of revenue or just what is the metric that you have in mind, even if you aren't specifying the number?

Patrick W. Cavanaugh

I would think about it on a EBITDA multiple, Robin.

Robin M. Farley - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Okay. And then, so you guys have talked before about your online revenues, including Entraction at the moment totaling less than 5% of revenues. If you now fold in Double Down into that, does that -- do you get over 5% online revenues at that point or not yet?

Patrick W. Cavanaugh

Yes, I would say, yes.

Robin M. Farley - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

But you -- I guess, you'd be required to break it out if it were over 10% of revenues, but you have some discussion that it's between 5% and 10% of revenues, is that the best way to think about it?

Patrick W. Cavanaugh

Yes, and like I've said earlier, that's an ongoing analysis that over the coming months -- we don't yet own this business, right? There's still a lot to be learned, but that is work underway so...

Patti S. Hart

Yes, and I think Robin, I think that's a good question because it's something that's been on our mind at IGT, and I think the decision will be less driven by rules and regulations that require us to disclose and more driven by our desire to allow you to have a bit more transparency into the kind of things we're doing at IGT and the strategic value that we're providing on a go-forward basis. So that -- I would say our analysis is more around that and then getting the systems cleaned up in a way that we can do that for you. So I think it's an if not ever, it's a when not if, and that's really what we're working through.

Robin M. Farley - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

That's great. And then the last one question is just -- in terms of the economics to IGT, do you see the growth size you achieved from the acquisition primarily coming from just the addition of users or are there other revenue sources before, in other words, I guess, do you probably see it as a vehicle for adding initial users or taking new users and getting additional revenue streams from the deal?

Patti S. Hart

I think it's combination of both. I think there's some planned new product launches that are adjacent to, if you haven't had a chance to go on your Facebook page and try Double Down, I would encourage you to do that, so there will be really some adjacent products that they've been working on that you can expect to see in the marketplace in a relatively short period of time, and then at the same time, it's about adding more users as well. While the number of users that visit the DoubleDown Casino seems like a large number, it's not when you compare -- when it's compared to the number of people around the globe. So there's a lot of room to go in new users, but there's also a lot of room to go in breath of product. And so, we'll be focused on both.

Operator

And our next question comes from Mark Strawn with Morgan Stanley.

Mark Strawn - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

One question. Just wondering how you think about barriers to entry in the social gaming space in general and maybe how that affects marketing costs, or your expectation for marketing cost and customer acquisition cost going forward and how that will impact margins?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, so barriers to entry, that's -- going back to my earlier statement, I mean, the biggest barrier to entry in this space is liquidity. Speed to market creates huge barriers to entry over time. It's much tougher to come into the marketplace after there's already loyalty built to a particular brand or a particular experience. So I would say liquidity is kind of #1. But also for us in the combination of Double Down with IGT, it will really, I think, another barrier to entry for others will be the speed at which we will be able to put games into the marketplace. We have such a portfolio of games that we have developed over the years sitting on the shelf that can be re-purposed rapidly into this environment, while others will be building from scratch, others that we compete within the social gaming space specifically. So I think at first, it will be about liquidity, which is why going quickly was important to us. And second, will really be about the content that we already have on our shelves.

Mark Strawn - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

And do you see those barriers to entry changing over time and not having an impact on marketing or customer acquisition cost? And are those factored into your assumptions for the deal longer term?

Patti S. Hart

Well, the customer acquisition cost again, we're still in a B2B model, so the customer acquisition cost really we rely on Facebook in this environment for the customer acquisition. So while we will be focused on once the customers are acquired, keeping them and engaging with them at higher levels, the customer acquisition component of it is really not a robust part of this business model. Will we change over time? I mean, in this part of our world, things change daily. So I'm sure they will change and adjust as things -- as the whole business model becomes more robust and more challenged and more mature. But for today, I think for the foreseeable future, it will be these 2 things.

Operator

Our next question comes from Carlo Santarelli with Deutsche Bank.

Carlo Santarelli - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Just one question. When you think about the long-term strategy as you guys venture into online, does this deal serve as the hub of that and we should maybe think about future subsequent deals being kind of the spokes from the wheel around this, or will there be more similar of size, similar of nature types of deals as you try and build a larger presence?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, I mean, we've had a nice presence. I wouldn't say this is our hub. I mean, we have a great hub that exist today and our wager works in interactive business with Entraction as the poker platform. This is another hub that plays through the social fabric and with a different currency than that. But I wouldn't think about it as a hub, I would think about it as a large ecosystem that requires us to have product offerings in various formats, whether it's poker, bingo, casino-style games or sports betting type applications in multiple devices. So think about it as, just void [ph] on multiple devices from your cell phones, your laptop, to a slot machine, to a betting hall and with multiple revenue models, whether it is virtual currency or real money gaming or subscription-like models or advertising-like models. So there's a multiple dimensions from the currency that drives revenue to the actual vertical application to the device used to deliver the experience, and our strategy has been all along to have robust product offerings that cover that wide spectrum.

Operator

And our next question comes from Dennis Forst with KeyBanc.

Dennis I. Forst - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

I wanted to ask about the senior management. You've got these big retention bonuses. How many people in senior management, and how many people are receiving retention bonuses and what were the terms of the retention bonuses?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, so Greg Enell is the CEO, who I didn't mention, and I should have, of Double Down who we have great respect for and his leadership and the work that he's done there. The retention bonuses are kind of widely distributed. So it's not 1 or 2 people that enjoy this. It is, I think the great value in Double Down has been a few amazing leaders that we have great respect for and Greg and Glenn and Cooper up there. But also in addition, just an amazing workforce, and it takes a village in this environment. And so, we designed a retention plan to respect the workforce broadly.

Dennis I. Forst - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

And what is the term of the retention bonus?

Patti S. Hart

It's paid out over 2 years.

Dennis I. Forst - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

2 years.

Patti S. Hart

Yes, based on a number of things, but it's over 2 years.

Dennis I. Forst - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Okay. And my other question was about other applications or other platforms where Double Down could go. Are they -- do they have an exclusive deal with Facebook or can you migrate this to other platforms?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, I mean, in the world of social gaming, there's not much called exclusive anywhere. So I mean, today, Facebook is the leading social media company. They have defined it and invented it for all intents and purposes. But there's nothing that would keep us from exercising any other direct-to-consumer distribution platform that has similar characteristics.

Dennis I. Forst - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Is that possibility in the near-term?

Patti S. Hart

I would say near-term, depending upon how you define it. I think near-term for us is really to get the transaction closed and then get inside and understand whether expanding to new platforms first is what we'd prefer versus adding new product to the existing platform or focusing on growing users. I think we have a lot of different alternatives. We'll probably do a little bit of each, but I think for now, the Facebook environment is working and it's not exhausted for us with our Double Down friends. So I think focusing on exhausting the existing environment is likely the path.

Dennis I. Forst - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Okay Patti, and lastly, you talked about expanding products. Would we see some of IGT's most popular games on Double Down, say in the next 12 to 18 months?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, our core products that are our unbranded products, if you will, can move fairly rapidly. We're in the process of reviewing each of the license agreements to determine whether or not there needs to be adjustments to license or whether current licenses allow or restrict us to take some of the branded product. But I mean, you all know the catalog we have of core products is huge. So this will be a quick introduction of game themes that the gaming community is familiar with into the social environment.

Operator

Our next question comments from Harry Curtis with Nomura.

Harry Curtis - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

Just 2 quick questions following up on the management. First of all, if it's a 2-year retention plan, does that mean that management, the key management, key designers are locked up for 2 years, or is there a longer lockup?

Patti S. Hart

Well, I mean, nobody in the world is locked up. Everybody makes their own choices, but the retention plans specifically are designed for -- to motivate them to remain employed by IGT. Certainly, we would expect that at the end of 2 years, we would have a significant number of employees that would elect to remain IGT employees. But keep in mind also that the performance earn-out, it is a 3-year earn-out. A significant number of employees are also shareholders, so they would participate in the third year payout on the earn-outs, their performance-based earn-out as well.

Harry Curtis - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

Second question is, just going back to Internet poker question. I'm still a little bit fuzzy on how Internet poker fits into your plans for Double Down. It seems -- I don't have a sense of how profitable the social gaming arena really is. And if it's just limited to social gaming, I'm just wondering if you're a kid sitting outside of the candy store, so to what degree do you think that Internet poker fits into the grand scheme of things?

Patti S. Hart

Our traditional Internet poker product is our Entraction product, which is our real money-wagering poker product that has all of the characteristics to manage those sorts of things, for age verification and location verification and what have you. So that's our real money-wagering product, Entraction, and that's integrated into our real money-wagering infrastructure that includes casino games and bingo and sports betting and what have you. The social aspect of Double Down, whether it's with poker or anything else is it's just that. It's a social gaming experience. It's not real money wagering. There is no prize and in return for your consideration. So it is a game, if you will, as opposed to a bet.

Harry Curtis - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

So it's really its own industry is what you're saying, and you think it's just the early stages or the early innings of that industry growth?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, it is. It's an -- I would say it's a very early business model, right? The whole notion of entertaining yourself with virtual currency as opposed to real money, whether it's -- in whatever form you do that on Facebook, gaming isn't the only way you do it. It's certainly at the very, very early stages of developing as a model.

Operator

Your next question comes from Ryan Worst with Brean Murray.

Ryan L. Worst - Brean Murray, Carret & Co., LLC, Research Division

Just a couple of questions, one follow-up Patti. Is Wheel of Fortune available for you guys to use online? Could that be transported to the online environment?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, we -- I mean, we're still in that process as I indicated, we're looking at the brands that we have exercised historically that we've acquired, and we're not through that process yet of working through every single brand and understanding, which move and which don't move. As you -- if you spend any time in social gaming, you'll see that the notion of a wheel is not -- it is frequently used, right? It's not unfamiliar in that environment, so the notion of a wheel, but the brand Wheel of Fortune is something that we're still taking a look at.

Ryan L. Worst - Brean Murray, Carret & Co., LLC, Research Division

Okay. And then could you just talk about, like what needs to change legislatively or otherwise for you to meet your return hurdles? I mean, do we need legalized poker or casino games or do you not even need that for this to eventually grow to meet some return objectives?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, so this, again, similar to our Entraction acquisition. This acquisition was analyzed and entered into assuming no change in legislation in the U.S. around legalized online gaming, including poker. So this is, again, this is our effort to move outside of this current restriction that we're all battling to participate in a gaming experience that has many similarities, but is different, in the actual way the financial transaction takes place.

Ryan L. Worst - Brean Murray, Carret & Co., LLC, Research Division

Okay. And then just one final question. How will you account for the contingent payments Pat? Is it going to be on an annual basis or every quarter, and is it going to flow-through the income statement?

Patrick W. Cavanaugh

Yes, good question, Ryan. It will be on a quarterly basis as you might imagine. And so, will flow-through, so it will be adjustments -- and we'll call out, so that we help you walk through that each quarter.

Operator

And our next question comes from Jeff Gates with Gates Capital Management.

Jeffrey Linn Gates - Gates Capital Management, Inc.

A couple of questions. First, you talked about the relationship of Double Down with Facebook and you said that you are not, Double Down is not necessarily exclusive to Facebook, but can Facebook -- if triple down comes along, can they, can Facebook use whatever they want as well, number one? And number two, if you have more online real gaming, are there any concerns longer-term that, that could cannibalize the virtual currency gaming?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, so the -- as I indicated in the social media space, there's very little exclusivity that exists, and things are not contractual, but they're there more enablement and then you kind of earn your way as you go. I mean, the Double Down and Facebook relationship is very symbiotic. I mean, Double Down creates and generates all of their revenues through Facebook and generates a lot of revenue for Facebook. And in return, Facebook remits 70% of those gross revenues to Double Down. Double Down creates a lot of traffic for Facebook, which allows Facebook then in turn to monetize that traffic for advertising. So that's really the way the relationship works. And again if you go into Facebook and you make your way around and you do some social gaming, you'll see that while Double Down is the most successful casino-style social game, it is not the only social game in Facebook and will likely not be. So will there be a triple down? I'm not exactly sure. I think that the advantage again for us is that Double Down is the leading provider of social gaming with casino-style games. So all the casino-style games. there's a lot of games in Facebook, and you all are familiar with many of them. My family is addicted to Words with Friends, like everybody else. But this is not that style of gaming. This gaming is specific to casino-style gaming. And so, that's the relationship that exists. And you had a second half of your question, I can't remember what it was.

Jeffrey Linn Gates - Gates Capital Management, Inc.

If online gaming gets -- proliferates and becomes more legal, will there be a threat longer term of that cannibalizing the virtual currency?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, I mean, again it's -- I think it is 2 different experiences. It's 2 different -- there are similarities, but different demographics in this user base. So I believe that, will there be some overlap? There'll be some overlap. But will it be a complete -- I mean, who knows maybe virtual currency will cannibalize the real money gaming that exists online today. I mean, I think that they will peacefully co-exist, and they will be different experiences played by different people, and in fact, in many cases, the same players. So the ability to come into your online gaming world and play with virtual currency or real money or playing a subscription model is likely the model that will be successful going forward.

Operator

And our final question comes from Edward Williams of BMO Capital Markets.

Edward S. Williams - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

A couple of questions. Can you give us a sense as to what your monetization rate is like with Double Down in terms of the percentage of daily average users or monthly average users? And then also, can you give us some color as to where those users actually are? What the percentage is in the U.S. market versus some of the other international markets? And then thirdly, you may have sort of met this earlier, but can you give us a sense as to what the growth trajectory is like for bookings?

Patti S. Hart

I'm writing all those down. Just one second. So the monetization rate is not something that we've made public, and I think ahead of closing the transaction probably is not appropriate that we make public, just in the event that something would ever happen and the deal wouldn't close -- it just wouldn't be fair to our friends at Double Down. But having said that, if you, the best public comp is Zynga. And so, I would encourage you to take a look at Zynga. But the monetization rate actually for Double Down is actually a bit better because of the fact that the way the product plays, and the volatility of the casino-style gaming versus something that looks like a less volatile game. They actually exhaust at a faster rate in Double Down than they do in traditional gaming. So you could think about it in the public comp as Zynga escalated a bit on the way they monetize in growth and bookings. In growth and bookings, again, I wouldn't share their private data. They're a private company. And I think it would not be appropriate for us. Suffice it to say that they launched their first product in about a year ago. Robert, am I, right? About a year ago, and you can see, April was it? So just this past April and you can see what their growth has been from the time of launch till today. So a pretty significant growth in a very short timeframe in a marketplace that is still defining itself. So we expect for the forward 12 to 24 months to be very similar in growth from launch to today.

Edward S. Williams - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

Okay. And then, if you were to look at -- if you look at Zynga, so Zynga Poker has been obviously very successful for them for a number of years since they launched it in 2007, 2008. And they're launching Zynga Bingo this year and folding those games into what they call Zynga Casino. How -- obviously, they have tremendous liquidity with a little over 200 million monthly average users. How do you look at taking Double Down and building scale as rapidly as possible given that landscape, that competitive landscape you have with Zynga?

Patti S. Hart

Yes, I actually think having only one competitor is a nice thing. It gives you -- we don't have only one, but I'm saying if all you're doing focusing on Zynga, that maniacal focus I think is actually a positive thing, but it really comes down to -- going back to the core competencies of IGT, which is we build great games. We build really incredible gaming experiences, and what will keep people in and playing is the experience has to be something that's interesting. It has to be valuable enough for them to use their Facebook credits to experience it over and over again. Liquidity will be important, which is why it's very important that we grow numbers and users quickly, but it is about the good gaming experience. It's no different than how we put machines on the floors of casinos around the globe. You have to build the best gaming experience, which is why we think our core competency in the core of IGT is so valuable as we put these 2 companies together.

Operator

That does conclude the question-and-answer portion of the call.

Patti S. Hart

Well, thank you very much. Today is a great day for IGT, but also a great day in the gaming industry as we really take a step forward to add to the gaming ecosystem that we expect patrons around the globe to enjoy and engage with. So thank you very much for your time. We appreciate your interest.

Operator

Thank you. This concludes today's conference. You may disconnect at this time.

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Participants

International Game Technology (IGT)

January 13, 2012 8:00 am ET

Executives

Patrick W. Cavanaugh - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer, Executive Vice President and Treasurer

Matthew G. Moyer - Vice President of Investor Relations

Patti S. Hart - Chief Executive Officer, Lead Independent Director and Member of Stock Award Committee

Analysts

Edward S. Williams - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

Harry Curtis - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

Ryan L. Worst - Brean Murray, Carret & Co., LLC, Research Division

Chad Beynon - Macquarie Research

Robin M. Farley - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Dennis I. Forst - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Joseph Greff - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Jeffrey Linn Gates - Gates Capital Management, Inc.

Carlo Santarelli - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Mark Strawn - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Cameron Philip Sean McKnight - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

William J. Lerner - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

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