Monday, March 29, 2010

Packer's Aussie Crown Gets Gulfstream Jet For VIPs, by Greg Tingle - 29th March 2010

Think Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Macau get all the casino high rollers and VIP's? Think again, enter James Packer's Crown Casino, which is about to further live up to its 'World Of Entertainment' tag, thanks to a new Gulfstream jet and massive casino makeover, VIP style.

Media Man and Gambling911 investigate...

Crown Casino in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia, will soon purchase a $30 million new Gulfstream jet and greatly expand its VIP gambling areas in a move to counter competition from luxury casinos opening in the greater Asia Pacific region.

We reckon he's been speaking to aviation and lifestyle king of the world Richard Branson, who caught up with "Our James" last year at the Australian Grand Prix.

We understand Bodog's Calvin Ayre has been trying to give Packer and Branson a bit of a run for their money, but "C" seems too busy with online ventures, race tracks, coffee and babes, than to be a serious threat, and long time Packer family connection Damian Aspinall, has been very quite of late, no longer doing the social rounds with Australia's Elle "The Body" MacPherson.

Down to business...

The Crown $212 million upgrade will include the transformation of the 'presidential villa' on level 39 of Crown Towers into a VIP gambling area. Crown's Mahogany Room will also be expanded by 50 per cent, with 16 additional gaming tables. This is some of the action anti gambling campaigners were making all the fuss about last year including "sweetheart deal" allegations, and all sorts of innuendo.

The extra greens are legally permitted under an official deal the Victorian government inked with Crown last year, allowing Crown an extra 150 gambling tables in exchange for much needs extra tax revenue. The money's got to come from somewhere!

The CEO of Crown, David Courtney, advised press under the refurbishment there would be no increase in the smoking area at Crown, which just happens to have a lock on being the only licensed venue in Victoria where smoking indoors is permitted. We learned that no gambling facilities at Crown's new Metropol hotel, to be opened in April.

Mr Courtney said it was vital that Crown provide a premium attraction for its VIP gamblers, including free tickets to big events, high-quality food and accommodation. He said Crown's international business contributed $400 million, or 30 per cent of the casino's revenue. It's estimated that last years Tiger Woods visit alone brought in at least $10 million

"Over the past 18 months we have grown our international business by over 50 per cent. Competition for the high-end gaming customer is intense. To protect our existing business and to position us for growth, Crown will embark on a $212 million upgrade of its premium facilities" Mr Courtney emphasised.

"As part of this program, Crown will acquire a long range G5 Gulfstream jet. It is being custom-fitted out at the moment to the highest standards and will sleep nine people.

"That brings our total jets owned by Crown to three. (A jet) is now an expectation of the very top end customers, and so we do need to satisfy the demand of those customers.".

Packer's national competition on the Gold Coast, Conrad Jupiters, has recently upgraded their poker room in somewhat of a counter strategy in a "art of war' type maneuver, but we reckon nothing beats the strategic alliances and friendships that the Packer empire has built over the years. From Macau to the land down under, James Packer's Billionaire Inc has all the action covered.

We wish management and punters good luck at the casino, and above all else, keep it fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company, covering over a dozen industry sectors, gaming included

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Australia's Mildura Likely To Get Casino; Jobs And Tourism Boost, by Greg Tingle - 27th March 2010

Australia's Mildura is likely to get a new land based casino, with jobs and a tourism boost as part of the deal.

Victorian Premier John Brumby has described plans for a casino in Mildura as a "high-quality proposal".

Media Man and Gambling911 have noted that Australian casino and resort developers are more positive and optimistic than most on a global scale, with parts of the Las Vegas Strip, Atlantic City and Dubai looking like "train wrecks" with casino developers going bust or projects going "on hold" for numerous years.

The developer has been consulting with Mildura residents and business folks outlining the benefits that would come with his project.

Casino developer John Haddad has released design plans to mixed responses.

The name proposed for the casino is the 'Mildura Jewel'.

The $400 million hotel and casino development to be situated next to the Murray River was likely to include "a couple of hundred poker machines and 40 to 50 tables".

Mr Haddad, who has developed five other casinos, said the project would be a tourist drawcard.

"It's good, good, good. It's employment and it generates tourism and it does all the things that Mildura has been trying to do," he advised.

Mr Brumby said yesterday there was nothing to stop a second casino opening in Mildura.

He said the government would consider a second casino only "if there was clear community support and if there was clear bipartisan support". He added: "I have always said personally that I think it is the sort of thing that would attract jobs and investment to the area. So I think it will be good to have the community debate. We will see how people think about this issue in Mildura."

Ross Douglass, of the community group Sunraysia Against Casinos, said many people were opposed to a casino for a range of reasons, including the "collateral damage" it would do to other businesses in the area.

"Some have had bad-luck stories with gambling. If not, they know other people who have," he said.

"I am against it because I believe it is going to bring a lot of [social] damage."

The group has invited Senator Nick Xenophon, Tim Costello and anti-pokies campaigner Paul Bendat to a meeting in Mildura next month.

At this stage James Packer's Crown Limited is not expected to get involved or plans to build their own casino in the region, despite rumors of the country.

Australians remain on the top ten list of land based and online casino players and Victorian are the most passionate and highest spending of all of the Aussie states.

* Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

* Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Australia's Crown Casino To Get $212 Million Revamp Creating Jobs, by Greg Tingle - 26th March 2010

Crown Casino, iconic Australian tourism icon, is to receive a revamp that will keep the demanding high rollers happy, and at the same time create hundreds more jobs.

Crown's most upmarket (and most expensive) area is to get a $212 million facelift to satisfy up whales, dolphins and the high roller type client who often prefer more luxurious casinos overseas. Good thing Mr James Packer also has the City Of Dreams in Macau, which is also on a roll at the moment.

The Mahogany Room upgrade will include 11 new private gaming salons installed and the Crown villas will also be refurbished to match standards found anywhere in the world.

A G5 Gulfstream jet, customized for casino high rollers, will be added to the casino's two existing jets at the cost of a cool $30 million.

Crown CEO David Courtney told the press that the casino planned to introduce an extra 26 tables in the new gaming club and expand the world famous Mahogany Room by 50 per cent.

Thirty-five new tables have already been introduced on the ground level game floor as part of the 150 extra tables granted by the Victorian Government in its agreement with Crown's king of the castle, James Packer.

Four new private gaming suites will allow individual high rollers to gamble by themselves, have their own massage and dining rooms and be waited on by butlers. It's all very much like the James Bond type of thing, but for real, for the elite who can afford such luxury.

Mr Courtney said the upgrade was necessary to help attract international gamblers from other, more modern and luxurious casinos in Asia.

"The competition for high-end gaming customers is intense. We need to make these investments. This is a continuation of our three or four-year program to upgrade. The timing is important to upgrade our rooms and facilities."

The upgrade follows amendments to the Crown licence, negotiated with the Government and ratified by Parliament last year. The business deal allows more gaming tables and a higher tax on gaming machines.

Anti-gambling activist Tim Costello attacked the project with remarks such as "Crown gets whatever it wants. It has extraordinary power."

The presidential suite on level 39, which has housed high-profile figures such as former U.S president Bill Clinton, Pavarotti, Barbra Streisand Katie Holmes, and Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible, Top Gun) will move to level 38 and take up the entire floor.

At the same time Crown is looking into who to best adapt to the online gaming world. The company enjoyed some success last year with referrals from online poker brand, PartyPoker, a PartyGaming offering, for their Aussie Millions Poker Championship.

Media Man has suggested the addition of a Kerry Packer, Ned Kelly and Underbelly themed games to be incorporated into Crown's overall online-offline strategy, citing that punters want to see more slots than existing Cleopatra, Black Rhino, Big Red, Wheel Of Fortune and the like.

Crown Casino is also pro actively involved with movement, GenerationOne, an initiative to help created upwards of 50,000 jobs for Indigenous Australia. Thus far Packer's created 200, mining magnate mate, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest with 2000, NSW government committing over 2000, and Media Man earmarking 2 part time positions. Speaking at the iGaming Business conference at Sydney's Star City, Media Man advised that employment for people has to come from somewhere, and that casinos and the gaming industry do enjoy significant resources, some of which go a long way to providing sustainable employment, tied in with the travel and tourism sector.

The casino rooms revamp project is on track to be completed in the first half of 2012.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Asia Pacific Tax Revenues Increase, by Greg Tingle - 23rd March 2010

Our friends in the Asia Pacific, Macau, to be specific, are riding a wave of success.

Media Man and Gambling911 have learned that Australia's James Packer and Asian casino king, Stanley Ho (and the Ho family), have rejuvenated the Macau casino and gaming landscape in recent months. Packer, Ho's and the Macau tax office are laughing all the way to the bank as their fortunes have turned for the better.

Now, the number crunching and vital statistics, to back up the bold claims. A word of warning, if your not a numbers person or mathematically inclined you might like to switch off for just a couple of paragraphs.

Direct gaming tax revenues in January - February, rose 54 percent to MOP 9.26 billion, the Financial Services Bureau (DSF) announced. Meanwhile, analysts said casino earnings may set a new record in March and shares continue to go up.

Direct gaming tax receipts accounted for 86.55 percent of total government revenue. Total government revenue reached MOP 10.7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 45.8 percent. Government expenditure fell by 46.5 percent, to MOP 1.26 million.

Macau’s public finances confounded the international crisis last year as total public revenue in 2009 amounted to MOP 57.64 billion, an increase of 0.014 percent or MOP 8.1 million over the previous year.

Analysts at Citi said Macau gaming is on pace for a record month in March. According to the firm’s note, checks show gaming revenue in Macau has reached around MOP 7.5 billion in the first 16 days of March, up 58 percent from last year.

Year-to-date, gaming revenue is up 66 percent from last year the firm notes. If the current run-rate continues, Macau’s gaming revenue could reach a new high at around MOP 14.5 billion.

The company said SJM is the only winner in terms of market share gains for the month. In addition, it appears that Wynn, MGM and Melco-Crown have lost one percentage point each in market share in March so far versus February.

Moreover, Gabriel Chan, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG in Hong Kong, said that gaming stocks "are heading into a major substantial re-rating over the next couple of months".

"Over the past couple of months, we have seen, especially for Macau, month after month of much better than expected gaming revenue numbers, but share prices hardly reacted to that good news," he told our friends at Bloomberg.

"We have to adjust expectations a lot higher to accommodate much stronger growth – we are entering a stage where no one can ignore the growth anymore," Chan said. In his view, "valuation has not fully priced in the growth potential yet". You can just envisage Mr Packer and Mr Ho smiling as they read this. James will be jumping off his luxury liner (again) after getting his daily dose of Gambling911 news.

MGM are about to further shake up the region, pulling out of Atlantic City due to some friendly advise (diplomatic not) from the U.S government. MGM's elected to follow the Ho's money trail to Macau - Macao parts. MGM's expecting a warm welcome, unlike the public besmirching they endured while on U.S soil, in downtown A.C.

Media Man's little investment in an .Asia domain name, adding to the stable of 20 something internet portals and domains, not to mention the Crown Limited shares, have certainly paid dividends to date. The media and gaming industry awaits MM's next move!

Media Man and Gambling911 publicly congratulate Crown's James Packer on his "comeback of the decade" and Asian casino king, Stanley Ho, on his heath recovery.

May the power and good luck of the friendly dragon be with you whether City of Dreams or online casinos take your fancy.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited and is currently evaluating a shares purchase in a number of Macau based casinos

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

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Asian casino boss has mob ties in China

New Jersey casino regulators said Wednesday that they have evidence Stanley Ho, the Asian casino magnate, has extensive ties to organized crime in China.

Their suspicions led MGM Mirage to agree last week to sell its half of Atlantic City's top casino — rather than abandon the lucrative Chinese market, where it has a joint venture with Ho's daughter.

Considered the father of modern gambling in China, Ho lets criminal gangs "operate and thrive" inside his casinos, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement said in a report issued to the casino last May and made public Wednesday. The division found that Pansy Ho, his daughter, is dependent on him and his money and remains under his influence.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

PartyGaming still in M&A talks: Eyes return to United States - March 2010

Online gambling group PartyGaming, the firm behind PartyCasino.com, PartyPoker.com, PartyBingo.com, PartyBets.com, Cashcade and World Poker Tour, said it remained in talks over potential deal opportunities and was optimistic about a possible return to the United States as its 2009 earnings beat expectations.

"We are certainly in discussions with a few parties on a number of different opportunities," Chief Executive Jim Ryan told reporters.

However, he stressed that talks remained at a preliminary stage and declined to comment on the size or identity of the companies PartyGaming is talking to.

Analysts say the online gaming industry is fragmented and rife for consolidation and PartyGaming has been linked to a possible merger with Austria's bwin.

"There are a list of suspects who one would expect us to be talking to given that our focus is consolidating the online gaming sector," Ryan said.

PartyGaming said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) from continuing operations fell to $135 million from $144.2 million the year before, reflecting a decline in poker revenues.

That was ahead of the consensus forecast of $133.3 million, according to a poll of analysts supplied by the company.

PartyGaming's poker revenues have been hit by competition from online gaming businesses which continue to offer services to U.S. based players despite the industry being made illegal in that country in 2006.

Ryan said he was encouraged by recent moves in the U.S. to overturn the legislation. U.S. congressmen Barney Frank and Jim McDermott are attempting to push through a new bill to regulate the industry. They argue that, if it was introduced, it would generate tax revenues of about $42 billion over ten years.

PartyGaming has already reached agreement with U.S. authorities which will protect it from being prosecuted over its past activities there.

Ryan said the settlement will make it easier for PartyGaming to re-enter the U.S. market and also clears the way for it to engage in M&A activity.

"We are talking to a number of U.S. entities about doing business with them when the U.S. market regulates. It's positioned us for growth from an M&A perspective and, from an operational perspective, I think it's our ticket back into the United States."

Other operators such as 888 and Sportingbet have yet to reach a deal with the Department of Justice.

Ryan said he thinks the U.S. is moving closer to re-opening to online gaming companies.

"We're hearing rumors that we're going to get support from the land-based operators for online gaming so it seems like momentum is building," he said, adding it was "not impossible" new legislation could be introduced this year.

Shares in PartyGaming, which have risen by 17 percent in the last 3 months, were up 0.13 percent to 303.4 pence at time of publication.

"PartyGaming is remarkably well prepared for a whole variety of changes. Although there is no new information on a possible game-changing acquisition, we believe it is more likely than not," said Numis analyst Wyn Ellis.

An insider said "PartyGaming is also said to be in a leading position to secure the Canadian Poker Tour, which could be another strategic way into the U.S market and beyond. Party also own and operate the World Poker Tour which has the strong potential to become bigger than the World Series of Poker and European Poker Tour put together. Poker and online poker generally remain more government and media friendly than pure casino and online casino products, so Party has an edge in that department also".

More news as it come to light.

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Australian Casino And Poker News: Overseas Passenger Terminal And Burswood Casino Packs Em In, by Greg Tingle - 19th March 2010

It's been a huge 24 hours in the Australian casino, employment, poker, media and social and community entrepreneur sectors.

Billionaire Inc Connection...

James Packer's Burswood Casino aka Burswood Entertainment Complex, based in Perth, Western Australia, is on a roll. Poker and online poker continue to do massive numbers, and Crown Limited (Crown Casino and Burswood Casino etc al), PartyGaming's PartyPoker, Media Man and Gambling911 are in the thick of the action.

Must be magic that Packer and Perth mining magnate, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest are weaving. "Twiggy" have brought his infectious can-do attitude, work ethic and Aussie humour in spades to Sydney. Yep, the Billionaire, understood to now be Australia's Richest Man, still has the common touch.

Packer and Forrest were in Sydney last night, at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, joined by 500 power players in the Australian business, political and entertainment arena to officially welcome in GenerationOne. For the record, Media Man had to report from the sidelines as the event was jam packed, but did have the pleasure to speaking to some execs very close to the powers that be...and they were pleased to hear of our assistance to groups such as Githabul people, Yuggera tribe, Deadly Awards, Friends of Malabar Headland and Virgin Unite, and mentioning that we owned shares in Crown Casino didn't seem to hurt the cause!

Movie stars Cate Blanchett and Russell Crowe attended last night, where movers and shakers exchanged ideas (plus gossip) and saw their palms projected onto the sails of the Opera House in a show of support. Us Aussies are likely giving the Las Vegas Strip and Atlantic City a few free ideas!

The story that Media Man and Gambling911 collaborated on and broke worldwide, has dominated Google and Google News for the past 24 hours or so, and shows no sign on slowing down for the weekend... a favorite time for punters, both in Australia and around the globe.

The GenerationOne movement has also triggered us to open up negotiations with the state and federal government to see how we here at Media Man may qualify to take on a couple of suitable indigenous peoples as contract staff to assist our business endeavors... could be for photography, video, graphic arts or internet portal development.

Australia New Zealand Poker Tour

The event is the toast of the town in Perth, ok, that may be talking it up a notch, but you get the idea.

Burswood Casino, PokerStars and the online poker community, not to mention bars,
restaurants, taxis and limousines are sure doing well out of it. All the action also means that Burswood will need to keep staff numbers high, which is good news for GenerationOne, but fortunately those infamous plastic handcuffs have yet been witnessed on site.

Insiders advise over 60 players got through day 1b at the PokerStars ANZPT Perth Main Event. Mr Yu-chang Cheng leads as the only player from the flight with over 100,000 in chips.

Many of Australia’s best poker players attended with PokerStars pros Tony Hachem, Eric Assadourian and Grant Levy all surviving with pretty average chips.

Joel "Strong Play" Dodds who continues his roll with ANZPT to sit in third chip position with 97,600 and APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton returned strongly from a short stack to concluded with 74,900 chips. ANZPT Adelaide champ Rennie Carnevale gets to Day 2 with 47,550.

The ANZPT Perth Main Event attracted 222 players, beating the previous record for a Perth event - 142 players. The top prize is $132,750.

Here's the numbers as of time to publication

Top ten chip counts:
Nik Lackovic – 104,625
Yu-chang Cheng – 101,425
Joel Dodds – 97,600
Dominic Sinagra – 93,350
Aaron Wilson – 90,950
Kelvin Beattie – 90,125
Christopher Evans - 87,600
Tu Le – 84,425
Jimmy Wong – 77,925
Aaron Benton - 74,900

So punters, be casino, poker or community assistance being your passion or poison, as you can see its been a massive period for casino, poker and entertainment news down under.

Wait, there's more!

GenerationOne - The Numbers Build

In the next report we expect to be able to give more updates on the amount of jobs GenerationOne is generating. New South Wales premier Kristina Keneally, already has 2229 jobs earmarked for indigenous people, Packer has approx 100, "Twiggy" with multiple thousands, and Media Man has put aside 2 contract jobs for locals. It's more paperwork, but the end result is worth the effort.

Mr Packer has employed 60 indigenous workers and is looking for 50 more. Like many, he had always wanted to do more in the area and Mr Forrest had shown him how.

"It's not about rich people can do more, or poor people should get off their backsides, or government should get out there … It's about all Australians", Mr Forrest said.

"People tell me, 'This is just another campaign.' I say show me the 20,000 (promised jobs so far) in any other campaign."

Readers, have fun playing your games of preference, and be assured that we will continue to support the readership and community who support us.

Let's hear it again for the Australian - American connection... Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi Aussie Aussie Aussie USA USA Aussie Oi Aussie Oi USA Oi Oi Oi!

* Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

* The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

* Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company, operating in over a bakers dozen vertical markets

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Australian Casino King, Business Tycoons And Social And Community Entrepreneurs Unite For Indigenous, by Greg Tingle - 19th March 2010

Tonight's the night!

Australian casino king, James Packer, friends, associates and even a few Hollywooders will gather at the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney in aid of indigenous Australians - GenerationOne!

Mr Packer and mate, Andrew Forrest, having been working the phones and rumor has it even Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett will be there. Billionaires and celebs a plenty.

They will all get together to project their hands via a colourful laser display on the Opera House to launch GenerationOne - an ambitious project to secure appropriate training and employment for indigenous Australians.

A positive and determine billionaires' swag - one that Packer, Forrest, Kerry Stokes, Lowy clan and Lindsay Fox make the running on a cause they have taken into their own hands.

Media Man is hopeful of getting up close to the action tonight, and rest assured follow up stores will follow, many of which positive outcomes are forecast.

Prime Minster Kevin Rudd has publicly said Sorry to indigenous Australians, but saying sorry is not enough... actions speak louder than words, and who better to action than influential whales and dolphins in the casino, media and entertainment industry.

Numerous Australian government agencies and charity groups have previously given money and attention towards Aboriginal Australians, but sustainable solutions - jobs and the like are what's needed. Just throwing money at problems doesn't work, and the Packer - Forrest clan has runs on the board and has experienced indigenous Australia close up... both the good and the bad.

These leaders of business have their work cut out for themselves, but they are used to beating the odds... and winning. Look at Packer's recent "comeback of the decade". Big business, backed by positive (and cashed up) folks, coupled with people power, has a good chance to win this struggle.

Corporate social responsibility has become a focus for many companies over the past years. Sustainable employment seems to have overshadowed the environmental - greeny barrow. A Media Man insider was overheard, "All this talk about the environment... well and good, but if someone is sleeping in a cardboard box and hungry, that's their environment. Millionaires, billionaires and the right mix of social and community entrepreneurs can sort out many of Australia's problems".

Billionaire Inc is willing to use some of its its money and clout garner community interest and balanced news media attention to push a unified cause. Egos will be pushed to the side, results being paramount.

Forrest is the individual who has driven this to date. He's got jobs for the right folks, so has Packer. All members of the brains trust understand that correct training, willingness to learn, adapt, hard work and positive mental attitude is key.

The initial jobs target is 50,000 indigenous placings. Packer's Crown and Forrest's mining operation can't fill all of the positions, so they are looking to other suitable Australian companies to assist. It's seen as a win - win - win.

Part of the task for Team Forrest - Packer is about convincing big business that indigenous employees, properly trained and equally valued, are economically valuable and inspirational to the other employees and can become mentors. This isn't about fulfilling a charitable quota.

For Forrest and Packer this quest is most personal.

Forrest was raised in a remote West Australian station where until the age of nine all his friends were Aborigines. He says that the Aboriginal elders mentored him and taught him many life skills, including how to track and how to fight.

"I grew up believing the more you know Aboriginal people the more you love them", he told Fairfax Media.

At the age of nine Forrest was sent to a boarding hostel where Aborigines lived.

The majority of the billionaires he has mustered have either experienced their own struggle or have learnt hardship from their parents.

The Packer and Forrest collective empires are in a strong position at present, and perhaps this has been instrumental in the timing of this bold project.

Media Man and Gambling911 applaud this champion effort. It's mate helping mate, breaking down the divide between the haves and the have nots. Media Man and Gambling911 hope your gaming experience is a positive and enjoyable one, and if you get lucky, please consider assisting a worthy cause or two. In the coming days and weeks more details will be provided on GenerationOne. Crew, let's hear it... Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Perfect casino does exist - Press Holdings - 17th March 2010

S'pore's earliest casino advocate now cautions about their odds for survival

For the longest time, he agitated for a casino.

Now that the Republic's first casino is upon us, Singapore's earliest and staunchest casino advocate has apprehensions over how it is taking shape.

For almost three decades, Mr Ronald Tan lobbied the Government to set up a casino here. In 1981, he wrote his first letter to the then Singapore Tourist Promotion Board, proposing a restricted- access casino at Sentosa.

Now 65, the gaming and hospitality consultant, who recently addressed an Institute of Policy Studies roundtable on casinos, recounts ruefully: 'I received a phone call from an officer saying that Singapore was not ready for it.'

Leisure and gaming are his life's work

Over the last 35 years, Mr Ronald Tan has worked as a retail, leisure, hospitality and gaming industry consultant. Now 65, he has dabbled in many businesses, from military defence equipment to casinos, F&B consultancy to convenience stores.

In 1970, his link with casinos began when he represented the Genting Group in Singapore and sold travel packages from a 1,000 sq ft Golden Mile office.

He went on to advise gaming companies such as Australia's Federal Pacific Group and Britain's Mecca Leisure Group. He was involved in setting up many casinos, including the Wrest Point Hotel Casino in Tasmania, Star City in Sydney, Diamond Beach in Darwin, and the Christmas Island Casino.

Until recently, he was consultant to InterContinental Hotels, helping to rebrand hotels in the region. He presently consults for several hotel owners and is a regular speaker at regional casino conferences.

In 1981, he tried to save flailing standalone provision stores by overhauling them into self-service Econ Minimarts, designing everything from the chain's logo, jingle and house brands to centralised operations.

The alumnus of Kuala Lumpur's Royal Military College is now working on two books, on the future of hotels and sustainable gaming.

He is married to Serene, a housewife. They have three children - a lawyer, an engineer and an economist - and three grandchildren.

Q&A with gaming consultant Ronald Tan
Q: Do you think the current safeguards - like restrictions on ATMs and the $100 local admission - are sufficient? What else needs to be done?

A: Most of these measures are merely an appeasement to show steps are being taken to prevent wage earners here from losing their whole salary.

From my observation, if you really want to get serious, what has really worked is the UK Gaming Act, which is now widely followed in most casinos in Britain, New Zealand and Australia.

Admission to these casino clubs is by membership. To qualify, one must have a proposer and a seconder. Members must also undergo a stringent character and means test.

The main safeguard is that you have to first register as a club member and submit an application for betting, before you can even to start to play 24 hours later.

All members' data gets captured on the computer at the entrance and if they are found to have a criminal record or are blacklisted by other casinos, membership is immediately revoked.

With the latest technology, further state-of-the-art controls can be introduced here. The same way credit card companies appraise prospective card applicants can apply to granting membership. Using the help of a credit bureau and linkages to other casinos, most of the member's credit standing can be established. This rating is not for credit purposes but for the casino to monitor whether the member is over-gambling, or playing beyond his means.

Such pre-vetting also weeds out undesirable characters, such as those who are likely to wager money they cannot afford to lose, or loan sharks and underworld figures who are really there for money laundering purposes.

Q: Do you think our self-exclusion orders will work?

A: The exclusion order on its own is not watertight. You also need a character test that I mentioned earlier.

If a patron has just been dismissed from his job, or a man is having an affair and having to spend a lot of money on mistresses, it could be the beginning of a whole series of problems.

Generally, about 99 per cent of casino patrons are not affected by gambling, they go in for a good time and a laugh. But those with company or personal problems go in with an unstable state of mind and get burnt.

When you go into a casino with "fear money", which is either borrow or embezzled and which you know you've to replace, that's when you likely lose. People almost always are weakened by their senses of fear, stubbornness, disbelief or greed.

Taking it a step further, in Australian casinos, a team of trained psychologists walk around casinos to spot problem gamblers playing beyond their means. Once spotted, they are given counselling and if necessary, they can choose to ban themselves from the casino for a period of time.

Q: However, you've also warned against overdoing the legislation bit...

A: Yes, don't use a sledgehammer to kill an ant.

There tends to be a one-upmanship of councils here, where everyone wants to pile on his own agenda.

The gaming industry should be left alone to grow by itself. Gaming is about fun, not rigidity. We tend to overdo things.

Q: The Christian lobby here was vociferously against casinos. So how do you personally reconcile being a Christian and a casino consultant ?

A: The difference between me and rest of world is I gamble - smartly. I understand what goes on in a gambler's mind.

Two of my friends suffered heart attacks and died in casinos. One went to a Jakarta casino one Friday afternoon, played non-stop for three days till Sunday evening, and died on the Baccarat table in 1981. Another died in London playing roulette in the mid 70s. He had been losing so much that he suffered a reverse shock when the number he bet came up, he had a heart attack.

I also know of others who have committed suicide over the years. Because of such intimate knowledge, I developed this curiosity about the psychology of gambling and how it works. I also got to know many owners and operators of casinos and got to understand what motivates them to run casinos.

I feel with the knowledge I've gained over the years, I should broaden the understanding of the gaming industry here. It's wrong to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich.

If something is bad, the last thing I want to do is walk away from it. I should face it, confront it and make the best of it. Casinos and drugs are all around us. But I believe God has also chosen means and ways to contain it. (Credit: Singapore Press Holdings)

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Casino Stock Alert for Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. Issued by Beacon Equity

DALLAS, March 11, 2010 - Beacon Equity announces an investment report featuring casino and resort company Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (Nasdaq:MPEL - News). The report includes financial, comparative and investment analyses, and industry information you need to know to make an educated investment decision.

Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (MPEL) develops and operates casino gaming and entertainment resorts within Macau. The Company operates through its subsidiary Melco Crown Gaming (Macau) Limited. The Company is one of six companies granted license to operate casinos within Macau.

In the report, the analyst notes:

"For the foreseeable future, the industry is expected to stabilize in revenue, with consolidations, rightsizing, mergers and acquisitions, as well as industry deleveraging anticipated to continue well into the future.

"Operators outside of the United States and Europe are expected to attract investor capital, as fiscal and trade imbalances between the West and East play out. Macau remains as a wild card location for the industry, a location more likely to run counter trend to the soft demand of the West.

"On the bullish side, Macau operators may benefit from the anticipated upward adjustments in the value of the Renminbi, which has been under pressure for several years to appreciate against the Euro and U.S. dollar as a mechanism of rebalancing trade between the West and China. Revenue generated in Renminbi offers investors an additional incentive associated with a rising trend in the value of the Renminbi."

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MGM picks Ho, will quit Atlantic City - 15th March 2010

HONG KONG: MGM Mirage has confirmed it will sell its stake in a US casino resort to settle a fight with US gambling regulators over its Macau business partner.

MGM said it would sell its half stake in the Borgata hotel-casino in Atlantic City within the next 30 months so that it could keep a joint venture in the glitzy Asian gambling hub, which has now leapfrogged Las Vegas in terms of gambling revenue.

New Jersey's gambling regulator told MGM in May to cut its ties with Pansy Ho, daughter of the gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, after deeming her unsuitable because of the elder Ho's alleged links to Macau's underworld.

One of his other children, Lawrence Ho, is James Packer's partner in Macau. They were forced to distance their venture Melco International from Stanley Ho in 2006 to obtain regulatory approval from Australian authorities.

Lawrence Ho, who controlled Macau's gambling sector until it was opened to foreign competition in 2002, has denied any ties to organised crime.

MGM Mirage's chairman and chief executive, Jim Murren, said in a statement posted on MGM's website on Friday that he disagreed with the regulator's assessment of Mr Ho.

But he added that the "best course of action for our company and its shareholders is to settle this matter and move forward with the compelling growth opportunities we have in Macau".

MGM operates casinos in several US states, including Nevada, Mississippi and Michigan.

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Asia Pacific News: SkyCity Half-Year Up 30%, by Greg Tingle - 15th March 2010

We continue our global coverage of the land based and online casino sector with more healthy reports from the Asia Pacific region. Seems Australia's casino king of Crown Limited fame isn't the only one laughing all the way to the bank. The Kiwi's are giving the Yanks and Aussies a run for their money. Skycity's Australian business helps balance the books. Media Man and Gambling911 report.

Casino and hotel operator Skycity Entertainment Group has posted a solid after-tax profit, almost 30% up on last year's half-year to December result, and appears set to deliver double-digit profit growth of up to 15% for the full year. Of course, critics will argue that they are attracting more "problem gamblers".

The positive result was assisted by a combination of factors...lower net interest expenses, which included a $1.9 million gain from the buy-back of an American private placement debt, and better international business growth in Adelaide and Darwin casinos.

SkyCity shares jumped 11c to $3.24, after the announcement.

Total revenue was up 5.9% from $422.1 million to $446.9 million, earnings before interest and tax were up 9.5% at $122.3 million while its after-tax profit was up 29.6% from $54.7 million to $71 million.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms advised the figures suggested a "solid result" when overall market conditions for the half were reported to have been challenging.

"Trading was reported to have weakened at the end of the first half.

"In Australia, that was due to the tailing-off of the (Government) fiscal stimulus package," he said. Readers will recall the stimulus that went to homes often ended up in pokie slots and on the table greens, both in Australian and Macau instances.

Forsyth Barr broker Peter Young said the result was in line with the expectations of both Forsyth Barr and market expectations.

"Aussie casinos had 7% growth in ebitda [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation] and remain the standout, while the key Auckland casino continues to struggle to record growth," Mr Young said.

Mr Timms advised the contribution from the Australian casinos was about 33%.

Adelaide, which was expected to be a "star performer" came in below expectation, while Auckland's contribution was "flat as expected".

The decline in gaming revenue was offset by higher earnings from non-gaming activities.

Skycity reiterated expectations of posting a full-year normalised after-tax profit in the range of 10%-15% higher than the the previous year's result, and excluding the gain from cinema sales, would translate to a profit range of $126.8 million to $132.6 million, Mr Timms said.

"We believe this is a credible target, given the second-half trading will not be getting the support of the cinema business.

"We are currently forecasting at the low end at $127 million, while (analysts') consensus is at $131 million," Mr Timms said.

Mr Young advised in excluding cinema sales and international business growth, revenue was close to expectations, but Auckland's gaming decline disappointed slightly.

"Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was $160.1 million, up 7.8% on the same period last year, which is a solid result in the operating climate.

"But like recent periods, that was largely driven by Australian operations," Mr Young said.

Last January, Skycity completed the sale of its cinema interests in New Zealand and Fiji, including interests in the Rialto group, for $61 million, to cinema and exhibition operator ASX-listed Amalgamated Holdings Ltd.

The sale included Skycity's core cinema businesses in New Zealand and its joint-venture interests in both Rialto and Fijian interests.

New Zealand may known as the land of sheep, outnumbering humans 12 to 1, but the solid results from our Kiwi friends show that they are anything but sheepish, nor are they following the Las Vegas Strip financial train wreck like results of many. Good punting.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Australia's Jupiters Casino On The Gold Coast Opens World Class Poker Room, by Greg Tingle - 15th March 2010

Not one to be bias, despite owning shares in Packer's Crown Limited (and none in Tabcorp), we have a look at what's news with our "friends" up Surfers Paradise way at Conrad Jupiters (soon to be dropping the "Conrad" tag)... maybe something to do with Conrad Black...

The poker room at Jupiters Hotel and Casino on the Gold Coast opened for business this past Wednesday night. We hear it was quite the cocktail party, apparently with a few cocks and tails doing the rounds ala Las Vegas Strip, or Macau for that matter.

The VIP's - A, B and C listers were invited to try lady luck on the greens and bet heavy thanks to the advent of "pretend" money, which is even better than "Lucky Money" for those following the Harry K Owes Owes Crown Casino 1 Million Bucks story.

Back to positive PR, Robbie Vail, GM of tables that the rooms was part of Jupiters multi-million dollar make over where the likes of Kerry Packer, Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Greg Norman and many more whales and dolphins tried their luck. No mention of Harry K or James Packer however.

We wish em good luck in the true spirit of competition. If they go well enough Bondi's James' might even have another go at scooping up Tabcorp, if The Price Is Right.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Australian Casino Attacks: Perth's Burswood Bouncer In Hospital Following Headbutt, by Greg Tingle - 14th March 2010

A man has been questioned by police after a bouncer was allegedly head-butted at Burswood Casino in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Police said a 26-year-old man from Southern Cross would be summonsed to appear
in court on an assault charge after he allegedly head-butted the male security officer (aka "Bouncer") about 3.30am.

The victim was taken to hospital with a suspected broken nose.

The alleged offender was apprehended at the scene by security officers before police arrived to take him away for questioning. Ya bloody mongrel.

Media Man and Gambling911 have been following the history of violent attacks at Australian hotels, pubs and casinos for a number of years. Mugs like the above mentioned have been tarnishing the good name of Australian casinos for too long now.

Burswood Entertainment Complex, owned by James Packer's Crown Limited group, is one of numerous Crown venues that will be implementing a plastic handcuff policy, expected to be rolled out later this year.

Negatives Into Positives...

As reported last month, Mr Packer has vouched to help find employment for masses of Indigenous Australian youth, and by the sound of it there's still room to boost the numbers of security offers at the Crown group of facilities. Insiders tip Crown to initially open up close to 100 vacancies for suitably qualified staff, but the overall plan from the Packer - Andrew Forrest - Kerry Stokes - Rupert Murdoch connection is looking to cater to 50,000! Readers, you will be hearing lots more about The Covenant and Generation One.

Burswood and Crown Casino remain iconic Australian tourism landmarks, despite detractors staying otherwise. Last year golfing great Tiger Woods brought in $10 million to Crown coffers alone, largely due in part to a large contingent of casino and golfing whales and dolphins who followed him down under. Tiger's Aussie tour brought more excitement and headlines than expected and witnesses say a certain Miss was seen in Crown Towers... you know, the one who grasped international headlines et Rachel Uchitel. What a bingle that was, of the Aussie Lara Bingle magnitude.

We're hoping things settle down for Tiger and Australian casinos, and the next wave of news will be more positive in nature. We applaud media giants News Limited and Fairfax, both of which have been filing numerous balanced and positive reports on Australian casino king, James Packer, and his substantial empire. Insiders are calling Packer's return to the uppers of the BRW Rich List "the comeback of the decade", likely the only thing he shares in common with Hollywood toughman Mickey Rourke.

No plastic handcuffs required for online casinos, online poker or sports betting, but always bet with your head, not over it.

Big Business Opportunities...

Last call... Media Man thinks Crown might do well to get a b2b deal in place for online casino games with the likes of PartyGaming. Party's PartyPoker secured a large number of online poker players for Crown's Aussie Millions Poker Championship via satellites last January. Party subsequently signed Crown winner Tyron Krost to a lucrative contact. Krost claims he learned to play online poker via PartyPoker.com Party's themed and branded slots such as The Godfather, Mission: Impossible and Top Gun (both featuring Packer's mate Tom Cruise).

Let's face it, some of the attacks at Australian land based casinos are likely going to keep some punters away, but most will have access to an internet connection, thus the online casino. History shows us via the Las Vegas experience that casinos who embrace the internet appropriately are likely to stay ahead of competitors. Packer said himself, "Internet is like electricity".

U.S casino and gaming Giant, Harrah's Entertainment, is the latest U.S casino to make a big splash in online b2b, and we think Packer's Crown should be Australia's first. We understand that Crown competitors TAB and Centrebet are currently making moves to be able to offer Australian's a wide range of online casino games and we think that the Packer People's Army would do well to beat the comp to the punch, pardon the pun, and offer some games featuring some unique Aussie culture. How about a Kerry Packer, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, Underbelly, The Man From Snowy River and Ned Kelly slot? Now I'd be prepared to pay for that, as one would expect from masses of passionate Aussies. Crown shares on 8.170 (share price, not blood alcohol reading). Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi, Oi.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor to Gambling911

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company, gaming being just one of a bakers dozen of sectors covered

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Australia: Internet In Peril as Big Brother Is Still Watching, by Greg Tingle - 13th March 2010

Gaming, news media, entertainment and freedom of expression fans, your Internet is in danger, at least if you're one of our Australian readers.

The folks down under in Australia have spoken loud and clear...for almost a year now... they don't want their internet (or coffee as a general rule), filtered by the powers that be in the Australian government.

This most important of news stories has been covered in considerable detail by Media Man, Gambling911, and many of the world's leading news outlets.

What's at stake? Human rights and censorship, and that's just the tip of the iceberg folks.

Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders has now listed Australia along with Iran and North Korea in a report on countries that pose a threat regarding internet censorship.

Paris-based RWB (Reporters Without Borders) put Australia and South Korea on its list of countries "under surveillance" in its "Internet Enemies" report delivered last Thursday.

Australia was listed for the government's plan to block access to websites featuring material such as rape, drug use, bestiality and child sex abuse. Gambling911 and Media Man do not support those vices, however we do believe that if people want to enjoy online poker, casino games and even a bit of regular porn, they should be able to! You're beloved Maxim, FHM, Penthouse and Playboy Poker Babes could even be in danger of becoming "illegal"!

Detractors are saying that the plan is a seriously misguided measure that will harm civil liberties by blocking a broader range of content than just "net nasty" content.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has advised he plans to introduce legislation by the end of next week that would require ISPs to block a blacklist of "refused classification" websites for all Australians.

It is not currently certain if the government will meet this deadline; a spokeswoman for Senator Conroy said the legislation would be introduced "after it has been considered by caucus and cabinet".

The inclusion on "Internet Enemies" follows the naming of Senator Conroy as the "Internet Villain Of The Year" last July at the Internet Service Providers' Association annual awards in London, a honour that Sen. Conroy shrugged off.

The latest report was of particular interest to Aussie campaigner Peter Coroneos, the MD of the IIA (Internet Industry Association), who told the press that it showed the international reception to the proposed internet filter.

"This regrettably puts Australia on notice that, despite the Rudd Government's best intentions, any mandatory filtering policy is likely to be perceived internationally in ways that will not benefit our reputation as a free and open society," he said.

"It will likely be used by less open societies as a vindication of their internet censorship regimes, despite any domestic attempts to draw distinctions. Mandatory filtering is mandatory filtering by whatever colour it is painted."

Senator Conroy's spokeswoman defended the internet filtering, advising RC content is already prohibited in physical media distributed offline.

"Under Australia's existing Classification regulations this material is not available in newsagencies, it is not on library shelves, you cannot watch it on a DVD or at the cinema and it is not shown on television," she said.

There's hope yet however...Whether the internet filtering scheme gets up will likely depend on the position of the Liberal party, as the Greens have already pledged to oppose the legislation.

The opposition has yet to come to a final position on the matter but in a speech to the Grattan Institute earlier this week shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said the policy was "likely to be unworkable in practice". He expressed concerns that the scope of blocked websites could be expanded in the future and said it was up to parents, not governments, to regulate their childrens' internet use.

A spokeswoman for Hockey said today that the shadow treasurer's comments should not be interpreted as confirmation that the opposition would oppose the filtering legislation, as a decision had not yet been made at this this time.

In South Korea, the RSF report added, "draconian laws are creating too many specific restrictions on web users by challenging their anonymity and promoting self-censorship".

"These countries are worrying us because they have measures that could have repercussions for freedom of expression on the internet," RSF secretary general Jean-Francois Julliard said at an internet rights award ceremony on Thursday.

Russia and Turkey were also added to the watchlist, which is a stage below RSF's top "Enemies of the internet", the countries it considers the 12 worst web freedom violators.

These include Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Iran and Vietnam.

"The world's largest netizen prison is in China, which is far out ahead of other countries with 72 detainees, followed by Vietnam and then by Iran, which have all launched waves of brutal attacks on websites in recent months," RSF's report said.

A senior manager of Google, David Drummond, said there was an "alarming trend" of government interference in online freedom, not only in countries that are judged to have poor human rights records.

He pointed to Australia's plans as a classic example, saying that there "the wide scope of content prohibited could include socially and politically controversial material".

The Australian case "is an example of where these benign intentions can result in the spectre of true censorship".

"Here in Europe, even in France, at this very moment, some are tempted by this slippery path of network filtering."

As recently as last month, after Senator Conroy called on YouTube to censor videos in accordance with his filtering scheme, the search giant's head of policy in Australia, Iarla Flynn, said: "The scope of RC is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information. RC includes the grey realms of material instructing in any crime from [painting] graffiti to politically controversial crimes such as euthanasia, and exposing these topics to public debate is vital for democracy."

Gambling911 and Media Man International are advising Aussie punters to enjoy online poker and casino games while they can at websites such as PartyPoker, PartyCasino, PKR, PokerStars and Betfair.

Management at Gambling911 is hopeful that their own website (which reports on poker, gaming, gambling, sports betting and politics) doesn't end up being banned by the Aussie government.

A little birdie has told us that the Australian government should expect more attacks on their own websites in retribution, and rumours are circulating of more protests being arranged on Australian soil, and one disturbing report of a public riot being organised. Stay tuned for more on this developing situation.

*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911

*The writer is a member of Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance and the National Press Club

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tiger Airways (Not Woods) Offers Private Flights To Singapore New Casino, by Greg Tingle - 10th March 2010

Singapore budget air carrier Tiger Airways will provide a chartered aircraft that will exclusively fly foreign guests visiting the city's first casino resort. Perfect to fly casino whales and would be's... dolphins, into gambling heaven... or hell.

The airline advised it signed an agreement with Resorts World Sentosa under which the casino operator will take over the lease of the aircraft.

The plane will be staffed by pilots and cabin crew from Tiger Airways, and we understand no gambling (or sex in the washroom ala Australia's "Mile High Hostie") will be permitted mid flight.

"Yet to be named, the private flight service, operated by Tiger Airways, will have an aircraft operating as a dedicated charter service for Resorts World Sentosa, transporting guests between Singapore and other cities around the region," it says.

The service is scheduled to start late this year.

Resorts World Sentosa has opened Singapore's first casino, which is part of a $US4.4 billion ($A4.9 billion) complex that also includes a Universal Studios movie theme park, premium hotels, restaurants and convention facilities.

Media Man and Gambling911 understands that by law the casino has to provide a range of services, thus becomes a "hotel - resort - theme park" scenario, but the lions share of the income comes straight from the casinos, and the whales and dolphins that visit. Aw well, we all have to make a dollar, and we wish punters good luck at Resorts World Sentosa.

*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. The Media Man group includes Media Man, Media Man Australia and Media Man Asia

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Australia's Crown Management Tight Lipped On Macau Dreams, by Greg Tingle - 9th March 2010

Crown management has remains tight-lipped regarding a potential disposal of the casino group's interest in Melco Crown Entertainment, a 32 per cent owned Macau joint venture.

Thus far Media Man and Gambling911 are getting a "nonsense" reply back from the powers that be at Crown.

The matter was again raised at the company's half-year results briefing and was shrugged off. We reckon Mr Packer may be bluffing, perhaps something he crafted up on from former Media Man client, Keith "Bendigo" Sloan (poker trainer and events organiser).

Melco Crown's earnings have been in a slump, falling 90 per cent to $US2.7 million ($A3 million) in the December quarter, however earlier indicators are they are bouncing back, following the Melbourne based Crown Casino and Perth's Burswood Entertainment Complex.

Plans for a number 3 Macau casino have been scrapped and speculation builds that a significant capital injection will be required to keep the bankers at bay.

With all things considered, Crown Melco remains in a better position that most land based casino operators. Land based casino operator licences in Macau are as rare as hen's teeth, and U.S casino and gaming monster Harrah's is on the prowl for a physical presence in the region. Harrah's MD Gary Loveman acknowledged that Macau is a "big omission in our portfolio, and we would like to solve it."

Harrah's Entertainment interest in Crown's Macau interests shot up numerous months ago when an analyst report noted that legal eagle's hacking for Macau's chief executive, Fernando Chui Sai On, had been requested to examine "a potential transfer of ownership" of shares from Crown to Harrah's Entertainment!

Mr Loveman refused to be drawn on the status of discussions with Melco or Crown as of time of publication, noting only that "We are well acquainted with the principals of that company and have been for quite some time."

The late mail... Macau gambling and property billionaire king, Mr Stanley Ho, long time friend and associate to Australia's Packer family, has been released from hospital after 7 months in hospital for unspecified surgery.

Mr Ho is understood to be doing well. Daughter Pansy Ho told the press gathering "He just woke up from a nap. I don't want him to be too stimulated". The news on Mr Ho's release is expected to see gains for Macau in the property, investor and shares sector. The good news dice just keeps flowing for Macau, where many a journalist last year was referring to the Macau region as a City Of Nightmares, not Dreams!

*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling 911

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*The writer owns shares in Crown Casino

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Boyfriend of Victorian Premier daughter ejected from Australia's Crown Casino, by Greg Tingle - 9th March 2010

We can now confirm that state police have questioned the boyfriend of Elizabeth Brumby, the daughter of Victorian Premier John Brumby, over an incident at Crown Casino in Melbourne.

The 23-year-old man was ejected from a private function on Friday night after security guards accused him of being drunk. The guards had no need to use plastic handcuffs on this occasion, a unique initiative getting mixed reactions from the Australian hotel, club and casino sector.

No charges have been laid at the time of publishing.

In a brief media statement, Mr Brumby said his daughter tried to defuse the situation and described it as a "private matter".

Crown Limited shares remain strong at 8.270 (share price, not blood alcohol reading)

Media Man and Gambling911 will continue to report from the sometimes battlefield that is the Australian land based casino sector. PS: no plastic handcuffs required in online casinos.

*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911

*The writer is the founder and director of Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com , primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

*The writer owns shares in Crown Casino

PartyGaming News: PDMR Shareholding

PDMR Shareholding - 5th March 2010

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World Poker Tour WTP Casino Gamebookers.com

Notification of Transactions of Directors, Persons Discharging Managerial Responsibility or Connected Persons

In accordance with PartyGaming’s long-term incentive plans for Executive Directors, the following awards over the Company’s ordinary shares of 0.015 pence each (“Shares”) have today been granted under the PartyGaming Plc Executive Share Option Plan (“ESOP”) to the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Group Finance Director.

Jim Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, has been awarded an option over 250,000 Shares and Martin Weigold, Group Finance Director, has been awarded an option over 200,000 Shares. These options vest subject to the growth in the Company’s Clean Earnings per Share over the three-year period 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012. The threshold for vesting, at which 25% will vest, will be 5% Clean EPS annual growth over the three-year period, rising on a straight-line basis to 100% vesting if annual Clean EPS growth equals or exceeds 15% over the period.

Each option is exercisable at 310.10 pence per Share and has been awarded at nil-cost. Unless exercised following the satisfaction of the aforementioned performance condition, these options will lapse on 5 March 2020.

This is the third award to be granted under the ESOP to Mr Ryan. The first grant was made in October 2008 over 645,100 Shares and the second award was made in April 2009 over 125,000 Shares. This is the fourth award granted under the ESOP to Mr Weigold. The first award was made in May 2007 over 88,360 Shares, the second award was made in March 2008 over 171,402 Shares and the third award was made in April 2009 over 337,500 Shares.

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Crown returns to profit in first half - 26th February 2010

Casinos operator Crown Ltd is cautiously optimistic about the second half of the financial year, after moving back into first half profit with "satisfactory" growth at Australian casinos.

Crown on Friday reported a net profit from continuing operations of $115.3 million for the six months to December 31, 2009 compared to a $409.7 million loss in the prior comparable period.

The previous corresponding period's result included a $547.5 million writedown on stakes in casinos in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, which were affected by the economic downturn in those countries.

After stripping out the impact of non-recurring items and the variance in the theoretical win rate against high-rolling gamblers, Crown's normalised net profit for first half of 2009/10 was $145.6 million, up three per cent on the normalised figure of $141.4 million in the prior corresponding half.

Crown chief executive Rowen Craigie said the overall results for Crown's casinos in Melbourne and Perth - which have been the focus since last year's writedowns on the overseas assets - were "satisfactory".

The first half had been strong but had tailed away later in the half due to a softening in consumer sentiment and a greater-than-expected impact of refurbishment and expansion programs at the Crown casino in Melbourne and the Burswood casino in Perth.

Mr Craigie declined to provide specific outlook for the second half, but said consumer sentiment had picked up in January and February, the replacement of the raised floor in the main casino at Burswood would be completed by April, and Crown was set to open its third hotel, the Metropol, at the Crown complex in Melbourne in March.

However, disruption due to refurbishment of the Teak Room at Crown casino in Melbourne would continue until August.

"And what the economy is going to look like over the next four months is obviously going to be a factor as well," Mr Craigie said.

"We've started the second half with the main gaming floor growing at close to twice the rate where we finished the first half and non-gaming is up as well.

"There are some things to look forward to, but obviously like others we are cautious about where the economy is going."

Mr Craigie said main-floor gaming revenue at Burswood and Crown grew by about three per cent in January and February 2010 compared to the prior corresponding period, and non-gaming revenue lifted about seven per cent.

Mr Craigie also said Crown was not intending to sell its gaming interests in Macau.

Crown holds a 35 per cent stake in Melco Crown Entertainment (MCE). Crown's share of MCE's result for the first half was a loss of $48.1 million.

Crown saw long-term potential for growth in the Macau market given its exposure to China, and MCE had announced that overall performance in January had been pleasing.

Mr Craigie said the US gaming market was still in difficulty and Crown had not considered any activity there in the last six months.

"The US market is still very depressed, Las Vegas continues to suffer declines in revenue and the other states which have allowed gaming are experiencing similar sorts of difficulty," he said.

Mr Craigie said that in the first half, renovations at Crown Melbourne and Burswood had affected main floor table revenue.

But the casinos achieved record turnover in high-roller gambling, which rose 22.9 per cent to $23.4 billion.

Non-gaming revenue had recovered and grew 4.5 per cent in the half.

In August last year, Crown said its principal efforts in the 12 months following would be to focus on enhancing Crown's Australian operations and to work with its joint-venture partners to optimise the value of our Macau and other overseas investments.

"We have made progress on those fronts during the past six months, and this will continue to be our focus," Mr Craigie said.

Crown declared an interim dividend of 18 cents per share, in line with the prior corresponding period.

Crown shares were 17 cents higher at $8.00 at on Friday.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Australia's 10 richest people - 4th March 2010

The top 10 on Forbes's Australia rich list were:

1. Andrew Forrest $US4.1 billion

2. Frank Lowy $US3.6 billion

3. James Packer $US3.5 billion

4. Harry Triguboff $US3 billion

5. John Gandel $US2.4 billion

6. Kerr Neilson $US2.2 billion

7. Gina Rinehart $US2 billion

8. Anthony Pratt $US1.95 billion

9. Leslie Alan Wilson $US1.55 billion

10. Lindsay Fox $US1.5 billion

Thursday, March 04, 2010

PartyGaming Plc 2009 Full Year Results

PartyGaming News

Websites

PartyCasino.com PartyPoker.com PartyBingo.com PartyBets.com World Poker Tour WPT Casino

4th March 2010

PartyGaming Plc

Audited results for the year ended 31 December 2009

Total revenue of $446.2m (2008: $472.9m) with a softer performance in poker mitigated by growth in all other verticals

Continuing Clean EBITDA* of $135.0m (2008: $144.2m); slightly ahead of market expectations

Continuing Clean EPS* of 21.5 cents (2008: 24.9 cents); total Clean EPS of 21.3 cents (2008: 22.2 cents)

Non-Prosecution Agreement reached with the US authorities with associated costs of $105.0m of which $15.0m was paid in 2009, resulting in a loss after tax of $26.5m

Acquisition of Cashcade and World Poker Tour completed

Net cashflow from Continuing operations of $120.5m (2008: $125.2m) with net cash at the year end of $164.7m (2008: $201.4m)

Commenting on today’s results announcement, Jim Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We delivered a solid performance during 2009 which demonstrated the resilience of our business model that continues to generate strong cashflow, even in the most challenging of circumstances. Leading brands and market position, supported by a strong balance sheet underpin our business strategy. With some acquisitions and major B2B deals already under our belt, we plan to do more in 2010 and I believe we are on course to meet our objective of becoming the world’s most valuable online gaming company.”

Regarding current trading he added:

“The Group has continued to perform in-line with the Board’s expectations. In the two month period ended 28 February 2010, average gross daily revenue was $2,074,000 (Q409: $2,090,800) reflecting a 1% reduction from the fourth quarter of 2009 that included an exceptionally strong performance in casino. All other verticals increased average gross daily revenue from the previous quarter. In poker, new player sign-ups increased to an average of 1,700 per day (Q409: 1,400), and there were on average 55,900 active players per day (Q409: 51,700) generating average gross daily poker revenue of $709,000 (Q409: $690,000). In casino, average gross daily revenue was $775,600 (Q409: $854,800). In bingo, average gross daily revenue was $493,800 (Q409: $452,600) and in sports betting, average gross daily revenue was $95,600 (Q409: $93,400).

“Whilst the macroeconomic environment remains uncertain, we remain focused on executing our stated strategy and are confident about the Group’s prospects.”

About PartyGaming Plc
PartyGaming Plc is the world’s leading listed online gaming company. It is a constituent of the FTSE 250 share index with its shares listed on The London Stock Exchange under the ticker: PRTY. In the year to 31 December 2009, PartyGaming’s Continuing operations generated revenues of $446.2m and Clean EBITDA of $135.0m. PartyGaming’s principal brands are PartyPoker.com, one of the world’s largest online poker rooms, EmpirePoker.com, PartyCasino.com, PartyBingo.com, PartyGammon.com, PartyBets.com, Intertrader.com, FoxyBingo.com, ThinkBingo.com, BingoScotland.com, CheekyBingo.com, GetMinted.com, WorldPokerTour.com and Gamebookers.com. None of the Group’s sites accept real money customers located in the US.

PartyGaming Group companies are regulated and licensed by the Governments of Gibraltar and Italy and by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. The Group is also certified as a responsible gaming operator by GamCare, the leading UK authority on the provision of advice, practical help, support and counseling in addressing the social impact of gambling. PartyGaming’s shares are also a constituent member of the FTSE4Good Index Series, which enables investors to identify companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Stocks to watch - 1st March 2010

ANZ - ANZ BANKING GROUP LTD - $23.14

ANZ Banking Group has increased its underlying profit after tax by 16 per cent to $1.6 billion for the four months to January on higher earnings, wider margins and lower bad debts.

ALL - ARISTOCRAT LEISURE LTD - $4.23

Aristocrat Leisure says 2010 is going to be another tough year, after difficult conditions across all markets contributed to the gaming machine maker's annual net loss of $157.84 million for calendar 2009.

WPL - WOODSIDE PETROLEUM LTD - $43.37

Woodside Petroleum has posted a rise in annual net profit and says sales revenue was down on lower commodity despite a positive boost from foreign exchange movements.

LLC - LEND LEASE GROUP - $9.67

Lend Lease has forecast a similar full year operating profit to the previous financial year and launched a $806 million capital raising to fund growth opportunities.

HVN - HARVEY NORMAN HOLDINGS LTD - $3.83

Retail giant Harvey Norman Holdings is optimistic about the rest of the financial year after lifting first half profit by 59.9 per cent and increasing its interim dividend.

WOW - WOOLWORTHS LTD - $26.84

Woolworths increased first-half profit 11.4 per cent as Australia's biggest supermarket increased sales and removed costs by streamlining internal processes.

CWN - CROWN LTD - $8.00

Crown has moved back into the black with a net profit for the first half after solid growth in its Australian casinos.

AIO - ASCIANO GROUP - $1.80

Transport and logistics company Asciano Group made a net profit in the first half of its financial year and expects to report annual earnings around the top of its guidance.