Friday, March 23, 2012

Kerry Packer Aussie Legend Live On Via Art And TV - 12th May 2010

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Media Man revisits one of their most popular news stories from 2010...

G'day punters, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, media magnates, journalists, historians and art lovers. Art lovers?! Yes, today we bring you a special Kerry Packer special. The legend lives on, not only here, but now at an Australian artists exhibition, and of course 'Our James' (James Packer) continues to fly the flag and do the family legacy proud with his Crown Limited empire. Not only that, we also cover the pending return of KP to Australian television in an ABC mini series tipped to hit the jackpot, and Network Nine is bringing back 'Underbelly', complete with gambling themes. Media Man and Gambling911 present The Kerry Packer Special...

Kerry Packer & Friends...

Kerry Packer & Friends - NG Art Gallery - 7th Dec - 24th Dec 2010

3 Little Queen Street

Chippendale, NSW Sydney AUSTRALIA

Tuesday - Saturday 11.00am - 5.30pm

Ok punters, here's the rundown. The artist - storyteller is Gina Sinozich. She's an 80 year old, Croat, Sydney based artist who paints in order to help recycle memory. Sinozich's latest exhibition, Kerry Packer and Friends, is her first solo commercial effort in Sydney and is tells the story of the legendary Kerry Packer. She covers the unique personality and complexities of a legend who was known for his astronomical wealth, super whale gambling exploits, running his business with an iron fist, and colourful run ins with the Australian government, amongst other things.

Sinozich migrated down under to Australia is 1956 and began to paint at the age of 75, now having work in Australian and New Zealand corporate and public collections. Her show showcases Packer as 'one of us' rather than the untouchable media tycoon. Sinozich was inspired to tell the story on the premise that we often hear bad before good. This tribute to KP is generous and reveals alot of the most powerful men in the world, who in 2004, was estimated to have a net worth of AUD 6.5 billion. The work of Sinozich will be showcased at NG Art Gallery from the 7th-24th of December and is certain to excite audiences, punters, art lovers or both. A fews Aussie commentator think this blows away much of the art that American gambling tycoon Steve Wynn shows off. Maybe Wynn might like to make a purchase of some classic Packer creations.

Sinozich says Packer gave back to society in a meaningful way and the series was intended to stand as a testament for this man's intrinsic goodwill after his death in December 2005. She recites a story that fuelled her initial interest in Packer, "...one lady said that she was on George Street with two little kids behind her and she was running...running to go on the train, and he (Packer) stopped her and said, 'don't you have a car?' and he wrote a cheque for her and said here, 'buy yourself a car'." Sinozich also fondly recalls, "...when he was playing in casino in Perth he won so much money and the girl who was serving wine...he asked her, 'do you have a mortgage on the house?' she said 'yes', then he wrote a cheque for AUD 600,000."

The talented, even cunning, artist worked like a Trojan horse for a fortnight and managed to produce 26 paintings that deeply explore her subject's nature, removing much of the mystic of Packer as an uncompromising media mogul. All the characters in Sinozich's work have a yarn to tell, and most aspects of his life are covered... birth, death, and much of the in between. Make no mistake, the works are smart, and unique, and are tipped to become collectors items.

The work is relatively simple, but full of life, and has been described as "traditional representational painting", which one may argue is a dying art. We think KP would have liked the tribute, and we await word to see what living members of the Packer clan think of the works.


Kerry Packer Legend To Return To Australian TV In Cleo Mini Series...

Packer is to return to life on Aussie TV via new ABC drama Paper Giants: The Birth Of Cleo (not to be confused with the Cleopatra slot game).

Australian readers may recall the public backlash to the introduction of the super sexy womens’ title in 1972. There were Cleo lovers and haters, but we're still talking about it today, so it made an impact, which is better than many of today's rags.

Rob Carlton will play a young Packer opposite Asher Keddie as publishing pioneer, the sexy and smart Ita Buttrose.

Rumours of a sexual relationship between Packer and Ita around the time of Cleo magazine's start off, but this won't be a focus on the mini-series, due to air next year.

Buttrose, who first made her mark as the magazine's editor, was a consultant on the production.

"If there was a supposed affair it didn't happen in this timeframe. I have no idea if there was, we didn't raise it with her," Edwards said.

There ABC publicity brief has whet our appetite for lots of Packer classic stuff and enough scandal to keep us coming back for more.

"It's 1972. Skirts are up, pants are down. Girls can have anything: Fabulous careers, fashionable clothes and oral sex," spruiks the promo.

The drama cleverly follows the death of Sir Frank Packer and the rise of his second son, who defies even family expectation to succeed, in a way no one could have expected.

"It was a real turning point in Kerry's career. It was a period when he made his first big move and it was an astonishing success and one against the odds in some respects," Edwards said.

Cleo magazine itself was a fine, yet controversial work, and introduced the nude male centrefold and sexual hits, tips, tricks and more for women. Media Man friend, actor Jack Thompson, is tipped to have his racy centrefold recreated. Something about a 6th finger, down there.

ABC TV by all accounts have taken a calculated risk on the series. Most quarters of society, both insiders and outsiders we've chatted with believe the gamble will pay off with a tidy jackpot, and whispers already circulate as to how many awards the show and actors will pick up.


Nine's David Gyngell Respects Packer History; PBL Becomes Nine Entertainment Co...

KP put Publishing & Broadcasting Media on the map and grew it to become arguably the biggest media brands in Australia.

PBL - the name, is now history, since Bondi Beach based chief executive, David Gyngell, rebranded it with Nine Entertainment Co.

Gyngell, who announced the rebranding at Nine's 2011 program launch in Sydney on Friday, advised the new name would be more recognisable to the public and large and went on to emphasise Nine's broad range of businesses, which sport Nine, ACP Magazines, Ticketek and NineMSN.

The recognition factor is important since the firm is likely to be floated on the Australian Stock Exchange by its private equity owners, CVC Asia Pacific, in the first half of next year.

It's understood that a strong level of support from a host of retail investors will be key to the $5 billion-plus float's chances of a jackpot.

Gyngell wisely acknowledged it was not an easy decision given he is the late Kerry Packer's godson and great mate of James Packer. History buffs, just in case you wondered, PBL was formed way back in 1994 when KP merged Nine with ACP (Australian Consolidated Press).

"PBL has a long association with the Packers so personally I don't take that lightly. But it's modernising a business that needs to be publicly known. We don't have the luxury of having James Packer or another mogul giving the company real gravitas."

Other media updates down under include Network Seven being backed by Kerry Stokes and Network Ten's board now has James Packer, News Corporation director Lachlan Murdoch, mining magnate Gina Rinehart and WIN TV owner Bruce Gordon.

"Nine is the biggest thing that we have and it is also the thing that supports all the other companies in the best possible way," Gyngell said. "It will be a new year. We are starting again.

Nine confirmed its crime drama Underbelly would come back with a series set in the roaring 20s in Sydney as well as 3 Underbelly movies! And, get this, a good spot of gambling will also be featured.

Greg Tingle is a Special Contributor to the Gambling911.com website and Runs Media Man International.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Casinos Of The World: Land Based And Online; Media Man And Casino News Media Awards, by Greg Tingle



Sin City Cleopatra Rambo The Godfather Sinatra The Terminator Thor Saturday Night Fever Unicorn Legend Palladium Slot

World Directory Global Gaming Directory World Casino Directory

Punters, here's 10 of the world's top land based casinos for you to mark down in your travel plans.

Monte Carlo, Monaco: Perched above the Mediterranean and bounded by the French
and Italian coastlines on either side, Monaco provides a spectacular and luxurious setting for the wealthy and the wannabees. Home to the Monaco Grand Prix and the legendary Casino de Monte Carlo, this isn't the place for those on a tight budget. The magnificent Casino hosts the annual European Poker Tour and was also the scene of several James Bond Films, including the original "Casino Royale" and "Golden Eye".

Paradise Island, Bahamas: Located just off the shore of the city of Nassau, Paradise
Island is best known for its sprawling 'Vegas-by-the-sea' resort, Atlantis. The resort spans seven acres along a lagoon, where guests can soak up the Caribbean sun and choose from a variety of outdoor gaming areas. When in need of a break from the tables, guests can enjoy the private beach or one of the resorts 20 sunlit pools.

Melbourne, Australia: As Australia's sporting and entertainment capital, Melbourne
offers the perfect option for high rollers looking for a local break. Aussies need look no further than Crown Casino on the southern bank of the Yarra River, which is one of the largest casino complexes in the southern hemisphere. The main gambling floor stretches more than half a kilometre and the casino was the first to introduce the new game Rapid Roulette, which allows players to place bets on a personal electronic touch screen connected to a central roulette wheel.

Macau, China: Known as the 'Monte Carlo of the Orient,' and the gambling capital of Asia, Macau now rivals Monaco and Las Vegas as one of the premier gambling destinations in the world. With no less than 33 casinos, in addition to local horse and greyhound racing venues, Macau is perfect for the betting junkie. The Wynn Macau casino is a standout, highlighted by 24-carat gold 'Tree of Prosperity' at the entrance, extravagant water displays and Moon Jellyfish Aquarium at reception.

Baden-Baden, Germany: Situated on the western foothills of the Black Forest and on the banks of the Oos River, Baden-Baden is not your typical casino town. However, in addition to its hot springs and picturesque countryside, the town is also known for its 200-year-old 'Spielbank' casino - the oldest of its type in Germany. With French chateau-style salons rooms named after historical figures such as Madame Pompadour and Louis XV's mistress, the quirky casino provides visitors with a very unique gaming experience.

Las Vegas, United States: With over 1700 licensed casinos in operation, Las Vegas offers the ultimate package for travellers who fancy a flutter. A visit to the famous 'Strip' is a must for any player, whether they're looking for a spin on the roulette table or a game of blackjack - this city has it all. The iconic Caesar's Palace hotel and casino offers 129,000 square feet of casino space plus an endless smorgasbord of entertainment, shopping and fine dining options, including Cleopatra's barge, a floating lounge perfect for a relaxing drink after a jam-packed night on the casino floor.

Manila, The Philippines: With a favourable exchange rate, Manila provides great value for Aussies wanting to live the high-life overseas. The city offers a range of shopping and entertainment options, along with a world-class casino at the Hyatt Hotel. Spread across three levels, the sparkling casino offers the newest in gaming facilities for both hotel guests and visitors, and is just a short distance from Manila's tourist hub.

Sun City, South Africa: Known as 'Africa's Kingdom of Pleasure,' this luxury resort and casino complex, just two hours from Johannesburg, boasts two large casinos, two 18-hole golf courses and a wildlife reserve. At the extravagant yet picturesque Palace of the Lost City, guests are treated to stunning valley views from the guestrooms, along with exclusive access to the Grand Pool. The nearby Sun City Casino is the entertainment Mecca of the resort, featuring a myriad of gaming options as well as an indoor jungle of native foliage and water fountains.

Atlantic City, United States: Regarded as the US's 'Las Vegas of the East', Atlantic City in New Jersey is renowned for its gambling, shopping and fine dining. Towering above the banks of the Atlantic Ocean, the Trump Taj Mahal casino is an icon of the city, with an on-site shopping district and an abundance of restaurants and bars. The 157,000 square-foot casino is also hard to miss, with 3,500 slot machines and 200 table games. Unveiled in 1990 by a number of celebrities, including the late Michael Jackson, the casino is the second-largest in Atlantic City and well worth a visit.

Genting Highlands, Malaysia: Nestled on the Titiwangsa mountain range, just an hour's drive from Kuala Lumpur and 6,000 feet above sea level, the Resorts World Genting offers 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside. This spectacular resort has first-class accommodation, dining and entertainment, while avoiding the hustle and bustle of a capital city. The on-site casino, which covers 200,000 square feet, is Malaysia's sole gaming venue and is divided into separate themed areas, such as Hollywood and Monte Carlo, for the ultimate gambling experience.

Online Casinos:

PartyCasino.com : The world's leading online casino brand and part of Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. Play for free or play for money at PartyCasino.com New players get up to $3000 sign up bonus via Media Man.

VirginCasino.com : Virgin Casino is part of Virgin Games. The parent company is Virgin Enterprises Limited, the creation of the world's most famous and celebrated entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson. Unfortunately the casino does not accept players from many countries due to what is known in legal circles as "grey areas". Most European players can play, but no Americans, Canadians, Australians or New Zealanders.

Captain Cooks Casino : Was once a very popular online casino with Australians and New Zealanders, however we understand these days they can only accept players from a few regions such as Europe, South Africa, Canada and South America.

PKR : Once only a 2D online poker room, they are now more 3D and offer online poker and a good range of online casino games, including classics, Marvel slots and table games.

Media Man's top online casino choice: PartyCasino.com PartyCasino is a multi-time Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' winner and have also won awards from EGR. Earlier this year PartyGaming merged with Bwin to create the worlds leading igaming company, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment.

News

PartyCasino Gets New Games...

Aztec Gold, Atomic Fruit, Nag's To Riches and Fairies Forest. Check out the new games here.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Star casino sacks three managers; Sin City Sydney cleaned up

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The Star Echo Entertainment Casinos Clubs Sydney Australia


Downtown "Sin City" Sydney, Australia, continues to get Las Vegas Strip type publicity with its Star casino sacking not one, but three more managers, including one who forwarded an email that disclosed that international high rollers aka "casino whales" are permitted to gamble for more than 24 hours non-stop.

One may ponder what the late, great, Australian king of the "whales", Kerry Packer might have thought of the current situation. Our observations are that James Packer, son of Kerry, takes a more "play by the rules" (legal and totally above board) approach than that of his legendary father, but don't expect public comment to come from JP on that front.

The Star's scandals have not slowed down Mr Packer's desire to own and operate The Star, but back to matters and hand.

The sackings aka's "Don't come Monday" came after the casino last Tuesday engaged high powered and super effective legal eagles to terminate mid-level managers for breaches of its internet and email policies, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

An unlucky Seven staff have now been dismissed or have left voluntarily in the wake of the termination of the casino's managing director Sid Vaikunta last month.

One of the three recently sacked had forwarded an email, dated February 21, from director of VIP services Dean Wilson that revealed responsible gambling rules used to prevent locals betting for longer than 24 hours did not apply to wealthy foreigners.

Mr Wilson notified staff he asked responsible gambling manager Ron Wagemans to clarify the policy after a staffer wrongly warned two guests that had been playing table games for 21 hours that they would soon be asked to leave.

Mr Wilson said international guests had a limited time to play and an established amount of money they were prepared to gamble with.

He later sent an email saying to several hundred pit managers working at four other casinos in Australia operated by Echo Entertainment stating they should watch international guests for signs of fatigue and ask them if based in were ok to play.

Mr Vaikunta was accused of alleged misconduct and sacked on February 2.

Readers are reminded that if they ever enjoy a punt, please bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

Australians are widely considered as the world's biggest and most passionate gamblers.

Slot games are the most popular at most venues, followed by poker, blackjack and sports betting.

Media Man congratulates management of The Star - Echo Entertainment on their recent pro active efforts and results in improving the work environment at their world class entertainment and casino complex.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

TV Week Logies Nominations In Sydney, Australia Tonight; Park Hyatt Hosts Stars

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Tonight's the night for the Australian entertainment industry... especially television land. Ok, it's arguably Australian TV's second most important night, being that for the TV Week Logies Nominations.

Rupert Murdoch owned News Limited has leaked a list of Gold Logie nominees we understand. You want to know who is on the list...here goes, but this is speculation, not actually face, so here it is...

Esther Anderson
Carrie Bickmore
Hamish Blake
Adam Hills
Asher Keddie
Karl Stefanovic

Last year News Limited also disclosed a list of Gold nominees ahead of time and was pretty close to the mark, but not quite a hundred percent, by tipping Carrie Bickmore as a Gold nominee for 2011.

Check in with us again in a few hours when we can disclose the full list of nominees, with no guesswork or Chinese whispers required.

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who made The Logies Nominations a success, and a big thank you to The Lantern Group. We'll see you on the red carpet again soon... most likely at the 2012 Logies.

The 2012 TV Week Logie Awards will take place on April 15 at Melbourne's Crown Casino, and US rapper Flo Rida is tipped to open the festivities. No word yet on whether Mr and Mrs James Packer (top brass of Crown Limited) will attend, as they are usually lurking in the shadows... so to speak, rather that looking for the spotlight - which we're sure many stars will be seeking out.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

The Star Opens Marquee Nightclub; Entertainment Rather Than Casino Focus - 15th March 2012

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The Star Echo Entertainment Casinos Clubs Sydney Australia


The Star tonight unvieled their latest weapon in the Australian casinos wars - all part of the battle for the entertainment dollar.

The pitch reads...

Internationally acclaimed nightclub operator Tao Group is set to bring a monumental change to Sydney's nightlife landscape with the opening of Marquee - The Star Sydney in late March 2012.

Marquee - The Star Sydney will be located on the entire top tier of The Star's new Pirrama Road harbourside entrance, commanding expansive views of Sydney Harbour and the city skyline. With nearly 20,000 square feet of floor space, the venue is designed to house three distinct spaces within the one venue to cater for different tastes and moods.

The Main Room will feature a 30-foot projection stage with an LED DJ booth and two dance floors.

In contrast, a stylish Library style room will offer an intimate lounge experience, accentuated by a working fireplace.

Venturing further into the venue, club-goers will come across the Boom Box, with a separate DJ, state-of-the-art sound system and outdoor patio. There is also a chill-out area with unparalleled views of the Sydney skyline and a unisex "bathroom lounge".

Furnished with dynamic and unique interiors, the venue will have a retail store and separate VIP entrance for quick entry from street level.

Perth based band Gyroscope played:

Pain
1981
Beware
Wolf
Still Taste Blood
Dream BS Scream
Doctor Doctor
Live Without You
Sotpik
Midnight Express
Baby
Weapon
Enemy Friend
These Days
Safe Forever
Take This For Granted
Fast Girl
Snakeskin

We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who made today a success, and we'll see you back at The Star again soon.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

James Packer Super Keen On Sydney Hotel Casino Complex; Expanding Gaming Empire In Sin Sity

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Casinos Crown Limited Crown Casino James Packer Echo Entertainment The Star Property


Kerry Packer (the late) and James Packer

The Packer family has long wanted a substantial gaming investment in "Sin City" Sydney. The late, great Kerry Packer missed the boat, and son James intends to get the job done.

This time a Packer has time on his side, and many experts feel that the environment is right , plus Echo Entertainment is seen as quite a soft target at present.

For decades, the Packer name has gone hand in hand with land based casinos.

Kerry Packer was a casino whale VIP of the highest order. We mean high roller of the highest callibre.

Most readers would have heard about his table bets that made other casino owners tremble with fear. Australia, Las Vegas and quite a few points in between. When word got around KP was to bet at a casino, casino owners and managers got nervous. Sometimes the house would win a million or two, or much more - sometimes it was the other way round, but the big man loved a punt.

Croupiers more often than not would get a generous tip from Kerry, so you can imagine the mourning in the casino world when we lost KP.

His first attempt to jump to the other side of the tables, however, ended badly when the New South Wales government awarded the tender for what is now The Star, Sydney's first legal casino, to a rival consortium led by construction group Leighton. Don't get us started on illegal gambling dens, but you might want to read up on George Freeman and friends.

The Sydney Morning Herald covered some of the history beautifully when it points to a rough as nails battle against the Fahey government, casino regulatory authorities and the winning consortium, complete with lurid accusations that Leighton's preferred land casino operator, the US-based Showboat, had ties with the Miami Mafia.

Before the official declaration of war, however, the Kerry Packer camp attempted to persuade Leighton's Wal King, at a face to face meet in his Crows Nest headquarters, that what he needed was a business partner and that Consolidated Press was willing.

More like an equal partnership, with half the management company too, King refused and the war was on for young and old.

Moving forward to the present day...some 18 years later and Packer JR is having a crack at the monopoly licence situation held by The Star, a monopoly that is in place to 2019.

Talkback radio kingpin Alan Jones has offered some modest on air (and off air) support to Packer, state politicians are lining up to take sides and James Packer, head of the Crown Limited, has used some nifty tricks er tactics his bid to make an impression on "Sin City" Sydney.

As of late its looking like a takeover in the building. Echo Entertainment was born out of Tabcorp last year. They own The Star and two Queensland casinos - one in Brisbane and another on the Gold Coast. Echo is set to accuse Crown Limited of failing to make proper disclosures, which have resulted in an uninformed market.

Last week Sydney was presented with plans for a huge new casino and hotel development, rising out of previously designated parkland at Barangaroo. Soon afterwards, it came to light that JP had put together a 10 per cent stake in Echo Entertainment and was pushing for board representation; except that he hadn't bought any shares at all.

What he bought, or rather what Deutsche Bank has assembled on Crown's behalf, is a "cash- settled derivative" over Echo Entertainment stock. Until last night no moolah has changed hands, it therefore is an "unsettled cash-settled derivative". Experts are trying to figure out exactly what that means. The word is that JP thinks he has control and is in the drivers seat.

The threats have put Crown into action and last night it confirmed it would pay Deutsche Bank $254 million today and tomorrow for the physical stock.

Before last year's demerger, James Packer reportedly owned 4.9 per cent of Tabcorp, which would then have delivered him 4.9 per cent of Echo Entertainment. Under the takeover laws, once an investor moves to 5 per cent, all share transactions must be disclosed to the stock exchange to ensure an informed market.

But under New South Wales law, no single shareholder can own more than 10 per cent of Echo. And so Echo will argue that by building a 10 per cent stake without buying shares on market and without disclosing an interest above 5 per cent, Packer has built a blocking stake in Echo in an uninformed market. But he faces potentially far greater challenges in his dream to build a second Sydney casino.

The plan has been put into action quickly. Too quickly is the billion dollar question, but it may be too early to tell for sure. JP is pushing the state government to alter the laws regarding Echo's shareholding restrictions and the development planning at Barangaroo.

The Star has nearly completed an $850 million refurbishment, specifically designed to take it upmarket and attract Asia's high rolling VIP "whales". After years of shunning high-end Asian gamblers, The Star almost overnight has become a direct competitor to Packer's Crown and Burswood casinos, which long have targeted wealthy Asian tourists, including the sought after "whales".

The competition regulator could get interested here because if Packer snatches Echo, it would give him absolute dominance in the Australian land based casino market.

Fairfax Media explained it this way "the cheekiest part about Packer's plan is that, given that Sydney has only one casino licence until 2019, and a single site licence at that, his plan is that Echo will fund this new billion-dollar edifice on the other side of Darling Harbour and operate it under a sublicence. It's a cute plan. Perhaps a little too cute."

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell delivered a strong endorsement to the concept as soon as it was announced last week. He knows it will generate employment during construction and deliver much-needed tourist dollars. But as a politician, he's also switched on enough to realise the kind of political backlash this could generate.

Laws would need to be changed. And if a second casino is warranted, maybe go down the tender path. Maybe its time the likes of Donald Trump, Steve Wynn, Richard Branson and friends had a crack at running a casino operation in "Sin City" Sydney, Australia. Gambling and tourism tycoons - your throw of the dice.


Packer Gets 10 Percent In Echo Entertainment...

Media and gaming tycoon James Packer's Crown Ltd declared that it was not a substantial shareholder in Echo Entertainment, despite acquiring 10 percent of the rival casino group. Ken Barton, chief financial office for Crown, advised the company was "not a substantial holder of Echo for the purposes of the Corporations Act and therefore has no obligation to lodge a notice". Observers say this means Crown has not taken control of the 10 percent of Echo from Deutsche Bank, the investment bank believed to be the current owners of the shareholding.


Australian Casino kings James Packer and Larry Mullin war; Friendly or not?...

Top brass of The Star has issued a challenge to Crown Limited's James Packer to launch a full takeover bid if he desires a second Sydney casino.

A verbal has taken place between two of Australia's most high profile and successful gaming bosses as Larry Mullin, the CEO of Echo Entertainment - which runs The Star - railed at suggestions Mr Packer's Crown group wanted to use a stake of less than 20 per cent in Echo as the platform to build a $1 billion casino at Barangaroo.

Mr Mullin argued Mr Packer should not be allowed to build the casino without first taking over Echo Entertainment.

"There is only one casino licence (in Sydney)," he advised.

"If James Packer wants to get into this market the only way to do so is to launch a full takeover bid for Echo and reward all our shareholders."

Mr Packer was quick to reply, saying: "I don't expect Larry, as an American, to know Australian corporations law verbatim. Clearly he should spend more time studying before he ventures into that territory."

The knives started to come out as JP's bid for a Barangaroo casino received a boost from NSW Treasurer Mike Baird - who described it as a "bold" vision.

"I, for one, put my name on the table as someone that would welcome it as a great addition to Barangaroo, subject to the normal conditions," Mr Baird said.

Mr Mullin talked up the existing casino at Pyrmont, stating Echo's recent renovation program for The Star meant there was now "tremendous" growth potential for the venue's international VIP business that would flow through to the company's profits in coming years. He pointed to Echo accounts released last week showing overall VIP gaming revenues had doubled in the last six months.

Mr Mullin also broke his long standing silence on the sacking of The Star's former managing director, Sid Vaikunta.

He denied claims of a culture of covering up sexual harassment at the casino, saying: "We believe we reported everything appropriately."

Mr Mullin said he had known Mr Vaikunta "since 2002".

It is understood the two men worked together for about seven years at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, USA.

Mr Mullin said an investigation limited what he could say publicly about his former colleague.
"I'm disappointed. It was someone I knew and respected and who had worked for us, and unfortunately he's moved on," he said.

It has been reported Mr Vaikunta was accused of "hitting on" a staff member in a limousine - and then a human resources manager at a staff function - in the space of two days.

A Media Man spokesperson / media commentator said "It appears to be a bit of a case that management forget they were now working out of Sin City Sydney... and not Las Vegas, where its well know that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. That's not usually the case in Sydney, despite the city being known for diversity and an open mind approach. This situation has made Echo Entertainment appear to be a softer target for some, which may include the likes of Crown Limited's James Packer."

Barrister Gail Furness SC is conducting the inquiry into his sacking on behalf of the NSW Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority.

Stay turned to Media Man and Street Corner for more on this developing situation.


Buttrose's ex-husband sues over TV portrayal...

The former husband of media personality Ita Buttrose is suing the ABC for the way he was portrayed in the popular television mini-series Paper Giants.

Alasdair Macdonald says he has been defamed because the show wrongly depicted him as a man who left his wife because he was threatened by her.

In the New South Wales Supreme Court, Justice Henric Nicholas today referred the parties to mediation.

Paper Giants: The Birth Of Cleo was a massive ratings success for ABC1, with Asher Keddie winning an AFI and a Logie for her portrayal of Buttrose and her famous lisp.

Kerry Packer (Played by Rob Carlton) - credit: ABC

In the early 1970s Kerry Packer is in his 30s, a chain-smoking young man who has yet to step out from beneath the shadow of his indomitable father, Sir Frank Packer. CLEO magazine is the first project Kerry works on independent (to a large extent) of his father, and he knows if he blows this, his career in the business will be forever damaged. Yet knowing the consequences he decides to trust his instinct and back himself and respected colleague Ita Buttrose. With the successful launch of CLEO in November 1972 Kerry emerges as a shrewd businessman with street cunning and a visceral understanding of the media and how to make money from it.
Sir Frank’s death in 1974, two years after the sale of his beloved Telegraph newspapers, is traumatic for Kerry who feels the loss deeply, but the young entrepreneur also knows it is now his time to take the reins – and he is ready for it.

*the writer owns shares in Crown Limited, Virgin and Ten Holdings

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Monday, March 05, 2012

Gambling on advertising billboards in Sydney NSW; Packer and Singleton: You Bet, by Greg Tingle

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Advertising Crown Limited James Packer John Singleton Politics Property Media Man


A cashed up company part-owned by media tycoons James Packer and John Singleton will soon fully start to cash in on major Sydney motorways, headed up by the M2 motorway.

Construction work on advertising billboards owned by Packer and Singleton's firm first started about 6 month ago and its understood some campaigns are already up and running, but the firm is not disclosing its full client or campaign list, as you would expect - not that anyone else could likely give them much of a run for their money.

These are not any average billboards... they will cost about $500,000 each all told, "Packer and Singo" are looking for strong return on investment.

The concession to erect billboards over the M2 was purchased by Manboom, a company owned by JP, Singo and Robert Whyte, from the M2's owner, Transurban, back in 1998. Talk about forward planning.

For more than a decade Manboom was unable to erect signs over the road because of road blocks from local councils! The M2 passes through three council areas and only one, Hornsby, would permit advertising billboards.

But in 2007 the then planning minister, Frank Sartor, amended legislation that stripped away councils of the right to determine policies for signs over motorways. The Department of Planning became the sole consent authority for motorway advertising.

The Media Man agency strongly suspects that a strained economy (and diluting council coffers) lessened council opposition to the advertising proposal put forward. You know... "Money talks and BS walks", whispered a Media Man insider.

It is not clear how much income Manboom will make from the concession to advertise over the congested M2. The firm has agreed to annual payments to Hornsby Council, the Hills Shire and the City of Ryde in return for its signage rights.

It will also pay for public benefit works commissioned by Roads and Maritime Services.

Transurban's spokesman said months ago: "The installation of advertising signage will fund improvements to the aesthetics and operation of bridges on the motorway, including new bridge facade cladding.

"The project will deliver safety improvements to the motorway and a designated source of ongoing funding for safety enhancements to the motorway," he said.

"The use of advertising signage provides an important alternative source of funding for infrastructure improvements and enhancements."

The M2 is in the middle of a two-year upgrade.

The former RTA last year opposed four of Manboom's 15 proposed signs on safety grounds. It cited a fear about "sign clutter" and a concern the angle of one billboard would distract motorists.

The Department of Planning upheld the RTA's concerns about the four signs.

Some studies say billboard advertising helps keep drivers alert, whilst others suggest they are a dangerous distraction. Readers - what do you think? A gamble with saftey or a gamble on the investment?

Its a safe bet that Packer, Singleton and Whyte have done their sums.

In the meantime plenty of other Sydney councils are watching the project closely to see if they may be able to also benefit financially from extra advertising on their roads.

*the writer owns shares in Crown Limited, Network Ten and Virgin.

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Crown Limited not substantial shareholder in Echo Entertainment - 1st March 2012

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Packer Gets 10 Percent In Echo Entertainment...

Media and gaming tycoon James Packer's Crown Ltd declared that it was not a substantial shareholder in Echo Entertainment, despite acquiring 10 percent of the rival casino group. Ken Barton, chief financial office for Crown, advised the company was "not a substantial holder of Echo for the purposes of the Corporations Act and therefore has no obligation to lodge a notice". Observers say this means Crown has not taken control of the 10 percent of Echo from Deutsche Bank, the investment bank believed to be the current owners of the shareholding.

Australian Casino kings James Packer and Larry Mullin war; Friendly or not?...

Top brass of The Star has issued a challenge to Crown Limited's James Packer to launch a full takeover bid if he desires a second Sydney casino.

A verbal has taken place between two of Australia's most high profile and successful gaming bosses as Larry Mullin, the CEO of Echo Entertainment - which runs The Star - railed at suggestions Mr Packer's Crown group wanted to use a stake of less than 20 per cent in Echo as the platform to build a $1 billion casino at Barangaroo.

Mr Mullin argued Mr Packer should not be allowed to build the casino without first taking over Echo Entertainment.

"There is only one casino licence (in Sydney)," he advised.

"If James Packer wants to get into this market the only way to do so is to launch a full takeover bid for Echo and reward all our shareholders."

Mr Packer was quick to reply, saying: "I don't expect Larry, as an American, to know Australian corporations law verbatim. Clearly he should spend more time studying before he ventures into that territory."

The knives started to come out as JP's bid for a Barangaroo casino received a boost from NSW Treasurer Mike Baird - who described it as a "bold" vision.

"I, for one, put my name on the table as someone that would welcome it as a great addition to Barangaroo, subject to the normal conditions," Mr Baird said.

Mr Mullin talked up the existing casino at Pyrmont, stating Echo's recent renovation program for The Star meant there was now "tremendous" growth potential for the venue's international VIP business that would flow through to the company's profits in coming years. He pointed to Echo accounts released last week showing overall VIP gaming revenues had doubled in the last six months.

Mr Mullin also broke his long standing silence on the sacking of The Star's former managing director, Sid Vaikunta.

He denied claims of a culture of covering up sexual harassment at the casino, saying: "We believe we reported everything appropriately."

Mr Mullin said he had known Mr Vaikunta "since 2002".

It is understood the two men worked together for about seven years at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, USA.

Mr Mullin said an investigation limited what he could say publicly about his former colleague.
"I'm disappointed. It was someone I knew and respected and who had worked for us, and unfortunately he's moved on," he said.

It has been reported Mr Vaikunta was accused of "hitting on" a staff member in a limousine - and then a human resources manager at a staff function - in the space of two days.

A Media Man spokesperson / media commentator said "It appears to be a bit of a case that management forget they were now working out of Sin City Sydney... and not Las Vegas, where its well know that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. That's not usually the case in Sydney, despite the city being known for diversity and an open mind approach. This situation has made Echo Entertainment appear to be a softer target for some, which may include the likes of Crown Limited's James Packer."

Barrister Gail Furness SC is conducting the inquiry into his sacking on behalf of the NSW Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority.

Stay turned to Media Man and Street Corner for more on this developing situation.

*the writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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Sydney needs more 5 star hotels says Chamber

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The Sydney Business Chamber has expressed its disappointment to opposition from the City of Sydney Council to a proposal for the development of a 5 star hotel at Barangaroo.

“If Sydney is serious about being in the tourism game, we need more 5 star hotels to compete with other Asia Pacific destinations,” said Patricia Forsythe, Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber.

“The Premier has every right to express his vision and support for developments in the Barangaroo precinct – it is a state significant project that should have the interest of the Premier.

“One of the reasons why Sydney has a scarcity of 5 star hotels is height limitations because of the City of Sydney’s limited vision.

“If we are going to compete on a world scale and maintain our place as a destination of choice, Sydney needs the type of accommodation that this development offers.

“Barangaroo is a once in a lifetime opportunity to add a truly remarkable precinct to the very heart of Sydney’s CBD. Being timid, and lacking imagination, will not deliver the sort of visionary project like the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House that Sydneysiders will be expecting.”

Mrs Forsythe said that while the Sydney Business Chamber was supportive of bold developments in Barangaroo, such as a 5 star hotel development, it still needed to be approved through appropriate consultation and planning processes.

“What we are saying is, ‘don’t be opposed to any idea for opposition sake’ – and this development has far reaching implications that go well beyond the remit of the City of Sydney."

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