Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The gambler who wasn't made the list - yet; A serious man; When the crowd funds a flop, what next?


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The gambler who hasn't made the list - yet - 24th May 2012

An honorarble mention in this year’s Rich 200 must go to David Walsh. While his estimated wealth falls short of the $210 million cut-off in this year’s ranking, the Taswegian stands out this year for his ability to make Australians feel uneasy.

It’s not just the contents of his Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), perched on the banks of the Derwent River just outside Hobart, with its excrement-producing Cloaca exhibit, display of human ashes and artist Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary depicting the mother of Jesus surrounded by female genitalia and including elephant dung that will discomfort some.

It is the fact that in a year when arguments about gambling reforms have drawn vicious lobbying from the pubs and clubs industry and threatened to bring the machinery of parliament to a halt and when there’s growing concern about gambling generally that Walsh has so overtly used a fortune accrued from wagering to build a temple to art – celebrated by many of the same people who decry gambling.

In fact, the country’s largest private museum, which opened early last year, has contemporary Australian art fans salivating. Its contents include Sidney Nolan’s Snake, a 46-metre-long, nine-metre-high collation of 1620 different painted panels, and works by Brett Whiteley, Arthur Boyd, Charles Blackman and Russell Drysdale. Mona also treads solidly into ancient territory with the mummy and coffin of Pausiris and a cast bronze votive figure of Isis and the Infant Horus, from 600-300BC.

The public loves it. Mona drew more than 330,000 visitors last year – almost half from outside Tasmania. The collection is doing great things for tourism to the Apple Isle and for Australia as a whole.

“The only time I can think of in recent history that [we had] something this big, audacious, generous and gifted was probably in America,” Edinburgh Festival director Jonathan Mills gushed last year. “It’s the Getty, the Guggenheim, it’s on that level.”

And yet, revelations that Walsh’s $175 million project was funded in part by his friend and fellow gambler Zeljko Ranogajec, whose gambling syndicate makes money out of the rebates that totalisers give in exchange for placing large bets – reducing the pool of winnings for ordinary punters placing smaller bets – only adds to the unease.

It’s no doubt a contradiction the private Walsh enjoys. If he were a miner or industrialist, his generosity would be unambiguously celebrated. That’s the sort of background Australia has come to expect of its arts patrons. Still, taking from the poor and giving to middle-class causes is something state-owned lotteries have always done. Walsh could argue he is doing the redistribution more directly, by cutting out the need for a lot of grant applications. Or he might not.

“I invent a gambling system,” Walsh writes in the introduction to his book Monanisms. “Make a money mine. Turns out it ain’t so great getting rich using someone else’s idea. Particularly before he had it. What to do? Better build a museum; make myself famous. That will get the chicks.”

The extent of Walsh’s own fortune is unclear. He has a collection of properties in and around Hobart, one of which he co-owns with Ranogajec, along with the premium Moorilla Estate winery and vineyard and Moo Brew brewery.

It remains to be seen how Walsh views his own cash flow. Is Mona, with its stated $100 million worth of artworks, simply vanity spending? Is Walsh a patron in the traditional sense or should this be seen as an initial investment into a new realm of money-making ventures?

Features of the museum, with its iPod-based self-guide system, which explains exhibits while simultaneously collecting useful data for curators on what visitors are viewing and the length of time they spend at each artwork, along with a bar in the museum selling Moo Brew beers and Moorilla wines lend themselves to replication. A side project is the 10-day Mona Foma (Festival of music and art), which this year ran for the fourth time.

It may all be just another investment. The 50-year-old Walsh has already said in interviews he intends to exploit his high-profile attraction.

“I want to use Mona as a marketing tool to drive some products that I hope will make some serious money.” (Fairfax Media)

A serious man - 28th May 2012...

Tom Waterhouse just lost $400,000. It's 2.25pm on a Saturday in Melbourne and Waterhouse is working, with 20 of his staff, in his weekend "office", a gloomy bunker at Moonee Valley Racecourse. The course itself is a ghost town - there are no races here today - but the bunker, a low-ceilinged and exceedingly unglamorous space, is animated by the kind of urgency you see in a termite colony that has just been kicked. There are lots of computers, screens, mobiles, TVs tuned to six race meetings, and young guys with fashionable facial hair - Waterhouse's "wagering officers" - who yell out stuff like "The eight in Sydney to win $5000" or "$4000 each way on Top Fluc One!"

At the centre, meanwhile, is Waterhouse, standing at a high table, sucking on a vitamin C tablet. He is dressed in a dark-blue suit and mint-green tie. His eyes are blue, his skin pale, his teeth ruler straight and pearly white. On the table before him are four computer screens and 10 mobile phones, the numbers of which are known only to VIP clients, 100 "high net worth individuals" whose minimum bet is $1000. He won't tell me their names or, in fact, anything about them, except that all but one are men.

The first thing you notice about Waterhouse is that he is the exact opposite of what you expect. He doesn't drink alcohol or coffee, nor does he smoke or swear. Instead, he says "Oh, gosh". He is distractingly, almost distressingly polite: "When I first met him he was so nice I thought he was taking the piss," his marketing manager, Warren Hebard, tells me. Above all, he does not get ruffled. Getting ruffled would indicate either a lack of control, which he has in spades, or a surfeit of emotion, which he hasn't. And yet, like his mega-risk-taking grandfather, Bill, Waterhouse is known for taking on the biggest punters, for winning and losing bathtubs full of money in the course of an afternoon. In 2008, he lost $1.175 million in 10 minutes, only to make it all back by sundown. Not long after, he lost a further $2 million (for good, this time). When, this afternoon, it becomes apparent that he has just done $400,000 on one race, he issues only the slightest wince, pops another vitamin C and returns to his screens.

Waterhouse, who turns 30 this June, is the managing director of www.tomwaterhouse.com, one of Australia's largest corporate bookmakers. The company, which has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin, offers odds on not only thoroughbreds, harness racing and greyhounds but also on rugby league and rugby union, cricket, tennis, Australian rules and, as Hebard puts it, "every other sport you can think of, from Swedish handball to two flies crawling up a wall".

Waterhouse makes the most of his family name, which has been intimately associated with bookmaking and horse racing for 112 years. (His father, Robbie, still works as a bookie; his mother, Gai, is a celebrated trainer.) But his real business is in creating as many markets as possible for punters to wager on: Waterhouse now offers odds on everything from who will win Dancing with the Stars and the Miles Franklin Literary Award to the final sale price of painter Edvard Munch's masterpiece, The Scream. "As long as it meets my licensing conditions and it passes the smell test, meaning it's not too weird, I will bet on anything," he says.

Perhaps more than any other bookie, Waterhouse embodies the changes that have recently transformed Australian gaming. Ever since the easing, in 2008, of regulations governing cross-border betting and gambling advertisements, overseas and domestic bookmakers have been battling each other for a piece of the local market, where punters wager more than $20 billion a year. Corporate bookmakers such as the foreign-owned SportingBet and SportsBet barrelled in, going toe to toe with on-course operators, including Waterhouse, who had been working "on the rails" since 2003, building his VIP business under the tutelage of father Robbie and grandfather Bill. By 2008, Tom was Australia's biggest on-track bookie; at the Melbourne Cup that year, he held more than $20 million over four days, more than all the other bookies combined.

But there is only one Melbourne Cup a year. Thanks to the advent of pay TV and online gambling, normal race-day attendances plummeted throughout the 2000s. "I haven't been to the races in three years," Waterhouse says. "It's dead. At the same time, I realised people still want to have a punt, they just wanted to do it from their couch or on their iPhone."

And so, in 2010, Waterhouse launched his online business, which he promoted in a multi-million-dollar campaign of free-to-air, print and online advertisements, including paying $70,000 to have his face plastered on a Melbourne tram. The company now has 80,000 clients, boosted by the purchase last year of the databases of two corporate bookmakers who had recently gone bust. Waterhouse employs 60 staff, and is recruiting overseas for 40 more. Robbie Waterhouse calls the strategy "growing broke", explaining, "The business is expanding at such a rate that it requires every dollar Tom has."

According to Warren Hebard, the marketing spend is now $20 million a year, a mere fraction of company turnover, which he puts in the "hundreds and hundreds of millions".

Recently I had dinner with Waterhouse at Nobu, a Japanese restaurant in Melbourne's Crown complex, where he lives in a $1900-a-night villa apartment on the 31st floor. Waterhouse has a perfectly acceptable home in Sydney - an apartment in Balmoral on Middle Harbour, just around the corner from his parents, that he bought in 2009 for $3.5 million. But Victoria's more favourable gambling laws mean he spends half his life south of the border, necessitating a yoyo-like schedule of at least three business-class flights to Melbourne and back a week. Such an arrangement is fine for now - he and wife Hoda Vakili, whom he married last year, don't have any children, a situation Waterhouse plans to remedy.

"I want to have six kids," he says. "As soon as possible."

"Seriously?" I ask.

"Seriously," he says.

Thanks to his 2006 appearance on Dancing with the Stars (he was knocked out in the third round), and his frequent partying with the likes of Charlotte Dawson and Tim Holmes à Court, Waterhouse has become known as something of a red-carpet junkie. He certainly knows how to spend his money: there are the skiing trips to Aspen, the holidays in Italy and, of course, the yearly pilgrimage to London, where he attends Royal Ascot and picks up a new suit from his father's tailor in Savile Row. His marriage last year was similarly five-star: bucks' and hens' nights in London, ceremony in the Sicilian seaside town of Taormina, followed by, as one newspaper put it, "lunch in Switzerland" and the honeymoon in Monte Carlo.

Not surprisingly, plenty of people don't like Waterhouse. The consensus is that he is too rich, too young and too lucky. Others don't like the fact he's a bookie. "Self promoter, making $ off the misery of others," one tabloid newspaper reader commented after an article on him last year. When news emerged that Vakili had undergone emergency surgery in January after injuring herself in Aspen, readers responded with an outpouring of indifference: "Should wipe the smug smile off their faces for a few weeks at least," one wrote.

I'm as jealous as the next guy, but "smug" isn't the right word for Waterhouse, who, in person at least, is self-effacing to the point of invisibility. He is softly spoken and reflexively formal. "Mum thinks I dress very boringly," he says. "Always in a dark suit and white shirt." When he was nominated for the Cleo Bachelor of the Year Awards in 2005, he was one of only two people out of 50 who opted to keep their shirts on for the photo. (The other was Guy Sebastian.) For now, he says, his life is defined by work: he goes to bed at midnight and rises at 7am, and takes only one day off a week. "Until I was married I worked seven days a week," he says. "Even when I'm on holidays I'm on my computer six or seven hours a day."

He is partial to fast cars: he has owned a Porsche 911 and currently drives a silver Mercedes SLS Gullwing (retail price: $496,000). But to picture him driving it fast, let alone crashing it, is to picture the Pope smoking crack. His optimum mode of relaxation is going to the movies with Vakili, which he does at least once a week. "We'll get the choc tops, a Slurpee," he says. "It's really great."

He also likes tennis, though playing him requires a certain kind of patience. "This is the problem with Tom at tennis: he is so formulaic and robotic," friend Jason Dundas says. "He never goes for a winner, because he knows the formula is that whoever can hold the rally longest wins. And so he plays the game to never hit a foul, and just hits these lollipops; he never goes for that Rafael Nadal cross-court winner because he knows that the chance it will go out is higher than it will go in, and he calculates that all in his head and wins the game every time. It's so annoying."

It's impossible to separate Waterhouse from his family, which has, since the First Fleet, shown a Flashman-like knack for controversy. When Governor Arthur Phillip was speared by Aborigines at Manly in 1790, it was Lieutenant Henry Waterhouse who was there to pull out the spear; Henry also brought the first thoroughbred racehorse to the colony, along with the first merino sheep. Later the family operated a Sydney ferry service, ran pubs and a sly-grog operation, even dabbled in opium smuggling.

The first bookmaker in the family was Charles Waterhouse, who got his licence in 1898, but it was his son, Bill, who would take it to another level. Through a combination of brains, balls and ruthlessness, Bill, who had initially practised as a barrister, became arguably the world's biggest gambler, a "leviathan bookie" who in the 1960s took on high-stakes punters like "Filipino Fireball" Felipe Ysmael and "Hong Kong Tiger" Frank Duval in million-dollar betting duels.

With his suit, hat, tote bag and cigarettes - 100 a day at one stage - Bill, who turned 90 this year, epitomised the old-style bookie. In his autobiography What Are the Odds?, he writes about arming himself with a .38 Smith & Wesson in the 1970s, and about his various entanglements with gangster George Freeman, "marijuana salesman" Robert Trimbole and the late Kerry Packer, who apparently died owing him $1 million. ("You can go and get f...ed and whistle for it," Packer reportedly told him. "You'll get nothing from me.")

"I don't pretend to be Simon Pure," Bill Waterhouse writes. "I have sometimes cut corners to get what I needed, but I am certainly no crook." Yet his name has been associated with virtually every scandal in horse racing bar the death of Phar Lap. Chief among these was, of course, the Fine Cotton affair of 1984, in which a handy sprinter named Bold Personality was painted with Clairol hair dye and substituted for a weaker horse called Fine Cotton. Bill and son Robbie, who had put money on the horse, were both charged by the Australian Jockey Club with "prior knowledge" - something they have always denied - and banned from racetracks for 14 years.

Tom insists he can't remember much about it: "I was two years old!" he tells me. Nor did it feature much in conversation. "It's a little bit like religion; I try not to bring it up."

It's tempting to see in the younger Waterhouse a reaction, conscious or otherwise, to the family's picaresque backstory. But it seems Tom has always been serious. Like his father before him, he attended the elite Sydney private school Shore. But where Robbie had gained a name for running a student betting ring, Tom became a senior prefect and house captain. "He is a seriously, like very, very, very ambitious guy," long-time friend David Chambers says. "He controls his emotions, he doesn't let them control him."

Chambers, who grew up around the corner from Waterhouse, says "Tom was always super competitive ... and a little bit bizarre. One day he came to school and said, 'You guys are all taking sick days: that's soft. I am never going to take a sick day.' He just thought it would be fun. And we were all like, 'Yeah, whatever.' But he never did, the whole time we were at school."

Horse racing dominated the Waterhouse home. "It was always discussed around the dinner table," Robbie says. "Every aspect of it." Tom got his first horse, a Shetland pony, for Christmas when he was five. Yet he had no interest in an on-course career. Instead, after school, he started a commerce degree, majoring in finance and marketing, at Sydney University. "I wanted to go into finance," he says. "It seemed like a good industry to be in."

Then one day in 2001, Robbie asked him if he'd come and "help out on the bag" at Rosehill. "Within about 20 minutes I was hooked," he says. Waterhouse was only six months into his course, but he immediately rearranged his timetable, moving his classes to Monday and Tuesday so that he could attend the races for the rest of the week. He got his licence for the dogs, then for thoroughbreds. Coming from racing royalty had its advantages. Gai, daughter of legendary trainer Tommy J. Smith, taught him horses; Robbie taught him analysis. ("Dad still gets up every day at 3am so he can do seven hours studying all the results and times.") And Bill showed him how to gamble. (Bet bigger if you're winning, smaller if you're losing, and always keep an eye on cash flow.)

Yet there were mishaps. In 2007, one of Waterhouse's biggest punters, the CEO of a big listed company in the US, placed a bet with him of $1.2 million. As he had never taken a bet that big, Waterhouse laid off the risk by "betting back" $800,000 with other bookies. When the CEO's horse lost, "I thought, 'Oh gosh, I've won $400,000! I'm going to buy a Ferrari!' But come Monday I had to pay $800,000 to those other bookies while my guy took the knock [refused to pay]."

Waterhouse pursued the debt through the courts, but has never got all of it back. (Courts are a recurring motif with bookies. In 2010, Waterhouse was in the Federal Magistrates Court chasing $2.6 million that he said Sydney businessman Andrew Sigalla owed him. And in January this year he placed a caveat over brothel-owner Eddie Hayson's Parramatta Road business, Stiletto, as security for $1 million in gambling debts.)

The movement of money away from the track and onto the internet has done much to sanitise racing. "In the days of the SPs, if you took the knock they'd come round and cut your toes off," veteran race writer Max Presnell says wistfully.

The perils of 21st-century gambling are more prosaic. Addiction. Bankruptcy. Family break-up. Waterhouse was raised in a religious household. "We went to church every Saturday night," he says. "I still pray occasionally, just to reflect on family and loved ones." But the moral dimension of his business doesn't trouble him. "I always say to people who bet with me, 'Anything in excess is bad for you: shopping, eating, gambling.' "

When in doubt, he invokes what he calls The Toilet Test: "If you feel uneasy about the bet, if you need to duck off to the toilet all the time, then you're betting too much. It's like anything else - if you feel uncomfortable doing it, chances are it's not a great thing to be doing."

The boardroom of Waterhouse's North Sydney office is an impressive space: there's a giant antique table, a cabinet full of trophies and a life-sized portrait of Bill Waterhouse, form guide folded under his arm, standing beneath the Harbour Bridge. Tom is explaining how he prices his odds when I spot, high up in the cabinet, Bill's original white leather tote bag.

"Do you want to see it?" Tom asks excitedly.

"Yes," I reply, imagining it to be full of interesting stuff: betting stubs, track programs, old pencils worn to the nub. But when Tom opens it up, it's empty. "Oh," I say, disappointed.

"It's basically just like a big purse," Tom says. "That's the way it worked." (Fairfax Media)

When the crowd funds a flop, what next? - 29th May 2012

Backers of high-tech video glasses have had enough of waiting for their crowdfunded returns.

Crowdfunding website Kickstarter was used to raise $US340,000 for a project to build a pair of HD-video recording glasses, but almost a year on, people who invested in the project have not received their products and the project creators have seemingly disappeared.

Kickstarter has denied responsibility for a growing number of apparently failed crowdfunding projects, but donors who claim to have been ripped-off are fighting back.

Crowdfunding is a way for individuals to make their dreams a reality, as touted by websites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo which provide the social media tools to tap friends, family, and their extended networks for the capital needed to build a product.

In the embryonic stages the quirkier ideas garner media attention and are oversubscribed, often raising more money than initially requested.

While the success stories are well-documented, there is a growing list of stillborn projects where money has been collected by the project owner (95 per cent) and by Kickstarter (five per cent) but donors haven't received their promised returns.

The websites stress the responsibility rests with the project owner and the donor - they shy away from calling them "investors" as this would attract different regulatory compliance - but some frustrated donors are taking action.

The ZionEyez project trajectory is typical other Kickstarter consumer tech product success stories, but so far it doesn't feature the same happy ending.

The four founders asked for $US55,000 to build Eyez, a pair of glasses that could record HD video. After extensive media coverage (including by Engadget, Mashable, Forbes and Rolling Stone) it raised $US343,415 from 2106 backers when the funding round closed on July 31.

Since then the founders have missed the original delivery deadline of the northern "Winter 2011" and donors' growing concerns over product delivery are not being directly addressed.

There are more than 850 comments on the project page, some asking for a class action, and including one donor's correspondence with ZionEyez.

"Thanks for reaching out to us. We will be releasing another engineering update for our KS Backers in the near future. Thanks for your patience and support!"

Bill Walker was one of the donors who committed the $US150 required to secure a pair of the glasses.
In an attempt to claw back the donations he built the site zionkick.com to organise legal action against the founders of the ZionEyez project.

They must provide a reasonable time for the product to be delivered, he said.

"At the present time we (interested backers) are playing the waiting game," Walker wrote via email. "We have to give them a period of time in which to perform before filing fraud charges. When a period of time elapses that would satisfy the legal eagles...then we attack. Until then we bide our time."
"Their attorney CEO knows the heat is on so he might be insisting they produce something, even if it's on the level of the $US59.95 products currently on the market. Produce anything that will satisfy the spirit of what they said they were going to produce.

"In the meantime Kickstarter takes their 5 per cent and insists the backer is totally responsible for vetting the money grubbers."

Kickstarter did not respond to specific questions about whether it would intervene in the ZionEyez project, and pointed to their frequently asked questions (FAQ) page which says the creator is responsible for fulfilling a project's promise.

"Kickstarter doesn't issue refunds since transactions are between backers and creators, but we're prepared to work with backers as well as law enforcement in the prosecution of any fraudulent activity. Scammers are bad news for everyone, and we'll defend the goodwill of our community."
ZionEyez did not respond to requests for comment.

Crowdfunding projects fall outside the general consumer protections afforded by the Australian Consumer Law and NSW Fair Trading's jurisdiction, according to a Fair Trading spokesperson.

This is because the project is not a form of business trading, and a consumer-supplier relationship does not exist. The risk is amplified when dealing with international sites, the spokesperson said.
"Whenever dealing with an entity that is from outside Australia, consumers should be aware that should something go wrong, redress can be much more difficult to achieve than when the trader is domestically-based," the spokesperson said.

Donors do have some avenues for legal recourse but this could be expensive, according to Rouse Lawyers special counsel Kurt Falkenstein, who specialises in start-ups and has helped some raise money via crowdfunding.

The crowdfunding websites should take responsibility, he said.

"The principles of contract law still apply to crowdfunding – and if you misrepresent or falsify information that induces someone to enter a contract, you are liable – so the terms and conditions of the crowdfunding platform are vital," Falkenstein said.

"The hard thing with contract law is enforcement – are you going to go to court over tens or hundreds of dollars?

"Consumer law may apply where goods or services are promised but not delivered – you can't promise to provide something and not do it – but then you are relying on the ACCC.

"For me, if hundreds or thousands of people are ripped off, the platform should help those people band together and enforce their rights."

There is always a risk that these websites can be exploited, according to Alan Crabbe, co-founder of local crowdfunding website Pozible. He did not respond to a question whether the site had any undelivered projects.

There are safeguards against this, including filtering projects based on national/state investment laws, checking the project creator and holding photo ID, and tracking unusual activity on projects, he said.

Crowdfunding websites are not legally responsible for failed projects, according to StartSomeGood.com co-founder Tom Dawkins, but this does not mean they won't be judged in the court of public opinion.
The key is to curate the projects , he said, so the sites, project creators, and donors are ensured of the greatest chance of success.

"We don't believe we are legally or functionally responsible but, after the project concludes, we know people will hold us responsible anyway."

"We reject a lot of projects because they're too fantastic and unachievable. We try and make sure that we do feel proud of every project on our site, that we feel comfortable and stand by it."

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bwin.party to pay Spanish back-tax in licence bid; Bwin.Party Extends Live Casino Provider Contract...


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Bwin.party digital (BPTY.L), the world's largest listed online gaming company, said it would pay 26.56 british pounds ($42 million) in back-taxes to the Spanish government as it vies for a licence to offer online gambling in the country.

The company, formed by the merger of Austria's Bwin and PartyGaming last year, said it had been informed that online operators with customers in Spain had to pay back-taxes under two historic laws that were previously not applied to offshore online gaming.

These laws, one dating from 1966 and the other from 1977, were historically applied to operators based in Spain carrying out offline gaming activities and to certain kinds of bets.

Bwin said it had completed a tax self-assessment in accordance with the Spanish Tax Authority's requirements, and was making a payment of 25.6 million euros, plus surcharges and interest of up to 8 million euros.

"Having taken these steps, we believe we have now fulfilled all requirements and look forward to receiving our licence and entering the Spanish market," the Gibraltar-based company said in a statement on Monday.

Separately, another British online gaming firm Sportingbet Plc (SBT.L) said it was in talks with the Spanish Ministry of Finance about a potential outstanding tax liability covering its operations in the country from January 2009 to May 2011.

Earlier this year, Sportingbet - which has more than 2 million customers in 30 markets - had said it had met with the Spanish gaming regulator and expects to be granted a licence by May.

Bwin.Party Extends Live Casino Provider Contract...

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment has extended its existing live casino contract with Evolution Gaming, which will see the latter remain on as Bwin's exclusive live casino provider.

The deal will ensure that Evolution Gaming supplies all Bwin.Party's brands for a period of three years. Solutions will be delivered worldwide to .com domains and localised domains according to countries.

According to the Group Director of Casino and Games at Bwin.Party, Daniel Better: "Live Casino is a key part of our product offering for regulated markets. The Evolution solution gives Bwin.Party the highest levels of flexibility in terms of branding and tailoring the service to the needs of local operators, players and regulators."

Adding his comments to Bwin.Party extending its Live Casino contract was the Chief Executive Officer of Evolution Gaming, Jens von Bahr, who said: "This contract extension demonstrates that Bwin.Party is confident our Live Casino solutions can provide the continual flexibility and growth options they need to create world class localised offerings for many other markets too."

Evolution Gaming Takes Bwin Live in Italy

Recently, Bwin.Party launched in Italy through its partnership with Evolution Gaming, which will bring live casino games to Italian players.

The new platform allows access to Venezia Rouletta and Ventuno Blackjack, two popular live casino brands, which have players enjoy the convenience of online gambling and the personal touch of professional, Italian speaking dealers live-streamed in real time.

"Bwin enjoys an extremely strong brand presence in Italy," said the Southern European Director for Bwin.Party, Paolo di Feo. "The Evolution Live Casino platform was the natural choice for Bwin as it gives us the opportunity to further strengthen our brand in this local market with dedicated tables and native speaking dealers from day one."

Evolution's Italian CEO, Gionata La Tore said that as the first Live Casino approved by the Italian gambling authority AAMS, Evolution continues to lead the local market. "We are now delighted to have been selected by yet another key global brand, and to be able to offer Bwin the flexibility of branding and service they desire," he said.

New Bwin Euroloeague Basketball iPad App

Bwin also made news with the launch of a brand new iPad app, which it launched in association with Euroleague Basketball.

The app brings "something genuinely new and valuable" to thousands of Euroleague fans, according to Roser Queralto, speaking for Euroleague.

Bwin.Party Sales Up...

Bwin.party digital, the world's largest listed online gaming company, said first-quarter revenue edged up and that it expects to be offered a licence to offer online gambling in Germany soon.

The company, which was formed by the merger of Austria's Bwin and PartyGaming last year, on Wednesday said revenue rose 1 percent to 215.9 million euros ($275.8 million) in the three months to the end of March as growth in casino and gaming offset weakness at its poker and bingo businesses. It added that April trade was in line with last year.

The Gibraltar-based firm said it expects to be offered a licence to offer online gambling in Germany from the state of Schleswig Holstein.

The northern state, whose centre-right coalition government voted in favour of relaxing its gambling laws in September, said last week that it had awarded three licences valid to 2018 - one to Britain's Betfair for sports betting, one to Germany's Jaxx AG and one to the state lottery.

"Whilst the political situation remains unclear, we expect more licences to be issued by Schleswig-Holstein shortly and that we will also receive a licence," Bwin.party said.

In Spain, where the licensing process has been delayed following the change of government, operators have now been told to expect licences to be issued from the beginning of June 2012, it said.

Bwin.party last week prepared the ground for a possible relaxation of U.S. internet betting laws by signing a deal with a Native American tribe which operates gambling in California.

The company said the amounts wagered in sports betting rose 11 percent in the quarter to 1.08 billion euros but that margins were down on last year which was particularly strong.

"With the imminent launch of our download casino product on the bwin platform, the Euro 2012 football tournament starting next month and the integration of our poker liquidity in the second half, we remain confident about the group's full year prospects," the company said in a statement.

Gaming software group Playtech On Wednesday said the strong performance experienced in the first quarter had continued in the six weeks since the end of March.

World's biggest gambling nations...

The world's biggest gambling nations include plenty of unlikely candidates.

Mention gambling and glitzy images of Las Vegas come to mind. But you'll be surprised to know Americans are not the world's biggest gamblers. In fact, the world's biggest gambling nations include plenty of unlikely candidates.

The rankings are based on data from H2 Gambling Capital, a consultancy based in London. They take into account average gaming losses (the amount bet and never recovered) in a year divided by the adult population in over 200 countries. The numbers include money lost on all types of betting including horse racing, poker machines, lotteries and casinos during 2010.

Read on to find out the countries with the biggest losers and the boldest gamblers.

10. Spain

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $389

Gaming was legalised in Spain in only 1977 and gambling of pure chance (slot machines) was legalised in 1981. Spaniards love to bet on everything from football to cards to the lottery.

Spain's Christmas lottery called "El Gordo", or the Fat One, is the only lottery draw in the world to award more than $1 billion in prizes. Last year, an estimated four in five Spaniards bought this lottery ticket, even at a price tag of 200 euros.

Lottery-crazy Spaniards helped Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, the organiser of the draw, to earn just under 10 billion euros in revenue last year.

Faced with a mounting fiscal deficit, the Spanish government plans to sell 30 percent of the company and raise up to 7.5 billion euros in the second half of 2011.

9. Greece

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $391

Greece boasts of one of the most legendary gamblers of all times - Nicholas "Nick the Greek" Dandolos. He died almost penniless at the age of 83 in 1966, having lost all his winnings, which were estimated to be worth almost US$500 million in 2009 in inflation-adjusted terms.

Lotteries are among Greeks' favorite ways to gamble. In 2010, the "Joker" lottery accumulated a record jackpot of 19 million euros.

The country is also home to Europe's biggest gambling company, OPAP, which has a market cap of about 4.1 billion euros. Its privatisation, to be finalized by 2012, could help the government pay off some of its debts.

8. Norway

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $416

Lotto, scratch cards, slot machines and football bets are Norwegians' favored ways to gamble. In a survey carried out by the government in 2008, 88 percent Norwegians confessed to being lifetime gamblers. It also found that gambling addictions occurred most frequently among young men who had previously played on gaming machines.

That's despite the fact that the country has made efforts to make gambling less accessible - reducing the number of slot machines in the country to 10,000 from 22,700 machines in July 2007.

That hasn't slowed Norwegians love for betting and many gamblers have turned to playing poker online forcing the government to threaten blocking or filtering online gambling operations.

The state-owned gaming company, Norsk Tipping falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs - and posted revenues last year of A$1.9 billion.

7. Hong Kong

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $468

Casinos are outlawed in Hong Kong, but the world's biggest gambling center, Macau is just an hour's boat ride away, and in the first-quarter of 2011, half a million Hong Kongers visited Macau.

Within Hong Kong, horse racing, lotteries and soccer betting are the only forms of gambling allowed. Little wonder, The Hong Kong Jockey Club is a major draw and a cultural fixation in the territory. The club hosts some 700 races a year and earned A$2.5 billion in betting and lottery revenue in 2010.

The people of Hong Kong are famous for their gambling habits. According to a medical research carried out by the University of Calgary, an estimated one in 20 Hong Kongers have a gambling disorder.

Another survey by Hong Kong-based Caritas Addicted Gamblers Counseling Centre found that of the 1,040 students interviewed, more than half were introduced to gaming by their parents. And 41 percent said they started as young as age 6.

6. Italy

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $481

Italians' favorite gambling activity is to play electronic gaming machines such as slots. According to a 2010 study conducted by strategy and business advisory firm MAG Consulenti Associati, electronic gaming machines generated nearly half of Italy's total gaming revenues in the first half of 2010. During just that six-month period, gaming revenues totaled A$20.4 billion in the country.

Italy is also credited with inventing the popular game Baccarat, and for opening the world's first government-sanctioned casino in Europe back in 1638, called "The Ridotto" in Venice.

The Venetian government finally shut the casino's doors in 1774 in an effort to preserve the city's "piety, sound discipline and moderate behavior".

5. Finland

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $514

Forty-one percent of adult Finns gamble every week, according to a study by Finland's Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in 2007. The minimum age for playing on a slot machine has just been raised to 18 in July 2011, from just 15 previously.

But that's not the only quirk when it comes to Finland and gambling. The country's national lottery company, Veikkaus is entirely owned by the government and is actually run by the ministry of education. Most of the profits of the company are allocated to education, arts and culture.

The Paf Group of Finland, which runs an Internet gambling company, has an interesting "pay back" scheme for loyal customers. If you have spend at least 120 euros ($159.55) on its site and are certified by a medical professional to be suffering from a gambling addiction, you are entitled to a maximum of 10 therapy sessions, worth up to 2,300 euros ($3,057).

4. Canada

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $528

Over 75 percent of adult Canadians gambled on some form or the other, last year. The biggest gamblers come from the potash-rich province of Saskatchewan, which has an average gambling revenue per person (aged 18 and above) of $783, against a national average of $490.

The most common gambling activities in Canada are lotteries and Scratch and Win cards.

Canadians' love for lotteries runs deep, so much so, that the government has set up a national initiative to raise awareness that lottery tickets are inappropriate gifts for minors. This came after criticism of parents who often included a lottery ticket their children's Christmas stockings.

3. Ireland

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $547

Ireland's casino industry is currently entirely unregulated because the country is governed by an outdated Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956. The law allows only bona fide members' club to provide casino services.

Under the Act bets on a gaming machine cannot exceed 6 pence while prizes are capped at 10 shillings. No wonder, the law cannot be enforced as the Irish pound has not been legal tender since 1999 and the country is now trying to enact new legislation.

The Irish government has just given the green light to build a Las Vegas-style sports and leisure complex in Tipperary at an estimated cost of 460 million euros ($668 million).

To be completed in three years, the venue will house a hotel, a casino, an all-weather racecourse, a greyhound track, a golf course and even a full-size replica of the White House, which will be used as a banquet facility.

2. Singapore

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $1,093

Singapore opened its first casino a little over a year ago but it's already the world's third largest-gaming center after Macau and Las Vegas and it's set to overtake Vegas this year.

The decision to allow casinos to be built in the city-state has created plenty of worries that Singaporeans may end up getting hooked to gambling. The government has tried to discourage local gamblers by imposing an entry fee of S$100 ($80.50) for citizens who want to enter a casino.

Authorities have also implemented a "Family Exclusion Order," that allows a family to ban relatives from visiting casinos.

But the measures have done little to dampen enthusiasm for gambling. Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, has forecast that Singapore's gaming revenue could hit A$5.9 billion in 2011, outpacing Las Vegas, which earned A$5.3 billion in 2010.

1. Australia

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $1,199

You know a nation is crazy about gambling when a gaming company offers people a chance to bet on whether the central bank will raise interest rates or not.

Besides that, Australia is the only place in the world that allows online wagering on sport but prevents gamblers from using the internet to place bets during live games. But that may soon change as the government has agreed to review laws following intensive lobbying from the country's major sports bodies.

Slot machines - known locally as pokies - are by far Australia's favorite game, with an estimated 75-80 percent of problem gamblers hooked on them, according to the country's Productivity Commission.

New South Wales, with 100,000 poker machines accounts for half of the nation's total number of poker machines. According to the state's Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, 935 gamblers registered themselves to be banned from casinos between 2006-2010, but were caught 1,249 times for breaching their own ban.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Racing News Media: News Report


PartyCasino Wins Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month'

What the media has said about wrestling over the years

The Avengers, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Games, Spider-Man, WWE, Paramount Pictures, Celebrity

The Star Turns It On; Tonight in Sin City Sydney, Australia

Jury retires in Hudson family killings case

Travolta lawyer blasts second masseur sex lawsuit

Avengers sequel in the works

Johnny Depp promotes new movie in Japan

James Packer has lost 25kg since undergoing gastric bypass

Brooks discussed phone hacking with British PM

1st Fleet owner flee's country

Hulk Hogan: still runnin' wild

Now North Tce is on the revamp list

John Cena to Appear in Nickelodeon Film; Top 3 Movie Cameos by Wrestlers

Fleet's owner Stephen Brown leaves for US

Australian films prepare to storm Cannes Film Festival 2012

Police jitters over the 'glamorising' of bikies

Sacha Baron Cohen drops out of Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'

The List: Facts about the Incredible Hulk

MARVEL Expands comiXology Partnership

Disney CEO Bob Iger realizes $26.6-million pre-tax gain from stock sale

'The Avengers' Will Cross $300 Mil Mark in U.S. Today

'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' of Wrestling?

'Django Unchained' Cursed? Fourth Star Drops Out of Quentin Tarantino Western

Beyoncé, Jay-Z 'moving to London'

The History of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan

Jerry Lawler Reveals Which Celebrity Should Be In The WWE Hall Of Fame

The Avengers, Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Games, Spider-Man, WWE, Paramount Pictures, Gaming, UFC

The Billionaire Brands

PartyPoker And PartyCasino Owner bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plans Return to US Market

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Media Man Network accepting approved advertisers and campaigns


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The Media Man Network is currently accepting approved advertisers and campaigns - both online and traditional campaigns.

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

They were established in 2001 and are a multi-time award winner.

Ranked in the Hitwise Australia top ten (entertainment - personalities category), Google 'Best Of The Web', and AllExperts (TV and Radio).

Campaign portfolio includes WWE, UFC, Messages On Hold, Human Statue Bodyart, PartyCasino, Virgin Games, Marvel Entertainment, Aston Martin, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, PlatinumHD, Ric Drasin, Eva Rinaldi Photography, Music News Australia, Richard Bradley Productions, Gizzi's Cafe, Frank Sinatra Enterprises, Palazzo Versace, IGT and Endemol.

The Media Man website network currently attracts approximately 5 million hits per month.

Media Man is regularly quoted in mainstream media including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Daily Telegraph, B&T, The New York Times blog, Gambling911, Street Corner and News Limited blog websites.

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Saturday, April 07, 2012

Gai Waterhouse-trained Pierro Wins $3.5 million Golden Slipper: Rosehill, Sydney; Celebs Marquee


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The top line race and racing festival is about big business, money, bums on seats, sports betting, celebrities and milking the news media machine.

Pierro, trained by Gai Waterhouse, has won the $3.5 million Golden Slipper at Rosehill.

"Gai Waterhouse said six months ago this horse was going to win the Golden Slipper," winning jockey Nash Rawiller said.

"(At the time) I shook my head and walked away. She's a genius."

Gai said Pierro would take out the Golden Slipper after the colt made a winning debut in the Breeders' Plate at Randwick Racecourse in October.

Rawiller had Pierro positioned behind the leader Snitzerland and the colt never went around a runner before claiming the world's richest race for two-year-olds.

"Today I ended up getting a perfect run," Rawiller said.

"I knew if he got a trouble-free run he would be hard to beat."

Waterhouse, who saddled up five runners in the race, has now claimed Sydney's signature thoroughbred race four times.

"He just wore the filly down ... it was really exciting," Waterhouse said.

Snitzerland gave everything in defeat after taking up the running as the field settled.

She was being hailed the winner until Pierro, a son of former champion racehorse and now leading sire Lonhro, emerged with his run.

Melbourne filly Samaready, who started favourite, took third placing after covering ground.

Pierro is now unbeaten in four starts.


Manighar has led home a trifecta for imported stayers with victory in the $2.25 million BMW.

Making it three Group One weight-for-age wins under the care of new trainer Peter Moody, Manighar defeated fellow northern hemisphere imports Americain and Drunken Sailor in the 2400m feature.

"He just loves it here," part-owner Simon O'Donnell said.

"He might have been born and bred in France but he's a fully-fledged Aussie as far as I'm concerned."

Jockey Luke Nolen had Manighar racing outside the leader Fiumicino.

Nolen took the six-year-old to front as the field straightened and the result was never in doubt.

Americain gave his all after being forced to race three-wide for the entire trip.

The 2010 Melbourne Cup winner was under pressure at the 400m but rallied strongly in the final stretch.

Drunken Sailor, raced in the same interests as Manighar, took the minor placing.

Manighar and Drunken Sailor were trained by English conditioner Luca Cumani before finding their way into the stables of Moody and Mike Moroney respectively.

"It's been quite a feat," Nolen said of Manighar's run of form which has also included Group One wins in the Australian Cup and Ranvet Stakes.

"Pete's a marvellous trainer but I think we've been given a true indication of his abilities with what he has been able to do with this horse."


Metal Bender upstaged a star-studded field to win the $400,000 George Ryder Stakes.

Aided by a precise ride from Michael Rodd, Metal Bender defeated Victorian galloper Rekindled Interest in a blanket finish involving five runners.

"The only place I wanted to go was along the fence. I could see everything opening up in front of me," Rodd said.

"All I could see was green lights everywhere I went."

In a race which changed complexion over the final 100 metres, Metal Bender's head bobbed at the right time to give trainer Chris Waller a Golden Slipper day Group One.

"Full credit has to go to Chris Waller," Rodd said.

"He always gets these horses to back up and run well and he did it again today."

Two-time Group One winner Secret Admirer finished third, just ahead of New Zealand star King Mufhasa, showing she is on target for the Doncaster Mile.


Glamour mare More Joyous has continued her march towards the Doncaster Mile with an emphatic win in the $400,000 Queen Of The Turf Stakes.

Making it two wins in as many autumn starts, More Joyous made a one-act affair of the Group One race for fillies and mares.

She worked forward from a wide draw to sit outside the leader Red Tracer before jockey Nash Rawiller took a trail on King's Rose in the middle stages.

Rawiller was then able to bide his time until he presented More Joyous three-wide at the top of the straight.

The multiple Group One winner quickly had her rivals covered, establishing a lead at the 200m before drawing away.

Miss Keepsafe closed late to finish second with King's Rose holding on for third.

"I've got a lot of confidence in her ... why wouldn't I," Rawiller said.

"That was her 17th win in 24 starts ... gee she's got a motor.

"She's an absolute pleasure to ride."

Trainer Gai Waterhouse was typically upbeat about More Joyous's chances in the $2 million Doncaster Mile, run at the mare's home track of Randwick in two weeks.

"She is so well weighted she should win it," Waterhouse said.

More Joyous was a victim of a rain-affected track in last year's Doncaster when she finished 11th of 17 runners as favourite.


Other than Gai Waterhourse, Myer face Jennifer Hawkins showed and posed for a few photos, and performing artist Jessica Mauboy showed and performed for crowd patrons who were prepared to pay with an additional $70 or so for a fun day at the races. We suspect many would have put that kind of money on an extra bet or two on their favourite four legged friends.


The weather was beautiful and sunny. Main recommendation for future events is to provide lots more nearby car parking for hard working news media and members of the public.


A good day at the races, and with some fine tuning in making the event more public and news media friendly next year the event might almost become perfect. Racing NSW wants to bring back the masses to attend live racing, however they need to go the extra mile, as everyone is competing for the entertainment dollar, and lets face it - there's plenty more entertainment options in town - especially at the moment, and many more more affordable.


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Manighar Wins BMW At Rosehill Races; Sydney's Golden Slipper Day


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Manighar has led home a trifecta for imported stayers with victory in the $2.25 million BMW at Rosehill on Saturday.

Making it three Group One weight-for-age wins under the care of new trainer Peter Moody, Manighar defeated fellow northern hemisphere imports Americain and Drunken Sailor in the 2400m feature.

"He just loves it here," part-owner Simon O'Donnell said.

"He might have been born and bred in France but he's a fully-fledged Aussie as far as I'm concerned."

Popular jockey Luke Nolen had Manighar racing outside the leader Fiumicino.

Nolen took the six-year-old to front as the field straightened and the result was never in doubt.

Americain gave his all after being forced to race three-wide for the entire trip.

The 2010 Melbourne Cup winner was under pressure at the 400m but rallied strongly in the final stretch.

Drunken Sailor, raced in the same interests as Manighar, took the minor placing.

Manighar and Drunken Sailor were trained by English conditioner Luca Cumani before finding their way into the stables of Moody and Mike Moroney respectively.

"It's been quite a feat," Nolen said of Manighar's run of form which has also included Group One wins in the Australian Cup and Ranvet Stakes.

"Pete's a marvellous trainer but I think we've been given a true indication of his abilities with what he has been able to do with this horse."

Punters, here's to a great day or racing and stay tuned for more reports from the track.


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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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Monday, February 06, 2012


Media Release
Sunday, 5 February, 2012
For immediate release

Stratum youngster Bush Aviator made the best possible start to his racetrack career with a comprehensive win in today's $100,000 listed Elwick Stakes (1100m) at Hobart.

Sent down to the Apple Isle by Danny O'Brien for his track debut, Bush Aviator sat on the speed throughout and accelerated nicely when asked by Jamie Mott to win handsomely.

A $2 favourite with the satchel swingers, Bush Aviator finished full of running - drawing clear of the early avourite Testa Gee Gee to win by a widening two and a quarter length margin.

Western Hero was third, a further three and a quarter lengths back, while the well fancied local Kenjorwood did his best work late after missing the start.

Bush Aviator was yet to trial in public and was scratched when accepted last October for the Debutants Stakes - won by Blue Diamond fancy Jimando.

And the exciting youngster could well have his next run in Melbourne's premier juvenile race - the $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes - he holds an entry and is now into $41 with bookies.

The colt, a stunning chestnut, is raced by Alan and Jennifer Acton from Rockhampton after they purchased him for $140,000 at last year's Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

The youngster was a member of the Widden Stud draft and with today's win he pocketed connections a cool $60,000.

Bush Aviator is by the former outstanding Magic Millions graduate and Golden Slipper winner Stratum and is now the sire of 10 individual stakes winners.

His dam, the Geiger Counter mare Sister Patricia, was an outstanding racemare in Perth having won eight races and earned almost $400,000.

She won a Group Three RJ Peters Stakes and listed Boulder Cup at Kalgoorlie and was second in a Group One Railway Stakes.

Winner: Bush Aviator
Breeding: Stratum-Sister Patricia (Geiger Counter)
Race: TRC Elwick Stakes LR (1100m)
Sold for: $140,000
Sale: 2011 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale
Vendor: Widden Stud (As Agent)
Buyer: Alan Acton
Earnings: $60,000
Owner(s): Mr AJ & Mrs JC Acton
Trainer: Danny O'Brien (Flemington)

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Monday, January 09, 2012

bwin.party enters Danish market; PartyCasino Big Cash Hunt and Top Floor promotions - 4th January 2012


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The world’s largest listed online gambling operator, bwin.party Digital Entertainment, has launched online poker and casino games in Denmark for Danske Licens Spil, a wholly-owned subsidiary of state monopoly Danske Spil that posted a turnover of $1.8 billion in 2010.

“Building on our recent announcement regarding deals with both MGM and Boyd in the US market, this is another important milestone in the execution of our stated strategy that is focused on securing leadership positions in regulated and to-be-regulated markets,” read a statement attributed to Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, Co-Chief Executive Officers for bwin.party.

“We are delighted that Danske Licens Spil has recognised our expertise and high standards of business practice and we look forward to building a market-leading customer offer for the Danish consumer.”

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Media Release
Wednesday, 23 November, 2011
For immediate release

January's Magic Millions National Racehorse Sale was boosted in Brisbane on Saturday when in form stayer Rundle continued his outstanding run for new connections.

Purchased from the Williams family's Hudson Conway draft at the National Racehorse Sale in June for $40,000, Rundle made it three city wins from his past four starts with his latest success.

The lightly raced son of Galileo will have one more run for new trainer Kelly Purdy before heading for a break.

"I'm lucky to get a nice horse like him so early in my training career," Purdy told AAP.

"He's been racing very well but he's even better on wet tracks."

"After he runs in two weeks I'll probably put him away and get him ready for the Brisbane Cup."

"Then if all goes to plan I'll take him away for the spring and hopefully get him into the Melbourne Cup."

"It's a dream but hopefully it will come true," she added.

Sent out the red hot favourite in Saturday's race at $1.40, Rundle cruised home two lengths clear of his nearest rival Racing Heart.

Since being purchased for $40,000 in June, Rundle has earned his new connections over $100,000 - and that's from just six starts.

Rundle joins a growing list of top value purchases from recent Magic Millions National Racehorse Sales - particularly from the Hudson Conway drafts.

Proven subsequent city winners including Hume, Module, Strumming and Hampden were all sold at the Gold Coast for excellent value prices.

The Williams family have indicated they will again be supporting this Racehorse Sale in January with quality gallopers.

Recent Ballina Cup winner Joe Blow and Ipswich Cup Day winner Glow Heart are other bargain buys to have emerged from recent sales.

North Queensland star Mazuka and this week's winner Reprobate are two more shining examples of Racehorse Sale success stories from the Gold Coast.

Entries for the 2012 National Racehorse Sale, to be held following session six of the Gold Coast Yearling Sale on January 17, close on December 9.

Monday, November 21, 2011

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Casino in Adelaide, South Australia, refuses to pay punter $105,000 jackpot - 20th November 2011


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An Adelaide pensioner punter is embroiled in a bitter feud with the Adelaide Casino over a $105,000 jackpot she won playing the slots.

The casino has refused to pay 75-year-old Cecelia Cubillo the money because she won it after playing a $1 credit on a gaming machine that was not being used. After admitting she won the $105,731.75 jackpot using the $1 credit on the abandoned "Fort Knox" machine, casino security staff accused Ms Cubillo of being a thief, describing her actions in playing the abandoned credit as "theft by finding".

A week later, though, the casino gave her a $250 food and drink voucher as a goodwill gesture. Ms Cubillo, an Aboriginal elder who has two university degrees and worked for ATSIC in Canberra and Adelaide before she retired, has lodged a complaint with Liquor and Gambling Commissioner Paul White, who has launched an investigation.

A senior Government legal source leaked that the investigation has raised a legal question concerning the ownership of abandoned credits on gaming machines and the consequences of those credits being played.

As a result, Mr White has conducted a formal review of the case and has now requested a legal opinion from Crown Solicitor Greg Parker.

Ms Cubillo arrived in Adelaide in 1974 with her five girls after being evacuated from Darwin following Cyclone Tracy. Her mother, noted elder Hilda Jarman Muir, was one of the Stolen Generation who took their case to the High Court in 1995.

When contacted by the press Ms Cubillo said she went to the casino - which has recently won the Major Tourist Attraction category in the SA Tourism Awards - on May 6 last year after visiting friends.

She does not drink or smoke and said she enjoyed playing the pokies "every few weeks or so when I have a few spare dollars". "To me, it was just fun, an outlet," Ms Cubillo said. "I like the bright lights of the casino."

Ms Cubillo said on the May 6 visit she had only $7 with her. She played several machines before moving to the "Fort Knox" machine. She noticed there was a single $1 credit on the machine and to clear it, had played the credit.

"That is when all the lights and noises started on the machine and the jackpot came up," she said.

After speaking to an attendant, she was told a cheque would be arranged - but then the casino's gaming operations manager and security guard became involved.

Ms Cubillo admitted she had played a credit that was already on the machine. Surveillance videos showed a man had been playing the machine.

Ms Cubillo said she was shocked when a female security guard then accused her of being "a thief" and said she would not be paid the jackpot.

"She told me it was theft by finding and I started to get scared that the police would be called and take me away," she said.

"It was very intimidating and overwhelming. I was scared that they would come and arrest me.
"I didn't steal anything, I didn't do anything other than play the credit on the machine and they accused me of theft."

Ms Cubillo said after being confronted and interviewed by security staff and a manager, she had left feeling "bewildered, intimidated and overwhelmed".

She returned to the casino a week later, accompanied by her daughter, and met gaming machine operations manager Frank Edwards.

She was again told the jackpot would not be paid and was given a $250 voucher for food and drinks.

"If I was not entitled to anything, why did they give me the $250 voucher?," she said.

"I have not used it and I will never go back to the casino."

Ms Cubillo has engaged an advocate, who is pursuing the matter.

"My parents brought me up with solid values and taught me principles, values and beliefs," she said.

"I am not a thief. I have never had a parking ticket in my life."

"I have worked hard in life to get the best for my children and I am not a dishonest person. I have done nothing wrong at all."

In a statement to the Sunday Mail on Friday, Adelaide Casino general manager David Christian said the casino "operates in a highly regulated and controlled environment".

"The statutory scheme prohibits customers stealing credits left on gaming machines," he said.

"At all times, Adelaide Casino followed its legal requirement, to the letter, and was therefore required to deny Ms Cubillo the jackpot.

"The entire amount of this jackpot was reseeded into the jackpot pool and was then legitimately won by a customer a week later."

Punters, know the odds, know your game, and know your casino.

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