Australian Gambling and Politics: Cat And Mouse Games

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:
Feb/10/2011

G'day everyone. It's another huge week for gambling, gaming and sports betting news in Australia, with the usual strong dose of political fun and gaming. We're got the The Western Australia Opposition asking gambling and media billionaire James Packer to help pay for a Perth Sports Stadium if it is to be built close by to his Burswood Casino, pokie lovers vs haters, and even the Aristocrat (yep, gaming firm) awards. Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com and Gambling911 with your Aussie round up you have grown to love. Grab a few beers and tell your mates...

James Packer Asked To Pay For Perth Sports Stadium...

Western Australia is poised to get a new sport stadium, and guess who has been asked to help finance it, James Packer. We guess the world got out that's his a billionaire, and now "only" Australia' 3rd richest person. A government-funded stadium taskforce determined that the least expensive option would be to develop at Kitchener Park, right next door to iconic Subiaco Oval. It found that building a sports stadium on state-owned land at Burswood would cost an additional $300 million. Ripper (not Rip Off)...just having fun readers, says the casino owner James Packer should be requested to assist in proving the funds needed. "I would be horrified if we spent a single dollar more than we need to spend on the stadium, I'd be particularly horrified if it was $300 million more of our dollars that was spent in a wasteful fashion," he said. Ripper reckons Packer would make a lot of money if the stadium was built next to the casino. "That would be a huge advantage to the casino, of course, because the 60,000 people attending a football match if it was a great football match would then flow on over to the casino. So, if the Government wants to build it there or if the casino wants it there, then the Government should be asking the casino to cough up that $300 million extra." An official survey is yet to be held on the mater, but punters, please throw us your 2 cents worth in the forum

Bushfires Hit Perth On Black Sunday; Spoil Fun For Gambling Grandmother...

Residents have been forced to flee with little more than just the clothes on their backs as a flaming "war zone" attacked on their homes in the south-eastern Perth suburb of Roleystone this past Sunday. In a smart move an evacuation centre has been constructed at the Armadale Arena, where about 1000 concerned residents gathered for a community get together at 10.30am to catch up with the latest news on the bushfire. As the stream of people started arriving at the centre, Department of Child Protection support worker Lauren Lawrence advised tension was starting to build. Some residents were treated for anxiety, stress and grief. During the meet up, residents were divided up into 3 groups and told which addresses in the 59 homes had been destroyed. Several broke down upon hearing the news. In a casino twist, a great-grandmother who was at Burswood Casino got a telephone call from one of her neighbours telling her to get home. It was time to stop the gaming and entertainment vibe at Packer's casino. She did her best to fight off the fire with a hose before police aka 'The Boys In Blue' arrived and told her to get out of town, well, get out of harms way, you know what we're saying. "The flames that were coming through, it was just like being in a sauna," an emotional Mrs Parker said. She said she thought she had lost everything except her 50-year-old pet galah, Charlie. Included among her loss were photos of her husband, who passed away last year. "I've got nothing... but at least I'm alive." We commend the brave men and women who have helped fight off the fire and those who are assisting in the cleanup. The tragic event follows a string of nature disasters and unusual weather conditions to to hit down under in recent months including floods in Queensland and Victoria, a Northern Queensland cyclone and 3 days of heatwave conditions in 'Sin City' Sydney averaging 40 degrees. The question begs, where will Mother Nature strike next in Australia. Mother Nature, not a bad name for a casino game we think, and would be right at home with former Media Man 'Online Slot Game Of The Month' Goanna Gold. Captain Cooks offers Aussie style 'Bush Telegraph', but officially its the South African nature and wildlife featured. Readers may like to also check out the Fire Hawk game, found at a few online casinos including those by PartyGaming. It remains to been seen if any Australian based gaming or casino companies will donate to the relief effort. Crown Limited has previously teamed up with well respected charity - The Salvation Army, to help ease the pain when Mother Nature got the better of Aussies. We wish our Western Australian friends well as they put their lives back together again. As we remind the readership from time to time, keep your head above water, and always bet with your head, not over it.

Aristocrat Entertainer of the Year Via Tamworth Country Music Festival Won By Melody Feder...

Talented singer-songwriter Melody Feder has beaten Australia’s top country music talent to win Aristocrat Entertainer of the Year at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Aristocrat, the gambling machine maker, has the major naming rights for the award as you can gather. Feder, 22, won the coveted title by beating 60 other emerging stars at last month’s festival. She impressing judges, including country music star Beccy Cole, with her impressive performance in the lead up, the Vista resident wowed the crowd in the grand final to take home the prize. Even Keith Urban has taken part in the competition in previous years. "It was amazing. I never really expected to win, so it was a huge shock, but it’s definitely the highlight of my career so far.". The win completed a hectic year for Feder, who made the second stage of the TV talent series The X-Factor before being eliminated. Feder grew up in Dernancourt and studied music while at Mary MacKillop College, Kensington. She entered her first country music talent quest aged 12. "Dad always liked to play country music around the house, so it was a given that I was going to be a country singer," she said. Feder’s career took off two years ago when she taught herself to play guitar by studying online YouTube videos. Last month, she released her debut six-track EP, Dirt Roads and Diamonds. Well done to the latest Aristocrat Entertainer of the Year - just another way the gaming - entertainment business gives back to the larger entertainment and arts industry as a whole.

Australian Clubs Tell Off 'Greedy Government'...

Governments are greedy. Yeah, so what - tell us something we don't know! It's a crying shame but community based organisations have only enjoyed 1 very small rise in pokies funding but the Government snatched a whopping 282% gain over 15 years. Community groups are up in arms and have demanded more of the purse taking go into the fund bucked to be indexed, telling all and sundry they down between $200 million and $300 million since they were introduced. Not happy John! The funds are paid a set amount from poker machine revenue and from the hotels and licensed clubs. The funds in question are the Sport and Recreation Fund, the Charitable and Social Welfare Fund, the Community Benefit Fund and the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund, which get $31.3 million a year. Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund is correct. We we're told a bad joke about "If its not broken, don't fix it", but we will digress. The total is set down in legislation but is not indexed and has not been amended since circa 1996, apart from a generous $1 million increase in the sport fund in 2002. What about the gamblers we ask? Community groups are furious that they are still scratching the tins for money while most of the big bucks from pokies goes into the Treasury coffers where the bean counters delight in the numbers with lots of 0's after them... millions upon millions. We also learnt that tax take from 'one armed bandits' has grown from $108 million in circa 1995-96 to an estimated $305 mil in the current fin year... an increase of 282%. No wonder the government is being tight. Under the legislation, the Sport and Recreation Fund is paid roughly $3.5 million a year, the Charitable and Social Welfare Fund $4 million, the Gamblers Rehabilitation Fund $3.8 million and the Community Development Fund $20 million. The South Australia Council of Social Services raised the issue in its 2011-12 Budget submission saying without indexation, the real value of the contribution of the funds had declined by 22% over the past 5 years. "The lack of indexation has resulted in $20 million of gambling taxes not being paid into those funds," it says. SIDS and Kids SA state manager Colin Cameron said it was alarming the funds had not kept pace with gaming revenue increase. "While state revenue has almost tripled ... the increases to these funds for social benefit have not kept pace...increasing by only 30%" Cameron said. Greedy Government mmn? A Media Man street survey at Bondi Beach (sample 50 random people) concluded that 85% of the population believed that the Australian government was greedy, with 95% advising that Australia's state and federal government are "not to be trusted". Insiders, media and political analysts were not surprised in the results, but all were disappointed in the government not assisting community groups and charities as much as they could. Liberal is tipped to win the next Federal election and things are not looking much better for Labor on the state level either, with strong odd backing a Liberal win in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

Betfair Secure Naming Rights On Wentworth Park Gold Cup...

On the heels of the lucrative sponsorship agreement between leading Australian bookmaker Centrebet and the NSW GBOTA, the NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association have today announced that betting exchange Betfair will receive prominent signage and sponsorship of the Group 2 Wentworth Park Gold Cup. Betfair and NSW GBOTA officials will mark the start of the partnership on Saturday night, with the unveiling of feature signage and presentation to the winner of the Betfair Stakes. Association Chairman, Geoff Rose said the announcement of the Betfair agreement marked an exciting week in the GBOTA’s year, following other sponsorship deals concluded earlier in the week. "Betfair are a progressive wagering entity and we have great delight in welcoming them on board as the Group 2 Gold Cup sponsor," Rose said. NSW GBOTA Executive Officer, Brenton Scott, stated that the agreement cemented Betfair’s position as Wentworth Park’s betting exchange partner. "We are confident that the relationship with Betfair will complement those in place with other wagering operators," said Scott. "The wagering market place now irreversibly includes traditional TABs, corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges. Betfair’s Media and Communication Manager Hugh Taggart, believes the sponsorship agreement will only serve to increase the exposure of the outstanding greyhound product already on display in NSW. The deal follows the Centrebet - Penrith Panthers and Crown Casino deal and South Sydney Rabbitoh's - Star City front of jersey deal. Oh, some media commentators are questioning whether horse racing should even be called a sport, saying its little more than just another way for people to bet on the outcome of something. In the meantime TAB's 'Trackside' electronic horse racing games continues to enjoy good patronage, helping keep punters at a TAB branch, rather than at the racetrack.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett Not Seeing Eye To Eye With Fed Government...

Barnett let it be known to the government on Thursday he's pissed off, stating the national reforms could lead the way for poker machines to enter WA via the "back door." WA, with support from both major parties, has long banned "one armed bandits" from pubs and clubs, and Burswood Casino has them exclusively (unless other places have them on an illegal basis, so draw your own conclusions). The WA Premier said by exercising its constitutional powers to enforce the uniform legislation, the federal government was opening the way for major hoteliers to legally challenge the state's ban on pokies. But federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said Barnett was actually incorrect as state governments had the power to decide the number and location of pokies in their state and that would remain the case. "I have today written to Mr Barnett to explain that the Australian government's reforms are targeted at making poker machines safer for problem gamblers and will not impact on the number of poker machines in WA, or any other state or territory," Macklin said in a prepared statement. She said the premier would have known this if the WA government had participated in the Council of Australian Government (COAG) Select Council on gambling reform. "WA is the only state or territory that declined to participate in the COAG Select Council on Gambling Reform," Macklin said. "The invitation remains open and I strongly encourage Barnett and his government to attend the next meeting on February 25 to get the facts on the Australian government's gambling reforms." A Media Man insider whispered "Facts or truth"?, suggesting the Fed government is trying to back WA into a corner, as the cat and mouse game continues. Cat and mouse... should be the name of a slot game hey? Better than 'Perfect Mousetrap', once used to describe how shopping centres have been designed to trap the shoppers in there, so they spend as much money as possibly, with filling the centre with music to lure in shoppers. Some comparisons have been made between shopping centre "perfect mousetraps" to poker machine dens. Some pubs and hotels have also draw fire for having some kids "skill games" on site, as a way to lure in a younger audience and "groom" them to become gamblers, a 'Mr X' has publicly commented on in he past. Back to matters at hand the Federal Community Services Minister said the legal advice that stated the commonwealth had the constitutional powers to enforce national poker machine regulations through taxation and corporation law related only to certain areas. These included a pre-commitment system for gamblers and a $250 daily withdrawal limit for ATMs in all gambling venues except casinos. WA Labor senator Louise Pratt said Barnett was playing politics over the issue instead of helping problem gamblers. "The premier should be working with Canberra in a bipartisan way to help people affected and should stop playing politics on this issue. Had he been working with the commonwealth, he would have known that the reforms are focused on making poker machines safer for problem gamblers." The name calling and cat and mouse continues.

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

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

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

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