Australia Pokie and News Media Wars for January 14, 2011

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:

G'day punters, journos, high rollers, politicians, insiders, outsiders... one and all. The battle for your hearts, minds, wallets and purses continue as Australian gambling and media companies continue to pull out all the stops in order to achieve market domination, or is it world domination? There's something for everyone here, be it casino lovers, haters, media tarts or other. Media Man and Gambling911 with rip snorter of a news roundup for you from the land of Kangaroos, Koalas, convicts and all manner of critters...

Tennis Babe Transforms Into Casino Babe At Packer's Crown; Australian Media's Next Hot Yummie Mummy To Be?

Tennis babe Maria Sharapova commenced the Australian Open Tennis in red hot fashion 2 nights ago the world's hottest and sexiest players landed in Melbourne, home of Australia's original TV 'Underbelly'. The babe of the moment showed off a sparkling engagement ring and smile. This particular Russian babe has taken quite a liking to down under and was more than happy to show off quite a bit of leg, but only a slight bit of cleavage in her new range of tennis gear showcased at a Crown casino media and PR gig. Sharapova's lucky boyfriend, Los Angeles Lakers basketballer Sasha Vujacic, popped the big and brave question to the tennis babe last red October. Her competitors did not seem to be bothered by Sharapova's "media darling" statue or expectational good looks. World #1 Rafael Nadal stripped down during a relaxed practice session on centre court and Ana Ivanovic strutted her stuff on an outside court. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray enjoyed a soccer workout with Melbourne Victory players at AAMI Park. Oh, weather was also a concern, with all the floods that hit Queensland, tipped to also catch part of Victoria. Tourney director Craig Tiley declared the Open weather-proof. "We have two roofs we can close. We also have five indoor courts, so for us rain is - unlike the US Open - easier to deal with. If we are thrown more challenges with the elements we will be able to do what we need to. We have those plans in place to help in terms of scheduling." Isolated showers across southern Victoria could affect the first few days of the event, which starts on Monday. The first week of last year's open was relatively mild but the mercury rose to the mid-30s by the second week of play. In 2009, tennis stars endured scorching conditions with at least three consecutive days above 43C. Paramedics had their work cut out with more than 100 spectators treated for heat exhausting or sunburn. Tiley said major redevelopment work at Melbourne Park would not get in the way of this year's Open. More than 600,000 spectators are expected to flood the Grand Slam venue over two weeks. Insiders reckon the latest range of Tennis babes cum Casino babes, are bound to raise temperates in more ways that one. Feel the heat.

Sin City Sydney - Star City Soccer Fans Ralley...

Sydney FC CEO Edwin Lugt has urged more interaction with supporters across the country after the successful staging of a fan forum in Sydney last night. Lugt spoke at a fan forum organised by Footy Fans Downunder held at Sydney’s Star City Casino Sports Theatre Bar. The forum which will head to Melbourne next month discussed a wide range of topics with fans being given the floor to ask any questions of the panel. Passionate debate and some lively ideas were discussed in front of almost 200 fans. The night also served as a fund-raiser for the Queensland flood tragedy. But as a forum for ideas, it was also a useful exercise, said Lugt. "The fact that we have this (fan forum) means the game is getting serious. It’s maturing". It's understood a few of the fans tried their luck on the pokies and roulette after the forum, some winning, some loosing, and others breaking even. The event was a win - win for both Star City, the fans and soccer big wigs.

Australian Gaming And Gambling Shares...

Company Name                     Price    Change    % Change

National Leisure & Gaming   0.01     +0.00  UP  +16.66%

Crown Limited                         8.57   +0.13  UP  +1.54%

Aristocrat Leisure            2.94   +0.04  UP  +1.37%

Ainsworth Game Technology  0.27  -0.04  DOWN - 12.91%

Centrebet International       1.49  -0.02  DOWN -1.33%

Sky City                               2.57   -0.03 DOWN -1.16%

Independent Senator Or Bias Senator; Bluffing The News Media Or Sincere?...

The South Australian based Senator Nick Xenaphon aka 'Mr X's in gambling and media circles, has basically accused Clubs New South Wales of resisting moves to implement new gambling legislation. Senator Xenaphon has backed anti-pokies campaigner Paul Bendat who has took it upon himself to place a full newspaper in the Illawarra Mercury, and is considering doing more. One of his targets is Clubs New South Wales chairman and former Mercury editor Peter Newell. Bendat has been threatened with legal action over the ads. Yep, its getting personal and legal. Senator Xenaphon says the ad calls on Newell to direct his members to "tell the truth" about the Federal Government's mandatory pre-commitment plans for poker machines. "When you consider that literally billions of dollars are lost each year by problem gamblers in this country and that could be avoidable, it could be substantially reduced by a sensible system of pre-commitment. "Then the club's propaganda on this whole issue in terms of how expensive it will be and how impractical it will be, these things need to be exposed." A spokesman for Clubs New South Wales says an earlier advertisement had implied Newell had been untruthful and the ad was overly personal. Joke for readers... How do you know when a politician is lying? Answer: When their lips are moving!

Crown Casino, Melbourne: 2011 Aussie Millions Poker Championship On The Way...

Australia's biggest, best and richest poker tournament has just got on the way. Aussie Millions commenced at James Packers' Crown Casino in beautiful Melbourne, home to the original 'Underbelly' TV series which featured gambling themes. We understand that the $10,600 AUD no-limit hold’em main event will snatch the attention of the poker players and commentators when it fires off on January 23rd. An deep field of 746 punters participated in the 2010 main event, with our own Tyron Krost being crowned champion, picking up $2 million, and soon after being signed u by PartyGaming's PartyPoker. Many other players (and brands) and keen to knock him off as you might expect. The field is expected to be one of the greatest ever, if not the best. High-stakes events include the $100,000 Challenge that commences on January 22, as well as the Aussie Millions high stakes cash game featuring a $200,000 minimum buy-in on Jan 24th. Last year the $100,000 Challenge attracted 24 players for a prize pool of $2.4 million, and it was Dan Shak who bested Phil Ivey heads up to earn a cool $1.2 million. Other substantial buy-in events this year include the $10,500 Australia no-limit hold’em heads-up championship and a $10,500 eight-game mixed event. Stay glued to this dial for more coverage, and don't be surprised if Fox Sports and or / ESPN give it a bit of TV coverage. Poker is big business in Australia and around the world, and media companies are keen to cash in too. Good luck to all players, and on James Packer for your commitment to the "sport".

Aussie Millions Media Run Down...

The Aussie Millions Poker Championship is the largest, richest and most prestigious gaming event in the Southern Hemisphere and ranked fifth largest in the world. Featuring a comprehensive slate of tournaments in every major poker variation, the Aussie Millions is poker's longest running tournament in the Southern Hemisphere, dating back to 1998. 


- The Aussie Millions Poker Championship is held each January at Crown Casino, in Melbourne Australia

- The Aussie Millions ranks as the fifth largest poker tournament in the world by player number

- The championship includes over 20 tournaments culminating in the coveted AUD$10,600 No Limit Holdem ‘Main Event' on Sunday 23 January for Day 1 - Flight 1 (Mon 24 Flight 2, Tues 25 Flight 3 with Day 2 starting on Wednesday 26 January 2011)

- The 2011 Aussie Millions is expected to reach a prize pool of almost AUD$20 million with an expected first prize of AUD$2 million for the AUD$10,600 No Limit Holdem ‘Main Event'

- Over 2,500 individual entrants will participant and more than 600 international visitors are expected to attend including players from the United States, England, Ireland, South Africa, Scandinavia, Canada, Israel, Estonia, Portugal and Russia

- The Aussie Millions generated approximately 8,000 room nights across Melbourne in January 2010, including over 5,000 at Crown alone

- The 2010 Aussie Millions held the largest, cash buy in tournament ever with a $100,500 event attracting 30 players

- It is expected that there will be almost 900 individual players in the $10,600 Buy-In No Limit Holdem ‘Main Event'

What is being billed as the biggest game ever played, the ‘Million Dollar Cash Game' will see 10 of the greatest and most influential poker players of all-time stake a minimum of AUD$1 million to play. However, players can (and will) bring more than a mere million dollars to the table!

IMG Tennis Party: Tennis And Poker Celebs - Sunday 16th January

See some of the world's greatest tennis stars including David Nalbandian, Donald Young, Feliciano Lopez, James Blake, Marcos Baghdatis, Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli, Mark Knowles, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Venus Williams. Along with some of the world's greatest poker players in town for the Aussie Millions Poker Championship including 2005 WSOP Champion and Crown Ambassador Joe Hachem, Team Full Tilt pro's Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Howard  Lederer, John Juanda etc. This exclusive gathering of world class tennis pro's and entertainment industry heavy weights will make this event one of the best parties of 2011.  Crown's IMG Tennis Players Party has become one of the most high profile events of the year. Held on the eve of the Australian Open, the party is also a regular meeting spot for IMG's star players who are staying at Crown.

Aussie Millions Event Number 8 - $100,000 Challenge - Saturday 23rd January...

$100,000 No Limit Holdem Challenge will be for those with deep pockets! Look out for some high profile players with wallets in hand, looking for some wild action including the Phil Ivey and 2007 Aussie Millions Champion Gus Hansen. Up to 30 of the most prestigious and high profile poker players in the world will descend upon the Crown Poker Room for this event. Some of the world's greatest poker players heading the list include; Alexander Kostritsyn, Chris Ferguson, Erick Lindgren, Erik Seidel, Gus Hansen, Howard Lederer, Ivan Demidov, Jeff Lisandro, John Juanda, Patrik Antonius, Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Tong G and Tony Bloom  *Total Cost (Buy-In + Entry Fee) $100,500 ($100,000 +$500). *Special thanks to Crown Casino for providing our news media with the detailed information. We look forward to continuing to cover the action.

Melbourne: Gambling Research Agenda Continues At Monash University...

Researchers from Monash University's Department of Marketing are interviewing men and women, from a range of backgrounds and age groups across Victoria, to find out more about the reasons why people gamble and how it makes them feel. Study Principal Investigator Dr Samantha Thomas said research was usually focused on problem gamblers with 'next to no' research being done on people who gamble for fun or those who feel they don't have a problem with it. "Most research is fixated on problem gamblers and psychological and social impacts associated with the negative aspects of gambling. While we're not ignoring that exists we also believe that for most people who gamble, whether it's a problem or not, that gambling has, at some stage, been a social, enjoyable past-time," Dr Thomas said. "At what point does it go from being a 'bit of a harmless flutter' to an issue that consumes their lives? At what point do gamblers realize they have a problem and does public messaging warning of the dangers of gambling have any influence on their thinking or behaviour?" Dr Thomas said public messaging and support group programs specifically responded to problem gambling using poker machines. "We know that people's gambling habits are much broader than poker machines and while the 'pokies' have been portrayed as 'evil' and 'addictive', problem gambling is also evident with people who bet online, through sports betting outlets or on casino tables," Dr Thomas said. Dr Thomas said the research involves extensive interviews and participants will be compensated for their time. "Learning more about why people gamble, when they first started to gamble, and what their social sphere is like is incredibly important in being able to put into perspective behaviours and perceptions of gambling." Dr Thomas said one emerging trend in their research to date is that it appears people who bet on sporting outcomes often do so because they believe it requires skill and knowledge and that winning on 'the punt' is a sign of personal achievement rather than just financial gain. "In contrast we see people who bet on poker machines believing more in 'personal luck' and a desire to 'beat the system' with their goal being a financial reward. Dr Thomas said the team was particularly interested in the experiences of women. "Australia has high rates of gambling in women, and we are particularly interested to how women perceive their gambling activities," Dr Thomas said. Dr Thomas said it was important for government agencies, community help organisations and the industry to be provided with information about gambling behaviours that will contribute to shaping policy and community responses. 

A Media Man spokesperson said of the study "Finally, a gambling study that appears fair and balanced, and not just an attack on the great Aussie tradition of having a punt. They will be interviewing a wide array of punters, not just being focused on the so called problem gamblers, which has been quite the fodder of media beat-ups and junk science research for well over a year. We are not certain the gambling hating senators of Australia will use data from this particular study. Why? Because it looks to be honest and straight up, and not just pandering to the Australian government, the like way some Aussie politicians pandered to the American government over Wikileaks. Balanced studies on gambling in Australia are such a breath of fresh air. I just might have a punt to celebrate the good news".

Foxtel Purchases ABC TV Programs; WTF...

ABC Commercial has recently finalized contracts on more than a dozen programs to Foxtel’s owned and operated channels. The deals include the first two series of THE LIBRARIANS (12 x 30’) and all three series of THE GRUEN TRANSFER (32 x 30’), to screen on Foxtel’s Comedy Channel. A further nine programs were sold to Foxtel’s History Channel, including Screen Australia documentary series KOKODA (2 x 56’) and Chinese/Australian co-production PUYI: THE LAST CHINESE EMPEROR (2 x 52’) which will be an Australian premiere for the channel. Two documentaries, GIRLS OWN WAR STORIES (1 x 55’) and ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE (1 x 55’) were also sold to the Bio Channel. “Our business with Foxtel continues to grow and grow. We are very happy to be able to provide Foxtel with some of the best Australian content in the market,” said Natalie Lawley, ABC Commercial’s Sales Manager for Asia, Australia & NZ. If we hear of more gambling or poker programing on Foxtel or ABC, readers, we will let you know. Be on the lookout for Aussie Millions to get a few mentions on Foxtel - Fox Sports, as well as on the news, and ABC TV is rumoured to do some fair and balanced coverage on their sports reports via TV, radio and online.

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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 is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

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

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