Australian Casinos And Gambling Landscape Red Hot

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

Australian land based casinos and the gambling sector as a whole remains one of the world's most healthy, profitable and political, as we learn in this weeks special Aussie news round up. Media Man and Gambling911 continue to bring you the best from down under...

Crown Limited Top Brass Rolling In Cash...

Crown Limited top dog Rowen Craigie has been thanked for returning Crown to profitability, with his salary rising to more than $7 million big ones. The company's annual report clearly demonstrates Craigie's total paypacket jumped 15%, bolstered by a $1m short-term incentive bonus. He and the head honcho of Crown's Melbourne operations, David Courtney, were awarded 100% of their potential short-term bonuses. Courtney's overall salary rose from $2.7m to $2.9m. The James Packer-backed casino and hotel firm increased the salaries of most of its key managers after posting a $292.3m profit for the year ended June 30, up from its previous $1.1 billion loss. The company's share price during the same period rose from $7.11 to $7.77 and is now trading at roughly $8.39. After its US-based investments suffered greatly as a result of the global credit crunch and subsequent financial crisis, Crown made clear its intention to focus on its Australian operations, and its own bet has paid off and shareholders such as Media Man are delighted. Crown plans to spend $790m during the next 3 years targeting the growing VIP market, upgrading its casinos in Melbourne and Perth, including building new private games suites. It will also undertake major hotel renovations, provide more restaurants and increase its fleet of private jets. Last year's $16.35m "management remuneration bill" also included a $1.44m termination payment to chief financial officer Rob Turner, who departed 2 years before his contract expired. Yep, Packer and the board are also making the tough and smart calls.

Land Based Smart Systems Big Brother Privacy Concerns...

The Australian government is considering the use of fingerprint technology in clubs to help track problem pokie players. But Prime Minister Julia Gillard says the system, suggested by Senator "Mr X" Nick Xenophon, is just one option to enforce mandatory pre-commitment limits. "We'll be looking at the whole range of technology that could be used to meet the same pre-commitment," she told the press. "The Productivity Commission (inquiry into problem gambling) did not define which technology to use. That has to be the subject of inquiry and discussion." Gillard has promised to take action on problem gambling by 2014 in a deal struck with the anti-pokies campaigner, independent MP Andrew Wilkie. Wilkie and Senator Xenophon have been appointed to a parliamentary committee to work out the best course. The options include smartcards to police daily limits for individuals and a USB stick bearing a gambler's fingerprints, also with a daily limit. The clubs sector is concerned the fingerprint option may give rise to a government-controlled database of pokie players. Senator Xenophon has dismissed that suggestion, describing it as "a beat-up even boxer Mike Tyson would be proud of". "There will not be a fingerprint database," he said in a statement, adding a player's pre-commitment to gambling limits was not about invading privacy. "I would never support any such scheme, and no scheme has ever been proposed by the federal government." Gillard said many Australians were concerned about problem gambling and families had been "torn apart" by the problem. "But at the same time many Australians like to place the occasional bet ... and it's just another form of entertainment," she said.

Australian And Canadian Gambling Crimes Set For Slap On Wrist By Law...

A United States judge's decision to sentence a Canadian internet gambling tsar to home detention raises the prospect accused Aussie fraudster Daniel Tzvetkoff will also receive a slap on the wrist and dodge a long stint in an American prison. Douglas Rennick, a 35-year-old man from British Columbia, faced 55 years in a US federal prison, but his punishment will be 6 months at his sister's home in the San Diego, after prosecutors scrubbed the most serious charges in a plea deal. "The defendant will remain at his sister's place of residence," US District Judge Sidney Stein ordered at Rennick's sentencing in New York on September 15. The case against Rennick mirrors the one against 27-year-old Tzvetkoff, who just a few years ago held the crown as one of Queensland's most successful young businessmen with an estimated personal fortune of more than $A80 million. Tzvetkoff has been facing 75 years in prison, but it appears he has struck a plea deal with prosecutors, who are based out of the same Southern District of New York office as Rennick's prosecutors. US authorities accused Rennick and Tzvetkoff of creating separate schemes for gambling companies to process extraordinary amounts of illegal gambling money into the US. Rennick's scheme allegedly involved $US300 million. Tzvetkoff is accused of dreaming up aka devising a money laundering scheme that illegally processed more than $US500 million in transactions. While US prosecutors initially took tough stances against Rennick when he was arrested last year and Tzvetkoff when the Australian was arrested at a Las Vegas casino on April 16, the treatment of both soft. Rennick eventually entered a guilty plea to a relatively minor transmission of wagering charge, a long way off from the original conspiracy to commit money laundering and bank fraud charges that carried hefty jail sentences and were dropped. Speculation is mounting Tzvetkoff has turned into an informant, is working with prosecutors and could have his bank fraud and money laundering charges replaced by a minor charge. Prosecutors and Tzvetkoff's American lawyer, Robert Goldstein, have declined to comment on the status of the case. Prosecutors originally aggressively fought at bail hearings to keep Tzvetkoff in jail, but in a big about face shrouded in secrecy, Tzvetkoff was released on bail in August and his whereabouts are currently unknown. Public court records do not show a bail hearing taking place, adding to speculation a plea deal will be, or has been done and he is being held in a safe house. Media Man friend Gambling911 has been following the case closely, for those who can't get enough of the Aussie and Canadian gambling crim news.

Australian And New Zealand Internet Gambling On Rise...

Media Man an a number of informed sources are now stating on the record that internet gambling (slots, poker, sports betting and other) are on the rise in Australia and New Zealand. This news will come as little or no surprise to old hands, newbies, mainstream media or gaming media. The news is confirmed as the Australian and New Zealand government try to crack down on gambling in pubs, hotels and clubs, also known as pokie palaces. Internet gamblers can almost always bet more online that at land based premises, and can do so in the comfort of their own home, without worrying about travel, petrol, food and other expenses, and also get to sidestep the fights at the pub that Australia is so well known for. Online punters also find the 24 / 7 always open hours attractive, along with the wide variety, branded slots like Marvel and other Hollywood themes. PartyGaming, the world's leading igaming company is by all accounts the most popular supplier of online gambling(slots, table games and poker) in Australia at this time, with Betfair, Centrebet, Captain Cooks Casino, Roxy Palace and a few others all in the chase. Agencies and web portals like Media Man help bridge the game between the casinos and punters, sometimes offering exclusive deals through their website portals as well as insider information, that punters are unlikely to find out elsewhere (like how to sidestep internet filters, or where the best casino bonuses can be located). The online gaming industry is open to becoming fully regulated by applicable government departments, and its most likely that national gaming regulation body would be the most effective to ensure that both punters and the industry achieve a win - win.

The Late News...

Australian 'Gumleaf Mafia', Media Man and Gambling911 hear that the Australian government is becoming more open to securing b2b deals with world's leading igaming operators like PartyGaming and Virgin Games. Read about these two operators at Media Man and Gambling911, and stay tuned for updates, as Media Man is in close liaison with a number of high profile Australian senators and informers about developments in this exciting sector. Friendly reminder... bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

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