Australian Gambling: Deals, Art, Politics And Vice

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:

G'day punters, journos, high rollers - casino whales, NRL sports nuts, entertainment and arts news junkies, politicians, insiders, outsiders, legal eagles... one and all. Today we have a huge news update for you. We've got the gambling tycoon in Tassie opening his art exhibit, the Centrebet Stadium deal, shady deals at a pokie palace, political fun and games, an much more. Media Man and Gambling911 with another massive report that will help keep you out of trouble this weekend (or provide just enough info to get you into trouble)...

Tassie 'Devil' Gambling Tycoon Shows Of Sex, Death, Vice Et Al Art Exhibit...

Art and gambling do mix, at least that's the experience of Brits Damian Aspinall, Phil 'Tuffers' Tufnell, Australian artist Gina Sinozich, Media Man (bodypaint and burlesque "fetish") and Tasmanian gambling whale - tycoon, David 'Wicked' (satire) Walsh. You will pick up on Dave's affectionate nickname by us later. We like you David, ok mate.

Tasmania's most famous or infamous gambling figure, millionaire, David Walsh yesterday gave us a peak into his art exhibit...the biggest (and weirdest) private art gallery in Tasmania, if not the Asia Pacific. The $110 million Museum of Old and New Art is nestled on the banks of Hobart's Derwent River.

He was going to give a press announcement everyone was eagerly awaiting. A minder advised. Next thing... "No I'm not" and the formalities were done. His pink t-shirt sported the charming words - "FUCK the art, let's rock'n'roll."

His expo has been championed "Subversive Disneyland at the end of the world", and the word is that Walsh might be now challenging Sydney for the title of 'Sin City'. Maybe in your dreams Dave, but if you keep going, you might get there.

A Media Man insider shouted "Bring the freak show to Sydney David. Show em how its done in Sin City, if you are the king on Sin". Walsh didn't respond, but leakers reckon he broke into a devilish smile, perhaps the MM sparking something. Yep, this bloke likes a bit of attention, and it seems he wants to be known as #1, even if his art is "for fun".

It was the hottest (sexiest and darkest) ticket in town. A party for 1350 invited guests and ballot winners, the art collector and number cruncher, who we understand made his millions via syndicate gambling, showcased his idea of art with punters and news media lapping it up.

MONA director Mark Fraser went on the record "This museum is David's...he makes every decision and that is very, very different to most museums."

On display in the multi-level gallery - the steel structure designed by Melbourne based architect Nonda Katsalidis is built into a cliff. There's roughly 200 artworks purchased by the "devilish" Walsh over 2 decades. Insiders understand its one-tenth of his entire collection. Artefact's, traditional art, contemporary art and a good dose of what we might just call sex and death art.

Walsh has been upfront saying that MONA "explores sex and death", but that's just a fraction of the collection. Insiders say he also includes it to make sure he gets strong media attention, something he missed out on in the past, as hard as that may be to believe.

Fancy a wall of plaster casts of women's genitalia? Line up, line up. The greatest show on earth, you could imagine P.T Barnum shouting at the top of his lungs.

Walsh generously shares "I think formal curation is a form of mental masturbation."

Traditional curators and galleries, he said, threw together what works they could manage and then invented ways to categorise them in a manner that was essentially superficial and misleading.

"I'm not really that interested in a bunch of big names. Most of the works are by people most people haven't heard of and still won't have heard of because there's no wall labels."

Walsh advised he wanted MONA to become one of Tasmania's biggest tourist destinations, and judging by the response, he might just meet that goal. He's also impressively created the museum without formal government assistance, such is the health of his gambling and casino endeavors.

There is no board of directors unlike the nation's other supposed leading private museums, such as TarraWarra in Victoria, Walsh has not sought not-for-profit status.

"I don't want to lose control (or) something that ends up looking like a pale version of the National Gallery of Victoria," he said in a way that you could tell he's thought the questions and potential answers through his brain before.

Profits from the adjacent winery, restaurant, brewery and boutique hotel will help underpin annual running costs of $8m. If there's a shortfall, we think 'Our David' should be able to pick up the slack.

There's something for almost everyone here, but we suspect big Sunday church goers might be giving it a big miss. Oh, celebs and a-list types the world over dig David and his works, and substantial steps had been taken to protect the names of... wait for it...David Bowie and Mick Jagger. If they are fans, they are not saying or publicly endorsing it (yet). Sex, a bit of vice, the gambling connection. Sounds like you? Yep, that's what we thought. Have you booked your ticket yet?


Museum of Old and New Art

Centrebet Stadium Done Deal; Sports Nuts And Punters Rejoice; Attack Gaming Haters...

Centrebet has buried and put the hurt on critics of its media and public heat seeker naming-rights stadium deal with Penrith Panthers, stating on the record that the the anti-gambling lobby were "like cracked records" in opposing it's newest deal. Off the the record it called them a host of unspeakables! The clubs' name change to Centrebet Stadium Penrith was announced by the Panthers just yesterday after the sponsorship rumours were first announced by Fairfax Media, creating a title wave of coverage across the globe. It's a 5-year deal, worth more than $1.5 million bucks, making the western Sydney sports ground the first down under to adopt the name of a bookie. Anti-gambling campaigner Senator Nick Xenophon last week was pissed at the NRL for permitting the Panthers to make the name change, criticism that bit 'Mr X' (satire nick name from MM) back from Centrebet when confirmation came yesterday. Get ready for this punters. You might like the 2 cents directed at the gaming and casino haters... the thought police. "The 'anti brigade' are becoming like cracked records," Centrebet boss Neil Evans said. "Why don't they survey the blokes walking into the ground, down at the shopping mall, on the building sites, and in the pubs and see what they think? My attitude is...reality is reality. And business is business. I congratulate the Panthers board and the Penrith City Council on their forthrightness and strong-minded stance. Most clubs, especially those hardly flushed with cash, would dream about a 5-year ground deal worth around $1.5 million, and that's before we start talking about the spin-off effects for the community and all the hard-working people in and around the club." Media Man did a spot survey around the eastern suburbs of Sydney and a spokesperson said "About 90% of people in the community are fine with gambling, gaming and sports betting. They know a small percentage can get into trouble, but for many Aussies is a strong tradition and a way of live. You know, the Melbourne Cup, Two-Up, having a game of poker with your mates, or throwing a couple of bucks down the throat of a pokie just to try your luck. Most level headed people, the non extremists, see the merit in the Centrebet deal, and we understand that now the likes of PartyGaming, Betfair and others will be exploring possibilities for their firms, which might just help save the NRL for massive financial stress. It looks like a win - win win". The Federal Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib, is working diligently with reps of Australia's 7 major sporting codes on ways to wipe out match-fixing but said the Panthers' stadium deal was not a concern. A report compiled by a working party commissioned by the the Coalition of Major Professional Sports is set to be out by next month. "Sponsorship of sporting codes and stadiums is a matter for the individual stadium owners and sporting organisations. The NRL have advised the government that the sponsorship agreement between the Panthers and Centrebet meets its own gambling and sponsorship guidelines. The select council on gambling reform led by Minister (Jenny) Macklin has put the regulation of online gambling in their forward work agenda. And as sports minister I'm working with the sporting codes, including the NRL, on the issue of match-fixing and integrity in sport." Centrebet currently has sponsorships with 4 other clubs in the National Rugby League, which forces all betting agencies associated with the game to sign integrity agreements. The stadium sponsorship was called as a great boon for Penrith by the football club's chief executive, Michael Leary. "Centrebet has been a responsible corporate partner of the Panthers since coming on board with the club in 2010. Our stadium has become a centre of excellence by not only hosting high-level rugby league in the national competition but through its ability to be community-centric in accommodating several community organisations. Centbet, The Footy Show sponsored corner on Network Nine's 'The Footy show', now Centrebet Stadium, next The World. Spies continue to tell us that PartyGaming, Betfair and others are circling the wagons and won't be taking it lying down. Punters, get ready for another round of Australian gambling wars. This week: Gambling lovers and punters 1 - haters - Nil!

Newcastle; NSW - Publican In Hot Water Over Cash Loans To Punter Patrons...

An ex licensee of West Wallsend’s Museum Hotel has been fined after admitting to giving $730 in cash advancements to patrons but has defended other claims of lending pub regulars thousands of dollars to spend on alcohol and gambling. In a written decision last month the Casino, Liquor, Gaming and Control Authority fined Peter Francis Dobb $2920, after he admitted a modest $730 in payments were unlawful cash advances. However he rejected allegations from the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing that a further $4455 of transactions were loans or repayments of loans from or to regular customers to spend on beer and "one armed bandits" and other items. The complaint to the authority was dated March 10, 2010, but grew legs from a complaint to the office back in 2007. Dobb was the licensee of the hotel from October 2006 to September 2008. For the record the current licensee was not the subject of any complaint. The office submitted that two inspectors visited the hotel to investigate in October 2007. They reported finding and seizing a number of TAB betting tickets and other pieces of paper with names or nicknames written on them and sums of money, what appeared to be records of payment and a deposit book. The names included the fair dinkim Aussie nicknames "Beryl", "Dapto", "Chief", "Supa" and "Vinnie". The inspectors advised they interviewed several parties including "Beryl" who said she regularly borrowed money before pension day to buy cigarettes and "a couple of beers". Another punter claimed he borrowed money to play the pokies because he sometimes exceeded his key card limit. Mnn, some folks said the pokies limit aka "mandatory" wouldn't work, and one may speculate if this is the first high profile case of proof. Or, is it a coincidence, and its just beers and ciggies"? Dobb said some records related to invoices the hotel had issued for items including an 18th birthday function and two beer kegs for a soccer final. Other records related to patrons’ money that was held in the hotel safe to mind. The office argued the invoices were handwritten and may have been drawn up after the event. It coughed up that a $55 record marked "roo chooks" was paid to Red Lea Chickens before a chook raffle. No, Pluka-Duke was not a witness to the events, nor were they called to court. The authority concluded it would need to hear from witnesses who lived out of the area to discover the truth of the $4400. It noted the "likely costs" of further investigations and the amount in dispute then opted to rule on the payments Dobb conceded. Dobb’s solicitor Paul Sullivan said yesterday his client now ran another country hotel and had not been the subject of any further matters. We challenge the readership to find us a better regional Aussie yarn that this one ok maties.

Tatts eyes bank market to refinance $US700m...

Gaming and wagering giant Tatts Group Ltd is considering refinancing its $700 million in bank debt with its existing lenders after tapping the United States private market in December, its CFO said last Wednesday. The company, which had $911 million ($US909 million) of bank loans maturing in June 2011, refinanced $US225 million in the US private placement market at the end of 2010, leaving around $700 million outstanding. We are contemplating an option of whether our banks wish to roll over the rest of the debt," Tatts chief financial officer Ray Gunston told the press. According to data from Thomson Reuters LPC, Tatts existing lenders are ANZ Ltd, BNP Paribas, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Westpac Banking Corp. There is ample liquidity in the bank market and banks are willing to lend for longer maturities for the right credit. This compared to during the financial crisis where borrowers struggled to get tenors beyond three years. "We are still working through our options. But it is my understanding five-year bank debt has become more available than previously," Gunston said. The company is also keeping an eye on the fledging retail bond market as a funding option though, but sees it as pricey. "We have not taken (retail bonds) off the agenda," Gunston said. "We are looking at where it fits into our profile. But it is still expensive and there are a number of issues." The overall costs of retail bonds still remain quite high in Australia despite measures introduced last year to reduce lengthy prospectus documents and cut costs for small bond issues. Tatts is not publicly rated but US debt investors estimate its ratings to stand between Standard & Poor's BBB-plus and BBB-minus.

Melbourne, Australia and UK: Aussie Millions Gossip: Did Poker Ace Warnie Poke Her?...

The champion spinner and reported ladies man, Shane Warne, admitted he had been "busted" spending a romantic weekend with English actress - babe Elizabeth Hurley.

The cricket legend had been trying to keep the reunion under wraps after making a last-minute dash to Los Angeles to rendezvous with the glamorous movie star. But Warne, 41, was outed by keen News Limited newspaper readers who spotted him on a flight back from Los Angeles on Sunday evening. Approached by the News Limited's Herald Sun at Crown's Aussie Millions Poker charity fundraiser on Wednesday night, Warne grinned and said: "Yeah, I know we've been busted." He declined further comment on the success of his reunion with the 45-year-old beauty. "Er, next question," he replied. But mates at the benefit later revealed Warne had confirmed his weekend had gone "very well" and he had rekindled the flame with Hurley. Their romance has slowed a touch when it was revealed Warne has apparently sent more than 100 text messages to married Brighton woman Adele Angelari. "Let's just say he was pretty happy," said a mate. Hurley made no secret of being in Los Angeles, tweeting about the weather and saying she watched the Golden Globe Awards from her hotel. Shortly after Warne boarded the plane for home, she tweeted: "A great weekend. Best in a long, long time." We think congratulations may be in order for Warnie's speculative "innings" across the water. Yeah Warnie keep row row rowing the boat, life might be such a breeze. May the good fortune of Warnie rub off on you and may every hand and women bring you a champion result. Warnie is not only a solid poker players, but is a face of Crown Poker, and also a keen golf player. It's not known if he has scored a hole in one, but he sure knows how to play them birdies. You know what we mean.

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*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

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