Australian Gambling, Sports And Entertainment News Update – October 8, 2010

Written by:
Greg Tingle
Published on:

The Australian gambling, sports and entertainment sector has been on fire as of late. We've got NRL sports betting scandals continuing, Aussie Wolverine Hugh Jackman, Australian casinos wars, casino strike action and more. Media Man and Gambling911 once again give you a front row seat on the Australian sports and entertainment sector...

NRL Bulldogs Players Probed Over Betting Fix...

Sydney detective (D's) investigating an alleged illegal betting plot in the NRL have questioned Canterbury Bulldogs players about their relationships with the former NRL player John Elias and agent Sam Ayoub. Elias is said to be one of the most notorious figures in rugby league. In a recent autobiography he revealed his involvement in a plan to fix the result of a 1994 Wests-Souths match as part of a betting coup. He said he was offered a considerable $50,000 for his role, but also claimed he had never received the payment, and that the fix had not come off. He also has a string of criminal convictions involving drugs and firearms. Babes, take him home to meet Mommy not!

The doggy players were interviewed earlier in the week as part of an investigation into an alleged illegal betting plunge on the club's round 24 match against the Townsville Cowboys. A source aka "Mr X" familiar with the questioning told Fairfax Media Herald: "It was all pretty straightforward stuff. They asked whether the players noticed anything before the game, what they made of the penalty and what happened afterwards. "As far as other individuals, they asked about any relationship with Ayoub and Elias." Fairfax understands Elias's name has been mentioned in connection with the betting coup for a number of weeks. Bookmakers cried foul after taking a huge number of wagers on the Cowboys to open the scoring by a penalty. Within minutes of the start Bulldogs player Ryan Tandy gifted a penalty in front of his posts, although one can argue the bet came undone when the Cowboys took a quick tap penalty and scored a try instead of taking the penalty kick.

It has already emerged that Ayoub, who is Tandy's agent, placed a wager on the Cowboys scoring by penalty first. Let it be noted there is nothing at all illegal about him having such a bet nor anything to suggest he had any earlier knowledge or involvement in what took place, despite some suspicions raised and talk at the bar. Ayoub said "I am pleased the police are investigating." Ayoub and Elias also had a business relationship between 2000 and 2003. Detectives from the Casino and Racing unit are expected to begin interviewing Cowboys players.

Crown Casino Staff Threaten To Strike...

Melbourne's Crown Casino staffer are threatening to "walk off" the job during the hot Spring Racing Carnival unless a wage dispute is resolved. Union mugs (satire) er...members voted in favour of taking "protected strike action" in a ballot count confirmed by powers that be at the Australian Electoral Commission on Tuesday. The strike action was expected to take place before the Melbourne Cup on November 2, advised Jess Walsh, Victorian secretary of the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU). Casino staffers, young and old - all comers, including super important gaming dealers and foodie and drinks staff have flat out rejected a wage increase offer of roughly 3.5% annually and changes that could end up costing experienced table dealers almost $5000 bucks a year. Ouch hey, but it might be just temporary pain, for a greater good, and fatter pay packet, if they get their way. Union members want about a 13.5% per cent wage increase over 3 years, with protection for dealers' career structure. Walsh said Crown's offer is roughly 11% over three years Insiders tip members may take 12.5% to save face, and get back to work. Crisis talks were scheduled with Crown powers that be later this week to try to resolve the dispute. "The strike is the last resort and we're hopeful that Crown will put an offer on the table. Then we'll be having discussions with members about where we go next. We'd be hopeful it (the dispute) was resolved well before the Melbourne Cup."

Underbelly TV Movie Legal Fun And Games; Real Life Underbelly?...

Network Nine Australia may be forced to scrap one of its Underbelly telemovies because of the real threat of impending legal action in the state of New South Wales. Tell Them Lucifer Was Here, first cab off the rank of 3 telemovies being made under the Underbelly Files title, tells the story of the 1998 murders of Victoria Police officers Rod Miller and Gary Silk. After a investigation by the Lorimer Task Force, Bandali Debs and Jason Roberts were found to be guilty of the double murder in 2003. Debs was sentenced to life in prison, Roberts to 35 years.

The subject seemed relatively safe as true-crime stories go, well and truly consigned to the past - which would have appealed to Nine given its experience with the first season of Underbelly, which could not be screened in Victoria due to legal reasons. However, anything that identifies Debs could soon be totally off-limits in NSW. On September 24, the Victorian Government Solicitor applied to the Melbourne Magistrates Court to have Debs transferred to a NSW prison for questioning over the death of a Sydney hooker aka call girl 15 years ago. Debs's lawyer, Michael De Young, did not oppose the application, saying his client maintained his innocence and was confident of being acquitted and returned to Victoria. NSW police have been trying for 2 friggin years to question Debs...also was convicted in 2007 of the 1997 murder of 18-year-old sex worker Kristy Harty...and now believe they have enough evidence to link him to the murder. The transfer order was granted by the court, but Debs had 14 days to appeal the decision. That appeal period just concluded.

Network Nine has 3 legal options: rush the Silk-Miller telemovie out before NSW police have laid any charges that might arise from the interview; release the telemovie in all states bar NSW if charges are laid; or hold off for a national release until any case has been heard. Nine has politely declined to comment as at time of publication. Tell Them Lucifer Was Here is not the only true-crime drama to run into problems recently. In August, pay TV channel TV-1 (seen via Murdoch's Foxtel etc) had to pull its series Killing Time, based on the memoirs of convicted drug dealer and former barrister Andrew Fraser, from the schedule indefinitely because of a looming court case. Both Network Nine and Foxtel plan to run more gambling related films and docos this year, which is music to the ears of the loyal readership of Media Man and Gambling911.

Aussie School Kid Wins World Cyber Games...

A 16-year-old Australian high school student has won a gold medal at the World Cyber Games in Los Angeles as part of the biggest ever haul for Australia at the global professional gaming tournament. Youngster Charlie Elliott, who is in year 10 at Kingsgrove High School in Sydney, flew to Los Angeles with his dad after a surprise win at the national finals. His game of choice is the mobile racing game Asphalt 5, which competitors played on Samsung Galaxy S mobiles.

Asphalt 5 is just one of a slew of games contested by more than 400 players from 58 countries at the World Cyber Games (WCG) tournament. Australia was also represented in Counter-Strike and FIFA 10, but our players in those games had tough draws and were knocked out early.

However, in the exhibition match for the shooter game Quake Wars, the Australian team came away with the bronze medal. “It’s our best ever year at the World Cyber Games,” said Charlie Brown, leader of the Australian contingent and the organiser of the WCG national finals event in Australia. “Charlie had to play some really top-class players. He’s only 16 and most of the guys were in their 20s so he’s really stood up to it and I think he’s done very well.” Elliott wins $US7000 for his first place finish, which adds to the $1000 he won for winning the national tournament in Australia. The tournament was his first trip to the US and his first pro-gaming event. “I feel really excited at the moment. I can’t wait for the closing ceremony,” Elliott said in a phone interview after his win. Elliott has been playing Asphalt 5 since June and his win at the Australian finals earlier this year came as a shock to him since he only started playing it the day before the competition.

In between the Australian finals and the global final in LA, Elliott said he squeezed in about two or three hours of play time a week around school and other commitments. He said he had to play about seven matches to win his gold medal and described it as a real challenge, particularly his final showdown against a man from South Korea, the country where pro-gamers are celebrities and earn big salaries. “All of the other competitors were saying how he’s the best, you just can’t beat him, because he had the best time, he had the best skill, everything,” said Elliott. So after his big win would he consider taking up professional gaming as a career? “Before I won the nationals I was thinking about a career and I didn’t know exactly what job I should do in the future because I play tennis and I’m OK at school,” he said. "But I think I’m looking into gaming again after winning.". Go for it sonny!

Aussie Wrestler Apologises For Up Yours Finger...

Australian wrestler Hassene Fkiri has apologised to his opponent and his teammates for making a one fingered salute to officials after losing the gold medal fight at the Commonwealth Games. Fkiri was disqualified and stripped of the silver medal in the 96kg division for the gesture on Tuesday which he admitted was "unsporting". He apologised on Wednesday to his Indian opponent Anil Kumar and to officials. "Yesterday I met with my opponent Anil Kumar and with officials, I make full apology to them and I was deeply sorry for my action, they have accepted my apology," he read in a statement on Thursday. "What I did was unsporting and unlike me. I am truly sorry for the embarrassment that I have caused the Australian team and my family. "I lost control of my emotion because I was too focused on winning a gold medal for my adopted country." The Tunisian-born wrestler was cautioned twice during the bout, for head butting and for slapping Kumar. Australian chef de mission Steve Moneghetti said Fkiri had learned a hard lesson and his actions were out of character. Aussie cyclist Shane Perkins also faces disciplinary action after a similar two finger salute to cycling officials on Wednesday. Moneghetti said he would deal with Perkins after he races the sprint on Thursday.

Call Of Duty Game Powers Along In Australia and Abroad...

The long-running Call of Duty video game series received a well-deserved gong last year, when the 6th instalment in the franchise, Modern Warfare 2, became the most successful entertainment launch in history, pushing total sales of the series to more than $US3 billion ($3.27 billion). No stranger to the franchise, Santa Monica-based developer Treyarch has been handed the daunting task of producing this year's successor in the series — Call of Duty: Black Ops. "Without having a ton of pressure on us, I don't think we'd be making the kind of game we are," says the game's executive producer, Daniel Suarez. Treyarch hasn't revealed every detail about Call of Duty: Black Ops, the new features so far suggest the bar for the series is about to be raised to lofty heights again when the game launches on November 9.  

Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like the Australian sports and entertainment update? Tell us in the forum. If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

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*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

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