Thursday, August 30, 2012

Betting firm bwin signs three-year deal with Man United - 16th August 2012

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Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment PartyCasino.com PartyPoker.com Britain Soccer Betting Sports Sports Betting Affiliates


British online betting firm bwin.party digital entertainment said it had entered into a three-year deal with Manchester United, including the right to run betting kiosks and advertise at the English premier league football club’s Old Trafford home.

Bwin said the deal would also give it the chance to exploit the club’s international appeal to expand in social gaming – free-to-use web games played against other users that offer additional features paid for with online credits.

“Man Utd has 569 million followers outside of Europe, providing us with a great opportunity to offer jointly designed and innovative products in countries that do not yet allow real money online sports betting,” said bwin.party’s co-CEO Norbert Teufelberger.

Bwin, which is already the shirt sponsor of Spanish football club Real Madrid, said football remained key to its long-term future, making up about half of its sports betting revenue in 2011.

Man Utd, which debuted on the New York stock exchange last week, has a series of commercial linkups, including with insurance broker AON, whose name is currently emblazoned on its shirts, set to be replaced on the famous red jerseys by GM’s Chevrolet in 2014.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cougar at casino - 26th August 2012


Sin City Casinos Nevada United States Games Harrah's Entertainment

A mountain lion has been caught after trying to slip into a casino in Reno, Nevada.

A Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman, Chris Healy, said the young male cat's behaviour was "almost the equivalent of being a stupid teenager".

Mr Healy said coming-of-age cougars often ended up where they shouldn't after being chased out of a territory by adults.

A wildlife official tags a tranquilised mountain lion that wandered into a Reno casino and hid under a stage.

Guests at Harrah's casino reported seeing the 45-kilogram cat trying to walk into the casino on Friday morning. When the animal couldn't negotiate the revolving door, it hid under a stage in a nearby plaza.

Wildlife officials tranquilised the two-year-old cat and plan to release it into the wild.

No injuries were reported.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Australasian Gaming Expo report from Sydney; Australia - Day 3 - 23rd August 2012

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Human Statue Bodyart Sydney Entertainment Australia Gaming Promotions Publicity


Today was the 3rd day for the most high profile and successful gaming expo in Australia - the Australasian Gaming Expo, which is being hosted by the Sydney Convention Centre at Darling Harbour. It's gaming, gambling, technology, sales...even creative arts elements and much more.

It's a key time for the gaming industry in Australia with all the regulation elements, responsible gambling initiatives and such, and most of the big boys of the industry were on hand to show off their wares, with some exhibitors demonstrating significant creative flair to help showoff their latest and greatest wares.

Our friends at Human Statue Bodyart were back again and they had a couple of body models made up in bodypaint (Anastasia as a butterfly and Victoria as a panda) - complete with wings and sparkles, for leading gaming brand Paltronics and its latest game 'Jungle Madness'.

The expo centre itself is huge - 15,000 square metres (about the size of an Aussie Rules football oval) and this provided more than ample opportunity for over 750 slot games on display.

The Australasian Gaming Expo is by far the largest event of its type in Australia and one of the world’s biggest.

We learned through the grapevine that a trip for 2 to Las Vegas will be won by a lucky visitor on each of the 3 days of the Expo, and this is compliments of the Gaming Technologies Association which owns the event. It's understood the winner of the trip will be named later this afternoon.

It's tipped over 20,000 people have walked through the games expo thus far, with those in the business being the majority, and no doubt a few punters, checked through the gates (but note that the games on display do not accept coins or notes).

Well done to everyone associated with the success of the expo and we'll see you there again next year.

Websites

Australasian Gaming Expo

Gaming Technologies Association

PALtronics Australasia

Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre

Human Statue Bodyart

Human Statue Bodyart Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

Eva Rinaldi Photography

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Big One At PartyCasino At Record Level Of Over $6 Million; bwin enters into digital partnership with Manchester United

Pig's Don't Fly but They Ride Motorbikes!

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PartyCasino.com PartyPoker.com Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Slots

The Big One at PartyCasino, the world's largest online casino, currently stands at an unprecedented level of over $6 million - the biggest jackpot currently up for grabs in the online gaming industry and a record high for the site. The previous record jackpot record was hit back in May 2011 when a female customer who had only opened an account nine days before scooped a whopping $4,445,947.4!

The Big One is structured as a five-tiered pool. The highest tier-Colossal Cash-seeds at $1.5 million, the biggest online jackpot seed in the industry. Games in which 'The Big One' can be won include Melon Madness, Snowbusiness, Loot'EnKhuman and the more recently introduced 'Going Nuts' with its screaming squirrels. Now they are joined by brand new slot Roadhogs!

Roadhogs is a five reel, 50 line cartoon slot featuring, you guessed, pigs on motorbikes! The feature is triggered when three or more scattered bike symbols appear anywhere in view - there the player gets to choose any one bike which reveals the number of free spins and multipliers the player has won.

"First it was crazy nutty squirrels and now it is pigs on motorbikes - who thought they could make you a millionaire? Someone is going to seriously have their head in the trough if they scoop over $6 million so get your motor running and head up on the highway!"

PartyCasino.com has the most frequent game launches in the industry and offers over 160 games, including over 100 slots. PartyCasino.com pays out easily over $10 million EVERY DAY to players.

Websites

PartyCasino.com

PartyPoker.com


16 August 2012

bwin enters into digital partnership with Manchester United

Fans offered the chance to win season tickets for United’s twentieth title hunt


bwin, Europe’s leading sports book, today announces a new agreement with Manchester United to become the club’s official online gaming and betting partner. The partnership was launched today at Old Trafford with Man Utd’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson, along with players Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney.

The initial three-year deal will increase the profile of bwin in the UK and many other countries, reinforcing its position as Europe’s leading sports betting brand in football. The sponsorship package positions bwin at the centre of promotional activities for the world’s most popular football club and includes the integration of bwin into United’s website, the creation of co-branded social gaming products, match day perimeter board signage, access to players for marketing campaigns, a range of in-stadia initiatives including bwin-branded betting kiosks and other marketing rights.

To celebrate the coming together of Manchester United and Europe’s leading sports book, bwin is offering fans the chance to win two season tickets to all of Man Utd’s 19 Premier League home games as the Red Devils go for an unparalleled twentieth league title. Runners-up prizes also include 20 signed shirts and 20 free £100 bets. To take part, all fans need to do is place £5 on any Manchester United related bet from a new or existing bwin.com account. Full details can be found at bwin.com/manutd and further updates on Twitter using the hashtag #backmanutd.

Welcoming the deal, Norbert Teufelberger, Co-CEO of bwin’s parent company bwin.party, said:

“Manchester United is one of the biggest names in world sport with a global fan base running into hundreds of millions. We share a passion for football that has always been at the heart of our long term brand development strategy.

“As Europe’s leading online sports betting operator, football is fundamental to our long-term success, making up approximately half of our total sports betting revenue of €261m in 2011.

“As well as supporting our real money gaming business, the agreement complements our recent move into social gaming. Man Utd has 569 million followers outside of Europe, providing us with a great opportunity to offer jointly designed and innovative products in countries that do not yet allow real money online sports betting.”

Manchester United’s Commercial Director, Richard Arnold said:

“bwin has an established and reputable reputation in online gaming in Europe and Manchester United is pleased to be bringing that model to not only the 75,000 football fans who visit Old Trafford each week, but also our huge global audience.

“Like Manchester United, bwin is a leader in its market. It offers an enhanced betting experience with engaging content, utilising the latest technologies and bringing something new to the UK market. This, along with the company’s knowledge of football, is why we chose to align ourselves with bwin and we are looking forward to a successful partnership.”

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Profiles Casinos Gaming News Media Man Int News Financial News Casino News Entertainment News Wrestling News

News

PartyCasino Wins Media Man Online Casino Award

PartyPoker And PartyCasino Owner bwin.party Digital Entertainment Plans Return to US Market

The joker in the Packer

Critic's choice: the week ahead in TV

Australia's Echo says full-year net profit at A$42.2 mln

Sacked Star casino boss paid almost $200,000

The Gathering of the Juggalos

Report: CM Punk To Be Aligned With Paul Heyman?, Another Interesting Pairing

Linda McMahon, 2012 Senate Candidate, Wins Connecticut Bid In Race To Replace Joe Lieberman

WWE Pays Tribute To 'Macho Man' Randy Savage, 'Raw 1,000' DVD And Blu-ray Scheduled

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts Discusses Working With Savage, 'Taker, Warrior Costing Him Money, More

Jake 'The Snake' Roberts Discusses His First WWF Run, Hating Snakes, Changing His Physique, More

Former WWE Superstar Speaks Out About WWE's New Top 50 Villains In History List

WWE's Top 50 List of All-Time Villains

Roddy Piper Responds To Being Ranked #1 Villain In Wrestling, Talks Piper's Pit

Actor Attends WWE NXT Event, Potential TNA Star Attending WWE Tryout, Birthdays

WWE Launches Mobile Apps For On-Demand Video And Second-Screen Viewing

The Trump brand moves beyond real estate to sunglasses, bottled water, chocolate bars

"Expendables 2" Cast Talk Muscles, Machine Guns and the "Magic" of Stallone

Hawkins 'in the round' launches spring

Business and finance calendar August 20-24

Tatts sues Vic government for compensation

10 of the world's top airport lounges

Obama: Biden dust up reveals "WWF wrestling part of politics"

World Wrestling Entertainment to co-produce new Scooby Doo film

Google crashes Monster man's party

'The Avengers 2': Vin Diesel To Play Vision In Superhero Sequel?

WWE NXT Star Getting His PHD, Kaitlyn Interviews The Day Cast, WWE On GetGlue

Dwayne Johnson hangs out with Gina Carano in set photo from Fast and the Furious 6

'The Wolverine' Movie, Official Plot Revealed

Outdoor gambling areas escape new smoking ban

Media Man News Archive

Publicist attacked by poison pen

Give him a tingle

Victims' misery a goldmine for chequebook TV

Big Bother

Putting a new spin on an old sales pitch

Whitewash whisper leaves Tingle in the ear

Strong local content

Media Man considering trade sale; open to advisors

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Virgin Games review

Website: VirginGames.com

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Virgin Games Virgin Casino Virgin Slots Virgin Bingo Virgin Poker Richard Branson Virgin Enterprises Limited Virgin Mobile Casino V*Points Affiliates Promotions

Since 2004, Virgin Games, a wholly owned Virgin Group company, has been spreading the Virgin love in the gaming world with online casino, online bingo and online poker games, as well as the brand new Virgin mobile casino.

Like our bearded boss, we love nothing more than fun, which is why we have games to suit every need, loads of freebies and a truckload of signup and weekly bonuses.

The fun goes away if the price isn't right though. Thankfully, in true Virgin fashion, that’s where we make a difference. Virgin Games offers great value for money, with small stakes (from 1p) available, no fees on cards, regular promotions and our unbeatable trademark loyalty scheme: V*POINTS, famously more rewarding than your Nectar card.

• Virgin Games Online Casino was launched in 2004 and offers over 300+ games from most industry leading software suppliers, with new games added every single week. Online slots, roulette, blackjack, bingo, scratch cards, video poker, instant win, £1,500,000 + progressive jackpots…You name it, chances are we’ve got it.

• Virgin Mobile Casino, the new kid on the block, went live in 2011. A unique mobile casino games entertainment platform, it is accessible from most smartphones (iPhone, Android, Blackberry and any web kit enabled mobile phones) and tablets, including iPad, Android, RIM and Windows touchscreen devices. Visit m.virgingames.com from your mobile device to get started.

• Virgin Games Bingo launched in May 2005, has climbed the UK bingo sites popularity ladder at breakneck speed. Virgin Bingo is about more than just 90, 80 or 75 ball games though, with hundreds of exciting slots, instant win, scratch cards and side games itching to be played.

• Hone your bluffing skills at Virgin Games Poker, part of the International Poker Network (IPN). Our Poker room launched in 2005 and is an exciting place to challenge peers and strangers alike on a wide range of online Poker games: Texas hold’em, Omaha, and many more.

Virgin Games provide a safe and sound online gaming environment, with security our top priority. We have achieved exemplary standards in player protection and social responsibility, and have been awarded the GamCare Certification for Remote Gambling.

* Media Man has an online b2b agreement with Virgin Games, as they do with a number of entertainment, gaming and business brands.

Website: VirginGames.com

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Casino News Media: Crown to expand Burswood casino, Entertainment News, gaming, movies...

Entertainment news, gaming, Australia...

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Crown to expand Burswood casino...

Casino operator Crown will spend $568 million on a new luxury hotel at its Burswood complex in Perth.

The James Packer-controlled company said Crown Towers Hotel would be the largest in Perth, and create 500 new jobs once completed, plus 700 construction jobs.

Construction of the hotel tower will begin in 2013, with completion expected in 2016.
The development will be built on land currently owned by Burswood, plus land to be bought from the West Australian government for $60 million.

As part of its land purchase agreement with the government, Crown will be allowed to operate an additional 500 poker machines and 130 gaming tables at the Burswood casino.

The new gaming tables and machines will be rolled out over the next five years.

"The new hotel comes at a time when Perth and Western Australia are in desperate need of additional luxury hotel and short term accommodation to satisfy the demands of business travellers and tourists and will put Perth firmly back on the map for leisure travellers seeking exclusive, resort-style experiences," Crown said in a statement.

Some regulatory approvals are required before construction can begin. (AAP)


Packer plans 6-star casino in Perth...

James Packer has vowed not to undertake further luxury hotel-casino developments in Australia without bipartisan support after yesterday securing the backing of the West Australian government to spend $568 million to develop Perth's first six-star hotel.

The hotel, to be built on the Burswood Peninsula and called Crown Towers in line with the flagship in Melbourne, will feature 500 rooms as well as restaurants, bars, resort and convention facilities and take capacity at the casino precinct to 1200 rooms.


Crown set to join the Birdcage party at Melbourne Cup...

Business and gambling mogul James Packer has taken the lead by launching a Crown Casino corporate hospitality marquee in the Birdcage at this year's Melbourne Cup.

Race organisers have been flooded with sponsorship and hospitality deals that will push this year's spring racing carnival revenues 20 per cent above those before the global financial crisis.

It is believed the Victorian Racing Committee, the organiser of the carnival and the race that stops the nation, will soon unveil Crown Casino as a new marquee sponsor at the Melbourne Cup for 2012, along with another 18 new corporate private marquee clients at Flemington.

The decision by Crown to launch its Birdcage tent, which will be along millionaires' row that hugs the racetrack and overlooks the finish line, is part of a broader and deeper push by businesses to hook up sponsorship deals with the 2012 Melbourne Cup as well as ongoing deals that will now stretch out to 2015.

It is understood the Crown Casino marquee will have catering from some of the casino's best restaurants, such as Japanese eatery Nobu, part owned by Hollywood actor Robert De Niro, and popular French establishment Bistro Guillaume.

G. H. Mumm has just re-signed as official champagne sponsor for the next five years, The Age can reveal, while other new or extended sponsorship contracts have been inked by vitamins group Swisse, National Australia Bank, Yellowglen and Australia's largest brewer, Lion.

According to VRC documents, a suite of popular corporate sponsorships for this year's Cup, now less than 100 days away, have already sold out, including the Winning Post enclosure for Cup day, Trackside Enclosure on Stakes day and the private boxes for Derby and Cup days.

This has helped the VRC push its carnival sponsorship revenue up 19.4 per cent on pre-global financial crisis levels, while corporate hospitality revenue is up 32 per cent on 2009.

A study conducted by the consultancy group, IER, claims that the four days at Flemington generated a value-added contribution to Victoria's gross state product of more than $164.5 million - a figure that captures money injected into the Victorian economy from out-of-state visitors.

Victorian businesses also benefited from the $349 million in financial stimulus generated by the carnival, according to the report, while nationally, the economic output generated by spending associated with the carnival reached more than $746 million.

Fashion spending also increased, with racegoers spending $28.5 million ($26 million in 2010) in Victoria on items to wear to the Melbourne Cup carnival, representing an average outlay of $149.78 for each racegoer at Flemington.

Meanwhile, Black Caviar - whose presence at the track would provide a further significant fillip for Victorian racing - is undergoing a battery of tests to determine whether she will continue to race.

After she crowned her unbeaten career with a dramatic win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, Black Caviar was found to have suffered a number of muscle injuries.

Trainer Peter Moody and the mare's owners are expected to decide soon whether her racing career is over. (Fairfax Media)


Social concerns over proposed casino expansion...

The social welfare charity Anglicare is concerned about plans to add another 500 poker machines and more than 100 gaming tables to the Burswood Casino.

Yesterday it was announced that a 500 room, six-star hotel is set to be built alongside the Burswood casino complex in Perth.

The State Government has sold the land to the James Packer-owned company Crown for $60 million.

The hotel will cost nearly $500 million to build and is due to open in mid 2016.

Crown is also applying for an additional 500 gaming machines and 130 gaming tables.

Anglicare's chief executive Ian Carter says the impact the extra gaming machines will have on families should not be underplayed.

"We don't need an expansion of more opportunities for people to lose money," he said.

"We need to be clear here that the potential for family and marriage break down and for people to get into significant financial difficulty is associated with problem gambling.

"It's an issue in our community we're seeing increasing evidence of gambling opps being made available."

The new development also spells the end of the Burswood golf course.

Jeff McCann from the Burswood Residents Action Group, which has been lobbying to keep the course, says the news has come from left field.

"In many respects we feel deceived and we're very very disappointed," he said.

However, the Premier Colin Barnett has welcomed the development, saying the project will help ease the accommodation shortage in Perth.

"I am told it will be the best hotel in Australia by a significant margin and will do so much to help overcome the high quality shortage of hotel rooms in Perth," he said.

The Tourism Minister Kim Hames says it will help combat the shortage but more needs to be done.

"This will be the start of the change in this," he said.

"We will continue to work as a Government with other sites such as the Elizabeth Quay Development, the sinking of the railway line, East Perth development and of course we have recently announced the FESA house development.

"They will provide opportunities for the future to further address the hotel needs we have in this state." (ABC News)


Six star hotel to be built in Perth...

A 500 room six-star hotel is set to be built alongside the Burswood casino complex in Perth.

The State Government has sold the land to the James Packer-owned company Crown for $60 million.

The hotel will cost nearly $500 million to build and is due to open in mid 2016.

Crown is also applying for an additional 500 gaming machines and 130 gaming tables.

WA Premier Colin Barnett says the development will create 700 construction jobs and a further 500 once the hotel is completed.

"I am told it will be the best hotel in Australia by a significant margin and will do so much to help overcome the high quality shortage of hotel rooms in Perth," he said.

The Tourism Minister Kim Hames says it will help combat the shortage but more needs to be done.

"This will be the start of the change in this," he said.

"We will continue to work as a Government with other sites such as the Elizabeth Quay Development, the sinking of the railway line, East Perth development and of course we have recently announced the FESA house development.

"They will provide opportunities for the future to further address the hotel needs we have in this state."


NRL rejects player gambling research...

Gambling counsellor and former Newcastle Knights player Ashley Gordon says the National Rugby League needs to investigate the impacts of gambling on rugby league players.

Mr Gordon says gambling is having a devastating impact on the lives of some players and their families.

As part of his work with Southern Cross University he put forward a proposal to the NRL to conduct research into player gambling, but it's been rejected.

"I think it has been part of the game and part of the culture for too long," he said.

"I think the NRL are aware of this and really we need to take some strong steps to address the problems.

"I would like to see some research done to the players to provide us with the information on their beliefs and their values around gambling and money and so forth and their behaviour.

"That would give us valuable information to then put in programs and structures."

"We gave them a proposal that was knocked on the head.

"They weren't able to come up with the funds to support that initiative.

"I think it is important to provide the NRL with some important information would have been achieved by this research.

"At the moment it's a band aid solution where someone comes out, talks about the issue and we try and help that individual and then we wait for someone else to come forward with another problem. We need to do more."


Accusations cruise ship ran illegal casino...

The New South Wales Government has ordered an investigation into claims a P&O cruise ship ran an illegal floating casino off the state's south coast.

Last weekend, a P&O cruise ship left Sydney on a three-night cruise, including a stop at Jervis Bay.

Passengers say once at sea they could access up to $5,000 from their credit cards to gamble on games including blackjack, poker and roulette.

Under state laws it is only legal to run casinos on ships that are at least 12 nautical miles offshore.

NSW Gaming Minister George Souris says the waters around Jervis Bay are technically Commonwealth territory, but he has asked the Office of Liquor and Gaming to investigate.

"If it turns out that gambling operations were being conducted in New South Wales territorial waters of the coast line then that is indeed a breach," he said.

P&O says it has always worked to operate within the legislative framework.


Packer jet's close encounter with Virgin...

Details have emerged of a close shave between a corporate jet owned by James Packer's Crown Casino and a Virgin Australia passenger aircraft over the skies of Armidale, New South Wales, late last year.

A report from air safety inspectors, released today, reveals that the Gulfstream IV, which is used to fly Asian high-rollers to Crown's Melbourne casino, and the Virgin 737-800 were flying towards each other on air routes which intersected about 35 nautical miles north-west of the city on October 8.

An air traffic controller identified the situation but the instructions issued to the pilot of the Gulfstream meant that the corporate jet was cleared for descent below the level at which the 737 was flying.

The progress towards what air inspectors term a "breakdown of separation" continued when the controller did not recognise the error during the Gulfstream pilot's read-back of the clearance, the report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau states.

A breakdown of separation occurred about 3pm when the planes got within 4.8 nautical miles (8.9 kilometres) of each other.

The appropriate separation between planes is 5 nautical miles side by side, or 1000 feet vertically.

Fortunately, an automatic alarm was activated seconds later, and the controller issued an alert to the Virgin pilots advising them that the Gulfstream was at 1 o'clock in their line of vision at 4 nautical miles.

"The pilot of the 737 responded that the traffic was sighted and that a traffic alert and collision avoidance system ... traffic advisory alert ... had been received. This was reported to have assisted the pilot to visually sight the descending Gulfstream IV," the report states.

"Subsequently the controller acted correctly to recover from the ensuing breakdown of separation."

The ATSB's general manager of aviation safety investigation, Ian Sangston, said today that the report highlighted the various layers of defence in a complex air-safety system.

"In a complex situation there are a number of layers of defence ... and where there is an inadvertent slip up on the part of the controller, other layers in the system catch the slip," he said.

The report found no evidence the pilots of either aircraft were at fault.

The Virgin jet was flying from Brisbane to Sydney, while the Gulfstream was operating a flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta.

The corporate jet is one of three Gulfstreams – two of which are V versions – the casino owns to fly high rollers to Melbourne from destinations throughout Asia.

In a VIP configuration, Crown's corporate jets can seat about 10 people.

Crown controls 80 per cent of the high-roller market in Australia. (Fairfax Media)


Legal questions over latest Echo plan...

Another day, another theory about the carve up of Echo Entertainment, owner of Sydney casino The Star.

Unfortunately, the latest leaked plan from "well placed sources" suffers a major flaw - it is illegal.

For months, speculation and imaginations have run wild, ever since Malaysian casino group Genting snapped up a stake in Echo and gradually lifted it to 10 per cent, rivalling that of James Packer's Crown Group.

The sudden arrival of the Malaysians threw Packer's neat plan - to gain control of Echo without a takeover offer and then use its monopoly casino licence and its balance sheet to build a glittering new gambling den at Barangaroo - into chaos.

Would there be a bidding war? Or would the pair join forces to carve up Echo?

Given Packer's reluctance to stretch his finances, the latter idea has dominated thinking. Earlier this year, there were reports the Malaysians really just wanted a slice of the action in Macau, where Crown has a joint venture on several casinos with the Ho family. A deal was imminent. Or so we were told. No-one could ever explain the twisted logic of why anyone would buy a stake in an Australian casino group in order to get an advantage in Macau.

This week, reports appeared that Crown and Echo will work together to carve up the VIP market for wealthy Asian gamblers.

If true, that would be a major capitulation on the part of the Echo board and a serious about face after its earlier fierce opposition to Packer's plans. It would also possibly raise concerns from the competition regulator.

But the latest theory, that Genting and Crown have hatched a plan to each buy 25 per cent of Echo and then control the company, would represent a serious breach of the Corporations Act.

Such a deal would make the pair related parties. As a result, they would be prohibited from buying any more than 19.9 per cent between them. And should the pair want to extend beyond that, they would either have to jointly launch a takeover or buy 3 per cent every six months through their joint vehicle.

Both groups have requested regulatory approval to lift their holdings beyond the 10 per cent limit enforced by gaming authorities.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission chief Greg Medcraft recently voiced concerns to a parliamentary inquiry about the latest trend towards gaining control of a company by skirting the takeover laws.

He was specifically referring to Echo and Fairfax Media which has been under siege from Gina Rinehart.

These latest reports should be a red flag to the regulator.

Genting put a serious dent in Crown's Asian expansion plans a few years ago when it beat the Packer organisation for the rights to build and operate a massive new casino in Singapore. And it is no stranger to Australia. It was the original operator of Perth's Burswood casino, now owned by Crown, and was an early key investor in the Queensland-based Jupiters Casinos, now owned by Echo.

As your columnist postulated months ago, the more likely scenario is that Genting has built a blocking stake and will attempt to wrestle the three Queensland casinos out of the group if Packer launches a takeover bid.

But that's just another theory. (Fairfax Media)


Crown gambles on six-star hotel in WA...

James Packer has continued to gamble heavily on luring Asian tourists to his Australian casino resorts, with Crown Ltd announcing plans yesterday to spend $568 million building a six-star hotel at its Perth casino.

The deal with the WA government also includes a boost to its gambling facilities. Crown is also seeking permission from NSW and Queensland gaming regulators to increase its stake in Echo Entertainment from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

The Echo investment is part of another plan to engage its local rival in a joint venture focused on Asian VIP gamblers. Crown intends to create a billion-dollar luxury destination for Asian high rollers at Sydney's showpiece harbour development, Barangaroo, but needs Echo's casino licence - and money - to do it.

Yesterday Crown announced it had an in-principle agreement to pay the WA government $60 million to acquire land for the planned hotel development.

The government has agreed not to oppose an application for 500 additional gaming machines at the Perth casino and 130 additional gaming tables, Crown said. The application will include plans for private gambling salons for VIP gamblers.

The luxury hotel, to be known as Crown Towers Perth, adds to the $2.2 billion Crown is spending on its two Australian casino resorts in a bid to attract Asian VIP gamblers from the strong competition in Singapore and Macau.

''Our goal is to create an integrated resort capable of competing with the best in the Asian region,'' Mr Packer told a Perth audience last year. He has made no secret of the need to invest heavily in luxury accommodation and facilities to compete in the lucrative global market for China's tourists who are displaying an appetite for travel, gourmet food and gambling.

A third of Crown's Australian revenue last year, about $800 million, was generated from international visitors. Most of this revenue comes from high rollers and other VIP-level customers, but the recent opening of two casino resorts in Singapore has affected Crown's business, especially in Perth. The increase in gambling facilities in Perth will be phased in over five years, subject to the approval of the Gaming and Wagering Commission of Western Australia, Crown said.

Construction of the 500-room hotel on a property near the casino will commence early next year and take three years, according to a statement from Crown.

The development is also expected to include restaurants, bars, resort and convention facilities.

The company's shares closed 2¢ higher at $8.47 yesterday. (Fairfax Media)


TEXT-Fitch Affirms Australia's Crown at 'BBB'; Outlook Stable - 30th July 2012...

SYDNEY, July 30 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has affirmed Crown Limited's (Crown) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and its senior unsecured rating at 'BBB'. The Outlook on the IDR is Stable.

The Australian gaming and entertainment operator's ratings are supported by its strong market position as the sole licensed casino operator in the states of Victoria and Western Australia. Its gaming assets in Melbourne and Perth have demonstrated consistent cash flow generation, which in part reflect stable and predictable local markets that represent over 50% of consolidated revenue.

Crown has outperformed the Australian industry by increasing market share even as total gaming expenditure in the country has grown at a slower pace than inflation. More significantly, the company has achieved this growth in a period of disruption to its operations as it is in the midst of a significant capex programme.

These strengths are offset by the concentration of operating assets in two casinos from which all of Crown's cash generation is derived.

Crown has planned to incur expansionary capex till FY15 (financial year ending June). As most of the capex will be incurred on existing properties, project implementation risk is minimal. Sizable expansionary capex coupled with annual dividend payout would result in Crown continuing to generate negative free cash flow (FCF) till at least end of FY15. However, Fitch does not expect Crown's financial risk (net adjusted debt to operating EBITDAR) to exceed 2.5x (FY11:1.6x) during this period.


What Could Trigger a Rating Action?

Positive: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to a positive rating action include:

-the completion of the extensive capex that Crown is undertaking. This would need to be combined with ongoing evidence that Crown's focus will remain on lower-risk assets

-Net adjusted debt (excluding working capital cash) to EBITDA falls below 1.75x on a sustained basis

Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to a negative rating action include:

-Net adjusted debt (excluding working capital cash) to EBITDA increases above 2.5x on a sustained basis.

-Significant negative regulatory action -Additional material funding of investments


Shane McMahon Note...

YOU On Demand Holdings, a leading Pay-Per-View and Video On Demand platform in China of which Shane McMahon is CEO and Chairman, announced today via a press release that it has signed an agreement to offer Paramount Pictures titles through their Video On Demand and Subscription Video On Demand services in the People's Republic of China. The titles that will be available to YOU On Demand customers include Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Transformers, No Country For Old Men and Star Trek.

"Paramount Pictures is one of Hollywood's most iconic studios and we are delighted to offer films from its rich library to our customers," said Shane McMahon. "The addition of Paramount's roster now gives YOU On Demand the most vibrant and compelling titles available in the People's Republic of China."


WWE News: Ric Flair's Daughter Reports to FCW...

WWE may have signed their next huge female star.

Women's wrestling website Diva-Dirt reports that Ashley Fliehr Johnson, the daughter of wrestling legend Ric Flair, made her first official appearance for Florida Championship Wrestling at an event a few days ago.

It was first reported back in May that Fliehr had inked a deal with the company and was expected to join FCW imminently. She will follow in the footsteps of second- and third-generation Divas like Natalya Neidhart, Tamina Snuka, and Shaul Guerrero, who are all currently under WWE contract. (Guerrero is still training in developmental, while Snuka and Neidhart have been on the main roster for some time.)

Fliehr, who has a background in personal fitness, previously found herself in the public eye back in 2008 after an embarrassing—and volatile—family argument in her hometown of Chapel Hill, NC, which ended with the then-21-year-old's arrest. She was later sentenced to probation and ordered to pay a $200 fine over the incident.

At the time her signing was announced, it sparked interest in some circles that the aspiring Diva had elected to go to WWE and not TNA, the company to which her father contracted at the time.

Of course, shortly afterwards it was announced that "The Nature Boy" had acrimoniously parted ways with America's No. 2 wrestling promotion, which may have explained the move.

Although Flair's daughter may be on the FCW roster, his own future in WWE remains up in the air. While the promotion would surely love to have the popular and charismatic legend back—and had jumped at the chance to sign his daughter—the current TNA/WWE lawsuit for issues related to contract tampering looks to have prevented his return for the time being.


Movie News: Top Ten based on weekend estimates (USA)...

1. The Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/Warner Bros) Week 2 [4,404 Runs] PG13
Friday $18.0M, Saturday $25.6M, Weekend $64.0M (-60%), Cume $289.0M

2. Ice Age 4 3D (Fox) Week 3 [3,869 Runs) PG
Friday $4.1M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $13.3M, Cume $114.8M

3. The Watch (Fox) NEW 3,168 Runs) R
Friday $4.5M, Saturday $4.9M, Weekend $13M

4. Step Up Revolution 3D (Summit/Lionsgate) NEW [2,567 Runs) PG13
Friday $5.0M, Saturday 3.9M, Weekend $11.8M

5. Ted (Universal) Week 5 [3,129 Runs) R
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $7.3M, Cume $193.6M

6. The Amazing Spider-Man 3D (Col/Sony) Week 4 [3,160 Run]
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.9M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $242.0M

7. Brave 3D (Pixar/Disney) Week 6 [2,551 Runs] PG
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.6M, Weekend $4.2M, Cume $217.2M

8. Magic Mike (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,075 Runs] R
Friday $800K, Saturday $1.0M, Weekend $2.5M, Cume $107.5M

9. Savages (Universal) Week 4 [1,414 Runs] R
Friday $480K, Saturday $742K, Weekend $1.7M, Cume $43.8M

10. Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features) Week 9 [853 Runs] PG13
Friday $363K, Saturday $614K, Weekend $1.3M, Cume $38.3M


The Critics’ Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time...

1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
4. La R├Ęgle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)
5. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
8. Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)
10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)


The Directors’ Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time...

1. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
4. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
5. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1980)
6. Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
7. The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
8. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
9. Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1974)
10. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)

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