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The Week in Pictures: December 22 – December 28, 2015

Dec 29, 2015

Weekly news in pictures

With no end of news breaking around the world last week we take a moment to revisit some of the biggest stories of the week

In the Vatican at midnight on Christmas Eve, the night before the day celebrated as marking the birth of Jesus Christ, a significant figure in Christianity a religion followed by some two billion people around the world, Pope Francis preached against what he called “a culture of indifference” and “a society so often intoxicated by consumerism & hedonism, wealth & extravagance, appearances & narcissism” and called upon members of the Catholic church to be devout and “act soberly”.

In Paraguay the President, Horacio Cartes, freed up relief funds to the value of $3.5 million and declared a state of emergency after heavy rains that began on December 18th caused massive and widespread flooding in the region. Some 20,000 people had to be evacuated in neighboring Argentina, and thousands more were left homeless in both southern Brazil and northern Uruguay after local rivers burst their banks. It is the worst flooding in the region for years displacing over 150,000 people.

In Victoria, Australia, massive fast moving bush fires devastated communities in both Wye River and Separation Creek last week, and also caused the evacuation of the town of Lorne as some 5,500 acres were set ablaze by a lightning strike on the 19th of December. One in three houses in the effected towns has been left uninhabitable with 1,600 people evacuated as a precaution against sudden wind shifts endangering them. Hundreds of firefighters were called in from across the country to tackle the blaze.

In sport Southampton gave Arsenal a 4-0 spanking at St. Mary’s in the English Premier League last week a result from which manager Arsene Wenger claims they will bounce back as they play Bournemouth at home on Monday evening. Will they manage it or become yet another of the mighty teams to hit a slump in performance? You’ll have to read our daily news pages to find out but in the meantime lets look again at some of the big stories we covered from around the world last week.

1. Bayern Munich appointed Carlo Ancelotti as the replacement of Pep Guardiola, and transfer rumours have already started spreading.

ancelotti bayern

New coach presenting piece from his CV (Photo: EPA)

2. Host Steve Harvey crowned the wrong Miss Universe, mistakenly giving it to Miss Colombia when the rightful winner was Miss Philippines.

miss universe mistake

There can be only one… the right one. (Photo: bbc)

3. NBA commissioner Adam Silver called for the legalization and regulation of daily fantasy sports and sports betting, arguing that there is unmet consumer demand.

adam silver supportsd betting sites and fantasy sports

If people would like to place bets, then they should have the opportunity to do so.. (Photo: Peter Yang via abs news)

4. A forward for Boston University was banned for the season amid university hockey gambling controversy. Another player on the team is rumored to have been involved.

nick roberto betting scandal

Nick Roberto, BU player (Source: Youtube)

5. “The Prince Clown of Basketball”, Gobetrotters’ legend Meadowlark Lemon dies at the age of 83.

meadowlark lemon dies

Shaq, one of the first to pay respects (Twitter)

 

Meanwhile an unidentified forty year old driver was detained by police after crashing his car into a tax office with enough force that the vehicle continued on through the wall and into the neighboring store a funeral home. When questioned the driver claimed that he was attempting to “travel through time” at the time of the impact with the thankfully deserted businesses, and no one was hurt during the incident, including the driver from Nashville who was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash.

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The week in pictures: September 29 – October 05, 2015

Oct 07, 2015

Weekly news in pictures

Last week was a busy seven days so lets take a moment to look back at some of the stories that hit our headlines and those of publications around the world

At NASA scientists announced the discovery of water on the surface of Mars. The highly salted liquid forms dark stains on the terrain and only flows during the summer months before drying out in autumn. The precise origin of the liquid is as yet unknown but scientists hope that its discovery could lead to more precise searches both for life on Mars and potential sites for human habitation in the future. “Mars is not the dry, arid planet that we thought of in the past.” said NASA.

In the Middle East Russian combat aircraft conducted military operations over Syria as keen ally of President Bashar Assad, Vladimir Putin, launched attacks on various rebel groups currently fighting the nation’s ongoing civil war. This included some anti-Assad groups supported and financed by the US who denounced the presence of Russian forces in the area and described the bombings as “indiscriminate”. US air operations over Syria continued uninterrupted despite the Russian sorties.

In Roseburg, Oregon, a student opened fire at Umpqua community college killing nine classmates and wounding nine others. The gunman, 26 year old British born Chris Harper-Mercer, who was enrolled at the college on a writing course, apparently targeted Christians in his attack. Police say they recovered a dozen legally purchased weapons from both his person and home and that Mercer killed himself as police moved in after a short gun battle. His motives were not immediately clear.

In sport hosts England crashed out of the Rugby World Cup having been completely outclassed by Australia in their 13-33 defeat. The result puts Wales and Australia through from Pool A, the first time a host nation has failed to win a place in the quarter-finals. The question now is who will lift the trophy in the final? You’ll have to read our daily news pages to find out but in the meantime here’s a look at some of the big stories we covered over the last seven days.

1. NCAA considers daily fantasy sports as gambling, so participating college athletes due to be handed a year suspension.

ncaa fantasy football

NCAA leans…red (?), call it gambling.(Photo: g33kwatch)

 

2. After the first seven rounds of the Premier League and the first two of the Champions League, the Red Devils were the best English side.

manchester united best team in England

How about for 2015-2016? (Photo: Manchester United – Wallpapercave )

 

3. Celtic majority shareholder Dermot Desmond thinks that the Scottish giants will join the English top-flight in the next decade.

celtic and rangers in premier league

The fans are ready (Photo: Ben Curtis/PA, 2002)

 

4. Gambling revenue incomes fell for the third month in a row in Nevada, though gambling still flourishes in certain districts of Las Vegas.

las vegas nevada low revenues

High maintenance, low revenues… (Photo: Expedia)

 

5. Former Borussia Dormund coach Jurgen Klopp became the favorite to take over Liverpool after Brendan Rodgers was fired.

air klupp liverpool

Air Klupp jumping to Liverpool… (Photo: Daily Mail)

 

Meanwhile Stephen Hawking once again warned against possible alien invasion comparing any encounter Humans might have with extraterrestrials as being akin to the result of Columbus discovering America on the Native Americans. “Advanced aliens,” he said, “would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach.” His comments were made to “raise public awareness about the importance of space flight”.

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Action-Packed Year Expected in 2015 Formula 1 Season

Mar 10, 2015
F1 2015

Formula 1 2015 Adventure is about to begin!

Australian Grand Prix, the first race of the new Formula 1 season, will start next weekend on 15 March, in Melbourne. The new racing year is expected to be very exciting and intriguing with many great sportsmen behind the wheels who already have their fame, and many young pretenders wanting to take over their famous rivals.

The current champion, Lewis Hamilton, is said to be mentally stronger than ever before, and his team mate, last year’s second placed driver Nico Rosberg, is also looking for a way to prove himself better than everyone else. Meanwhile 4-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and 2-time world champion Fernando Alonso are also looking forward to revive their careers with their new teams.

NDTV Sports: Formula One Gearing up for Another Eventful Year of Rivalry

This year’s championship will see less racers and less teams as 24 drivers took part in the tournament in 2014 while only 18 are competing this year. Well, it might be 20 in case of Manor-Marrusia, the team that was built from Marrusia, will succeed to qualify for the requirements.

It is true that there will be less drivers compared to the previous season, however we can expect the same amount of excitement due to the quality of the competitors. Latest gambling news regard Lewis Hamilton as the favorite for winning the title having set the odds at 1.53 (8/15) by Bet365, while those for his teammate Nico Rosberg are set at 3.50 (5/2).

The British, however, has many contenders, such as Sebastian Vettel who will start the new season at Ferrari or Fernando Alonso who left the Reds for McLaren Honda. So Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso are looking to claim their fifth and third championship title respectively but they have many young contenders.

The new season comes with many new names and most of these are incredibly young drivers. Toro Rosso launches young pairing with a combined age of only 37, while 20-year-old Russian Daniil Kvyat will race as teammate of emerging star Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull. Sauber will also trust the young with their drivers being 22 year-old Brazilian Felipe Nasr and 24 year-old Swedish diver, Marcus Ericsson.

Eurosport: Formula 1 – Lewis Hamilton arrives in Australia in style and ‘stronger than ever’

Lewis Hamilton seemed to be very confident when arriving to Melbourne and stepping out of his red private plane. He tweeted a picture of himself saying „Australia, we are here!“ to which he received mixed responses from his followers.

Online gambling news quoted what he thinks about his mental strength after being asked about the rumours of his berak-up with Nicole Scherzinger. ” I think last year, I adapted… a mental attitude that was kind of, I would like to say, impenetrable In the previous years it has been the case where personal issues have affected my life in general but I feel that I still carry that kind of mentality from last year.“

The Englishman also talked about his wish to achieve even better results than he did during the previous season. “It’s not easy to better a season like last year. In terms of performance, it was the best year that I think I’ve ever had, but it doesn’t mean I can’t beat it so that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Lewis Hamilton also declared that his negotiations with Mercedes about renewing his contract are at the final stage and they are close to reaching an agreement. “Hopefully we’re in the final stages. I don’t really know what the timeline is for that but we’re not rushing. but we’re very much in the last stages of it. So for the foreseeable future, I’m committed to this team.”

NDTV Sports: Mercedes Won’t End Hamilton-Rosberg Rivalry: Wolff

Even though the fact that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were already teammates in the previous season, they were each other’s greatest competitors as well. Last year, on the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa the two drivers collided when the German was trying to overcome his partner.

The team has blamed Rosberg who was given an unknown punishment after the incident and he also apologised publicly for his dangerous maneuvers. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff claims that the collision between the two drivers was good for the sport but they had crossed a certain line.

Executive director of Mercedes AMG Petrol also added, “We are not going to change our approach in terms of philosophy on how to let the drivers race. Even if it is not always easy. For us, for our brand, for Formula One, it was important to let them fight, one against the other.”

According to gambling news, Wolff also stated that emotion is very important in sports, and even though the two pilots went over-board, the team found a good solution. He proved his word by saying that his team has won the following 5 races after the accident.

The executive also said that Formula 1 is the number 1 car racing sport in the world so people who work for Formula 1 should stop talking negatively about the game. “We are the number one auto racing sport in the world and we must promote and support this image.”

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The week in pictures: November 25th – December 1st, 2014

Dec 03, 2014

Weekly news in pictures

There was no shortage of news last week around the world so lets look back at some of the biggest stories that snatched the headlines.

Authorities in Ferguson Missouri were forced to call in the National Guard as widespread rioting overwhelmed the beleagued police force following the jury verdict finding Officer Darren Wilson inculpable after the August 9th shooting that saw him gun down the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. With buildings set ablaze and numerous arrests the riots mark a low point in the relationship between the almost entirely white police force and vastly black population they serve. Officer Darren Wilson then resigned from his position, a move that has done little to quell tension in the town.

The teenage daughters of President Obama came under fire from Republican Elizabeth Lauten who posted on Facebook following their appearance at the turkey pardoning ceremony alongside their father at the White House. “Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.” She said of the 13 and 16 year old girls outfits, adding that she felt they lacked class but lamented, “your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter. So I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department.”. She then deleted the statement and apologized insincerely, much to the annoyance of the internet.

The Black Friday chaos proved to be a little less fraught this year as many stores tried to ease the rush by beginning their sales on Thanksgiving itself. As millions of Americans sat down to eat with their families and then went out to grab some early Christmas shopping bargains with very few instances of trouble, across the Atlantic in the UK (which doesn’t even celebrate thanksgiving) there were scenes of unbridled consumerist madness with the police being called to deal with trouble at several stores that began their sales at midnight and saw pandemonium break out upon opening their doors to the great British public.

In sport the Cricketing world paid its respects after the sad death of 25 year old Australian Phillip Hughes who died last week having been hit by the ball. The tragic accident has placed the first test between India and Australia, due to start on Thursday in Brisbane, in doubt and an already busy schedule may mean it won’t go ahead at all. Negotiations between the teams on the matter continued into the weekend and to find out if or when it goes ahead you’ll have to check our daily news pages regularly but in the meantime here’s some of the stories that hit our headlines last week.

1. Despite his conflict with Borgata, poker pro Phil Ivey has endorsed the casino’s new partner, the Pala Casino online gambling site.

Phil Ivey pala Casino

Greetings from an old friend… (Photo: Pala Casino)

 
 

2.The Florida Lottery has a bright future ahead. Lottery sales in the Sunshine State already reached an impressive $5.3 billion and now lawmakers are considering introducing online sales in the state.

Florida Lottery

Florida Lottery evolves and keeps up with technology (Photo: Florida Lottery)

 
 

3.Neteller co-founder’s biography was released. Readers could discover the story behind the successful and controversial John Lefebvre.

John Lefebvre

Read all about it… (Photo: ECW Press)

 

4.The recent casino cheating case involving US Navy Rear Admiral Timothy Giardani got everybody’s attention.

Timothy Giardina

Timothy Giardina lost a career (Photo:CBS)

 
 

5.What seems to be holding back the growth in the Macau casino industry?

Macau gambling

Is Macau old news? (Photo: Kieran Scott)

 

6.Favourit and EveryMatrix launched multi-lingual online and mobile platform to the delight of players.

Favourit platform

Bets of ingredients: Multiple languages, multiple bookies and mobile (Photo: Favourit)

 
 

7.The Polish government is considering reviewing their policies on international gambling operations.

The Polish Ministry of Finance

The Polish Ministry of Finance knows the potential of international operators (Photo: Jarosław Pocztarski/CC)

 

Meanwhile the queen of the crime novel, PD James, died peacefully at the age of 94 in her Oxford home having written 20 books including “Children of Men” and the massively successful series featuring the detective Adam Dalgliesh that were adapted for television, and in Hong Kong protestors attempted to move on the Chief Executive’s office only to be met by batons, pepper-spray and water hoses from authorities tired of the softly-softly approach. Will there be more chaos on the streets of this gambling capital? You’ll have to check in with our daily news pages to find out.

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The week in pictures: November 11th – November 17th, 2014

Nov 19, 2014

Weekly news in pictures

The world last week was a place of excitement and disaster so lets look back at some of the big stories that hit the headlines

Quatar was cleared of allegations of wrong doing surrounding their being awarded the 2022 World Cup by FIFA the body that oversees international soccer. Despite a huge number of allegations the report supposedly gave the rich nation in which it’s actually too hot to feasibly play football a clean bill of health although the report itself is not to be published in full and has already been criticized by one of the authors for being misrepresented. UEFA are already threatening to quit FIFA over the scandal.And a scandal is perhaps what the Rosetta project could become as the 1.4 billion Euro adventure into the depths of space managed to get 300 million miles from Earth, catch up with a speeding comet and then crash into it, bounce a few times and dive into one of the few places its solar panels couldn’t recharge its batteries. Still hailed as a huge success by the scientific community it remains to be seen just how much real information will be gleaned from the results.

Of course real information is hard to come by these days and Vladimir Putin seemed a tad disingenuous when he cited a long journey home and a need for sleep as being the reasons behind his leaving the G20 Summit in Australia quite as early as he did. Of course many observers would point to the fact just about every other leader had lambasted him for his attitude and behavior over Ukraine, and that Russia was rapidly becoming isolated on the world stage.

In sports a very disappointed Roger Federer was forced to pull out of the ATP World Tour final versus long term rival Novak Djokovic due to a back injury. Apologizing in person at the O2 Arena in London he said sorry for not being match fit in what was a massive PR disaster for the ATP, and an unfortunately tainted default win for Djokovic who admitted this wasn’t the way he wanted to win the trophy. Will Federer recover his fitness or have we seen the last of the six time ATP champion? Find out on our daily news pages but in the meantime lets have a look back at our headlines from last week.

1. One company’s trash is another company’s treasure. With Echo Group hunting VIP gamblers, the Townsville casino was becoming too insignificant in the whole picture, so the company sold it for $70 million to someone willing to fix it up and revive it.
Jupiter Townsville

Townsville’s gem (Photo: Morgan Evan)

2. After remote gambling operators have taken a major financial blow because of the new license fees and taxes imposed in the UK, the Maltese Government is offering to help heal their bleeding wounds.
Parliamentary Secretary José Herrera comes to the rescue (Photo: Times of Malta)

Parliamentary Secretary José Herrera comes to the rescue (Photo: Times of Malta)

3. A trained chef and poker player, Martin Jacobson has surely figured out the secret recipe for success, because he just won $10 million and his very first gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker.
If  the game of poker were a dish...what would it be?  (Photo: Martin  Jacobson blog)

If the game of poker were a dish…what would it be? (Photo: Martin Jacobson blog)

4. It took a long time, but Atlantic City is finally waking up and smelling the coffee. Losing five casinos and leaving thousands of workers unemployed has finally hurt enough to convince officials that it’s time for a change.
Casino Campus

Casino Campus (Photo: Spy Hollywood)

5. One of the largest Asian gambling groups, Genting, is resilient to the general decline on the gambling market.
Genting says VIPs will save the day

Genting says VIPs will save the day (Photo: Genting Casino)

6. The state of Illinois allowed video gaming machines in bars and restaurants and so far the experience has been positive.
Joy of casino: Illinois style (Photo:)

Casino joy: Illinois style (Photo: Chris LaPelusa/Sun Day Photo)

7. New information has been made available in connection to Paul Phua illegal betting ring, which might lead to case dismissal.
Paul Phua: case dismissed? title=

Paul Phua: case dismissed? (Photo: Youtube via The Review Journal )

Meanwhile Boko Haran we accused of being behind the suicide bombing that struck a Nigerian school assembly killing 46 and injuring 79 students, an event that made a mockery of government claims to have signed a ceasefire with the Islamic terrorist group, and elsewhere the Dutch have discovered a new outbreak of an even more contagious, and thus dangerous, strain of bird flu that can be transmitted to humans. Will we all end up tarred and feathered? You’ll have to keep up to date with our daily news pages to find out.

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Investor Plans Remake of Townsville Casino

Nov 12, 2014
Chris Morris will revive the Jupiters casino

Chris Morris will revive the Jupiters casino

Everyone was wondering why Chris Morris would buy a dying casino, but the businessman has big plans for the Jupiters in Townsville.

Founder of Computershare, Morris told reporters his dream was to create an exciting new package for all tourists to enjoy, and Jupiters will play an important role in his plan.

According to the latest gambling news
, he is looking to get more international tourists to come to the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree and the outback, by building a small resort complete with a gambling venue.

“Having the casino allows you the cash flow to do other things,” he explained.

Australian gambling companies have been targeting mostly Asian high-rollers and Echo Entertainment and Crown Resorts have even fought over a casino spot in Brisbane and a proposed $8 billion casino project in Cairns.

But Chris Morris is planning on focusing his attention and investing all his efforts in Townsville to draw more locals, not just foreign visitors. There are several direct flights to the regional centre and the businessman plans to take advantage of this.

Business Review Weekly: Why Rich Lister Chris Morris bought ‘worst-performing casino in Australia’

The Business Review Weekly has estimated Morris’ fortune at $700 million. The businessman built a reputation by working in the tech industry. He co-founded ASX-listed share registry business Computershare, but nowadays he’s focusing mostly on tourism.

His tourism and entertainment company, Colonial Leisure Group, owns 15 businesses, including a pubs, a brewery on Margaret River and the Daintree Eco Lodge located in north Queensland. With the Jupiters deal sealed, the total amount invested in Queensland over the past three years reaches $100 million.

In addition to these businesses and properties, Chris Morris recently bought an outback cattle station, Mount Mulligan, and owns Orpheus Island Resort plus a Queensland helicopter charter company.

While he opposes the idea of installing pokies in pubs, Morris says offering these gambling machines in casinos is okay, arguing that “people make a conscious decision to go to casinos.”

The Australian businessman doesn’t have much experience in the gambling industry, but he believes the Jupiters casino has “huge potential”, which is why he brought Brad Morgan on board, who recently ran SkyCity Entertainment’s Darwin casino.

The Australian: CLG pays $70m to snap up Jupiters

The private company owned by Chris Morris, the founder of Computershare, has offered $70 million to buy Echo Entertainment’s Jupiters Townsville casino. The deal was struck through ANZ Corporate Advisory.

The price of the casino equates to 10 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for the previous financial year. The new buyer is looking to invest money in redeveloping the casino, to make it part of a large-scale integrated resort.

John Redmond, managing director at Echo, said: “Recent performance of Jupiters Townsville has been positive. However, given the scale of operations and the size of the local market, we saw more limited expansion opportunities, and therefore strategic fit, with the group’s other assets.”

The company would make an $8 million pre-tax profit on the $70 million sale.

A statement by Colonial Leisure Group added: “We are excited about the opportunities and synergies this acquisition represents. Combining our extensive expertise in hospitality management and ability to further invest, we will develop Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino into a leading regional resort, improving the operational and financial performance of the property.”

MyWealth News: International high rollers drive Echo’s earnings higher

According to a financial report released at the end of October, Echo Entertainment said it expects its normalized earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to reach between $245 million and $260 million in the first half of the 2015 financial year. The figure reflects a 31% increase from the previous year.

The current financial year has already brought the company a revenue of $216 million, a 78% rise compared to the previous year within its international VIP rebate business, which was “breaking previous records” according to chief executive Matt Bekier. Between 2010 and 2013, Echo’s VIP business has expanded by 224%.

“The positive trading momentum generated in 2H FY14 continues to prevail. We are experiencing good demand in all properties, especially in domestic electronic gaming,” he said.

But Echo has bigger plans in Australia. Taking advantage of the country’s favorable gambling laws, the company recently submitted a proposal to develop a multi-billion dollar resort at Queen’s Wharf Brisbane. Echo was shortlisted for the location along with rival casino developer Crown Resorts.

“In terms of the Brisbane bid, we can’t yet disclose the details of what we are proposing to build, or the scale of the tourism, economic or job-creation benefits to Queensland,” Bekier said. “But let me assure you that we have put forward a responsible offer that delivers a truly iconic precinct.”

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The State of Victoria’s Poker Problem Persists

Jul 09, 2014

The State of Victoria’s Poker Problem Persists

Expensive losses in court may cost state of Victoria $540m as they compensate poker machine operator for contract collapse.

A broken contract can lead to expensive litigation as the Australian state of Victoria is finding out. Tatts and Tabcorp once enjoyed a duopoly over poker machines beyond Melbourne’s Crown casino but following a government decision in 2009 altering gambling laws in Australia operation was given over to venues.

The legal action began by both companies in 2012 saw Tatts seeking at least $490m and Tabcorp asking for $686.8m. A ruling handed down by Victorian supreme Justice Kim Hargrave proved bad news for the state.

Whilst the government was ordered to pay $450m (plus interest) to Tatts, Tabcorp lost its attempt to gain compensation. The state instantly announced it would appeal the Tatts decision, which is now being used as a political football ahead of state elections five months hence.

“We will be appealing the decision with respect to this $540m, but the Labor party ought to apologize to the people of Victoria for their mismanagement of this process,” said state premier Denis Napthine

The Guardian: Denis Napthine says Victoria will appeal $540m payout to pokies giant

In what can only be described as a kind of legal side bet the three entities, state and two operators, are also at each other’s throats over 80 million dollar’s worth of health tax. This stems from the fact that despite having their duopoly removed the two companies were charged a health levy for the full year.

This, they claim, is unfair since they did not operate the machines for the full fiscal year concerned and thus are entitled to a refund for the portion of the year remaining. The Victorian supreme court ruled in their favor but in an interesting twist the Court of Appeal threw out that decision.

The Appeals court said the levy was a flat tax on gaming machines that was entirely within reason for the government to charge and that the revenue earnings of the machines, and the date on which those revenues were injected are neither here nor there in regards of a tax calculation.

Yahoo News: Vic Government wins appeal on repayment of health levy to pokies companies

The $42.6 million Tatts was charged, and the $42 million Tabcorp was levied has been spent on good causes around the state from schools to hospitals despite the Victorian state Treasurer having ruled its imposition was “unfair and unreasonable”.

Mr Michael O’Brien’s decision was overturned by Supreme Court judges Maxwell, Beach and McMillan who said the Treasurer’s decision was incorrect due to the wording of the law which means the “statutory language permits no other interpretation”.

“The Treasurer was bound to determine the tax payable in accordance with the prescribed formula,” they said. “Any unfairness which might be thought to have resulted was the inescapable consequence of the provision as enacted.”

Or to put it another way, the fact the operators only got 46 days where their machines were in use, they were charged for the whole year because the law doesn’t allow for anything else. If they were merely charged for 46 days it would still cost them $7m.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Tatts, Tabcorp could face $85 million in pokies levies after government appeal allowed

Of course appealing is going to keep this case running in the gambling news for a while longer yet. The two operators are likely to appeal the health tax levy, the state is going to appeal the decision against them (that’s costing the nearly half a billion) and that’s without the Auditor General’s two cents.

The Auditor General has found that the Brumby government that was responsible for the licensing of the poker machines in the first place made what can only be described as a complete pig’s ear of the entire thing costing the state almost $3bn,

The Brumby government breaking an agreement made by the Kennett government to pay compensation to the two operators should their licenses not be renewed in 2012 is now seen as political ammunition with the opposition spokesman laying the blame squarely on the liberal’s doorstep.

“It appears the contracts signed by the Kennett government with Tattersalls has provided a windfall gain.” He said, adding, “If the government is confident of its case, then it should strongly consider appealing.”

Herald Sun: Tatts to get up to $450m from Victoria’s coffers

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Accused of money-laundering, high-roller says “$29,000 nothing to me”

Sep 20, 2010
high roller casino

When do you lose $500,000 yet still come out a winner? When your freedom is an issue in a court case in Australia, it seems.

In last week’s top gambling news story from Down Under, Wollstonecraft citizen Zheng Tan was facing trial for money laundering in an Australian district court. The specific incident involved a stolen check for AU $500,000 (about US $472,000) which Tan said was the repayment of an informal loan he’d made to a fellow high-roller in the Crown Casino’s VIP room.

Tan first lent the man AU $120,000, to which the thankful loanee offered his $300,000 Philippe Patek watch. When Tan later topped up his new friend with another AU $350,000, the man offered an IOU based on real estate in China.

A short time later, Tan’s friend made good on his promise and wrote Tan a check for the AU $500,000 – about AU $29,000 (US $27,400) more than what had been leant; the outstanding amount was argued by prosecuting attorneys to have been a fee for laundering the money. He then cashed the check and took the money to play with in Canberra – unfortunately, that money was reportedly stolen from his car.

Tan argued in court that he didn’t know the check was stolen and that he’d gambled away some $10 million at the Crown Casino alone. “$29,000 is nothing to me,” he said.

Tan was exonerated of the charges.

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Australian punters prop up profitable quarter for Sportingbet

May 27, 2010
Dollar Planet

Though still affected by the slumping worldwide economy, Sportingbet representatives were recently quite happy to announce the sportsbook’s profitable third-quarter results for the fiscal year. Key markets of Spain and Greece were unimpressive for Sportingbet, but a large influx from Australia proved to be the financial difference. The next year may be a bit difficult for the bookmaker, though, as new gambling laws in France are forcing the company’s withdrawal from that market.

Interactive Investor: Australia drives Sportingbet Q3

For the third quarter of its fiscal year, Sportingbet reported net gaming revenue to be up 29.8 percent to £55.7 million. Total bets in the period ending in April increased 22 percent to £521 million (approximately $750 million) wagered.

“Given the widely reported economic difficulties in Spain and Greece, which are two of our biggest markets,” said Sportingbet CEO Andrew McIver, “it is pleasing to report an 18 percent increase in profits.” Sportingbet business in Greece increased 8 percent, while Spain was stagnant for the bookmaker.

Sportingbet shares, which earlier in the week had hit a nine-month low at 57.5p, had rebounded by 3.7 percent to 62.5p on the morning of the announcement of results, valuing the company at £307 million.

McIver cited the advantages of geographical diversification business, and added that the company’s fourth quarter would be focused on the World Cup, repeating his comments of May that “much of how the remainder of this quarter performs will depend on the outcome of (the World Cup).”

In addressing next year’s results, Sportingbet stated that it would no longer be accepting bets from French players in light of the new licensing regulations for offshore online casino owners there. Sportingbet will apply for licensing in France, but due to the time involved plus some permanent loss of revenue, fiscal year 2011 is expected to be down for Sportingbet.

Financial Times: Australian profits drive Sportingbet

Since the Australian market showed in 19 percent raise in gross amount wagered in the third quarter of the fiscal year, Sportingbet was able to report a 13 percent jump in pre-tax profits.

Australian wagering at Sportingbet increased from £153.2 million to £182.1 million. Reasons given for the profitable quarter in Australia included “horse racing results that favored the bookmaker” and liberalization of advertising regulations in the country.

Sportingbet also reported weak intake from Spain and Greece, two markets that make up about 33 percent of Sportingbet revenue. For comparison, the bookmaker draws about 5 percent of its business from the U.K.

Sportingbet representatives also reported that they anticipate a further increase in revenues in the fourth quarter because of World Cup betting. Betting on soccer makes up 61 percent of sportsbook activity at Sportingbet.

Stock Markets Review: Sportingbet report Strong Q3 for sports and casino

Sportingbet’s fiscal results for quarter three were reported as strong, with net gaming revenue increasing 30 percent year-on-year (or 27 percent with exchange rate fluctuation taken into account). In addition to the excellent results in Australia, sports and casino growth in Europe was also called “strong.”

For Sportingbet, European sportsbook activity increased 21 percent YoY to £29.1 million. Casino gaming was up 17 percent to £11.6 million, with particular good results for the Sportingbet flash casino. Poker gaming at Sportingbet was down 10 percent YoY to £4.5 million.

With regard to the French market, Sportingbet indicated that it expected to receive sports, horseracing and poker licenses in early 2011 and that the company had already entered into marketing partnerships to advertise in “Le Monde” and “L’Express” newspapers.

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Australian Analysts Anticipate Boom in the Online Gambling Industry

Apr 16, 2010
Gambling Babe

After trying to ban the online gambling industry from Australian’s, the government realized that it had made a mistake being that an estimated $790 million went out their window to offshore casinos. Knowing that’s there’s a high demand for the industry, the government is liable to break down restrictions and embrace it.

The Wall Street Journal: Analyst predicts online casino boom as governments seek taxes

The global financial crisis seems to be on its way out and could spark rapid growth in online gambling as governments remove bans and tax casinos. A report from KMPG predicts the global online betting market will grow by 42% to $32 billion by 2012.

The recent Productivity Commission draft report into online gaming urges deregulation of the industry, and repealing of restrictions on online betting as well as the removal of the ban on Australian companies operating cyber casinos.

Analysts guess that the long-term trend will be towards deregulation as prohibition clearly isn’t working. Australians have spent $790 million on offshore cyber casinos. The return of revenue to Australia and the potential for establishing an Australian-branded online casino would be a substantial boost for local players.

The Sydney Morning Herald: Online bets on track for legalisation

According to accounting firm KPMG, new laws allowing gaming companies to offer online gambling in Australia are ”inevitable,” as the federal government stands to benefit from the tax revenue of a rapidly growing industry.

According to the Productivity Commission, Australians spent $790 million on online gambling through overseas sites in 2008. The commission’s recent draft report on gambling concluded that, ”While illegal and invisible in official records, online gaming appears to have grown very rapidly, and could amount to 4 per cent of gambling expenditure.”

The commission recommended the government liberalize online gaming, allowing Australian companies to provide internet poker and casino games to local customers. Online wagering and sports betting is already permitted.

Many inside the Australian industry believe it is unlikely the government will move to liberalize online gambling during an election year. However, the idea does have the support of some anti-gambling figures who say legalizing the service would enable authorities to better control it and protect problem gamblers, who are already gambling online through overseas sites.

Australian Associated Press: Online gambling ‘to double by 2012’

A new report suggests that Australia stands to rake in the dollars if it relaxes online gambling restrictions. Australians are estimated to spend around $790 million playing poker and other casino games through offshore websites in 2008. Predictions indicate that the industry will double in size by 2012.

The estimate gives weight to calls for Australia to rethink its prohibition of online gambling, due to the fact that it’s obviously not effective. A wealth of revenue is there to be made if Australia can shape and expand the market, which is set to explode given technological advances in mobile phones and other devices.

Australia could harness the revenue spent at offshore sites by relaxed restrictions, a practice that other governments, including the United States, have been working towards. A federal Productivity Commission draft report has recommended the government consider regulated access to local gaming sites, rather than all-out prohibition.

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Aussie Hackers Attack Government over Net Filter Plans

Feb 11, 2010
Great Firewall Reef of Australia

A group of cyber hackers calling themselves simply Anonymous launched a massive denial-of-service attack on two major Australian government websites yesterday. The attacks were in response to an announcement from December in which the government revealed plans to filter the internet, blocking sites related to pornography, online gambling, and other “unwanted” content.

PC World: Australian Parliament Web Site Attacked

The website of the Australian Parliament site was struck with a denial-of-service attack on Wednesday, two days after a hacking group called Anonymous threatened attacks in response to the government’s plan to filter the internet.

During yesterday’s attack, the Web site was hit by 7.5 million requests per second. By noon, the Parliament’s Web site was down.

The hacking group Anonymous put out a press release on Monday, complaining about plans announced back in December by Australian Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy which would reqire ISPs to block illegal and “unwanted” content, including online gambling and pornography.

“The Australian Government will learn that one does not mess with our porn,” Anonymous said in its press release. “No one messes with our access to perfectly legal (or illegal) content for any reason.”

“No government should have the right to refuse its citizens access to information solely because they perceive it to be ‘unwanted,'” the group continued. “Indeed, the only possible interpretation of ‘unwanted content’ is content that the government itself does not want to be seen.”

BBC News: Australia websites hacked in porn filter protest

A group of computer hackers attacked official websites in Australia yesterday in a protest against the government’s proposed internet filter targeting pornography and online gambling sites.

The Australian parliament’s website was down for almost an hour after being disrupted a group calling itself Anonymous. The hackers did not infiltrate government security, but instead swamped government computer servers.

A statement attributed to the group said they believe that the Australian government should not be allowed to control what its citizens view on the internet.

The government intends to introduce the mandatory internet filter system by early 2011. The filter block a list of banned websites, including those containing child abuse material.

Alastair MacGibbon, formerly of the government’s High-Tech Crime Centre, said that internet hackers like these are difficult to combat, but he said that compared to most Western nations, Australia was “well prepared” for the attack.

International Business Times: Anonymous group protests against Australian Government filter

In response the Australian Government’s proposed internet filtering project, a group under the name Anonymous attacked two major government websites yesterday.

Both the Australian Parliament House website and Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy website were hit by the attacks. The websites became sluggish and stopped responding under the pressure.

According to the Attorney-General’s office, Anonymous used a distributed denial-of-service attack. The Australian Parliament House website was down for about 50 minutes. It is now fixed but is still acting sluggish.

The Department of Defence Cyber Security Operations Centre continues to monitor the situation closely.

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