Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Millions hope is well backed - Northside Chronicle - 30th December 2008

Punters have unleashed a plunge on talented Sydney galloper Koblenz to upset unbeaten star and raging favourite Paprika in the rich two-year-old classic at the Magic Millions carnival on the Gold Coast on January 10.

Centrebet’s media chief and race analyst Neil Evans said the Gary Portelli-trained Koblenz had been backed from $16 down to $12 on the back of several wagers in the last week, including one Victorian punter who outlayed $5000 at $15 on Christmas Day and a Queensland punter who outlayed nearly $4000 at the same price.

``He’s the stand-out money horse at the moment, despite the unbeaten run of gun filly Paprika which has seen her storm in from $3.00 to an odds-on $1.95 favourite after her latest win,’’ Evans said.

``It’s very big money for the talented Koblenz, considering Paprika has won four from four, including her latest win when she blitzed a useful field in the $150,000 Listed Tommy Smith Slipper (1200m) at Doomben.’’

Racing Pegasus remains second-elect on $7 – the only other galloper in single figures.

Meanwhile, Evans said, perennial bridesmaid Express Air has shortened dramatically from $8 into $5 to win the 3YO Magic Millions showdown, despite being beaten by the flying Youthful Jack at Doomben on Saturday.

``Express Air has his foot right on the till, and with Youthful Jack out of the road, the Magic Millions is well within his reach – and punters know it,’’ he said.

``There’s been a string of bets after Saturday’s run, and Express Air is now challenging the impressive Rock Kingdom ($4.50 out to $4.80) for favouritism. Express Air now commands about 75 per cent of the entire money invested to far on the race.”
Express Air has been the exclusive mover on Centrebet’s all-in market, with most other runners easy in the market. Zero Rock is a clear $7.00 third favourite, while Adnocon ($61.00 into $31.00) has been a firmer at long odds!

2YO Magic Millions: $1.95 Paprika (in from $3), $7 Racing Pegasus, $10 Shadow Assassin (in from $11), $11 Carlton Forward (out from $8), $11 Horizons (out from $8.50), $12 Koblenz (in from $16), $14 Double Heart (out from $13), $21 Fast Lover, $21Moonlight Hussey (out from $17), $21 Our Dreaming, $21 Powerful Light, $26 or longer others.

3YO MAgic Millions: $4.80 Rock Kingdom (out from $4.50), $5 Express Air (in from $8), $7 Zero Rock, $15 Bhutane Dane (out from $12), $15 Feline Flyer, $15 Tempest Tost, $17 Whisper Bay (out from $15), $21 Black Minx (out from $11), $21 Cat D’Antibes (out from $12), $21 High Rollin Woman (out from $13), $26 or longer others.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Fortunes won and lost, by Christian Nicolussi and Brent Zerafa - The Daily Telegraph - 27th December 2008

Big bookie Matthew Tripp doesn't usually have a worry in the world as he ambles down the main street of Darwin on a Saturday morning.

He'll grab a coffee, buy the paper and chat to a few locals before waltzing back to the office. It is a routine as he prepares himself for the afternoon onslaught.

But on a balmy morning in September, Tripp's phone rings and the normally relaxed stroll ends abruptly with the bookie stopping dead in his tracks. "I want to have $1million on the Hussler,'' the voice down the phone line says.

Tripp pauses, his mind processing the very thought of possibly winning or losing more than some people ever earn in a lifetime. "I think we can do business,'' he finally says.

For the next five minutes Tripp paces up and down the street negotiating a price with his client. After some debate, they come to an agreement. Tripp recalled this week how he accepted the bet at $1.65 - risking $650,000 to possibly win $1million.

Weekend Hussler, Australia's best horse, won the Underwood Stakes with ease and Tripp was forced to hand over the cash.

"I have a very good relationship with that individual client. He rings me when he wants a bet, we negotiate a price and we go from there,'' Tripp said. "That was the biggest single wager I have taken this year, but there have been smaller bets that would have resulted in bigger payouts than that one.

"I would be lying if I said I don't get nervous but that's my job, how I live my life - sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.''

This is now a common occurrence for heavyweight corporate bookies who have made staggering fortunes by changing the face of Australian punting. Like the time when Michael Sullivan took on champion Lonhro at his final race start in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in 2004.

He accepted a bet of $5million on the black flash at the short quote of $1.20. Lonhro lost and Sullivan won. In less than a decade, these super-bookies have built a $4billion betting empire from their remote outpost in the Northern Territory.

Their growth has been so spectacular they are seen as a real threat to the once impregnable TAB.

They dine at the best restaurants. They play golf at some of the world's most exotic courses.

Their presence has transformed the Darwin Cup carnival into one of the most glamorous events on the social calendar because of the sport stars and A-list celebrities brought to the Top End by high-flying corporates.

Not even the global credit crunch has slowed their huge growth. The punters are the big winners as the corporates try to outdo each other and offer the best odds.

At the top of the pile is the experienced Con Kafataris' Centrebet and Sullivan's Sportingbet. The pair turned over a whopping $1.3billion and $1.35billion respectively last financial year.

Centrebet, a publicly listed company, started operating in Poland this year. It plans to expand into another European country next March. Sullivan wrote 165,000 tickets alone on Melbourne Cup Day last month and his business continues to grow at 20 per cent a year.

Closing in on the leading pair is Matt Tripp's Sportsbet. Tripp's company sponsored the Australian Masters Golf tournament in Melbourne last weekend and is expected to turn over more than $1.5billion next year.

"Four years ago we turned over $50million. This year we're aiming for $1.5billion, but that mark could even reach $1.6billion,'' Tripp said.

Michael and Alan Eskander's Betstar, Mark Morrissey's Betchoice and Sean Bartholomew's RacingOdds.com are also some of the other heavy hitters who continue to trade in the millions in sports and racing.

In a showdown that is as fierce as it is unsustainable, these Northern Territory-based companies havetaken on the TAB and offer unprecedented rewards for punters' loyalty. Free bets and holidays have been offered as part of an advertising blitz since rules in NSW were relaxed in September.

Billboards and full-page newspaper ads have been taken out as companies try to win new customers.

Bookmaker Tom Waterhouse is one of the leading bagmen in the country and on track to turn over $250million. But not even his personal milestone would make a ripple with his corporate cousins.

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South Africa compiles shock lead at MCG - 29th December 2008

Australia have lost their grip on the second Test against South Africa and may well have lost paceman Brett Lee to a foot injury for the rest of the summer as well.

After South Africa recovered from 8-251 to make 459 in reply to the home side's 394 on day three of the second Test at the MCG, Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke left reporters in no doubt as to his feelings.

"Definitely one of our most disappointing days for a long time in Test cricket," Clarke said on Sunday.

"Turning up this morning we had a 196-run lead and now we're 60 behind.

"It's a very disappointing day. In saying that, it's another example of how fast things can change in Test cricket.

"I still believe if we bat well tomorrow we can get ourselves into a position to win this Test match."

Australia reached 0-4 at stumps, still trailing by 61 runs.

JP Duminy top-scored for South Africa with 166, his maiden hundred in his second Test.

The 24-year-old left-hander frustrated the Australians by adding 180 for the ninth wicket with paceman Dale Steyn, who made a career-best 76.

It was a ninth-wicket record for Australia-South Africa Tests and the third-highest ninth-wicket partnership in Test history.

Victorian Peter Siddle led Australia's attack with 4-81 while spinner Nathan Hauritz took 3-98 and Mitchell Johnson returned figures of 2-127.

Australia's attack was depleted by pace spearhead Lee's absence on Sunday.

Team physio Alex Kountouris said the NSW quick will attempt to bowl in South Africa's second innings despite a stress reaction of the metatarsal bone which could soon turn into a stress fracture.

"At the moment the crack's not there but it's not far away. There's a very strong indication the crack's not far away," Kountouris said.

"So it could be one ball away, it could be 10 balls away.

"I don't think he'll be able to play the Sydney Test (on January 3).

"It would be something between four and six weeks."

Lee's likely absence for his home Test leaves fellow NSW quick Doug Bollinger and Tasmania's Ben Hilfenhaus vying for a Test debut.

After Australia's inability to bowl South Africa out in the first Test in Perth, losing by six wickets as the Proteas made a near-world record 4-414, Ricky Ponting's side need a massive form reversal in the field to win the second Test, especially given Lee's injury.

Adding to the skipper's woes was the ongoing knee problem of all-rounder Andrew Symonds, who was finally given a bowl with his off-spinners in the 125th over and took 0-14 from 11 overs.

"It was always going to be harder after losing Brett. Being a bowler down obviously hurt us a lot," Clarke said.

"But we have no excuse. Full credit has to go to the South African batting."

Duminy was surprised at the late introduction of Symonds.

Clarke said: "I have no idea why he didn't come on until so late. I guess you'd probably have to ask Ricky that."

Duminy's seven-and-a-half-hour innings included 18 fours in a grand performance in front of 42,079 fans.

Steyn, who took 5-87 in Australia's first innings, batted for four hours despite several blows to the hands from Australia's pace bowlers.

Steyn was dropped on 32, 33 and 57.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Outcry over Betfair cricket ads, by Natasha Robinson - The Australian - 27th December 2008

The Nine Network has caused a furore for allowing online betting agency Betfair to advertise during the Boxing Day Test, with campaigners furious that the plugs -- including one by cricket legend Ritchie Benaud -- expose children and teenagers to gambling.

World Vision head Tim Costello and South Australian senator Nick Xenophon said yesterday they were shocked to see Betfair's strong presence on advertising billboards at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Mr Costello, who was at the MCG yesterday, said he was "very worried" about the potential for children who viewed the Betfair advertising to go home and gamble online without their parents' knowledge.

"You've got families and kids here," Mr Costello said. "Of course gambling is part of life, but I think when it's a family cultural event like the Boxing Day Test, the advertising is inappropriate."

He said he was particularly concerned at the way Benaud had quoted Betfair's odds during his commentary, broadcast live around the nation on the Nine Network yesterday morning.

"The truth is we know that gambling addiction breaks up families, causes crime and comes at a huge social cost," Mr Costello said. "When it's a family event like the cricket, when it's being broadcast live and kids are listening to it, it is overstepping the mark. It's inappropriate certainly for kids at a family event."

Senator Xenophon, who was elected as a South Australian senator at the last federal poll largely on an anti-gambling platform, described the online gambling world as the "wild west" and called on the Rudd Government to impose regulations on the broadcasters.

"Online gambling such as Betfair has the potential to deliver the next wave of problem gamblers," he said.

"There's very little regulation in relation to advertising. Gambling advertising ought to carry with it warnings, and we ought to be looking at restrictions similar to those that apply to cigarettes and alcohol."

Senator Xenophon agreed with Mr Costello that the ability for online betting agencies to advertise at the cricket threatened the Boxing Day match's family-friendly status. "It's a shame for the great game of cricket that it's been reduced to just another event to have a punt on," Senator Xenophon said. "It diminishes the great game of cricket."

Nine's publicity officer did not return calls yesterday.

Senator Xenophon said he had concerns that online betting on sporting matches could expose sports to corruption and match-fixing. A spokesman for Betfair last night declined to respond to the criticisms made by Mr Costello and Senator Xenophon, but the agency has strongly argued in the past that it has safeguards in place to guard against corruption, the risk of which is increased because punters have the chance to bet on a team's loss as well as a win.

Betfair tipped off the Australian Football Federation last week that Socceroos Kevin Muscat and Craig Moore, as well as Melbourne Victory midfielder Grant Brebner, had bet on soccer matches, in breach of regulations.

In 2000, South African captain Hansie Cronje was banned from cricket for life after admitting he took bribes from bookmakers to fix games.

And Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were fined by the Australian Cricket Board after being offered inducements to give pitch and weather reports on Australia's tour of Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 1994.

(Credit: The Australian)

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Horse Racing Betting News

Horse Racing betting is heating up at Media Man Australia.

Media Man Australia enjoys a history with horse racing going back to Newport Beach TAB, Big Tim Bristow, and in more recent years, Royal Randwick Racecourse.

More information in the Media Man Australia Horse Racing Portfolio.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Season's Greetings From Australian Sports Entertainment

Wishing you a happy and safe Christmas from the Media Man Australia team.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Warnie reviews his life through song and dance, by Shane Warne - The Daily Telegraph - 10th December 2008

I always said my life was like a soap opera - and that my script writer did a great job throughout my cricket career.

But the latest effort was penned by Eddie Perfect and it's the premiere of Shane Warne The Musical.

When I first heard about it, I was angry and wondered how anyone could possibly do this - surely people need permission to portray your life as a stage show.

But, no, apparently they don't.

It wasn't about the fact that I can't laugh at myself, because I can. I've never taken myself too seriously and I think that's helped me achieve both in cricket and on the commercial side.

Off the field, some of the personal stuff was no laughing matter and had a huge impact on my family. But that is water under the bridge and a long time ago.

So what should I do? See it or not see it?

What has Eddie based his musical on? Would it be incorrect, unauthorised biographies? Or would it be his interpretation of events over 20 years? And how would he know, anyhow?

I have mixed emotions. On one hand, not many people have a musical written about them, so in a way it's flattering.

But I kept asking myself, 'What's it like?' and 'Is it full of cheap gags?'. Surely they've been done to death.

Or is Eddie a fan and wants to portray my life in a fun and respectful way? What's his slant and take on the way events transpired?

As a musical, I figured there would be some poetic licence there, too - a version of my life; not necessarily the truth.

I was very concerned how he portrayed Simone - the woman whose life was most affected. Simone has endured a lot through the years, but we've moved on since then and are happy, as are our children.

Another concern was how they viewed my mother, Brigitte.

I spoke to friends and at length to my manager, James Erskine, who finally persuaded me that the best way to make an informed decision - the only way, really - was to see it.

James organised for this to happen, and as I sit with him in a hotel across the road waiting to be escorted in to see the preview, I am suddenly very nervous.

More edgy, even, than facing Pakistani quickie Shoaib Akhtar on a green, seaming deck, I reckon.

I had a couple of nervous VBs in quick time before the moment came.

The producer Kevin Whyte wanders across, introduces himself and tells us it's about to start.

We walk across the road, sit in the back row and watch Eddie, looking like me, welcome everyone to the musical.

It's a weird sensation.

But even through the opening, I can't help but chuckle at parts and think back to the time these events happened.

It's hard to explain watching a musical and being entertained when it's your life.

One of the early scenes revolves around my old leg-spin mentor Terry Jenner, when he sat me down for a chat in Adelaide in 1992. Thought it was pretty funny stuff, though lets just say there was some poetic licence taken.

I reach the interval and think this it's pretty good - and fair - but I'm getting nervous because the so-called "scandals'' are about to happen.

Buckle up the seatbelt, I think to myself, and count to 10.

There are a few more chuckles and the odd cringe - but not too many, I must admit.

Then, it's over. My life in two hours has just flashed before my eyes.

Again I felt weird but, in a strange way, proud of what I've just witnessed.

Kevin comes over after the show and asked my thoughts.

To my surprise, I tell him it's pretty good. I ask Kevin to see if Eddie wants to join James and me for a snack around the corner.

Almost as soon as we sit down, Eddie joins us. After an awkward "hello" to begin with, I pick his brain for the next two hours as to how and why he wrote the musical.

It is an interesting few hours - and I'm very glad they happened. Great to chew the fat and learn what type of man Eddie is.

I think Eddie and his team have written the musical in a respectful and sympathetic way and that they have captured my fun, larrikin side.

Eddie's smile is one of a friendly rogue, but intelligent at the same time. And it's great to learn that Eddie and his cast are going to support something very close to my heart, the Shane Warne Foundation.

I give him my blessing and congratulate him on the way he portrayed not only me, but the people who are important to me - Simone and Mum.

I walk away feeling good and thinking that although is isn't totally accurate, it's a very funny show, extremely entertaining and with some excellent songs that have been well thought out and delivered in a fun way.

The show has a nice, warm feel. It also has passion and lots of emotion.

I think people will be entertained and ride the show with Eddie and his brilliant cast.

Enjoy it, I say. See you tonight.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Online betting taxes the state, by Brian Robins - The Sydney Morning Herald - 5th December 2008

The State Government has been told it should allow bets on politics and reality TV shows like Australian Idol.

The call was made in a report on overhauling the betting and racing industry, which has fallen with the rise of internet betting.

But against a backdrop of dangerous gambling, the report warns the Rees Government to act with caution so as not to offend "good taste or community expectations".

Allowing betting on the outcome of court cases or sporting tribunal hearings should not be considered, for example.

The review by Alan Cameron, a former chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, advises the Government to give a newly constituted Casino, Liquor & Gaming Control Authority the power to select events for betting, "including political elections and reality television programs".

It also calls for a national overhaul of the betting industry to deal with the inroads made by internet betting.

Mr Cameron wants online betting exchanges such as Betfair, whose Australian operations are part-owned by James Packer, to be allowed to operate in NSW, even though it has been criticised for its limited contribution to the racing industry.

As a betting exchange, Betfair allows two people to bet against each other. It also allows people to bet a horse will not win a race, which has been criticised for encouraging corrupt practices.

The Government set up the Cameron review a year ago after the Herald disclosed that the then premier, Morris Iemma, had intervened to clear the way for Betfair's entry into NSW. Betfair succeeded in challenging advertising bans in legal action with the West Australian Government, which has opened the door for it to expand its operations.

"It is becoming increasingly problematic for any state to try operating independently with the entry of corporate bookmakers and the cross-border 'leaking' of revenue," the Gaming and Racing Minister, Kevin Greene, said when making the Cameron review public yesterday.

Boston Consulting Group estimated the Government was losing $14 million a year in gambling tax revenue due to internet gambling, and the racing industry lost $27 million.

Bookmakers and the TAB pay a racing industry levy that betting exchanges avoid.

(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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