Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ten's tilt at 24-hour sports channel, by Caroline Wilson - The Age - 28th October 2008

A 24-Hour sports channel to be launched next year on free-to-air television will revolutionise the Australian broadcasting landscape.

The Ten Network is set to next month lay down the gauntlet to Fox Sports and its free-to-air rivals when it unveils that its high-definition channel will televise Australian and international sport 24 hours a day.

While Ten executives remained tight-lipped last night, it is believed their subtle but systematic campaign of buying major sporting events continued last week in Monaco at Sportel — the international trade show of sporting rights.

Not only has Ten just outbid Nine to win the television rights to Australian swimming, but among the network's new trump cards are the US NBA basketball, the US Major League baseball. Ten also holds the rights to the US Open golf and tennis championships and the US Masters golf.

Ten also recently spent a reported $10-15 million buying the rights to India's IPL Twenty20 cricket for five years..

The 2009 AFL grand final will also be simulcast on Ten's HD channel, and Ten will extend its AFL coverage to include a Monday night review program to be hosted by Stephen Quartermain.

The program will feature football expert Robert Walls, who has quit the award-winning Fox Sports program On The Couch after seven years to help spearhead the new channel's football coverage.

The network has also bought the rights to the Trans-Tasman Netball League, with former AFL star Luke Darcy to host its netball coverage. Darcy will also have an expanded football role.

Although Ten has been devising its high-definition sporting strategy for at least 12 months, it has refused to divulge the extent of its sporting assault.

In a further blow to pay television, the free-to-air body Free TV is scheduled to later this week announce "Free View", a free-to-air electronic program guide showing all schedules on all five channels, including high-definition, in the manner of the Foxtel guide, which operates from a set-top box for pay TV subscribers.

Currently, the HD channels, with the exception of Channel Two, predominantly mirror what is being shown on the main channels but with superior picture quality.

An estimated 15% of Australian televisions can show HD. Most new televisions come with HD capacity, while set-top boxes can be purchased to convert other televisions.

Ten's coup has been the brainchild of its national sport supremo David White, who first master-minded the break-up of the AFL TV broadcast rights for the 2002-2006 period, and will see his network show eight of ten AFL grand finals over the decade ending in 2011.

White, who returned from his network's buying trip in Europe over the weekend, refused to comment last night.

The new channel is expected to start early in 2009, with a launch expected in mid-November.

Ten also owns the rights to Formula One Grand Prix events, the Nascar series including the Daytona 500, and has been televising the World Golf Championship events.

(Credit: The Age)

Media Man Australia Profiles

Network Ten


Sports News

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Betting terminals in clubs spark problem gambling fear , by Peter Kerr - The West Australian - 26th October 2008

New self-service TAB betting machines could go into community and sporting clubs across WA, particularly in country areas, under a plan by Racing and Wagering WA.

It has been trying the new machines, on which punters bet on horse races, over the past 18 months.

Financial counsellors said it would lead to an increase in gambling-related social problems.

The terminals are aimed at making it viable for licensed country clubs in particular to have a betting venue by eliminating the need for staff to run the service.

Clubs WA said it wanted the terminals put in at least 50 community venues such as bowling and sporting clubs over the next two years.

The Australian Hotels Association said many of its members also were keen to install the machines.

RWWA chief executive Richard Burt said the machines could be put only in licensed premises which had to pass a strenuous social audit which involved RWWA writing to local financial councillors and police to ensure that the terminals would not have an adverse impact. They also had to be vetted by the Gaming and Wagering Commission.

“Because we haven’t had self-service terminals before, it means that hotels or clubs that couldn’t previously justify having someone stand there and take bets, because it’s a fairly low margin business, this suddenly becomes interesting to them,” he said. “We are transitioning from serviced venues and we’re adding a few more (terminals) where sporting and bowling clubs in particular put their hands up and say yes we want to have one.”

Mr Burt said requests from clubs would determine how many machines went into service but he expected about 20 new venues over the next two years, equal to less than 10 per cent of the TAB network.

Clubs WA executive director Peter Seaman said at least 50 clubs were interested. “They are an ideal tool for community clubs,” he said. They would strengthen local clubs which provided a social outlet and helped people feel part of their community. The peer aspect of clubs would ensure there were effective constraints on gambling, unlike the wave of internet betting options available.

New figures show that demand for gambling-related counselling services at Centrecare jumped more than 20 per cent in 2007, after remaining steady for the previous five years.

The Barnett Government has adopted the Carpenter government’s gambling policy, saying it would maintain the ban on poker machines at Burswood Casino and would not allow them in pubs and clubs.

Racing and Gaming Minister Terry Waldron said yesterday he supported Racing and Wagering’s plan because there was a well-defined approvals process that examined any public interest issues.

Shadow racing minister Mick Murray said he saw no problem with the new machines, given that they would be in licensed premised and allowed gambling breaks between races, unlike poker machines.

Centrecare team leader Amanda Cole said that despite stringent controls on the gambling industry and on new venues, any increase would lead to a rise in problem gambling.

She said about 2 per cent of Australian’s had a gambling problem, defined as a person spending more they could afford in time or money on gambling pursuits. It had an insidious effect in the rest of their lives, be it relationship problems or ability to study and work.

(Credit: The West Australian)

Media Man Australia Profiles

Sports Betting

Horse Racing

Casino News

Tabcorp boss tells states to clean up act, by Michael Manley - Herald Sun - 24th October 2008

TABCORP chief executive Elmer Funke-Kupper has called for Federal Government intervention to take control of Australia's wagering markets.

Funke-Kupper also hinted that before Tabcorp committed to bidding for the next exclusive parimutuel licence from 2012, the wagering structure in Australia would have to change.

He said that Tabcorp's preference would be a structure with clearly enforceable licence conditions.

Speaking at yesterday's Tabcorp annual general meeting, Funke-Kupper said if states could not control their wagering markets, "then we may need to find a solution at the federal level".

"Perhaps the Federal Government should assume responsibility for the regulation of the wagering markets if the states are not able to implement effective regulations that apply across state borders," Funke-Kupper said.

"We will study the licence conditions carefully when they are made public."

Funke-Kupper's main complaint was with Northern Territory corporate bookmakers offering tote odds.

He said that deregulation should create a level playing field, but it should have two non-negotiable conditions.

The first was the prohibition of tote odds by bookmakers. He said that was critical to the funding of the racing industry.

"Unfortunately, to date there has been no move to prohibit tote odds betting. There is no doubt that continued inaction will hurt the industry in the years to come," Funke-Kupper said.

"The second condition is the charging of adequate product fees to all wagering operators.

"New South Wales has recently introduced a new product fee regime that we believe is a step in the right direction."

(Credit: Herald Sun)

Media Man Australia Profiles

Sports Betting

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment

Sorry, Melbourne, but Cup outsiders are here to stay, by Jacquelin Magnay - The Sydney Morning Herald - 25th October 2008

Why is it that crossing the Murray River turns normal sane, rational people into possessive, insular and territorial characters? Suddenly, with nine "international raiders" vying for a start in the Melbourne Cup, the locals down south - punters and racing folk alike - are crying foul.

For what? Exclusive access to the $5.65 million prizemoney? Undivided attention from the 130,000 Flemington racecourse crowd, most of whom won't actually see the race anyway? A better chance of winning?

For some inexplicable reason, Victorians have embraced the Melbourne Cup like they do their AFL footy and made their feelings known: none of these foreigners are welcome.

Earlier this week, a colleague from Melbourne made the bold statement that the interest in this year's Cup was waning - his words not mine - because of the overseas horses. He says the local "connectedness" and the history of the race, being very much Melbourne-centric, is being diluted, to its detriment.

I think he forgot that some of the horses most associated with the race, especially in the early years, came from Sydney and the great Sydney trainer Bart Cummings has won 11 of the cups with his horses.

Up here in NSW, my exclusive straw poll of punters at the Brumby Bar in Jindabyne, the Beach Road Hotel at Bondi Beach and the office at Pyrmont can reveal the impact of the international horses on the interest in the race is zero. Sara, Jess and Jordanna will still back the greys, lucky No.5 or the horses with pretty names; Brucie will consider the internationals in his astute betting "but only if they have an Australian jockey, because the international jockeys get lost in the race". Brad will controversially back every horse that Irish trainer Dermot Weld brings out, "because they can run the distance but it is the unknown that often gets up, usually the stablemate".

No one mentioned they weren't interested in the race because Irish, English, American and Kiwi horses were involved. Indeed, who of you knew, before the race was run in 2006, that Delta Blues and Pop Rock were Japanese horses? Vintage Crop was the first international horse to win the race back in 1993 (although Let's Elope, which won in 1991, was bred overseas) and ever since there has been a desire by international connections to conquer the Cup.

And why shouldn't they? The swish racing in-crowd, wearing their designer dresses, useless stilettos that sink in the mud and hats that spear and spike, are quite happy to drink imported French champagne, imported bottle water and swan between global brand marquees without a patriotic thought. And the last time I looked, Emirates, the race's major sponsor, wasn't an airline born in the backblocks of the dusty Queensland outback either. Yet its privileged guests in its lavish tent will enjoy the best of everything.

So what are those Victorians complaining about? The great Irish horse Septimus is race favourite and will be backed by hundreds of thousands. All the Good, another Irish four-legged star, has already claimed the Caulfield Cup, just ahead of the Kiwi stayer Nom Du Jeu. Earlier this week, another Irish horse, Bauer, won the Geelong Cup.

The international horses come to Melbourne because of the prizemoney that filters down through the field, basically paying for the costs of the travel for horses finishing midfield. The commitment to send horses here was made months ago when the dollar was much higher, but the desire is still there.

The Melbourne Cup stops a nation but its prestige is growing so wildly that in other parts of the world it stops boardrooms (when Media Puzzle won in 2002, owner Tony Smurfit was in Paris presiding over budget meetings for his paper packaging company). And what's wrong with that?

(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

Media Man Australia Profiles

Horse Racing

Sports News

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cutajar's Cup now overflowing, by Mike Gandon - Illawarra Mercury - 23rd October 2008

Illawarra martial arts exponent Mick Cutajar has won his third World Cup jiu-jitsu title in eight years at the Olympic State Sports Centre, Homebush, last Sunday.

Cutajar, who was crowned grand champion, had previously won a World Cup jiu-jitsu title in 2000, 2004 and now this year.

For Cutajar, this World Cup may be his last in jiu-jitsu now that he has completed last Sunday's event on such a high note.

The previous weekend Cutajar won gold at the Kodokan national judo titles at Tweed Heads PCYC.

This is a major achievement as the two disciplines of judo and jiu-jitsu are vastly different despite a common belief that they are similar.

Two of Illawarra's brightest prospects, Jana Nicholaou, 14, and Logan Gonzalez, 10, also backed up from their success at the Kodokan judo nationals to win at the Sydney World Cup jiu-jitsu tournament.

At the Australian Kodokan judo titles, Jana won two gold medals and a silver then one week later backed up to win gold in the under 15 division in Sydney.

Logan won two gold and one silver at the Kodokan judo nationals before winning his junior division, the under 10, at the World Cup jiu-jitsu event seven days later.

"I was very happy with both Jana and Logan," Cutajar said.

"It is extremely difficult to compete at a high level for weeks on end."

Credit: Illawarra Mercury

Media Man Australia Profiles

Mick Cutajar

Martial Arts

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment

Monday, October 20, 2008

Teams will survive the global financial crisis - just bet on it, by Roy Masters - The Sydney Morning Herald - 20th October 2008

The global brands in sport, such as Manchester United, are, like everyone else, feeling the affects of the world financial crisis. Recently the number of selective sponsorships with Australian sporting bodies has surged, and gambling turnover has risen.

The brewer CUB is poised to announce its continuing relationship with Cricket Australia, and corporate bookmakers are scrambling to sponsor race meetings and football clubs. Cricket's one-day interstate competition, the Ford Ranger Cup, and the Weet-Bix Sheffield Shield have begun, and the VB test team is touring India.

Somewhere in that frothy mix of an ever-expanding cricket calendar and splash of logos, including the coming 3 Mobile test series in Australia, is a further opportunity for CUB.

A Cricket Australia spokesman said: "We have had a long and successful relationship with CUB, since 1996, and look forward to it continuing." Translation: We'll make the announcement at a strategic time.

The effect of the world's financial crisis on sport has been blurred in Australia by the coincidence of the start of the Spring Racing Carnival and the relaxation of inter-state advertising bans on Darwin-based corporate bookmakers, revealed in the Herald last month.

"It's party time," says Gerard Daffy of Lasseters Sports.

"There are more than 40 online bookmakers, and since the relaxation on advertising restrictions there have been phone calls between them and almost every football club in Australia.

"The sports have exhausted the traditional avenues of sponsorship, and now the door is open for fresh money to pour in."

Daffy reports a 5 to 10 per cent increase in turnover since the worldwide stockmarket plunge, saying: "We are very small but there is no evidence of [an imminent] fall in turnover.

"The Aussie mentality has always been that when it gets tough, the best opportunity is to back a winner."

Centrebet, the big Darwin operator that first tested the cross-border restrictions which were in effect removed 10 days ago with a joint announcement by the NSW and Victorian Governments, reports a surge in betting as a result of their sponsorships, particularly with the A-League team the Newcastle Jets.

Centrebet's head of marketing, Luke Brill, says: "We printed a flyer offering 100 free tickets to see the Jets play, with entry into the stadium [through] a Centrebet plastic card committing them to a $5 bet. We've seen a massive [rise] in subscriptions and punting in the Newcastle area.

"We're in talks with all the racetracks, particularly with Flemington, Moonee Valley and Caufield, regarding significant sponsorships. We're also looking at another A-League team, Melbourne Victory and AFL clubs."

Centrebet's hopes of executing a three-year naming rights sponsorship with the Western Bulldogs have been blocked by the AFL's deals with Betfair and Tabcorp, in the same way the NRL barred the premiers the Sea Eagles from a $1 million big sponsorship with another online agency.

"Since we've advertised, user numbers have increased. We've actually recruited more customers during the global meltdown," Brill says.

Sport is not the only beneficiary of the removal of bans on cross-border promotions and the public's willingness to gamble in recessionary times. Media advertising is expected to soar.

"Of the 40 online bookmakers, 15 to 20 want deals immediately, while the other half are waiting for the footy season," Daffy says, predicting the Herald will be a beneficiary.

"When the league season starts you will have to double the number of pages you give to the NRL, because every page will have a bookie's ad on it."

Brill agrees, saying: "Since the Victorian Government's announcement, we are looking to get Centrebet in The Age as well."

The chief executive of Tasmania's Betfair, Andrew Thwaites, says: "Now that governments have lifted advertising restrictions, we'll be looking to expand our sponsorships."

Betfair, whose challenge in the High Court brought down the advertising barriers, has sponsorships with the AFL, the premiers Hawthorn and the three racing codes in Tasmania, and a product fee licensing relationship with the NRL.

"The global meltdown has so far had no impact," Thwaites said.

"Our business is growing in line with our projections, and we are coming into a strong time in Melbourne with the Spring Racing Carnival."

(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

Media Man Australia Profiles

Sports Betting


Lasseters

Centrebet

TAB

Betfair

League champions looking for sponsor - The Associated Press - 20th October 2008

SYDNEY, Australia: Australia's rugby league champions and three Australian Rules football clubs are without sponsors for next season as the worldwide economic downturn affects the country's top sports leagues.

The Manly Sea Eagles, which won the Australian rugby league title three weeks ago, and the last-place Sydney Bulldogs are both without major sponsors for 2009, as are Richmond, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs in the Australian Football League.

Sydney Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg said the club's last-place finish and the global financial downturn had made the search for corporate support difficult. The Bulldogs have been looking for a new major sponsor since an electronics company ended its six-year association with the club this season.

"We're absolutely concerned," Greenberg told The Australian newspaper on Monday. "Looking for sponsors in the current economic climate is really difficult. It just makes it all the more problematic given what's happened in worldwide events and the economy in the last month or two."

Greenberg said economic conditions for National Rugby League clubs could become more difficult.

"NRL clubs would be silly to think it won't hurt us," Greenberg said. "That goes by both sponsorship and gate takings next year. Discretionary spend for people in the current climate is going to be really tough. It's going to be hard for families to afford a day at the football."

NRL chief executive David Gallop said he believed the league was well positioned for the future with long-term contracts with major sponsors and an ability to cut costs when needed.

"The rugby league clubs have been cutting their suit to fit their cloth for a number of years now, so that is a bit different from what other sports might be feeling," Gallop said.

The economic crisis didn't affect gambling on the first big horse race of the country's so-called "spring carnival."

More than 51,000 attended the Caulfield Cup, a major leadup race for the Nov. 4 Melbourne Cup, on Saturday, and betting on the race was up more than 3 million Australian dollars (US$2.1 million) from last year.

"That was our first major day since the stock market crash and we didn't seem to be affected," Australian Jockey Club racing operations manager Richard Freedman told Monday's Daily Telegraph in Sydney. "While racing won't thrive in hard times, it'll always stay afloat."

Cricket officials said tickets for the Sydney cricket test against South Africa beginning Jan. 3 are selling steadily. However, Cricket Australia said it had discounted ticket prices for an Allstar Twenty20 match in Brisbane on Nov. 14.

Media Man Australia Profile

NRL

AJC

Horse Racing

Cricket

Broncos firm big-time in betting - Live News - 12th September 2008

Brisbane has firmed dramatically in premiership betting following their impressive 24-16 win over the Roosters tonight at the Sydney Football Stadium.

The Broncos were listed on the 3rd line of betting at $6.50 but now find themselves at $4.50.

The Broncos survived a first-half onslaught from a fired up Roosters outfit and overturned an eight-point halftime deficit to seal the win.

The Sydney Roosters have drifted in betting, out from $15 to $21 following the loss.

Melbourne hold top spot in betting but have drifted marginally from $1.75 to $1.85

NRL 2008 Premiership market (TAB Sportsbet)

Melbourne $1.85
Brisbane $4.50
Manly $5.00
Cronulla $11.00
Sydney Roosters $21.00
St George Illawarra $21.00
Canberra $51.00
Warriors $67.00

Greg Tingle comment

I hear that the Broncos are also in talks with EzyBet, the firm behind the Gold Coast Titan's recent off field jackpot, TitansBet. As News Corp boss Murdoch says, 'Big will not beat small anymore, it will be the fast beating the slow'. The NRL clubs have cottoned on, and it's also starting to make for a WWE - WCW circa 02 scenario where some healthy competition saw some win win outcomes. Just imagine the strategy going on in NRL and AFL boardrooms at the moment. Bet on it. Nine and Fox want in.

Media Man Australia Profiles

NRL

Sports Betting

Push to teach students the odds of pokies, horse racing, by Melanie Christiansen - The Courier-Mail - 20th October 2008

Push to teach students the odds of pokies, horse racing, by Melanie Christiansen - The Courier-Mail - 20th October 2008

Students would be taught the odds of gambling on the pokies or the horses in the school curriculum, under a proposal from the hotel industry.
The industry wants gambling education added to the national school curriculum.

Responding to concerns about problem gamblers, the Australian Hotels Association has written to a Senate committee suggesting there is a "genuine need" to teach factual information on all forms of gambling in classrooms.

"It is an unfortunate reality that many young people do not understand the odds when gambling, and overestimate their chance of success," the AHA submission said.

"At present, schools throughout Australia teach students about safe sex, the dangers of smoking and drugs and the responsible consumption of alcohol.

"To adequately prepare students for life after school, gambling education needs to be included in the national school curriculum."

The proposal follows a furore two months ago, when a Brisbane school teacher was accused of leading his students astray after taking them to a racecourse to help improve their maths skills.

While teenagers from Mt St Michael's College in Ashgrove spent an afternoon studying form guides, their teacher, Jim Dooley, placed some bets.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Steve Ryan said although most schools did not go to the extent of taking students to races, their maths courses already covered the concepts of probability and chance in data.

He said there was no need to add extra lessons on gambling into an already busy school program.

"Every time there is an issue in our society, it should not be expected that schools can solve it by including it in their curriculum," he said.

(Credit: The Courier-Mail)

Media Man Australia Profiles

Poker and Casino News

Horse Racing

Sports Betting

Casino News Media

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment

Friday, October 17, 2008

Virgin Group says one of its most successful global businesses, Virgin Active health clubs, is coming to Australia

The first club will open in Frenchs Forest, Sydney, in December.

Already a major player in health and fitness in the UK, Italy, Spain and South Africa, Virgin Active has made a significant impact on the industry since its inception in 1999. It is now one of the largest health club businesses in the world, with over 170 clubs and more than 900,000 members. In 2007, the company enjoyed its eighth continuous year of growth, with reported revenues of $658 million and tax-paid profit of $152 million during the calendar year.

"From machine waiting times and intimidating environments to high fees and poor customer service, consumer dissatisfaction with the current gym offerings is clear," said Mark Blackman, MD of Virgin Active Australia.

"Virgin Active will redefine the gym experience in Australia with world class facilities, a friendly, welcoming environment and that great value for money and customer service that people have come to expect from Virgin."

Matthew Bucknall, global CEO, Virgin Active added: "With a proven formula that has seen rapid growth and expansion overseas over the last nine years, we believe that the Australian market is ripe for the new, holistic approach to health and fitness that Virgin Active offers."

Virgin Active's second Australian gym, on Bourke St, Melbourne, will open in the first quarter of 2009.

Sir Richard Branson said he was thrilled to bring one of his favourite Virgin businesses to Australia. "The Virgin brand is already well known and loved by Australians and I know people will enjoy getting fit and active the Virgin way. Everyone knows the importance of good health and at Virgin Active we will help people achieve their goals and ensure they have a little bit of fun along the way."

Media Man Australia Profiles

Virgin Active

CHANNEL NINE AND FOX SPORTS SECURE AUSTRALIAN RIGHTS TO RUGBY WORLD CUP IN 2011 & 2015

16th October 2008

Channel Nine and FOX SPORTS are pleased to announce an agreement with the International Rugby Board (IRB) to provide live television coverage of the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and 2015.

The IRB rights deal with FOX SPORTS encompasses all matches from the 2011 Rugby World Cup to be played in New Zealand and the 2015 Rugby World Cup (Venue TBC).

Channel Nine will bring free-to-air viewers all the action from the big games in the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and again in 2015.

David Gyngell, CEO of Channel Nine, said “We are very happy to add these two big World Cups to our International Cricket World Cups and Rugby League World Cup and of course, the next two Olympic Games on Nine. Wide World of Sports on Nine is the home of big international and national sport and we are thrilled to have such a full program of events through to 2015.”

FOX SPORTS will broadcast live and national coverage of all matches from both tournaments. This agreement includes mobile and online rights for all matches for both events.

David Malone, CEO of FOX SPORTS said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Channel Nine and the IRB and are pleased to be able to provide our subscribers with live and national coverage of every match played as part of the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

“In securing these rights, FOX SPORTS is again demonstrating our long term commitment to rugby union and to investing in premium content for our subscribers. FOX SPORTS has been the exclusive live Australian broadcaster of Super Rugby since it turned professional in 1996, as well as being the domestic host broadcaster of the Wallabies for the past 3 years and the subscription television broadcaster of the 1999, 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.”

International Rugby Board Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said: “The IRB is excited that it will be working with broadcasters FOX SPORTS and Channel Nine for Rugby World Cup 2011 and 2015. FOX SPORTS showed its commitment to Rugby World Cup in 2003 when it created a Rugby channel for the tournament and it has a proven pedigree in Rugby broadcasting. Channel Nine is renowned as a broadcaster of major events and will provide the free-to-air coverage of the tournament in Australia. This coverage means the Australian public will enjoy comprehensive, high quality coverage of Rugby World Cup which is now one of the world’s largest sports events.”

This announcement comes off the back of a record-breaking year for Rugby Union on FOX SPORTS. This year, game 1 of the Bledisloe Cup set a new subscription television (STV) rugby union audience and ranks as the #1 STV program for the year to date. The 2008 Super 14 also achieved record results this year with average audiences up 26% year on year.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Channel Nine

Fox Sports

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment


Facebook

Australian Sports Entertainment

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Betfair Offering In-Running Service For Australia - 14th October 2008

Betfair has announced that it is now offering punters in-running betting on Australian horse racing including the famous Melbourne Cup using its unique person-to-person exchange platform.

Announced a product launch for Crown late last week, Betfair revealed that customers can now bet online while races are in progress beginning with in-running betting on all group races in Australia. The London-based firm has offered a similar service on numerous European races for some time and stated that live in-running betting has transformed the betting landscape in the UK and Europe to the point that it now accounts for some 18 percent of all money traded on British horseracing.

Customers in Australia now have the opportunity to bet on a race right up to the finish line for the first time, which should create a great deal of excitement and interest for the local wagering landscape.

“The in-running product will be a boon for the racing industry,” said Anthony Klok, Chief Executive Officer for Betfair Australia.

“With the concept comes a host of new ways to bet, stimulating interest in racing.

“We've been looking forward to offering this product to Australian punters on our local product for some time. Evidence from the UK suggests it's a favourite with the punters and ultimately a great driver of interest in horseracing.”

Media Man Australia Profiles

Betfair

Sports Betting

Horse Racing

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment

Friday, October 10, 2008

Titans Launch Online Betting - iGaming Business - 8th October 2008

In Australia, the Gold Coast Titans team of the National Rugby League (NRL) has signed an agreement with Northern Territory-licensed online sportsbetting provider Betezy to establish its own Internet betting site at TitansBet.com.au.

The joint venture marks the first time an Australian sporting organisation has entered the Northern Territory's growing corporate bookmaking market, which could earn upwards of three billion dollars this financial year. The new site will be closely monitored by the NRL and offer online wagering on horse racing, entertainment and sport including a section devoted to rugby league.

Last week, the NRL quashed a sponsorship agreement between Sydney-based Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and BetChoice because the League already boasted conflicting deals with operators TAB Sportsbet and Betfair. However, the Titans stated that its deal was simply taking such arrangements to a new level and increasing the return for the club.

'At a time when the game is looking for new and innovative ways to inject fresh revenue streams, we see this as a major move for our organisation,' said Michael Searle, Chief Executive Officer for the Titans.

'As far as I am concerned, when you are speaking about agreements with betting agencies, you can't be half-pregnant. The game already receives significant revenue from existing deals, we are just taking those another step forward.

'I am more than comfortable that the two arms can operate successfully, independent of one another, though obviously through the football club we will actively seek to build the clientele base.'

The Titans have been in discussions with the NRL for more than six months regarding the deal and several other clubs are thought to be looking into similar agreements.

'While we accept that sportsbetting is a reality and that clubs are looking to build revenue streams, we will retain the right to examine each proposal on a case-by-case basis,” said David Gallop, Chief Executive Officer for the NRL.

(Credit: iGaming Business)

pitch by Media Man Australia

Media Man Australia Profiles

NRL

Sports Betting

Media Man Australia Website Network Updated

Websites

Media Man Australia

Casino News Media

Travel Tourism Media


Australian Sports Entertainment

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

NRL ready to spark rights bidding war, by Jacquelin Magnay - Fairfax - 8th October 2008

Channel Nine's stranglehold on broadcasting rugby league matches free to air is threatened by an NRL push to have its matches broadcast on several television networks and internet platforms by 2013.

Rugby league officials are even considering breaking up the rights to the NRL grand final and the top-rating State of Origin series when negotiating the next round of multimillion-dollar broadcast deals.

An NRL sub-committee has been looking at whether it is more financially attractive to split the rights, or to follow the trend of recent negotiations and stick to the one free-to-air network for an entire rugby league package.

The league rights, currently with Channel Nine and the pay-TV operator Fox Sports, are due to expire at the end of the 2012 season. Some media buyers and an external consultancy company are understood to have advised the NRL that a separate offering of the Origin series would generate a fierce bidding war and boost the NRL coffers. The Origin series is one of the most watched sporting events year after year, with this year's deciding game drawing a five city audience of 2.145 million people.

NRL chief executive David Gallop told the Herald that splitting the rights was "certainly an option, as is selling individual nights as distinct packages, a whole of these options are open to us". He said one idea was to sell the Friday night football to one broadcaster, the Saturday night to another and the Monday night to a third.

"The money is a big factor, it is the factor," Gallop said. "But we also want to see our game reach as many people as possible and be well presented."

The NRL has its free-to-air, pay-TV and broadband internet rights all expiring at the one time. While the sub-committee is investigating different opportunities, the negotiations with TV networks and internet providers won't commence for at least 18 months.

This comes as the ratings for the NRL grand final clawed back the high-flying AFL ratings when the regional figures were released yesterday.

Overall the AFL rated 3.247 million to the NRL's 3.070 million from the five capital cities and regional networks. The NRL grand final rated extremely high in the bush - one of its traditional supporter bases - with a regional audience of 996,000. The AFL's regional figures were 756,000. Of no surprise was the fact the NRL rated higher in Sydney than Melbourne and the reverse was true for the AFL.

The only disappointing aspect to the twilight grand final kick-off - seemingly well received in Sydney - was the reduced audience in Melbourne, compared to last year's grand final, which also featured the Storm.

This year the AFL grand final between Geelong and Hawthorn was the second-highest rating event, behind the Olympic Games opening ceremony, both televised on Channel Seven.

But rugby league's Origin III came in at eight, behind some Beijing Olympic Games prime-time events, the men's Australian tennis open final and the AFL grand final presentation. The NRL grand final, at No.15, rated behind all three Origin matches.

Media Man Australia Profiles

NRL

Network Nine Australia

Fox Sports

Australian Sports Entertainment Virgin Casino Profiles Updated

Profiles

Virgin Casino

Virgin Games

Slots

Virgin Enterprises Limited

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Titans punt on grand final with online gambling move, by Brad Walter - The Canberra Times - 1st October 2008

A controversial new betting agency launched by Gold Coast Titans will not be allowed to offer odds on judiciary hearings such as last week's Cam Smith case.

The Titans, who anticipate an annual $3 million boost from the online gambling operation, stunned rival clubs when they announced a joint venture with Betezy.

Punters can bet with Titanbet on the grand final. Manly and Melbourne, the combatants in Sunday's premiership decider, said last night they were likely to follow suit. But the NRL said strict conditions would be placed on any arrangement entered into by clubs, including the right to prevent certain types of bets, such as the one that infuriated Storm officials last week when Sportingbet offered odds on whether or not Smith would be suspended at the judiciary.

"While we accept that sports betting is a reality and that clubs are looking to build revenue streams, we will retain the right to examine each proposal on a case-by-case basis," NRL chief executive David Gallop said.

The move by the Titans comes just weeks after the NRL prevented the Sea Eagles entering into a $2m major sponsorship deal with Betchoice. Officially, the deal was not allowed because

it conflicted with the NRL's arrangement with TAB Sportsbet but it is understood the league does not want clubs wearing the name of betting agencies on their jerseys for moral reasons.

Titans CEO Michael Searle anticipated criticism of the club's move into gambling but argued that bookmaking organisations were making money from betting on sport, including the NRL, so they might as well profit.

"There's no point being half pregnant so we've decided to take it to the next level by entering into a joint venture with a bookmaking agency," Searle said.

"Unlike other clubs, we don't rely on money from poker machines and I believe this is an opportunity to get a foothold into the growing gambling market within Australia for the benefit of rugby league."

Searle said the revenue stream created from the joint venture would fund both the football club and its charity arm, the Gold Coast Titans Community Foundation. He said Titansbet.com.au had agreed to implement certain safeguards to guarantee the integrity of the game and the players, while the club would sign a betting integrity and product fee agreement similar to those between the NRL and both Tabcorp and Betfair.

The NRL has insisted the Titans have no exposure to profit or loss from betting on a single match.

With betting in the Northern Territory expected to turn over more than $4 billion this financial year, other clubs have been approached about entering into similar partnerships. It is understood some clubs have been told they could earn $4.5 million per year from such a deal.

"It's something we've already looked at and we will consider more closely after the grand final," Manly CEO Grant Mayer said.

Melbourne Storm CEO Brian Waldron said: "It's something I envisage we will get involved with too at some stage."

Media Man Australia Profiles

NRL

Sports Betting

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment

Monday, October 06, 2008

Bet shop offerings too sweet to resist, Bet shop offerings too sweet to resist, by Jacquelin Magnay - The Sydney Morning Herald - 4th October 2008

To bet or not to bet? Black or red? Yes or no?

As Melbourne and Manly battle it out for rugby league's centenary premiership, the game's administrators face a seismic shift in handling the code's public image off the field. Should the NRL plunge head-first into the betting markets and grapple and mingle with the powerful bookmakers and betting agencies, or does it sideline itself from a potential money making stream so rich it could feasibly could keep a club or 10 afloat?

This week the NRL was pushing its family image with fan days at Luna Park as well as the traditional razzamattazz grand final breakfast and corporate heavyweights enjoying the Carbine Club lunch. On the field, it is clamping down on the ugly grapple tackles and trying to bury allegations of a media-led drive to have Cam Smith sidelined for the big game.

All feelgood stuff.

But amid the headlines it also cautiously sanctioned the joint venture of the Gold Coast Titans with the betting agency Betezy. Somehow the family fun of obtaining player autographs under the big smiling face of Luna Park and the clampdown on the ugly elements of the onfield play are at odds with the potential for a massive scandal involving betting and corruption.

Clearly, the league is worried about its betting connections and associated whisper campaigns, but keen to have a hand in the money being made out of the game.

League insiders say the betting occurs anyway, so it's best to be part of the action to try to control some of that action. Sports betting is the big growth market in the betting scene - already it is a $4 billion industry in the Northern Territory and growing exponentially, far faster than horse racing. Overseas, the big sporting clubs are festooned with names of betting agencies.

But sports, particularly cricket and tennis, have been rocked by international match-fixing scandals and have struggled to retain some element of control.

Yet as rugby league faces a cashed-up AFL and a revitalised soccer competition coinciding with a domestic economic downturn which has a direct impact on crowd figures, club membership and sales of club paraphernalia, for the clubs, taking a lucrative cut from the millions of gambling dollars is too enticing.

Social impact and ethical issues have barely been debated. In the coming year, the league clubs will scurry for the cash, with few questions asked.

At a meeting of NRL chief executives earlier this year, there was even a proposal put forward to have the NRL set up its own betting agency and have the clubs as shareholders. It was rejected after some debate.

The quick-moving Titans have opened up the floodgates for betting partnerships and have been smart in formulating a commercial deal not at odds with TAB Sportsbet's minor sponsorship of the NRL.

Most clubs have already been approached by betting agencies wanting joint ventures or licence fee deals and are ready to follow the Titans' lead. Next season most clubs will be linked - in some form or other - to a betting agency. Just like the football clubs were used as a marketing front to push home loans in the past five years, club websites are already being used to link fans to various betting companies. The next step is to strengthen those financial connections.

The titansbet.com.au website offers a 25 per cent sign-up bonus and $200 if you refer a friend. Markets are being offered not just on tomorrow's grand final but also on the lower grades and other sports, including racing.

The Titans have to be at arm's length from the betting side of things, and follow a set of guidelines allowing the code to investigate suspicious bets. There is some financial prudence, too. The club cannot have exposure to profit or loss from betting on a single match.

NRL chief executive David Gallop has been loath to enter into financial negotiations with betting agencies because of the potential impact on the code's image and the need to safeguard its integrity. TAB Sportsbet sponsored the NRL to placate a state government which was reluctant to demand the agency return a percentage of revenue to the code.

Certainly, league wants a fee from the agencies, as much as 10 per cent, similar to a model in New Zealand, but more realistically could claim as much as 5 per cent for the rights to its intellectual property. This week officials continued talks with the NSW Government about a national, all-sports response to the issue, worried about the proliferation of exotic bets, such as the book on Cam Smith's judiciary outcome. It is a fair bet this issue will bubble along for some time yet.

Media Man Australia Profiles

NRL

Sports Betting

Sports News

Titans punt on grand final with online gambling move, by Brad Walter - The Sydney Morning Herald - 1st October 2008

A controversial new betting agency launched by Gold Coast Titans will not be allowed to offer odds on judiciary hearings such as last week's Cam Smith case.

The Titans, who anticipate an annual $3 million boost from the online gambling operation, stunned rival clubs when they announced a joint venture with Betezy.

Punters can bet with Titanbet on the grand final. Manly and Melbourne, the combatants in Sunday's premiership decider, said last night they were likely to follow suit. But the NRL said strict conditions would be placed on any arrangement entered into by clubs, including the right to prevent certain types of bets, such as the one that infuriated Storm officials last week when Sportingbet offered odds on whether or not Smith would be suspended at the judiciary.

"While we accept that sports betting is a reality and that clubs are looking to build revenue streams, we will retain the right to examine each proposal on a case-by-case basis," NRL chief executive David Gallop said.

The move by the Titans comes just weeks after the NRL prevented the Sea Eagles entering into a $2m major sponsorship deal with Betchoice. Officially, the deal was not allowed because it conflicted with the NRL's arrangement with TAB Sportsbet but it is understood the league does not want clubs wearing the name of betting agencies on their jerseys for moral reasons.

Titans CEO Michael Searle anticipated criticism of the club's move into gambling but argued that bookmaking organisations were making money from betting on sport, including the NRL, so they might as well profit.

"There's no point being half pregnant so we've decided to take it to the next level by entering into a joint venture with a bookmaking agency," Searle said.

"Unlike other clubs, we don't rely on money from poker machines and I believe this is an opportunity to get a foothold into the growing gambling market within Australia for the benefit of rugby league."

Searle said the revenue stream created from the joint venture would fund both the football club and its charity arm, the Gold Coast Titans Community Foundation. He said Titansbet.com.au had agreed to implement certain safeguards to guarantee the integrity of the game and the players, while the club would sign a betting integrity and product fee agreement similar to those between the NRL and both Tabcorp and Betfair.

The NRL has insisted the Titans have no exposure to profit or loss from betting on a single match.

With betting in the Northern Territory expected to turn over more than $4 billion this financial year, other clubs have been approached about entering into similar partnerships. It is understood some clubs have been told they could earn $4.5 million per year from such a deal.

"It's something we've already looked at and we will consider more closely after the grand final," Manly CEO Grant Mayer said.

Melbourne Storm CEO Brian Waldron said: "It's something I envisage we will get involved with too at some stage."

Media Man Australia Profiles

NRL

Sports Betting

Sporting Bet

Betfair

Sports News

Australian Sports Club Partners With Online Gambling Operator - 1st October 2008

Online gambling exists whether or not the American government and United States sports leagues wants to admit it. While American sports leagues continue to operate as if gambling on their sports does not exist, other countries' teams are embracing online gambling.

The Gold Coast Titans have formed a partnership with Betezy, an online gaming company. The interesting part of this scenario is that the Titans are not the only club that is expected to enter into this type of agreement.

Manly and Manchester, the two teams that will face off in The premiere league decider, also have stated that they will most likely be entering into agreements with online gambling operators as well.

In fact, many of the clubs are moving towards this type of partnership. The NRL has approved some of these partnerships while they have denied others. They are reviewing all cases involving sports betting companies.

"While we accept that sports betting is a reality and that clubs are looking to build revenue streams, we will retain the right to examine each proposal on a case by case basis," said NRL Chief Executive, David Gallop.

In the United States, sports leagues such as the NFL have pretended that gambling does not exist on their sport. They like to believe that the millions of viewers that tune in to their championship game, the Super Bowl, do so for the product.

The reality is that most of the people who watch could care less about the product and are only interested in one of the gambling wagers they have on the game.

In Australia, they are recognizing that sports betting exists and allowing to let the industry grow with regulations in place to ensure the integrity of their game.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Sports Betting


Sports News

Casino News Media

Australian Sports Entertainment Network Websites Updated

Websites

Australian Sports Entertainment

Media Man Australia

Travel Tourism Media

Casino News Media

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Strong local content, by John Elder and Tom Reilly - The Age - 5th October 2008

Cheap and nasty — and even worse, boring — is what Australian-made free-to-air television was looking like for a few years. Big Brother with its turkey-slapping pants down was probably the lowest point … along with that great trite hope of locally made drama, The Alice, a pretty-looking stinker with its travelogue photography and toothless characters born from a drongo dreaming.

"It was looking pretty ordinary for a while," says commentator Greg "Media Man" Tingle. "But what a difference a year makes. We now have what's almost an epidemic of Australian-made shows. Just look at Underbelly on Nine, Rush on Ten, and Packed to the Rafters on Seven. They're mixing it with the best foreign imports and coming out on top.

"There are so many quality shows being produced, it's hard to keep up with them."

Tingle says the unsettled mood of the free-to-air networks during the late '90s and early 2000s — unnerved by the threat of cable TV and the internet revolution — has been turned around such that "there's a feeling we're entering a golden age of Australian television".

Seven's homey sitcom Packed to the Rafters has been watched by an average of 2 million viewers since it debuted Tuesdays at 8.30pm just after the Olympics. Many of those viewers stay tuned for the enduring hospital soap All Saints. Seven is also quite gleeful about the 1.6 million who regularly watch Monday's gritty City Homicide.

At Nine, where the ratings are sustained right now by endless repeats of Two and a Half Men, the good ship Sea Patrol held its own in the first half of the year with more than 1 million viewers. And we learned that almost 600,000 Victorians had not yet downloaded Underbelly illegally when they tuned in to the first pixellated episode last month; add them to the million interstate viewers who watched in April, and it may have earned back its legal fees.

While the two newest cop dramas, Nine's The Strip and Ten's Rush, are struggling, the numbers show that Australians have rediscovered the habit of watching dramas with a local accent.

The turning point came a year ago, Tingle says, with the return of David Gyngell to the helm of Channel Nine. "What the Australian networks desperately needed was a creative boost to competition," he says. "Without a strong Nine asserting itself, the industry doesn't flourish. The other thing that's happened is the networks have stopped just looking at numbers and started focusing on quality. That's what healthier competition has achieved."

Dr Vincent O'Donnell, an honorary fellow at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology's School of Applied Communication, agrees Australian TV has had a resurgence in the past year as a result of increasing competition between broadcasters.

"Historically, Channel Nine was always regarded as the home of well-written drama shows that were well-received by audiences, while Seven liked to consider itself as the broadcaster which excelled at sports," he says. "But a few years ago those perceptions started to change as Nine faltered. I believe when they commissioned Underbelly, it was probably as a result of that shift. It was an attempt to reassert themselves in this area of fast-moving, well-written drama."

O'Donnell says commissioning a big-budget program such as Underbelly "is a gamble for networks but one which hopefully they'll continue to make.

"A big-budget drama like that would cost … $300,000 to $400,000 for an hour of television. If a network bought a drama in from America, they'd probably get something for little more than a tenth of that. But it's important to remember that Australian audiences have always tuned in to these well-written locally produced shows, so hopefully networks will have to keep investing in them, even if they do cost a lot."

According to Geoff Brown, executive director of the Screen Producers Association of Australia, the Underbelly strategy was the result of a change in attitude to project financing by the major industry players. "A few years back, the Film Finance Corporation made a decision it would invest in 13-part Australian mini-series, along with the network licensees. What it did was ramp up budgets and led to shows like Underbelly, with substantially better production values and better writing.

"In film production, the critical relationship is between producer and director; in television, it's between producer and writer. We have very good writing teams in television, and certainly the investment in writing is one of the main reasons why the current crop of Australian productions are doing so well. A good idea doesn't work without good writing."

Brown points to programs such as The Circuit, Rush, Sea Patrol and East West 101 as examples of good writing translating to success with viewers and critics. "We make the best drama for the cheapest dollar anywhere in the world. We have to compete with the CSI franchise, which costs … $5 million to $6 million an hour to make. For the high-end of Australian drama, you're looking at $600,000 an hour … so our stories have to be more narrative-driven."

Brown says Australia has a history of producing good television "but the networks lost their way in the '90s and early part of this millennium. They backed away from Australian drama in particular and put their focus on infotainment and reality programming. They kept serving up more Big Brothers and in the end this didn't work for the networks. The audience has shown itself to be more sophisticated … and now Seven and Nine are re-establishing their brands on the back of good old Australian drama."

Some analysts point to a lack of quality programs from the US — a result of the writers' strike that crippled Hollywood — as a key reason behind the resurgence of Australian-made drama.

"This makes our local offerings even more appealing," says one industry insider. "There was also a hiatus where few local programs were being made, so again, when new ones came around, there was even more interest in them.

"The shows are actually good. The networks have invested heavily in them: probably figuring that they have to meet their local content quotas, they might as well invest and do it properly. The scripts and the acting have reflected this willingness to take it seriously and make hits."

And that added slice of healthy self-image — attributed to the efforts of former prime minister John Howard — is another reason audiences are keen to watch shows for Australians, by Australians, about Australians.

"We're not selling shrimps on the barbie any more," says Greg Tingle. "We're a more sophisticated society and our television programs demonstrate that.

"Our locally made shows are hot exports in their own right, and they help sell the country. Our entertainment is part of the tourism spiel … the rest of the world sees us moving ahead with quality. The confidence for that was certainly bolstered under the previous government."

Jonathan Nolan, chief executive of Pisces All Media, which runs the Hottest on TV website, agrees. "No matter what else you might say about him, John Howard made Australians feel great about themselves. It really started with the 2000 Sydney Olympics, but Howard actually presided over a cultural shift that saw the death of the cringe factor — the adolescent craving for approval from America and Britain," he says.

"Even the dumbest talking-heads on TV have the confidence not to cringe and fawn all over celebrities visiting from overseas. Compare that to the old days, with Molly Meldrum constantly saying how wonderful it was that such-and-such a pop star was in the country."

Nolan says evidence for this new-found confidence can be seen in private investment in television production. "We had a sheltered workshop here, where everything was driven by government grants. All that did was compomise quality. That's no longer the case. People invest in these shows because they believe in them, not just because they're getting a tax break …

"The pay-off is that we now perform extremely well on the overseas market. You get a show selling well overseas — like Stingers or Police Rescue — (and) you have an earner for life. At the Roma Fiction Fest (a television awards and buying festival) in July, there were buyers from all over Europe looking at the Australian shows with the greatest interest.

"The Italian shows looked like something from the '70s … they were desperately clinging to their own culture, while the Australian shows were more sophisticated and well-placed for the international market."

Dr Sue Turnbull, co-ordinator of the Media Studies Program at La Trobe University, says the Australian push into the global market was pioneered in the '80s by Neighbours, Home and Away and older programs such as The Sullivans and Prisoner. One British critic whinged at the time that UK television was overrun by Australian content. "There were 11 different Australian soap operas being shown on British TV in a week," says Turnbull.

In the '90s, the Australian invasion died down such that only Neighbours and Home and Away held a significant audience. We were making some good shows, but the Brits weren't interested. "There was the great failure of Sea Change to find a market in the UK. It never got a release."

Now, Aussie producers are deliberately targeting the global market ahead of local viewers. A second series of Sea Patrol was planned ahead of the first series release, with a view to an international release — which it gained through Hallmark.

Turnbull says that the later episodes of Kath & Kim were blatantly written for the UK, featuring appearances by Kylie Minogue "and the fellows from Little Britain".

While Australian-made "usually goes well at home — from the days of Graham Kennedy on IMT to Packed to the Rafters — audiences won't watch bad Australian TV. Like The Alice."

With MICHELLE GRIFFIN

(Credit: The Age)

Media Man Australia Profiles

Television

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment

Saturday, October 04, 2008

O.J. Simpson found guilty - Las Vegas Sun - 4th October 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- O.J. Simpson is going to prison.

A predominantly white, predominantly female jury has found the former All Star running back guilty following a run-in last year with a pair of memorabilia dealers.

The jury delivered its verdict just moments ago after a long day of deliberations.

The nine-women and three-man jury started discussing the fate of Simpson and his co-accused, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, at 8:30 a.m. this morning. The group elected to stay late this evening in effort to reach a conclusion and after nearly 14 hours of discussions, they indicated that they had agreed upon a verdict.

Simpson's lawyers, Yale Galanter and Gabriel Grasso, are expected to appeal the verdict. They have already moved, unsuccessfully, for several mistrials.

District Court Judge Jackie Glass will likely deliver Simpson's sentence in November or in early December.

Simpson and Stewart were charged with 11 felonies (Conspiracy to commit kidnapping; conspiracy to commit burglary; burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon; and two counts each of first degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon; robbery with use of a deadly weapon; assault with a deadly weapon; and coercion with use of a deadly weapon). They also faced one gross misdemeanor, conspiracy to commit a crime.

The trial began on Sept. 15 and over three weeks of proceedings the court heard from 22 different and often colorful witnesses.

Key state witnesses, including alleged gunmen, Michael McClinton and Walter Alexander, provided contradictory testimony.

McClinton said he and Alexander both wielded handguns during the confrontation, but never pointed the weapons at anybody. Alexander said his gun never left his waistband. Both said Simpson asked them to bring the weapons to the raiding party, but Simpson's lawyers denied their allegations.

One of the victims, Bruce Fromong, and the middleman who arranged the contentious meeting in his hotel room, Thomas Riccio, both said that McClinton pointed his gun directly at them.

Simpson and Stewart never testified, but through their lawyers denied their clients had any knowledge that guns were to be used in what they claimed was intended to be a simple reconnaissance mission.

Simpson's attorneys said their client and his associates went to the Palace Station on Sept. 13, 2007, to recover personal items that had been stolen from him. The Heisman Trophy winner had no desire to take any items not belonging to him, they said, though the defense acknowledged other memorabilia items -- including 30 to 50 Joe Montana lithographs and 24 baseballs signed by Pete Rose and Duke Snider – were taken by mistake.

An audio recording of the six-minute altercation secretly taken by Riccio captured the voices of Simpson and others promising to return anything that wasn't theirs. Prosecutors said several of the items, including the autographed baseballs, were never recovered.

Today's decision comes 13 years to the day after another jury deemed Simpson not guilty in the double-murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

A subsequent civil suit found Simpson liable for the deaths, however, and placed a $33.5-million judgment against him.

Simpson and his lawyers are expected to give a press conference shortly. Members of the jury will also be invited to address the media, though it was not immediately clear how many, if any, jurors will speak publicly about the trial.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Casino News Media

Australian Rugby Team Enters Bookmaking Joint Venture - 2nd October 2008

The Gold Coast Titans, an Australian professional rugby league football team, has entered the bookmaking world in a joint venture with Betezy, an online Northern Territory-licensed bookmaker.

Michael Searle, chief executive for the club, told The Herald-Sun that the deal, which is estimated to make the Titans up to $3 million in three years, could fully cover the loss of league club funding.

The Australian paper also reports that since the announcement of the deal, the National Rugby League is in now under pressure to set up its own agency.

Media Man Australia Profiles

NRL

Sports Betting

Sports News

Tatts shows interest in NSW Lotteries, by Miranda Maxwell - Reuters - 3rd October 2008

Gaming group Tatts Group Ltd has room on its balance sheet for acquisitions, with the lottery in New South Wales top of its wish list, the company said.

The New South Wales government may decide to sell the lottery to raise cash after seeing a steep drop in income from property taxes as house prices fall and less homes exchange hands.

A decision could be made public on November 11 when the government announces revised budget measures.

"Were mindful that there's a lot of chatter about NSW lotteries. We want to keep ourselves fresh and ready for that. It could be $500 million-plus there if we can get hold of it," Tatts Group chief executive Dick McIlwain said in an interview on Friday.

In the first half so far, Mr McIlwain said Tatts had seen a strong start and maintained its forecast for less than 10 per cent profit growth for the full year.

Media Man Australia Profiles

Gaming

Sports Betting

Casino News Media

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Shane Warne not happy with musical - The Daily Telegraph - 22nd September 2008

Producers of the new Shane Warne musical be warned - the big fella ain't happy.

The Aussie spin king has hit out at the show's creators, saying there should be a law against it.

Speaking from London, where he is playing in the World Series of Poker Europe tournament, Warne said he was "disappointed" that Shane Warne The Musical has gone ahead without his permission.

"I have had 13 unauthorised biographies done in my life and the first one I read was completely wrong," he said.

"You should have permission off anyone to write about their life."

The 24-song show, from the team behind the hit musical Keating!, features tunes with titles such as Take the Pill and What an SMS I'm In.

"I'm a pretty easy target for a few cheap jokes but I brought some of that on myself," he said.

(Credit: The Daily Telegraph)

Greg Tingle comment

Warne's winning a few hands in Poker with the Pacific Poker and World Series connection, but is spinning out on damage control back down under in Australia. This raises the question... should he give the poker matches a break, focus on PR and crisis management in Australia, or consider switching brands. I would bet money that the likes of Virgin Games or PKR would like to have Warnie on board, but it sounds like he better make the trip across the Asia Pacific first to sort out the musical. Who is Warnie's agent these days, and what are they doing about it?

Media Man Australia Profiles

Shane Warne

Pacific Poker


Poker and Casino News

Casino News Media

Australian Sports Entertainment Website Updated

Website

Australian Sports Entertainment