Friday, January 30, 2009

Not punting on Ben Graham's success, by Adam Hamilton - Herald Sun - 30th January 2009

Punters think Ben Graham's fairytale ride to the Super Bowl will end in a thumping loss on Monday.

Graham's Arizona Cardinals are $3.25 outsiders and not attracting much interest in Betfair trading against the rampaging Pittsburgh Steelers at $1.43.

"Punters are very confident of a win for Big Ben, but sadly for Graham's fans it's not him, but rather the Steelers quarterback 'Big Ben' Roethlisberger," Betfair's Jake Norton said yesterday.

"The good news for the patriotic Aussie punters is that the layers are really prepared to take a stand against the Cardinals."

For the really ambitious, Graham is a $151 shot to win MVP - almost impossible for a punter to win.

Final push for Proteas

SOUTH Africa has been backed from $2.80 into $2.65 to win tonight's fifth and final one-dayer in Perth, despite fielding a side well below full strength.

Such has been the Proteas' dominance of the series - they lead 3-1 - punters are willing to back them at value odds to beat an Aussie team ($1.45) that is strengthened by the return of batsman Michael Clarke.

Left out of in-betting

THE Australian Open and some thrilling one-day cricket matches has stirred the issue of why Australian punters are banned from betting during sporting events on the internet.

Sports betting is booming, especially in-running betting, so why are Australian punters put at such an outrageous handicap compared to those in other countries?

Betfair's Hugh Taggart said it was a by-product of the federal Interactive Gaming Act.

"It's frustrating. I know our punters would love to be able to bet in the run," Taggart said.

Interestingly, horse racing is not covered by the legislation.

Betfair launched "in-the-run" betting on a string of major horse races during last year's spring carnival to a huge response.

"It just took off and exceeded all expectations and we didn't have any problems," Taggart said.

Heath's Oscar support

HEATH Ledger's posthumous nomination for awards for his portrayal of the Joker is set to continue all the way to the biggest of them all, the Academy Awards.

Of the six awards TAB Sportsbet is betting on so far, Ledger is by far the most dominant at $1.07 for Best Supporting Actor.

Another raging favourite is Slumdog Millionaire at $1.25 for Best Picture.

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Bookie seeks venture with Knights, Sharks, by John Schell - The Sydney Morning Herald - 30th January 2009

A Northern Territory-based bookmaker is close to formalising a deal with NRL clubs Newcastle and Cronulla to set up team-specific websites aimed at encouraging fans to open online betting accounts to gamble on league and other sports.

The two clubs have approached the NRL to approve contractual terms with, which has already concluded a deal with the Gold Coast Titans. general manager Ryan Kay said the NRL clubs involved would receive advertising-based commissions based on turnover "which will generate substantial payments for the clubs over the next few years".

NRL director of media and communications John Brady yesterday confirmed the NRL was "looking at the proposals, as we are with a number of other clubs".

"Since the advertising laws involving interstate betting operators were changed last year there has been an influx of interest in betting companies aligning themselves with NRL clubs," Brady said. "The Titans have an arrangement with Betezy already and these new deals are very similar to them, pretty much the same I expect.

"But we have made it very clear that there are stipulations that would have to be in any contract to ensure there was a recognition of the integrity process that is needed not only for the entitlement of the game to get a return from the betting but also for transparency.

"There is a recognition with the betting operators that 'you're making money out of us so give something back'. That would be the same case with anyone else who was making money out of the game.

"As for integrity, that is a central issue of our game whether there is betting involved or not. Right from the under sixes to first grade, integrity is paramount."

Titans chief executive Michael Searle welcomed news that other NRL clubs were set to join forces with and other operators.

"The important thing is that this is new revenue to the game that clubs previously didn't have access to," he said. "Anything that derives new revenue for the club and the game can only be a good thing. We've been associated with Betezy since last year and we are more than happy with the relationship. There hasn't been a drama and it has generated income for us."

Searle said there were no concerns that other clubs becoming involved would drain the Titans' ability to make a profit from their deal.

"The thing with the Betezy model is it is more or less a fan-based relationship, so we are targeting Gold Coast Titans supporters," he said.

"I would think it would be the same with the other clubs."

Kay confirmed that the proposals with the Knights and Sharks were the same as that in place with the Titans.

"Like the Titansbet venture, the new ventures have agreed to ensure a high percentage of profits is contributed to the respective club's charities and community projects," Kay said.

He also stressed that the integrity of the NRL was the major priority for all clubs concerned as well as, with the NRL having the ability to "veto" any bet types it deems not in the best interests of the game, including betting on penalty counts.

"We will be continually looking at integrity issues. We will be working with the NRL and other sporting bodies to make certain there is always integrity," Kay said. "One thing we are very resolute about is making sure there are never any illegal gambling activities in the sport and we will work with everyone involved to ensure this is achieved." (Credit: Fairfax)

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NRL Clubs bank on Betting Revenues

The Cronulla Sharks and Newcastle Knights are the latest NRL clubs to announce joint ventures with after the hugely successful was launched in October last year.

The deals are now with the NRL for final approval, and sources report are likely to be followed by another group of high profile clubs within a week. and, should they be approved, will offer fans the full range of sports and racing with guaranteed better odds via online 24/7 or telephone.

The Rugby League clubs will receive advertising based commissions based on turnover which could generate substantial revenues for the clubs. Some projections estimate the clubs will generate several million over the next few years.

With increased state taxes on pokies and smoking bans having major impacts on Leagues clubs that have traditionally funded many Football clubs, Football clubs are actively searching for new revenue streams, which in many cases will be needed to fill their League’s Club funding drops.

The Sharksbet and Knightsbet websites also include inducements for fans to become members of their clubs by offering increased odds for members.

Betezy’s General Manager Ryan Kay said, “The huge success of the venture has demonstrated that all Clubs can achieve a major income stream from sports betting.”

“We are extremely happy to announce the launch of and Both clubs have very loyal fans, who by moving their betting turnover to their club’s betting site can help ensure the success of their club.”

“Fans will be able to be bet online or by phone in a very personal service where they are no longer treated like a number.”

“Like the Titansbet venture the new ventures have agreed to ensure a high percentage of profits is contributed to the Clubs charities and community projects.”

Kay also stressed that maintaining the integrity of rugby league would be a major priority for all of the new ventures.

"We will be continually looking at integrity issues. We will be working with the NRL and the Sporting bodies to make certain there is always integrity in the sport,'' said Kay.

"One thing we are very resolute about is making sure there are never any illegal gambling activities in the sport and we will work with everyone involved to ensure this is achieved.”

Fans of both the Sharks and Knights are sure to accept this venture with open arms - you bet they will!

Ryan Kay Work: 02 8113 7603 Mobile: 0414928666 email:

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

NRL Australia Clubs Find Savior in Ryan Kay - Gambling911 - 28th January 2009

Breaking NRL Australian sports betting story coming through to with full details likely Friday.

Ryan Kay, a major force in the Australian sports betting world, and his elite team look to have come up with a sustainable solution to ensure the livelihood's of the NRL clubs, while ensuring that players, clubs, fans and Government coffers all win.

The trail blazing Gold Coast Titans have revolutionised the way clubs raise revenue and ignited a widespread integrity debate after the shock launch of their own online sports betting agency last October.

The cutting-edge innovation floored many NRL heavyweights and the nation's biggest corporate bookmakers in a venture that will see revenue, normally gained from poker machines in leagues clubs, pocketed via a computer screen.

The launch of makes the Titans the first ever professional sporting organisation in Australia and the only club in the NRL to have entered into the Northern Territory's growing corporate bookmaking market, which is expected to turnover more than $4 billion this financial year. is operating as a joint venture company with one of Australia's largest bookmakers, Betezy.

Ryan Kay is General Manager for Betezy and said this past fall, the launch of was an innovative concept for both parties.

"This is the first white label service of its type in Australian sport and it's a very exciting new venture,'' said Kay.

"The whole website and white label is licensed by Betezy, which is a licensed bookmaker in the Northern Territory.

"Clients will be able to bet with 24 hours, 7 days a week online and on the telephone and it'll be just like their own personal account with one of Australia's leading operators.

"We see it being a major contributor of revenue for the Titans. It means that clients and loyal fans can basically bet with the Titans and the money goes back to the club and to the community.

"We see it as a win-win for everyone.''

Betting on the National Rugby League is an Australian pastime.

Alistair Prescott,

*pitched and tipped off by Greg Tingle - Media Man Australia, Casino News Media and Australian Sports Entertainment

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Titans punt on grand final with online gambling move, by Brad Walter - Fairfax - 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 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." (Credit: Fairfax)

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Punters crowding platforms to jump on Fed Express, by John Schell - The Sydney Morning Herald - 23rd January 2009

Sportingbet Australia punters are backing Roger Federer to win his fourth Australian Open after he was friendless in pre-tournament betting.

Federer opened at $2.75 several months ago but drifted out to $3.75 as recently as last week as question marks arose over the champion's form and fitness.

"Those questions have been answered emphatically with many punters outlaying several thousand dollars on the 'Fed Express'," Sportingbet Australia chief executive Michael Sullivan said. "The biggest bet was $6500 at $3.40 with Federer now showing $3.25. The opening couple of days there were simply no results for bookies and punters investing in big all-ups had a fill-up.

"Fortunately for us, two Aussies provided some relief on Wednesday night. Jelena Dokic winning was a good result, as was young Bernard Tomic winning the first set.

"Sportingbet Australia clients stepped heavily into Tomic's opponent Gilles Muller to win in straight sets, including one bet of $10,000 at $2.45."

Meanwhile, Flemington Sportsbet's Jason Sylvester said his office had been busy, with punters winning plenty.

"The punters have been on serve at the Australian Open," he said. "With the usual suspects winning early, the punters investing in multis are cleaning up. The one short-priced favourite to get rolled was David Nalbandian, who was at $1.05 but he was friendless in betting."

Sylvester said Federer remained solid at the top of betting to take the title, firming from $3.80 to $3.25.

"We even wrote a bet of $66,000 to $1000 about Federer winning the Australian Open into Geelong to win the NAB Cup into St Kilda to make the top four in the AFL this season," he said.

In the women's draw, Dokic, who was given no hope at the start of the Open and was at $1001 with TAB Sportsbet, is in to $101 after wins against Tamira Paszek and Anna Chakvetadze.

Centrebet's Neil Evans said the Australian was sensationally backed from $2.50 in to $2.30 before beating the 17th-seeded Russian Chakvetadze in round two. However, she is a $5.25 outsider to continue the charge against Danish young gun Caroline Wozniacki ($1.14) in the third round.

One-day traffic
Australia have been well-backed before the start of both one-day cricket matches already this summer and are again short-priced favourites to win game three at the SCG today.

"They opened at $1.42 when batting first in Melbourne, and they were $1.48 after being sent in against South Africa in Hobart," TAB Sportsbet's Matt Jenkins said. "Australia have opened at $1.55 and South Africa at $2.35 for game three in Sydney with early money going the way of the Proteas."

Four-leg clover
A TAB Sportsbet punter stands to collect almost $500,000 should a four-leg multi bet prove successful.

Jenkins said the punter had taken Federer to win the men's title at the Australian Open into Serena Williams to win the women's title.

"The punter also has Australia to win the ODI series against South Africa and Pittsburgh to win the Super Bowl," he said, adding that the punter outlaid $24,000 at a quote of $20.57.

A draw between Sydney FC and Newcastle at $3.40 with

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All ablaze in capital of om - The West Australian - 25th January 2009

We love a quickie to Byron Bay? Simon Webster gets the jump on the latest attractions.

Being doused with petrol and set alight isn't what most people would consider holiday fun. While some want nothing more exciting from a long weekend than trying a new cocktail every day, others just aren't satisfied unless they've been turned into a human fireball.

Fortunately, that is now a possibility, thanks to the Universal Peace Centre Retreat ( near the village of Uki in the Byron Bay hinterland.

Australia's very own Bollywood star Tania Zaetta will be the host for the first Face Your Fears Ultimate Extreme Retreat, for which only 20 spaces are available.

As well as abseiling down a 60-metre oceanside cliff, participants will try their hand at stunt driving at a performance driving centre, a high fall into a stunt airbag, skydiving and, of course, being turned into a human fireball.

Stuntman Colin Handley will be on hand with his years of experience in Hollywood and Bollywood to help participants look terrified as they run around engulfed in flames for 20 seconds.

Then again, maybe the fear will just come to you naturally.

The three-day extreme retreat will take place from May 22 to 24 and costs $8950 all-inclusive, with helicopter and limousine transfers from one death-defying event to another.

The five-star centre's more typical offerings include six-day executive relaxation spa retreats, 10-day silent meditation retreats, weekend relaxation spa retreats and romantic tantra getaways, at which teacher Oceana helps couples reconnect and discover the sacredness within sexuality.

Organic food and a rainforest setting with views of Mount Warning should help light your fire one way or the other.

The retreat also operates as a day spa, with treatments including butterfly dreaming, which comprises a Dead Sea salt scrub with grapefruit and lime, a clay body mask infused with ginger and a massage using aromatherapy.

As the undisputed capital of the Australian wellness industry, Byron Bay offers more varieties of massage, yoga and meditation than you can poke a Hopi ear candle at. Among the latest offerings is a seashell massage from Ripple (, "the day spa that comes to you".

Scented oils are heated in cowrie shells before being poured over the body. Other shells, such as ginger scallops, are used as massage tools. That should guarantee the sound of the ocean lapping in your ears.

For those who feel the urge to explore the outer world as well as the inner, a new artists' trail ( provides a guide to the Byron Arts and Industry Park, home to 13 studios and galleries and a couple of cafes at which visitors can ponder which artist is worthy of their patronage.

Works on display include the sandblasted glass art of Clearlight Designs, the nudes and portraits of oil painter Byron Tik, the silk screens and block printing of Anne Leon and the mystical work of Ella Risebrow, who invites visitors to sit and be painted as a fairy, mermaid, hobbit or elf.

More help in exploring the Far North Coast comes from the Byron at Byron Resort and Spa ( It has introduced free tours of the Byron Bay organic farmers' market for guests every Thursday morning, conducted by the resort's chef, who should know a thing or two about heirloom tomatoes and prize marrows.

The resort encourages its guests to get out and about with a full-day hinterland drive itinerary (self-drive or chauffeur-driven) and a series of packages that include options for balloon flights over the hinterland and night-vision walks.

The resort also has girls' weekends away, babymoon and connoisseurs' packages.

Fine diners might want to try Byron Bay's recently opened homage to traditional French cuisine, the Petit Snail (, which offers dishes such as canard aux peches (duck with peaches), filet de sandre farci a l'oseille sur beurre blanc (freshwater perch fillet with French sorrel stuffing on lemon butter) and, of course, escargots de bourgogne (snails in garlic butter).

Long-established seafood restaurant Fishheads (, overlooking Byron's Main Beach, is giving back to the community next month by raising funds for Uncle, a mentoring program for boys who would benefit from positive male role models.

Adventurous visitors to Byron who can't or won't cough up for the extreme stuntman extravaganza might want to consider getting their adrenalin fix from Byron Landings Tandem Skydive, a new skydive business that lands in Byron Bay itself. Not, unfortunately, in the courtyard of the Beach Hotel, as post-jump punters might well be in need of a drink.

Freefalls last up to a minute, depending on how high jumpers want to go. Prices start at $249. Phone 1300 887 037.

An alternative to jumping out of a small plane is being strapped into a tiny one.

Another new company, Byron Bay Microlights (, can help, offering coastal and hinterland flights from $170.

Finally, anyone disconcerted by how slowly the traffic moves in Byron Bay on a busy weekend might want to consider visiting from September 3-6.

This is when cars will be moving very quickly indeed as the World Rally Championship ( comes to the hinterland town of Kyogle. (Credit: The West Australian)

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

AFL snub drives off sponsor millions, by Rod Nicholson - Herald Sun - 25th January 2009

Leading Australian corporate bookmaker Sportsbet has accused the AFL of scuttling a multi-million dollar deal with Richmond.

Sportsbet chief executive Matt Tripp said an AFL decision to look after "protected" sponsors also prevented it from helping other struggling AFL clubs, including financially bereft Melbourne, for another year.

The AFL determined this week that only bookmakers accredited with it for 12 months could become a major sponsor of a club.

Only Betfair and TabCorp fit that bill, though Tattersall's also comes into play as a gambling operation.

Betfair chief executive Andrew Twaits said his company "categorically was not in the running" to sponsor Richmond.

Luxbet, a Darwin corporate bookmaking subsidiary of TabCorp, began operations only four months ago.

Luxbet media manager Stephen Brassel said he was "not privy to any information" on a potential sponsorship deal and "couldn't shed any light on the subject".

Richmond president Gary March said the Tigers were "in negotiations at the moment with a couple of potential sponsors and we hope to finalise something next week".

March was disappointed the Sportsbet deal did not proceed, but believed the club would still benefit.

"I don't think we will be any worse off than if we had been allowed to partner Sportsbet," March said.

Sportsbet is understood to have negotiated a $2.4 million deal over three years, plus incentives, to be a co-major sponsor, allowing it to promote its logo on the back of the club jumper.

"I can understand that Matt Tripp and Sportsbet are disappointed," March said.

"We would have loved to have had such a progressive and huge company as Sportsbet on our side. However, the AFL ruling put an end to all that," March said.

Tripp said that the AFL's decision had left a sour taste in his mouth.

"We had a couple of million dollars to throw at the club and the AFL, but its all been brushed aside," he said. "We have spent hundreds of hours in meetings and negotiations with Richmond.

"This was a serious proposal of several million dollars to be a major co-sponsor for a three-year period. The Tigers board was thrilled with the proposal. It was like a joint venture, a terrific deal for the club that could have prospered for far longer than the original term.

"We believed the AFL would look at this situation in the same way it does with other sponsors. It has Toyota and Geelong has Ford. It has Qantas and Collingwood has Emirates. Both we and Richmond couldn't see why the AFL couldn't have TabCorp while the Tigers had Sportsbet.

"We may look at soccer or the NFL to spend our sponsorship money," he said. (Credit: Herald Sun)

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sport stars struggle at Aussie Millions - NineMSN - 23rd January 2009

Jan 23: As the Aussie Millions Main Event at Melbourne's Crown Casino heads towards its conclusion, the hopeful and the hopeless players have been winnowed away. From 651 entrants, 28 people whose skill and luck has held true are left to play the fourth day, and fight for a place on the final table.

The celebrities who showed up for the Main Event failed to make a lasting impression at the tables, and won’t see any of over $6.8 million dollars prize money on offer.

Cricket legend Shane Warne was quickly dismissed from the tournament. He spent almost as much time in a press conference for the event as he did at the tables, bowing out after two hours of play.

Tennis and reality TV star Mark Philippoussis could serve plenty of aces at his peak, but wasn’t lucky drawing them at the table. He was also out on Day One; unlucky when his two pair, Kings and Queens, was beaten by a flush.

Two other champs, boxer Jeff Fenech and jockey Shane Dye, failed to mimic their sporting success at the tables, and left without prize money.

It wasn’t just part-time players who struggled in the field, with plenty of big names falling by the wayside. Joe Hachem made an early exit, dropping out of the action during Day Three, while last year’s winner, Alexander Kostristsyn, only lasted one day of competition.

Keeping hopes alive for an Aussie victory tomorrow is Melbourne fashion designer, Christopher Chronis. He starts Day Four sitting nicely in third position. (Credit: NineMSN)

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Tigers odds-on for Luxbet deal, by Mark Hayes - Herald Sun - 24th January 2009

A change in AFL betting sponsorship rules is poised to reap a multi-million dollar windfall for Richmond.

The league yesterday relaxed its regulations, enabling clubs to strike deals with sports wagering companies and paving the way for the Tigers to sign with Luxbet as early as next week.

In line with State Government advertising laws that were relaxed before the spring racing carnival, the AFL's new policy will enable betting shops to become key club sponsors after they have had a commercial arrangement with the league for a year.

It is understood Richmond has been approached by several betting companies in recent weeks and that the Tigers have exerted some pressure on the AFL so they can end their quest for a major backer.

Hamish McKenzie, Richmond's general manger of commercial operations, was tight-lipped about the changes.

"We have been in discussions with betting agencies and will now assess the impact of the AFL's announcement," McKenzie said yesterday.

"We continue to be in discussions with business partners for sponsorship opportunities which we anticipate finalising in the coming weeks."

Melbourne, the other club yet to secure a major sponsor for 2009, refused to comment on the development.

The AFL has information sharing and financial agreements with Tabcorp, Betfair, Betezy, Sports Acumen, IAS Bet, Sportingbet and Racing Odds.

And while chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan said the AFL would "consider on a case-by-case basis approval of major sponsorship agreements", Luxbet's parent company Tabcorp appears to meet the new guidelines.

Richmond denied a deal had already been brokered and was merely awaiting the AFL's rubber stamp.

But it is understood the Tigers would pocket in excess of $2 million if the proposed deal is approved.

McLachlan said no specific deals were on the table, but hoped the rules would open a new path for clubs in the tight financial market.

"The new guidelines have basically been set to reflect a change in the marketplace," McLachlan said. "We are definitely hopeful we'll get a few more inquiries.

"We want the (rules) to mean we build relationships with (new) companies. It's the best way for us to reinforce our gambling rules and regulations."

He said the change would not affect its relationship with existing commercial partners.

New bookmaking partners are likely to seek an assurance from the AFL that team selection changes are done in a transparent manner to prevent critical punting information leaking from clubs. (Credit: Herald Sun)

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nobody calls Shane Warne's tattoo bluff - The Daily Telegraph - 21st January 2009

He has never been one to shy away from a grand entrance and it was no different yesterday when Shane Warne waltzed into Crown Casino in Melbourne sporting what appeared to be a brand new arm-length tattoo.

Smiling broadly as he walked into a press conference for the Aussie Millions Poker Championship - which he is competing in this week - Warne asked reporters if they liked his new ink.

He then rolled down the fake tattoo sleeve and pulled it from his arm.

"Gotcha, didn't I?" the spin king laughed.

Well, perhaps there could have been one member of the audience who had never before seen the joke tattoo sleeves (pictured) - though that seems doubtful.

Warne went on to explain he was wearing the sleeve to take the mickey out of current Aussie cricket star Michael Clarke, who last month hit the headlines with a huge new tattoo.

Clarke's elaborate piece of body art depicts a guardian angel sitting on a cross, with the initials of his fiancee Lara Bingle emblazoned at the top.

For Warne, the new addition to Clarke's body was the perfect opportunity for a bit of fun with a former teammate.

"I keep taking photos and sending them to Michael," Warne said.

The cricket legend-turned-poker pro will be among 850 players vying for a first prize of $2 million in the Aussie Millions tournament.

And just to add to the "has-been" feel of the event, Warne yesterday posed for photographs with fellow poker fans and former sports stars Jeff Fenech and Mark Philippoussis. (Credit: The Daily Telegraph)

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Betting watch, by Leo Schlink - Herald Sun - 19th January 2009

Online betting leader Betfair will operate at Melbourne Park during the next two weeks, but there won't be any on-site Australian Open gambling.

Betfair, the Open's official sports betting operator, will have an outlet on the grounds.

The company will use the centre to sign new clients and provide education on its products.

The Australian Open has some of the strictest anti-corruption laws in tennis.

Any player, coach or official found guilty of illegal tennis gambling faces a life ban.

The Open's anti-corruption code also includes heavy fines or expulsion from the tournament if players fail to report evidence of suspicious behaviour related to gambling.

The tournament is a foundation member of the newly formed Tennis Integrity Unit, created to stamp out gambling cheats.

Players have been encouraged to use a 24-hour hotline if they see any evidence of illegal gambling or hear anything suspicious concerning match-fixing.

Tennis Australia has employed a former senior detective to lead the efforts.

These include a ban on accessing any betting websites in the players' areas at the event, while fans will not be allowed to use laptops in the stands. (Credit: Herald Sun)

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Punters say Punter's men will go on with it, by John Schell - Fairfax - 16th January 2009

Centrebet punters are banking on the increase from 20 overs to 50 making no difference to South Africa's fortunes in the one-day series, which starts today at the MCG.

"We opened Australia up at $1.47 for game one and they were quickly in to $1.40 after a surge of money, including one bet of $5000," Centrebet's Neil Evans said. "The Proteas have drifted from $2.70 to $2.90, and are likely to get a whole lot longer."

Evans said that in betting on who would win the five-match series, Australia were a raging $1.38, with South Africa a $3.05 outsider.

Meanwhile, Sportingbet Australia has firmed Phil Jaques in to $1.55 to be Australia's next Test opener following the retirement of Matthew Hayden, with young gun Phil Hughes second favourite at $3.50.

Sportingbet Australia chief executive Michael Sullivan said the experience of Jaques gave him the edge.

"South Africa is a tough tour, and our feeling is that the selectors will go for the player that's already been in the trenches," he said.

"While Hughes is sure to get his chance, it's more likely he'll tour as a back-up player first."

TAB Sportsbet's Matt Jenkins reported that punters cleaned up on Australia in their 2-0 whitewash of South Africa in the Twenty20 series this week and had been keen to back them to go on with the job in the 50-over game today. Kicking on

With former AFL players Ben Graham and Saverio Rocca set to go head to head for a place in the Super Bowl, Sportingbet Australia has opened markets on which player punts the furthest during the game between their respective teams, the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Former Collingwood and North Melbourne full-forward Rocca is the early favourite.

"We have Rocca at $1.80 with a -0.5m start to have the higher average distance in the game and at -1.5m on handicap to have the longest punt," Sullivan said. "But Graham could be some value at $1.95 at +0.5m and +1.5m, given that he has an extra year's experience in the American game."

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These off-season odds should be music to your ears, by Cameron Noakes - The Age - 16th January 2009

I once dated a girl who told me the world was forever singing New York, New York, and it was on constant replay within the bowels of everyone's subconscious.

She would say it only took a couple of bars for it to rise from that cavernous place and head to the surface and before you knew it you were singing: "Start spreading the news. . ."

I told her that this was preposterous because everyone was secretly tapping their toes to an eternal mix of Sympathy for the Devil and all you needed was an "ooooh-ooooh" or two before you were screaming "Pleased to meet you. . ."

We stopped seeing each other after that.

But I bring this up because it seems to me Australian rules, like Sympathy for the Devil (or New York, New York if you want to take her side) is also a broken record constantly revolving in the ineffable bits of most Victorians' brains.

And I guess it is probably the same for South Australians, Tasmanians and the Perth-lings, however, I'm sure the music is more Billy Joel in South Australia and Meatloaf in WA.

So with the tennis upon us, one-day cricket here, and the round-ball rolling to a thrilling climax, it is not really surprising that my email inbox is filling up with footy chat.

No one is saying: "Shall we take the $5.30 on Rafa or the $4 on Andy Murray or even the $3.55 on Roger (Betfair odds) to win the Australian Open?"

No one is saying: "The $3.35 on South Africa to beat Australia ($1.42) in the one-day internationals is good value." And they're not saying: "Let's take the $4.60 on J. P. Duminy to be the highest run scorer for South Africa in today's game?" They are also not interested in the $4.30 on Ricky Ponting to make the most runs for Australia.

They're not even saying: "Let's jump on the $1.72 for Manchester United to take out the English Premier League?" - which seems more than likely now after the Red Devils' big week.

No. All I get in the month of January is Brownlow Medal speculation and I'm drawn to it like a moth to the flame. The current Brownlow market has Gary Ablett at $9 and Chris Judd as second favourite at $11, and, barring injury, it is unlikely these serial vote-getters will be any longer during the season.

Lance Franklin ($13) and Jon Brown ($17) are next on most bookmakers' lines (remember, forwards don't win it) and Ben Cousins is at a ridiculously short $34 ($26 at TAB Sportsbet).

But my mates and I don't really look at the favourites; this is the time of year when you put a sneaky tenner on a 100-1 shot or better so you can brag about it on Brownlow night when your man is sitting on 20 votes with three rounds to go.

Shop around carefully because the odds vary greatly. Select a midfielder whose team will finish in the top four. Keep the bets small. And thoughts? My Hawthorn mates are telling me Brad Sewell (16 votes last year despite missing games because of a shoulder injury) is worth a nibble at $101 with TAB Sportsbet ($41 at Sportingbet Australia).

And expect Nick Dal Santo ($151 at Sportingbet Australia/$81 at Centrebet) to return to his eye-catching form this year. The Bulldogs' Ryan Griffen at $101 also fits the criteria.

And remember, the footy is three weeks away so "start spreading the news". (Credit: The Age)

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Time for sport to break free of betting, by Bernard Zuel - The Sydney Morning Herald - 15th January 2009

A headline last week was about betting being halted on Australian of the year. My first thought was, people bet on who will be Australian of the year? My second thought was, have they considered getting a life? My third thought was, no one else seems perturbed but me.

As I sat stewing on that, a fourth thought (which is pretty much my quota for the month) smacked me on the head: hey Bozo, have you not paid attention to sport on television, radio and newspapers over recent years? Betting is sport is betting is sport is life.

All summer Channel Nine has urged us to bet, on anything really, throughout its cricket broadcast and even had the sainted Richie Benaud all but carrying the bookie's bag and shilling for an online betting firm. (Hardly new, I know, with all networks having long used commentators to plug, sometimes with embarrassing incongruities, coming shows. I certainly believe that Richie and Daphne settle down with a backyard renovation show and a CSI in their Nice apartment between seasons.)

It doesn't end there, of course. Newspapers like this one routinely give you the odds on any sport and regularly include the bookmakers' opinions on anything from whether batsman X will retire to the chances of rain. It's a lead story when someone's late announcement of an injury throws betting out of whack in a football game. Even the ABC updates us through the day on the variations in betting. Everyone does it.

Well, since when does that make it OK? And how does that make it sensible? I'll stay away from the basic question of whether gambling is just legalised theft for now, but when you can bet on who will lose, when you can wager on variations within a game, when you have an incentive, if you have the wherewithal, to influence said result, how does a game like cricket benefit?

Was Hansie Cronje really the last cricketer to throw a game? Can the Indian Premier League be pure? Will a respect for the game's traditions deter influencing the domestic 20/20 competition? Believe that and I've got a weapon of mass destruction I'd like to sell you.

Sports organisations desperate for cash have always been cheap tarts, happily slipping into bed with cancer-stick makers until embarrassed out from under the sheets, for example. Governments will take money from anyone able to pay a tax and most media beg for advertising.

But maybe the press, radio and television can show a level of restraint and not be so in the thrall of the bookmakers, the wagerers and the exploiters. What if we don't report on the odds at all? What if we covered sport as sport and not as the pea-in-the-shell game?

Yeah, I know, what am I on? That's one thought too many this month. (Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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Betting and alcohol ads are just not cricket, by Mark Metherel - The Sydney Morning Herald - 15th January 2009

Heavy advertising of addictive and potentially harmful products such as alcohol and gambling during sports broadcasts raises questions about the influence those industries exert on politicians, anti-addiction crusaders Tim Costello and Nick Xenophon say.

They said advertisers and networks were able to promote such products during televised sports events in family viewing hours because of the leverage they had over state and federal politicians.

The spruiking of odds from Betfair during cricket telecasts particularly unsettled the pair.

"I am disturbed that Richie Benaud spruiks Betfair [during match commentary]. It's a really sad comedown," Mr Costello told the Herald.

Most parents would not want their children exposed to alcohol and betting advertising while watching cricket but the game was now heavily dependent on advertising from both, Mr Costello said.

"I would call on fans to ring the Channel Nine switchboard in their state and voice their disapproval of the blatant blurring of the lines between a great Australian pastime and the gambling industry."

But the influence of hotel and gambling lobbies which generate significant revenue for state governments was such that the big political parties resisted calls for tighter regulation, said Senator Xenophon, an independent, and his Family First counterpart, Senator Steve Fielding.

"There does seem to be a double standard. We have all this concern about junk food advertising on TV but when it comes to alcohol advertising, they can do it with impunity," Senator Xenophon said.

"There is a lot of money at stake," he said of the alcohol and gambling industries. "They are very powerful."

"Saturation sponsorship" of betting during sportscasts normalised gambling in the minds of viewers, many of whom are children, he said. "Gambling is an adult pastime that should only be promoted to adults."

A spokeswoman for Channel Nine said the critics were entitled to their views and the network had no comment. (Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Controversy over Betfair promotions during cricket broadcasts - ABC - 13th January 2009

Reporter: Alison Caldwell
ASHLEY HALL: Cricket Australia will be closely monitoring Channel Nine's coverage of tonight's 20/20 match in Brisbane to hear if the commentators promote betting odds during their ball-by-ball commentary.

PM reported last week on the concerns raised by anti-gambling campaigners and the International Cricket Council about the in-commentary promotions for the betting agency Betfair.

But the network stuck with its promotion during Sunday's 20/20 match.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: Cricket Australia says it was only last Thursday that it became aware that Channel Nine commentators were quoting odds framed by the online gambling agency Betfair during their coverage of this year's cricket.

But despite an outcry from anti-gambling campaigners, Nine's commentary team continued promoting Betfair's odds during Sunday night's international 20/20 match.

COMMENTATOR: This is interesting, the latest Betfair odds are in, Australia $1.58 and South Africa $2.68.

ALISON CALDWELL: It's understood Cricket Australia was concerned about the ads after they were brought to its attention last week.

Spokesman Peter Young says Cricket Australia contacted Channel Nine ahead of Sunday's match.

PETER YOUNG: There had been some discussion about them moving to a different way of presenting the Betfair relationship they have. But apparently with the condensed format of 20/20, it didn't lend itself to a change at that point.

Our continuing understanding is that they'd be doing tonight what they did on Sunday and I believe that I'm waiting for confirmation that they're then talking about a possible new way of presenting it once the one day 50 over cricket starts later in the week.

ALISON CALDWELL: Now doesn't that concern cricket Australia that they're just continuing with this on air plugging of Betfair odds?

PETER YOUNG: Well we're interested in it, we're still determining what our view is in terms of concern. We do have a good relationship with Nine. We're continuing to discuss with them how they present this.

ALISON CALDWELL: It's an awkward situation for Cricket Australia, which receives money from Nine under its broadcast rights agreement which runs until 2013.

It also receives a percentage of Betfair's revenue during cricket matches.

The International Cricket Council doesn't like Channel Nine promoting Betfairs odds during their ball-by-ball commentary.

ICC President David Morgan spoke to PM last Thursday.

DAVID MORGAN: That is something that Haroon Lorgat our Chief Executive has been in conversation with Cricket Australia about.

ALISON CALDWELL: For its part, Betfair believes the concerns are misplaced; until recently Betfair CEO Andrew Twaits worked with Cricket Australia.

He says promoting Betfair's odds during the commentary is part of its commercial agreement with Channel Nine.

ADNREW TWAITS: You know, there are other parts of the arrangement as well; we sponsor the Hot Spot, you know we have our logo up on the screen from time to time, but it's no different to any other product that's advertised out there in the market place. It's just that we have, as a sports betting product, have a more unique connection with the game so we think that we provide addition context to a sport where otherwise it might not be there.

ALISON CALDWELL: One critic recently said of the nature of Betfair where people can bet on someone playing badly or loosing, that that opens the game up to corrupt events. What does Betfair say to that?

ANDREW TWAITS: We reject that statement completely. The best way to protect the integrity of sport is to ensure that there's complete transparency in betting transactions that the identity of every person who is betting on a particular game is known and is made available to the sporting regulators so that they can tell who's having a bet and take action if there's anything untoward going on.

ASHLEY HALL: Betfair's chief executive Andrew Twaits ending Alison Caldwell's report. (Credit: ABC)

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Row over TV betting, by Ben Butler - Herald Sun - 12th January 2009

Channel Nine has continued to spruik online betting shop Betfair during the cricket despite concerns raised by the sport's international governing body.

And Cricket Australia only learned of the continued advertising late last night when contacted by the Herald Sun.

"I don't think we were aware of it until very late in the day today," spokesman Peter Young said last night.

He said Cricket Australia had believed the ads, read by commentators, including past players, were to be replaced by a mention during a segment called the Hot Spot.

"I believe we were advised today that because the Hot Spot isn't part of the Twenty20 broadcasts they have decided to use this device (mentions during play) until the one-day series starts."

During play last night, spin king Shane Warne told Nine viewers of the current odds offered by Betfair.

The deal between Nine and Betfair has sparked an outcry from anti-gambling campaigners including World Vision chief Tim Costello and prompted the International Cricket Council to step in.

Mr Young said the deal was separate to a long-term arrangement that sees Cricket Australia get a cut of Betfair's revenue from cricket gambling.

"I'm not familiar with the details of the arrangement (between Nine and Betfair)," he said. "It's an arrangement between them.

"That arrangement included in-commentary discussion of the odds Betfair was offering."

He said that Cricket Australia was interested in the deal, but its priority was ensuring the integrity of the game.

"People will stop following the sport if they think that it is rigged. We've had an integrity agreement with Betfair since 2003, but that became a broader agreement in 2006, which includes them paying us a percentage of turnover on cricket matches."

Cricket Australia reportedly receives 5 per cent of Betfair's revenue from cricket matches.

Betfair punters staked more than $5 million on the result of last night's match.

Cricket Australia also receives money from Nine under a $315 million broadcast rights agreement that expires in 2013.

On Thursday, ICC president David Morgan said ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat had told Cricket Australia of its concerns about the deal between Nine and Betfair.

"I know that the whole issue of the discussion of odds on a current game being broadcast is something that Mr Lorgat has had some discussion with Cricket Australia about," he said.

Speaking before last night's telecast, Nine spokesman David Hurley declined to comment on the Betfair deal.

"It's a non-story," he said.

Mr Hurley and Betfair couldn't be reached for comment last night. (Credit: Herald Sun)

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Gambling could ruin cricket says Tim Costello - AAP - 13th January 2009

Cricket is at risk of being tainted by gambling, a prominent social advocate says.
Tim Costello says the use of betting agencies, such as Betfair, to promote the sport was unwise.

"When you watch your cricket you don't want it to be like the horseracing,'' he told ABC Radio.

Cricket Australia said it had worked with Betfair since 2003.

Television commentators providing updated betting information during a match was something the ruling body was considering, spokesman Peter Young said.

"We have been talking to Channel Nine and to a lesser extent, to Betfair, about how this works.''

On the table was a more "quarantined'' way of presenting gambling segments during the cricket as commercials, rather than having it as part of commentary.

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Safe bet odds won't bother viewers, by Martin Boulton - The Sydney Morning Herald - 10th January 2009

Australian Open viewers can have a flutter on the outcome of matches, but they shouldn't expect to hear the latest market updates from commentators.

Unlike the furore during Melbourne's Boxing Day Test, when Channel Nine quoted Betfair's latest odds, Channel Seven does not have a commercial relationship with the online betting agency.

World Vision chief executive Tim Costello and South Australian senator Nick Xenophon were angered by advertisements for betting at the MCG and odds being broadcast live by the Nine Network, but Cricket Australia yesterday played a straight bat when the International Cricket Council weighed into the debate.

"They (the ICC) have talked to us about their concerns, but while we have a relationship with Betfair and with Channel Nine in a formal sense, it's an issue between Betfair and Channel Nine," Cricket Australia spokesman Peter Young said.

"The concern relates to an arrangement between two parties outside Cricket Australia, albeit two parties that have a relationship with Cricket Australia (and) I'm not privy to the detail."

Betfair's Hugh Taggart defended the comments of cricket commentators, including former Australian captain Richie Benaud, as "a reflection of public opinion" about the match.

"It's not going to suit everyone, but that's up to the viewer and we believe it offers another dimension to the cricket coverage," Mr Taggart said.

"There were odds mentioned last year during the one-day internationals and the Test series, they just weren't given a name or brand-checked as they've done this year."

Mr Taggart said Betfair had a "voluntary product fee arrangement" with Tennis Australia, which pays the organisation a percentage of Betfair's gross profits on matches or markets governed by Tennis Australia.

"We also give them access to our betting records, should there be any kind of integrity concern or suspicion around betting activity (and) that's under a memorandum of understanding we have with all major sports in Australia.

"Insofar as commentary and in-broadcast advertising, we don't have anything in place with Tennis Australia." (Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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Bet firms win free rein to rival TAB - Gold Coast Bulletin - 7th January 2009

Embattled Queensland racing and sporting events have been thrown a lifeline and the TAB monopoly is about to end with the State Government lifting a ban on interstate online betting agencies, allowing them to advertise in Queensland.

Corporate bookmaker giants such as Sportingbet have effectively been locked out of Queensland by the ban because of a government deal to protect the TAB until 2012.

But a recent High Court decision ruled a similar ban in Western Australia was unconstitutional as it was a restraint on the trade in gambling between the states.

The NSW and Victoria governments in October announced they would lift the ban and Queensland Treasurer and Racing Minister Andrew Fraser yesterday indicated that he would follow suit.

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Mr Fraser said the constitutionality of the provision in the Interactive Gambling (Player Protection) Act that allowed only authorised persons to advertise was now in question because of the High Court decision.

''The Government will, in coming months, be considering legislative changes including repeal -- required because of the decision," he said.

"In the meantime, the Government will not be pursuing prosecutions under this provision until the matter is resolved."

The Government began preparing for the change late last year, introducing 'race fields' legislation into State Parliament which will enable them to collect a fee from wagering operators betting on Queensland gallops, harness and greyhound races.

The money would be ploughed back into the three codes.

Opposition racing spokesman Mike Horan said it was recently estimated charging the betting agencies a fee instead of excluding them would pour another $17 million into the troubled racing industry.

"Racing needs this extra money," he said.

"I think that the reality of life has set in.

"All states are now working towards charging this fee for the race fields so some income comes back to the code for the product that is provided and advertising is more or less a natural progression."

He said the sponsorship and advertising from the online agencies would benefit Queensland racing, particularly country races which have been under threat.

Sportingbet finance director and legal counsel Anthony Waller welcomed the Queensland decision and promised to put money back into the industry.

"Sportingbet looks forward to being able to sponsor and participate in Queensland racing and sport," he said.

Sportingbet is Australia's biggest bookmaker with a turnover of $1.2 billion. (Credit: Gold Coast Bulletin)

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Friday, January 09, 2009

Government bets on an $80m TOTE sale, by Loretta Johnstone and Kate Clifford - The Examiner - 9th January 2009

Both Federal Group and online betting company Betfair have responded cautiously when asked if they were likely suitors for TOTE Tasmania.

Treasurer Michael Aird yesterday announced the Government's intention to sell the wagering business, which commentators have suggested could realise up to $80 million for State taxpayers.

Existing players in the gaming industry, including Tabcorp, Betfair and the Federal Group, have all been suggested as potential buyers.

When asked if the group had ruled out buying the business, Federal Group corporate affairs manager Brendan Blomeley said that it would be interesting to see how the sale unfolded.

"We will be monitoring the sale closely," he said.

Betfair media and communications manager Hugh Taggart said that the company would consider the opportunity.

"We haven't made a decision yet but we'll certainly consider the options and take the appropriate steps," he said.

Financial analyst Tom Ellison said that the State Government could expect to receive between $80 million and $100 million from the sale.

"It's very difficult to value Government businesses because their financial statements don't always give a clear picture of the entities' underlying profitability," Mr Ellison said.

"(But) if a company like Betfair or Tabcorp were to buy TOTE they could probably get enough synergies to justify a sale price of between $80 and $100 million."

The TOTE will be sold through a competitive bid process due to be completed by the end of June.

Yesterday, Shadforths private client advisor Matthew Torenius said that it was impossible to put a price on buying the TOTE.

"I think the Government had decided to sell due to other structural reasons in the gambling sector," Mr Torenius said.

"There is obvious cash flow within the business, and companies such as Tattersalls, Tabcorp, maybe Betfair and even the Federal Group would be obvious players to buy the business." (Credit: The Examiner)

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ICC moves to stop Channel Nine's betting ads - ABC - 9th January 2009

Channel Nine's cricket commentary has come under fire from the International Cricket Council (ICC) and anti-gambling advocates, who say the on-air advertising for a betting agency puts the integrity of the game at risk.

The ICC has stepped in to try to stop the practice.

The ICC refuses to have any dealings with gambling ventures and goes to great lengths to prevent players from betting on games after the damaging a match fixing scandal in the 1990s.

But Channel Nine has not been deterred by the controversy surrounding its decision to advertise betting agency Betfair during its ball-by-ball cricket commentary.

During the course of their commentary, Channel Nine's team has been giving viewers updates on the latest odds available from the betting agency.

Here is an example of the advertising, from one of the country's most recognisable cricket commentators, former Australian captain Richie Benaud.

"Just a note about the major turnarounds in Betfair trading today. We've taken a first innings lead, Australia were $1.24 at the start of play and they're now $5, so the draw might still be a decent bet," he said on-air.

The advertising tactics have stunned gambling opponents such as independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenaphon, who says it is inappropriate.

"Those revered commentators spruiking Betfair in the way that they have really undermines their credibility and has a potential to undermine the credibility of cricket," he said.

The ICC's president David Morgan is also disturbed by the television advertising.

"That is something that Haroon Lorgat, our chief executive has been in conversation with Cricket Australia about," he told ABC radio's PM program.

"I know that the whole issue of the discretion of odds, on current games being broadcast is something that Mr Lorgat has had some discussion with Cricket Australia about.

"What we are convinced about is cricketers are no longer assisting bet makers."

Cricket Australia has a sponsorship deal with Betfair, as has Channel Nine. It's understood Cricket Australia is pleased with its deal.

The network did not return PM's calls.

Senator Xenophon says the ICC needs to do more to stop what he describes as the blatant promotion of gambling.

"It's clear that what Cricket Australia is doing - cosying up with Betfair is bad for the game of cricket," he said.

"There are real dangers with Betfair's involvement with cricket, the very nature of Betfair where you can bet on a losing event, you can bet on someone playing badly, that opens up the game of cricket to corrupt events.

"The ICC really needs to go much further rather than just skirting around the issue."

Based on a report by Alison Caldwell for PM. (Credit: ABC)

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Tasmanian Government Plans on Tasmanian Tote

Competitive bid process envisaged to offload racing asset

January 7, 2009 (InfoPowa News) -- The Tasmanian government treasurer, Michael Aird, has published plans for the disposal of the Tasmanian Tote in order to increase funding to the horse racing industry. In a statement released this week, Aird said that relevant legislation will be presented to Parliament in the autumn which will amend the Gaming Control Act 1993 to bring the Tote under the authority of the Tasmanian Gaming Commission prior to its sale through a competitive bidding process.

The process would include the appointment of an independent probity adviser who will oversee the sale process to ensure it is conducted openly and fairly.

"The divestment will help in improving Tote's competitive position compared to the other privatized TABs in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia," Aird said. "Maintaining a wagering business in public ownership is not a core function of Government.

"The proceeds of the sale, which we hope will be finalized by the end of June 2009, will be reinvested into other state assets.

"The sale of Tote is consistent with most other Australian States and Territories which have also sold their wagering businesses with only Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory still with government-owned totalisators."

Aird said the government would work to ensure, where possible, that Tote Tasmania staff retained their jobs and existing conditions under private ownership. "All accrued entitlements for staff at the sale date will be preserved," he said, revealing that with the transfer of its racing functions to the Tasmanian Racing Board, Tote Tasmania employs around 100 full time staff.

"Bidders will be asked to submit their intentions regarding employment levels and employment terms and conditions. These submissions will then be considered when evaluating overall proposals," said Aird.

The amendments envisaged to the Gaming Control Act will subject Tote Tasmania to regulation by the Tasmanian Gaming Commission, consistent with other wagering operators such as Betfair, and will also result in Tote Tasmania paying wagering tax directly to the Consolidated Fund.

"The Tasmanian Racing Board, the body that is now responsible for distributing funding to the industry, will be funded from the State Budget," explained Aird, adding that the sale of Tote Tasmania will provide opportunities to increase funding to the Tasmanian Racing Industry.

"I can guarantee that the Tasmanian Racing Industry will not be worse off by these arrangements," Aird promised. "The Tasmanian Government will separately fund the racing industry and over the coming months a long-term funding model will be developed in consultation with the new Tasmanian Racing Board and Tote Tasmania.

"The clear aim in developing the funding model will be to increase funding to the industry and ensure its long-term sustainability."

The Tasmanian government believes there are three principles that will be central to any future funding model for the Tasmanian Racing Board:

* Sustainability and revenue predictability for the Tasmanian racing industry

* Funding for an appropriate level of capital works; and

* Funding to enable the Tasmanian Racing Board to develop the Tasmanian racing product.

Tote's capital commitments, including A$6 million for lights at Tasman Park in Launceston, would not be affected by the sale.

Aird remarked that the timing for the sale of Tote was appropriate. "While economic conditions are volatile, good assets can still be sold with a strong return," he said.

"Tote Tasmania is a unique business and I am sure it will attract significant buyer interest despite the volatile markets because, importantly, most of the likely bidders still have access to capital."

Aird has appointed Deloittes as the government's financial adviser and Clayton Utz as its legal adviser. Any interested bidders should direct their queries to:

David Willington
Deloitte Corporate Finance Pty Limited
Level 3, 225 George Street
Sydney, NSW, 2000

(Credit: InfoPowa News)

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Pigeons will fly - The Sydney Morning Herald - 5th January 2009

Twelve pigeons named after the Channel Nine commentary team will be raced today from Glenn McGrath Oval in Narromine to the north-west NSW town of Trangie (about 30 kilometres) in support of the McGrath Foundation. The Pink Pigeon race is sponsored by Betfair, who have framed a market listing Scoob (Simon O'Donnell) as the $3.30 favourite. Slats is next at $4.70 while Chappelli is paying $4.90. Big odds for Kenny ($21) and Ritchie ($18.50). Still on odds, McGrath is the firm favourite with Centrebet to be named Australian of the Year ($1.80), ahead of Aboriginal leader Professor Michael Dodson ($3.50). (Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Magic Millions - Adelaide Sale Topper Brilliant On Debut

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Leon Macdonald's love affair with graduates of the Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale rolled on at Cheltenham yesterday when the master horseman prepared a treble.

All ridden by record breaking jockey Clare Lindop, who ended the day with four winners, the performances were headlined by the performance of debuting juvenile Miss With Attitude.

A daughter of Galileo, Miss With Attitude was the top priced lot at last year's Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale when snapped up by Macdonald for $160,000.

Macdonald said the bright young prospect had shown him good ability in trackwork and she was sent out the favourite with bookmakeers.

"Magic Millions here we come," Macdonald beamed after the race - saying the Morphettville juvenile feature on Adelaide Cup Day would be the main target for his newest star.

"She's always shown us a bit at home," he added.

The Morphettville trainer won last year's Adelaide 2YO Classic with Augusta Proud - the filly who also went to the Gold Coast and won the $1.5 million Gold Coast Classic.

Yet another graduate of the outstanding producing farm of Mill Park at Meningie, Miss With Attitude is the first named foal for the well related Flying Spur mare Sizzie 'em.

A city winner, Sizzie 'em is an Irish bred who is from a Mill Reef sister to French stakes winner Shelina.

A half sister to Miss With Attitude by Swettenham Stud's top winner producing sire Bianconi is heading to the Morphettville sales ring in March.

The bay filly is catalogued as lot number 321 and is one of many stars from the draft of Mill Park - the farm who's other Adelaide sale graduates include Group One winners Divine Madonna, Devil Moon, Undoubtedly and the mighty Mummify.

Another of the impressive winners from the Macdonald stable was the progressive Danehill Dancer filly Dancing Elegance.

A likely prospect for the Group One Australasian Oaks, Dancing Elegance led throughout and held out her rivals for a strong win.

A $100,000 Adelaide Yearling Sale graduate, Dancing Elegance is one of three winners from the beautifully related Kenmare mare Elegant Court.

Kadina's Ducatoon Park will present an attractive half brother to Dancing Elegance at the upcoming Adelaide Sale.

Catalogued as lot 106, the bay colt is by Secret Savings - a leading sire who was sadly lost to the breeding industry in recent weeks.

Also heading to the Adelaide sale is a full brother and three quarter sister to Happy Honey - an impressive winner at Stony Creek in Victoria yesterday as well as a half sister to Allstar - yet another winner at Cheltenham.

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Third Test a lottery after second match's frenetic fluctuations, by John Schell - The Sydney Morning Herald - 2nd January 2009

Bizarre betting movements on the series-clinching Melbourne Test win by South Africa against Australia have carried over to the third Test, which begins at the SCG tomorrow.

Despite the Proteas crushing Australia in Perth and then in Melbourne to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead, they are $3.10 outsiders with TAB Sportsbet to complete the sweep. The draw was posted favourite at $2.50 with an Australian victory at $2.75.

"The second Test was huge in betting interest," TAB Sportsbet's Glenn Munsie said. "All three options were a short-priced favourite at some stage during the match. Australia touched $1.20 at their lowest price, the draw as short as $1.28 and one of the last bets taken on South Africa was $5000 at $1.12 before the book was closed mid-morning on day five."

There was a punter who had $500 on the South Africans at $9 to win while the biggest bet on them to win was $50,000 at $1.60.

Sportingbet Australia's Michael Sullivan said weight of money had resulted in his market turning around.

"After solid backing, South Africa are in to $2.80, after opening at $3.10, with the Aussies out to $3.15. It looks a much more realistic market, especially with the Australians struggling to take 20 wickets in a match." (Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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If only the batting were as dazzling as the spectators, by Andrew Stevenson and Eamonn Duff - The Sydney Morning Herald - 4th January 2009

Given the humiliations of Perth and Melbourne, white flags might have been more appropriate but pink - second only in meaning to green among the nation's cricket team - was the colour of the day at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

South Africa's deadly pace attack had pink stumps to aim at and besieged opener Matthew Hayden defended them with his customary pink bat handle.

Yesterday's crowd of 37,901 - subdued by the events of recent weeks, which have confirmed Australia is no longer the gold standard - flaunted pink bandannas and shirts in a show of support for the McGrath Foundation and for families, victims and survivors of breast cancer. Jane McGrath, wife of Test great Glenn, died from the disease in June last year.

"To come to the ground and walk out onto the middle there, to look around and see all that pink was pretty special … pretty amazing," an emotional McGrath said.

It was a day on which local boy Doug Bollinger - whose childlike enthusiasm belies his 27 years - was presented with Test cap No. 405 and then sang the national anthem with it clasped to his chest. It was the first time in a decade Australia had fielded two debutants in a Test, Victorian all-rounder Andrew McDonald sharing the honour.

The new Victor Trumper grandstand, which swallowed the little that remained of the Hill and lifts the SCG's capacity to 46,000, was far from full and the crowd's mood seemed to match the greying skies and reflect recent performances by the team.

As prime minister, John Howard was ever ready to line up beside sporting success. Yesterday he, Kevin Rudd and a small posse of politicians showed their belief in cricket rather than victory as Australia's batsmen dug in, attempting to graft a revival onto what has been such solid root stock.

Many spectators promised to stay true to the cause, regardless of the team's performances.

"For me, it's about travelling to the new year Test and supporting the green and gold, win, lose or draw," said Shea Flanigan, 30.

"We as a cricket nation have had it good for a very long time. If that means going through a period of transition, I for one will still be here next year."

Ben Tye, 30, from Newcastle, agreed: "It's part of Australian culture to come and watch the cricket, so it's disappointing to see that some people have stayed away today. It should be a full house out there but it's not."

Rob Gardner, a South African-born Sydneysider, was among the many Proteas fans wearing a pink bandanna.

"There are a lot of South Africans here today, and nearly all of them have turned out in the pink for Glenn McGrath and his family, which is a wonderful thing to see," said Mr Gardner, 61, who was originally from Cape Town. "Everyone looks great and they should look even better on Ladies' Day."

Sydney might be the home and soul of this Australian team - city of choice for six players, including skipper Ricky Ponting - but only once a year, and then for only five days at best, does the Test cricket caravan roll into town.

When it does, the new year Test provides the faithful with a ritual as important to them as the official observances of Christmas and New Year. Under cover of darkness, members queue for their seats, renewing friendships forged over their common faith in the game.

After 16 years of virtually uninterrupted success, their faith is now to be tested. Was it the spectacle of cricket they loved or the fruits of victory? "Today is about the occasion and the Sydney Test has begun to enjoy a really good following," said NSW Cricket chief executive Dave Gilbert, who was pleased with the crowd but worried it might drop off by day three.

"We've had a golden run but it's coincided with a very successful Australian team.

"As much as we deny it, Australians don't like losing."

On the pitch there was no surrender, despite Australia entering the match 2-0 down with their crown slipping and their world No. 1 ranking officially on the line. But there was also little to cheer, with Hayden's failure to stave off Father Time and Ponting - unable to match his heroics in the Boxing Day Test - out for a first-ball duck.

At stumps, Australia had fought back to be 6-267, thanks to a fighting knock by Michael Clarke, who, cheered on by glamorous fiancee Lara Bingle, will resume this morning on 73, chasing his first Test century on his home ground. The battle to regain lost pride goes on. (Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Shane Warne back in family fold with Simone in Melbourne - The Daily Telegraph - 3rd January 2009

Shane Warne has celebrated the New Year with his ex-wife Simone and three children at a holiday house south of Melbourne, adding fuel to speculation the couple have reunited yet again.

Warne was spotted outside his former partner's holiday hideaway yesterday only hours before his departure to fulfil commitments at the third cricket Test in Sydney.

The spin bowler's late-model black Mercedes was parked in the driveway of the property for the entire New Year holiday.

Other friends were spotted leaving the house after low-key celebrations the night before.

The neat house, complete with tennis courts, is tucked away in a leafy hillside village of Arthurs Seat and has stunning ocean and mountain views.

Yesterday Warne left the house briefly for errands before returning for a final time to say goodbye to his children. While the pair have made no secret they will remain firm friends, neither is yet to deny a rekindled relationship.

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Repentant ex-mafia boss says tennis a top target for fixers - The Sydney Morning Herald - 1st January 2009

Former mafia crime boss Michael Franzese says top-level tennis matches are being influenced by gamblers and the sport would be his prime focus were he still in the business of impacting outcomes.

Franzese, a former boss in the Colombo crime family, serves as a consultant and speaker regarding his days with the mob and has spoken with ATP players about the methods that are used to spread corruption in sport.

"It's definitely going on," Franzese told AFP. "If I were in this business now, tennis would be my major target because one player can impact the game. That's all you need."

An FBI probe in the 1980s and a decade in prison helped push Franzese to change his ways and help those who safeguard the integrity of sport, but his crime contacts lead him to believe organized crime remains involved in tennis.

"I have to believe they are, certainly from the feedbacks I've gotten since I got involved with the ATP," Franzese said. "Sports has become such an incredibly lucrative racket, so to speak, for guys on the street."

Franseze, 57, has spoken with National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, tennis stars and elite US college athletes about the dangers of match-fixers, often counseling newcomers on how to avoid being ensnared in gambling woes.

His talks included a March 2007 session with ATP players.

"They told me there's a problem in the sport. It is something that has to be addressed," he said. "Mainly, I told them how damaging and dangerous it could be for them to get involved in gambling and get around the wrong people.

"Gambling is a very serious business. If you put yourself in a gambling situation, you're most likely going to attract the wrong people because those same people are watching you. They want to find out who's got a gambling problem."

Less than five months after Franzese spoke came a match in Sopot in which unusual on-line betting patterns were registered about Russian Nikolay Davydenko's loss to Argentina's Martin Vassallo-Arguello.

An ATP investigation into the match concluded last September that there was no wrongdoing by Davydenko or his rival.

Franzese remains suspicious.

"He is a pretty top player. Something else is going on there. Somebody has a hook on him," he said.

Franzese claims first-hand expertise at influencing athletes to drop a match to satisfy gamblers, including threats of bodily harm for failure to comply.

"None of these players want to do it. They do it because they're put in a situation," he said. "It's sad because they're doing it against their will. They have no way out. They all regret it. And that's why it's so damaging to their career. Psychologically, it gets to them.

"I've seen it happen so many times. They just can't perform the same. It does affect them. It affects their careers. Sometimes it's irreversible."

The impact on the sport could be as damaging as on the players. If supporters feel betrayed and have no faith the match results are legitimate, interest is likely to fade.

"All of them have a fear of gambling. All of them are not quite sure how to deal with it because they know it can happen at any time," Franseze said.

"In this country, we've had dogfighting incidents, a massive steroid scandal in baseball. They can overcome those things. They will not be able to overcome a major gambling issue.

"Once people start to believe that sports are fixed, that it becomes staged, forget it, the sport is done. Every pro sport knows that."

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