Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Media Man Australia - March 2009

This is the Media Man Australia monthly update as we get ready to enter a new month.

March 2009 proved to be a most significant month for Media Man Australia and we suspect for most people and companies.

The sentiment on the street and in the boardrooms is that Australia nor the rest of the world has yet to see the worst of the financial crisis, recession, crush, or whatever other terms we wish to use to describe it. It's well and truly a casino economy.

The "casino economy" was a catalyst in Media Man Australia further ramping up its activities in the casino, online casino, resort, financial news and tourism sector.

As you likely know Media Man Australia is primarily a media, publicity and portal development company. MMA was born in Sydney, Australia in 2001.

In 2005 we become fully aware that the casino, online casino and professional poker poker business had some exciting and potentially lucrative ties in with the media company and internet portal development business. It was our former client Keith "Bendigo" Sloan, poker commentary and trainer who tipped us off, and it must be said that "Bendigo" was right on the money as far as poker and casinos being made for TV in addition to convergent media opportunities.

In our time managing "Bendigo" we also expanded our online presence in the media, new media, poker and casino space, and were certainly able to see our business get to the next level.

Over the past few years we have noticed the trend of business giants such as Richard Branson's Virgin Group expand into other lifestyle sectors including launching their Virgin Casino - Virgin Games and James Packer's Crown Casino offering more of a total entertainment experience via bring in world class entertainment acts and in house facilities to their casino in Melbourne and Burswood Entertainment Complex in Western Australia. Billionaires such as Mr Branson and Mr Packer has also experienced their ups and downs with the financial markets and only last week caught up for a chat at the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix. Last month Donald Trump referred to the casino business as a "disaster", however the casino business is not the online casino business, and here down under in Australia things are a bit different to Las Vegas and Atlantic City which are somewhat saturated with debt laden land based casinos.

Just as in any business their are individuals and brands who stand head and shoulders about the rest and there are others which raise a number of questions and concerns.

As the founder and director of Media Man Australia and Casino News Media you can imagine that I get asked for my opinion and experience with a number of media, new media and casino entities. Here's is a list, not complete by any means, of a range of companies that we have had positive dealings and experiences with:

Virgin Enterprises Limited

Virgin Games

PartyGaming PartyCasino.com PartyPartners.com

PKR

World Poker Tour

World Series of Poker

Playtech

William Hill

Rewards Affiliates

Captain Cooks Casino

Microgaming

Cryptologic

Betezy

National Rugby League

Crown Casino

Hilton Hotels

Marvel Entertainment

InterCasino.com

JackpotCity

Moneybookers

Betfair

Australian Stunt Academy

Maxx-G Aerobatics

Drasin Productions

Richard Bradley Productions

Casino Affiliate Programs

Gaming Portal Webmasters Association

Gambling911

DGM

World Wrestling Entertainment

Layfield's Energy

Google

Fairfax

News Corporation

Foxtel

Craig's List

The Bondi View

ABC

Again, this list is not complete by any means. Please see the Media Man Australia and Casino News Media websites for more information and company reviews and articles.

What to expect from Media Man Australia in the coming months?

Media Man Australia will be at the forefront of important news stories, especially those which concern both the online casino and censorship debate and the ACMA "blacklist".

We will be continuing our policy of supporting many worthy causes at the same time via our online listing of the Social and Community Entrepreneurs and Charity portfolio. Our favorite worthy causes include Virgin Unite, Variety, beyondblue, The Salvation Army and The Shane Warne Foundation.

The Media Man Australia network will continue to expand in an online and offline capacity.

The main websites in the Media Man Australia online portfolio are:

Media Man Australia

Casino News Media

Australian Casino News

Australian Sports Entertainment

Marvel Slots Online

Party Casino News

Casino Travel Tourism

We also also assisting our friends and associates at Travel Tourism Media.

Expect to see one or two Media Man Australia websites turn up again in the Hitwise top ten lists and our Alexa rankings further improve.

The good old fashion work - life balance will remain a focus. Some good places to check out on that front include the offerings from Virgin Limited Edition and Universal Peace Centre Retreat. MMA also have an online Mind, Body and Spirit portfolio. If your looking into air travel check out Webjet, Virgin Blue, V Australia and Qantas.

We're set to break more leading news stories and will also continue to play a major role in new and exciting developments in the publicity business. I am known to say, "we don't advertise" however the internet could be seen as one giant advertisement and positive word of mouth could also be seen as a form of advertising.

Movie Reviews

There's been some great movies released so far in 2009 and some potential blockbusters just around the corner.

Movie Profiles

The Wrestler

Iron Man

Slumdog Millionaire

Watchmen

Wolverine

12 Rounds

Game Reviews

The Godfather

Wolverine

Lucky News Network

No Worries

Bush Telegraph

Goanna Gold

The Hulk

Cleopatra

WWE Legends Of WrestleMania

News

Access the world's major news services online here and here.

That's a wrap for March. Remember, you only live once so make the most of it.

Thanks for supporting Media Man Australia.

Greg Tingle
Director
Media Man Australia

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wolverine slot game review

Slots Type: 5 Reel, 25 Payline Video Slot with Bonus Game.

Software: Cryptologic

Description: This is a 5 reels, 25 payline video slot with the theme of the imaginary comic character Wolverine. Wolverine is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses; he has enhanced physical capabilities like blades coming from his hand, and a healing factor that recovers him from virtually any wound. The symbols of the game like the Wolverine, the blade marks made by wolverine, wolverine's clothes, mask and other accessories all support the theme very well. This game has beautiful video graphics as well as amazing sound effects, which increases the interest level.

This slot has a jackpot of 3000 coins and three progressive jackpots to be won. It also has a bonus game, where the player can again win a big amount.

This game can also be classed as a penny slot as the minimum amount that the player can bet in this game is a cent for a single spin, while the maximum amount that the player can bet is $125 per spin making it perfect for the high rollers as well (high roller slot).

This game was launched on 7th June 2007.

If you like this game you may also like other Marvel themed slots we have reviewed.

Marvel Jackpot: The bigger you bet, the bigger chance you have of winning. Jackpots are hit every couple of hours.

Key Jackpot Info:

Starts at: $5000.00
Average Hits at: $10,146.58
Highest Ever: $29,305.76
Super Hero Jackpot: The bigger you bet, the bigger chance you have of winning. Jackpots are hit every few hours.

Key Jackpot Info:

Starts at: $500.00
Average Hits at: $1,031.34
Highest Ever: $3,910.25
Hero Jackpot: The bigger you bet, the bigger chance you have of winning. Jackpots are hit every couple of hours.

Key Jackpot Info:

Starts at: $50.00
Average Hits at: $108.73
Highest Ever: $478.23

Wild Symbol: The Wolverine symbol is the wild symbol. It means that this symbol can substitute other symbols to complete the winning combination, except the scatter symbol.

Scatter Symbol: The Sabretooth symbol is the scatter symbol. It means that if two or more scatter symbols appear anywhere in the five reels, then it completes the winning combination.

Bonus Game: The Wolverine V Sabretooth bonus game is activated when three or more Sabretooth symbols appear anywhere in the five reels. In this game the player selects the moves for Wolverine to fight Sabretooth. Each move has a random amount stored on it. Both Wolverine and Sabretooth have life lines and the fight continues until either one's life line ends.

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International Internet Betting Laws

It may seem difficult but it is important that all citizens across the world stay updated with Internet Betting laws. Below you will find what we understand as the laws to online betting in certain areas of the world.

US Internet Betting Laws
The United States of America has the most ambiguous online casino laws in the world. They have passed laws to ban banks from allowing transactions that are deemed illegal, but no one has any idea what the United States considers legal or illegal. Currently, all US citizens are advised to check with local laws before gambling online. Even the online casinos aren't sure if you should be allowed to bet at their site. Some companies don't allow US players, others allow some US players, and some could care less where a player is from.

UK Internet Casino Laws
The UK is the first major country to completely legalize and regulate online gambling. The Gambling Act of 2005 was passed while Prime Minister Tony Blair was in office. Blair had a flair for expanding gambling, but when Gordon Brown took over as Prime Minister in the UK he provided a tax structure that was so high that most online casino companies were not urged to relocate to England. Today, all web branded casinos that are in a UK approved jurisdiction are legal for UK citizens to play at.

International Online Betting Laws
As the world gets deeper into the 21st century and the Internet becomes a more common cultural tool more and more countries are realizing the reality that is Internet gambling. Currently, Spain, Italy, Germany and other countries have moved to legalize and regulate the industry, while few still look to protect their homeland gaming monopolies. It is extremely important to check all local, state, and federal laws before participating in any online gambling activities.

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Australian Sports Entertainment

March Madness Search Strategies - Hitwise - 20th March 2009

It goes without saying that during the NCAA Basketball Tournament, visits will increase to the websites that provide coverage of the games – particularly on those that offer live video during work hours. As the tournament gets underway, we decided to look at the search terms that are driving traffic to websites hoping to attract viewers and ultimately drive ad revenues during March Madness.

We created a portfolio of the most popular search terms around the NCAA tournament to understand what search strategies are being employed to drive traffic. Last week, the share of clicks to the portfolio from organic search results was 90%. Among the top 10 search terms ranked by the share of clicks, 5 received 100% of their clicks through organic results.

This high share of organic results shows that many of the websites are well-optimized for the top search terms, with the official website of the NCAA leading the pack.

Of the 10% of the traffic that came from paid clicks, Google captured the majority of the traffic coming through sponsored listings. 94% of the paid clicks for all of the search terms within the NCAA March Madness portfolio for the week ending 03/14/2009 were through Google.

The overall share of paid traffic is fairly low for the portfolio of NCAA March Madness search terms and many of the terms are only driving organic traffic, so there should still be affordable opportunities across all of the search engines. Some of the players can take advantage of sponsored links for placement next to the organic results and possibly intercept some traffic. (Credit: Hitwise)

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Australians Are The Biggest Gamblers In The World - Gambling911 - 26th March 2009

A report out of Canada paints Australians as the biggest gambling degenerates in the world. The report, obtained exclusively by The Sunday Telegraph, shows Australian and New Zealand gamblers spend an average of $435 online every month.

This is five times what punters put through poker machines and has prompted renewed calls for bans on online gambling, which allows people to bet using credit.

The study also found the prevalence of problem gambling was up to four times higher for Internet gamblers than those who used traditional means such as poker machines.

More than 20,000 adults from 105 countries were surveyed for the study, conducted by University of Lethbridge professors Robert Wood and Robert Williams.

"Australian Internet gamblers do report higher average monthly gambling spending than the overall average we observed among our sample," Prof Wood said.

"This would suggest that Australian Internet gamblers do indeed spend more on gambling compared with Internet gamblers from most other countries."

Australian Media Man for Gambling911.com, Greg Tingle, rejoiced at the news.

"Ahoy. This report confirms my suspicions and my own findings... online gambling is red hot in the land down under... Australia. I think this officially marks a gold rush for the promised land. Our phone hasn't stopped ringing, and there's a constant stream of overseas enquires.

"The Australian government's ACMA website blacklist doesn't appear to have slowed down those seeking to make a killing down under. We're seen a trend in more .net ventures taking off and online casinos are generally keeping the "play for free" or "play for money" option. Australian newsrooms are also starting to run more stories regarding the online gambling sector and most are surprisingly balanced stories. We're gladly assisting them on (some) of the inner workings of the online casino industry." (Credit" Gambling911)

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Aussies Biggest Betters In The World

Online punters Downunder wager more money online than gamblers elsewhere in the world, reports the Melbourne Sun Herald this weekend. The newspaper references a new Canadian study by University of Lethbridge professors Robert Wood and Robert Williams which used a research base of 20 000 adults in 105 countries to reach its conclusions.

The study claims that Australian and New Zealand gamblers spend an average of A$435 online every month - five times what punters put through land poker machines - and has prompted renewed calls for bans on online gambling in Australia, the newspaper reports.

The Uni Lethbridge study also found the prevalence of problem gambling was up to four times higher for Internet gamblers than those who used traditional means such as poker machines, an apparent conflict with previous studies including the regular gambling prevalence studies carried out in the UK by the Gambling Commission. Whether this is a conflict, or an indication that Aussie and Kiwi gamblers are more prone to addiction by higher usage, is unclear. The finding is also dependent on what the researchers define as "problem gambling."

Professors Robert Wood and Robert Williams, who conducted the Lethbridge study, concluded: "Australian Internet gamblers do report higher average monthly gambling spending than the overall average we observed among our sample.This would suggest that Australian Internet gamblers do indeed spend more on gambling compared with Internet gamblers from most other countries."

The Salvation Army's problem-gambling service co-ordinator for Australia, Gerard Byrne, said he was not surprised by the figures and called on the Federal Government to ban credit-based betting.

"People are certainly reporting more and more usage of online gambling," Byrne said. "I'm not surprised New South Wales is near the top in problem online gambling. We've got a culture where gambling is the state pastime."

Clubs NSW chief executive David Costello said online gambling should be subject to the same restrictions as the heavily regulated land gambling industry.

"This is a very real issue," Costello said. "It confirms what we've been saying for the past two years: the incidence of Internet gambling is infinitely increasing."

He said there was a danger of young people using their parent's credit cards, with not enough age checks completed.

The news comes after online gambling group Centrebet posted a 23 percent jump in Australian online revenue last month. The company is also expecting a 10 percent increase for the 12 months to June 2009.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Australian Gambling News: Tasmania Wants to Force Breaks on Gamblers - Gambling911 - 23rd March 2009

The Tasmanian government wants to reduced the number of people addicted to pokie machines by forcing them to take breaks.

The Treasurer Michael Aird has announced a range of measures to further protect people addicted to poker machines.

They include a mandatory code of practice for gambling, reducing the maximum bet on poker machines.

"The more player breaks you can induce the more you can mitigate player behaviour," Aird said.

"'They' are at at again!" declared Australia Media Man, Greg Tingle. "'They' are wanting to control people's behavior. They are Government and organisations with hidden agendas. ‘They' are sometimes church groups, lobby groups and government spooks. ‘They' are everywhere and amongst us."

Tingle also warns of the language that "They" use in describing the need to control gambling behavior.

"Be watching out for the word ‘mitigate'," he says. "It's another word for ‘Control'. Mitigate - To moderate (a quality or condition) in force or intensity!"

....Good Friday Bets Won't Happen In South Australia: Gambling Minister Tom Koutsantonis says he wrote to UNiTAB, which owns the South Australian TAB, to make clear it is not allowed to take bets on Good Friday.

He says UNiTAB has withdrawn its plan for the Good Friday trial.

"The TAB were about to, for the first time in SA, have a trial. They were going to open a call centre and take internet bets. On Good Friday and Christmas that's illegal in SA and in breach of their agreement," the Minister said.

"If they continued with that trial they could have been open to a $60,000 fine."

....Internet Service Provider Pulls Out of Australia Censorship Trial: Australia's third largest internet provider, iiNet, has withdrawn from the Government's internet censorship trials, saying it could not "reconcile participation in the trial with our corporate social responsibility".

The move comes after the anonymous whistleblower site Wikileaks last week published a leaked copy of the secret Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) blacklist of prohibited websites, which forms the backbone of the Government's censorship policy.

That list included online poker sites.

"The ISP's have started to pull out of the trial, starting with iiNet, now that the Government's real agenda is becoming much clearer thanks to the leaking of information about the list," Tingle said.

"Industry rumours indicate that not only has Betfair been banned but also PokerStars and PokerNews.com I can't wait to find out if our Casino News Media has made the Government's hate list also. They don't always see eye to eye with journalists or gaming entrepreneurs, so I'm betting I'm on the list! I would also bet that if Gambling911 gets a .com.au they will make the list also!"

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Australian Sports Entertainment Profiles Updated

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Australia

Betfair Banned: CEO Outraged - Gambling911 - 19th March 2009

Following leakage of an Australian "Ban List", Betfair CEO Andrew Twaits expressed outraged with government officials. Twaits was unaware that his company's website had been blacklisted as part of an effort to prevent viewing of child pornography.

"We didn't know [about the ban]. We've been licensed to operate in Australia for three years and have never received a complaint or any allegation that Betfair locally or globally is not allowed usage by Australians.

"The global Betfair site is used by Australians every day."

The implications are enormous. Earlier today, Gambling911.com reported on how the list of websites blacklisted in Australia expanded to over 2300. These included YouTube links and some Christian websites along with online poker portals.

"We're will the madness end? The report stats that Betfair bas been banned in Australia! Is horse racing betting, boxing betting and eating meat pies and driving Holden Cars going to be banned also?" asked Australian Media Man Greg Tingle. "That's the direction things are heading in".

"I will repeat my thoughts on on a worldwide trend when things get "banned"... Citizens (and business) revolved and industries go underground, sometimes generating more money, however the risks increase and consumers and the industry no longer enjoy the same safeguards as it becomes unregulated".

"In addition, matters of insurance can becoming tricky, as an insurance company may be hesitant to insure a business sector which the government of the day deems "illegal". I have a strong suspicion some of the stuff the Australian government is doing is actually illegal. As they say, the law is an ass, and it appears that Australia has too many jackasses in political office at the moment."

Perhaps Tingle was referring to The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, who on Thursday condemned the reported leak and publication of a list which includes prohibited internet addresses.

"The leak and publication of prohibited URLs is grossly irresponsible. It undermines efforts to improve cyber-safety and create a safe online environment for children," Senator Conroy said.

"Under existing laws the ACMA blacklist includes URLs relating to child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime."

"No-one interested in cyber-safety would condone the leaking of these addresses."

But Tingle believes Conroy is doing more harm than good with such assertions and attempts to censor.

"I predict that these jackass submissions by government are going cause more problems than they cure". (Credit: Gambling911)

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CryptoLogic and Paramount Digital Entertainment Strike a Deal

Games based off of Paramount Pictures' properties to be developed and made available to CryptoLogic customers

17 March 2009 (Dublin, IRELAND) -- CryptoLogic Limited, a world leader in Internet casino and branded gaming software, today announced a multi-year agreement with Paramount Digital Entertainment that will bring some of the most famous movie characters in history to the Internet casino world beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Under the agreement, CryptoLogic gains the exclusive rights to offer online slot games based on more than 20 of Paramount Pictures' collection of feature film titles, including "Braveheart", "Forrest Gump", "Beowulf", "Beverly Hills Cop", "Ferris Bueller", "Ghost", and many others. CryptoLogic also has the opportunity to build a dedicated gaming site that would house all of its movie-themed games. The first games will launch in several international territories.

"We are very excited about this new relationship with Paramount Digital Entertainment as it both vindicates and enhances our strategic position. Paramount Pictures boasts an extensive catalogue of classic and new releases, and CryptoLogic makes the world's best branded Internet casino games," said Brian Hadfield, CryptoLogic's president and CEO. "It’s been proven that CryptoLogic’s branded games drive Internet casino revenue -- and we look forward to a mutually profitable relationship with this global entertainment leader.”

“As the online gaming industry continues to evolve as a destination for gamers, we feel that our films are a great fit for those looking to play on this new platform,” states Luke Letizia, Vice President Interactive Licensing Paramount Digital Entertainment. “We are excited to be able to work with CryptoLogic, a leader in this space, and are confident that they will develop games that are on par with the quality and caliber of Paramount Pictures properties.”

With more than 280 games, CryptoLogic has one of the most comprehensive casino suites on the Internet today. CryptoLogic has earned rave reviews from industry peers and players alike, and just recently earned Gambling Online Magazine’s Top Casino Software award for the fourth consecutive year. Based on the votes of players around the world, it is widely considered the industry’s top honour.

"CryptoLogic is building excellent momentum with a long and growing list of major entertainment brands as our partners and customers,” said Justin Thouin, CryptoLogic’s Vice President, Product Management and Business Development. “This agreement with Paramount Digital Entertainment strengthens CryptoLogic’s leadership in the branded gaming space.”

###

For more information, please contact:
Melissa Ross
Lyceum Media
Melissa@lyceummedia.com
+44 (0) 207 976 6469

About CryptoLogic(R) (www.cryptologic.com)
Focused on integrity and innovation, CryptoLogic Limited is a world-leading public developer and supplier of Internet gaming software. Its leadership in regulatory compliance makes it one of the very few companies with gaming software that is certified to strict standards similar to land-based gaming. WagerLogic(R) Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CryptoLogic, is responsible for the licensing of its gaming software and services to blue-chip customers who offer their games to non-U.S. players around the world. For information on WagerLogic, please visit www.wagerlogic.com.

CryptoLogic’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (CRY, CXY), the NASDAQ Global Select Market (CRYP) and the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange (CRP).

About Paramount Digital Entertainment
Paramount Digital Entertainment (PDE) is a division of Paramount Pictures Corporation. PDE develops and distributes filmed entertainment across worldwide digital distribution platforms including online, mobile and portable devices, videogames, virtual worlds and emerging technologies.

Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. The company's labels include Paramount Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Digital Entertainment, Paramount Famous Productions, Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., Paramount Studio Group, and Worldwide Television Distribution.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Race boss warns of prize cuts, lost clubs, by Craig Young - The Sydney Morning Herald - 11th March 2009

Racing NSW has warned that prizemoney cuts, closures of race clubs and a reduction in racing stock will be the result should its stoush with wagering operators over the racefields legislation drag on.

More than $20 million has been gathered since the September introduction of the legislation, under which all wagering operators must pay 1.5 per cent of their turnovers to Racing NSW, but it has been frozen due to Betfair and Sportsbet launching a legal challenge to its validity.

As revealed in the Herald on Monday, Racing NSW and Tabcorp are also in dispute over the 1.5 per cent payment, with Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'Landys revealing a victory for the ruling body would inject about $33m annually into the state's racing industry.

Racing NSW's newly installed chairman, Alan Brown, who, along with vice-chairman Alan Bell and V'Landys, formally addressed members of the media for the first time yesterday. They said the board's principal priority was to ensure racing remains financially viable.

Brown revealed the court challenges and any appeals could take up to 12 months and that they threatened the industry's financial wellbeing.

"We may never recover from this outcome [a loss]," he said.

The chairman revealed Racing NSW intended to write to wagering operators authorised to operate on NSW races requesting that in the event the court challenges were successful, they agreed to Racing NSW retaining the payments received to date.

Should the money not be forthcoming, Racing NSW tipped that:

■ Prizemoney would be reduced;

■ Clubs could be forced to curtail their activities and even close;

■ Investment in the industry (racing stock, etc) would fall;

■ Jobs would be lost, and;

■ Participants would leave the industry.

"Those prepared to support the industry, we'll let people know who they are," Brown said. "We would like to disclose their hand."

Brown believes Victoria, which is charging wagering operators a percentage of gross profit, and Queensland are watching the court action and should Racing NSW be successful, both states would follow its lead.

"A lot is riding on it and we intend seeing it through," he said.

He said that in 2000 $1 billion was invested with interstate wagering operators, and that this would grow to $4 billion this year.

"Of the total, $2 billion is coming from NSW punters," he said.

Racing NSW confirmed "a universal merit based handicapping system" would be in place by July 1 and that it would be an "inclusive rather than exclusionary" policy.

Former leading bookmaker and respected form analyst Dominic Beirne, a consultant to Racing NSW, was present at yesterday's meeting. The new policy will lead to a major reduction in the individual ratings of country gallopers and a drop for those on the provincial circuit to ensure they are competitive with metropolitan thoroughbreds.

The current system of fixed rating increases for winning horses and reductions for losses will be abandoned. Movements in the rating will be based on a handicapper's judgment.

"I won't be directly handicapping any horses," Beirne said. "I will be creating systems and computer programs which would inform the handicappers on the way private handicappers assess race quality."

Under the new system maiden, class 1 and class 2 races will be retained outside the metropolitan area while some restricted races will be run at Sydney Saturday meetings, although most of the races will be basically open handicaps. These will be given a rating for which the highest rated horse will carry 58 kilograms.

Should a race carry a 76 rating, a horse with a superior rating can run, but it will carry the weight for its individual rating.

In regard to setting minimum standards for clubs around the state, Brown said the most comprehensive information gathering exercise "ever embarked on in NSW" had taken place, with most clubs completing a wide-ranging questionnaire.

(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Brand explosion not what we need, by Patrick Smith - The Australian - 7th March 2009

Now let's just see if we have got a handle on this. Rugby union is coming to Melbourne, the AFL is going to the Gold Coast, the NBL is going nowhere. And Australia can't beat Kuwait in soccer.

North Melbourne president James Brayshaw said several Melbourne clubs will go broke just as the AFL sets about spending a cool $200 million in western Sydney. Rugby union is made up of rugby league players, the rugby league tribunal isn't made up of anybody. Somebody called Klein is representing Australia in the Davis Cup. And Betfair is now everybody's best friend.

Cricket's immediate future is uncertain, policemen and civilians are dead; umpires, officials and players in shock. The IPL is in doubt and there is not one healthy fast bowler left in Australia. Sport is in a whirl.

Brayshaw's concern is the deal with Etihad Stadium, which according to the AFL isn't Etihad Stadium but Docklands. The league is in dispute with the ground managers and therefore will not recognise the change of sponsor from Telstra to Etihad. The AFL is Australia's sporting bully-boy.

Two soccer players are sent off during the A-League final only to find the incidents were not worthy of red cards - maybe any cards - at all. Meanwhile, the AFL makes it a reportable offence to cause physical contact, accidentally or otherwise. It is a time to tread most warily.

Brydan Klein will become the first West Australian to face action in the Davis Cup when Australia plays Thailand this weekend. Whatever happened to Centre Court Tomic? The NBL played the second of its best-of-five finals series last night between the Melbourne Tigers and South Dragons. Watch that and you think the sport is vibrant, but the NBL is finished and nothing is at all certain for next year.

The Victorian Government has backed the Melbourne bid to be the home of the 15th Super rugby union team. This at a time when the last Australian expansion team, Western Force, seems all but dysfunctional and the Victorian Government will not step in to help Victorian AFL clubs squeeze a better deal from the stadium with no name. Anyway, it is doubtful there are enough good rugby players left to field five teams. Union risks diluting the talent pool to field teams of mediocrity.

Victorian clubs will meet as one before the AFL commission next assembles. Brayshaw has said that the stadium deal must be kinder to Melbourne clubs or the future is bleak. But these are the deals agreed to by the clubs and the AFL itself. The clubs worry now that the bids for AFL licences in western Sydney and on the Gold Coast are fraught in the crashing economy. Who will fund the new stadiums required? The Gold Coast bidders have been shocked to find that without commitment of significant monies from state and federal governments to rebuild Carrara their club will remain a shell.

Betfair is now a player in the marketplace where it once was a pariah. Racing Victoria once declared it would rather suspend the spring carnival than allow racing to get into bed with Betfair. Get into bed? They are having a right old time of it now.

Legislation change and court decisions now allow exchanges and corporate bookmakers to advertise. Which means sponsorship. So country racing clubs in Victoria are in for their chop. Melbourne Racing Club so slobbered at the Betfair money it renamed its Sandown track Betfair Park. Footy codes sleep with Betfair, and footy clubs welcome sponsorship.

If racing was to build its sport from scratch, exchanges such as Betfair would get no oxygen. That exchanges allow punters to back horses to lose is anathema to the spirit and security of racing.

But serious punters love them because the takeout is less and they have the chance to squeeze percentages.

Betfair will not go away now and racing must use this platform, not so long ago racing's vile child, to build its betting base. To its credit Betfair acknowledges it is more vulnerable to corrupt acts because of its facility to back horses to lose. It has continued to address this weakness by sharpening transparent integrity protocols that Racing Victoria chief Rob Hines said yesterday were more strict than any others.

As thoroughbred racing loses more and more of its revenue to online pursuits such as poker and sport betting, Betfair presents as a friend in the new media. Rehabilitation will not be easy nor quick, for its reputation was savaged when it first sought a licence to operate in Australia.

Racing is at a most crucial stage in its history. It is poorly organised. NSW pulls in one direction, Victoria in another, Queensland and Western Australia do their thing and it's years since South Australia did anything. There are too many layers of administration, too many clubs, too many races. The umpteenth limited over match between Bangladesh and anybody is more memorable than the card at Moonee Valley at night.

At some clubs winning owners are greeted in the mounting yard by nobody but horse, jockey and trainer. The romance of racing has given way to the hum-drum. It now has its own lazy language. Commentators talk about the quinella as a Q, an exacta is E and the trifecta as a T, and so racing becomes more inaccessible by the race. The Australian Racing Board is a quasi-national body, stocked with the partisan folk of the state bodies. Two networks produce much the same thoroughbred coverage.

Melbourne has three race clubs, will soon have a second soccer team, clings to its rugby league representation, stumps up nine AFL teams, wastes money on the Grand Prix and now must find cash to bid for a new union side. It might be the sports capital of the nation but it is fatigued.

The AFL promised more than a 55,000-strong crowd to the bushfire game and not 40,000 turned up. Again a sell-out was the prediction for Ben Cousins's return to football. Not 40,000 turned up. The Grand Prix loses obscene amounts of money, the two most successful basketball teams might not have a league to play in. The Victorian cricket team hasn't seen a final it believes it can win. Asafa Powell runs at Olympic Park amid a collection of the world's elite athletes. About 4000 turned up.

Sport of every brand is trying to expand or begin again in a shrinking market. The public is battered by the economy, by bushfires, by floods and by terrorism. We need a distraction. The irony is in the cure. We need footy - your type and my type. (Credit: The Australian)

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Betfair Move into the NRL

25th February 2009

The Professional rugby league football club, Wests Tigers, has announced a six figure sponsorship deal with online betting exchange, Betfair.

The Sydney, based NRL team said in a statement that it welcomed the deal, which took almost a year to negotiate. Wests Tigers reportedly preformed a thorough due diligence study on the online bookie, in order to make sure it would not be compromised for endorsing the company.

Brett Clarke, Marketing Manager, for Wests Tigers, said “Gambling is a sensitive area and we had to make sure any deal was the right fit.”

Clarke continued saying, “The NRL has ticked the boxes about this deal. The fact is we aren't going to force our supporters to bet. It's not as if we are going to say ‘prove you're a Wests Tigers fan and bet’. There is no obligation. However, we are allowing them the opportunity, those who gamble, to be aware of Betfair's services.”

As part of the agreement, Betfair advertising banners will be on display at the three home grounds and betting stalls will be setup around the stadiums allowing fans to find out information on odds and place bets. Promotional leaflets and flyers will also be handed out by promotional girls.

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