Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rivers of gold from pokie palaces, by Des Houghton - The Courier-Mail - 16th May 2009

The recession has failed to put the brakes on poker machine gambling, with the top 10 clubs each turning over more than $10 million a month.

The staggering figures leaked to me this week show a secret war is raging between the Redcliffe Leagues Club and Greenbank RSL for the title of the state's top money-spinner.

The "war" is being fought in predominantly blue-collar suburbs by club members aged 40 plus, many of them female, who enjoy the spoils such as cheap beer and wine, $10 rump steaks, free entertainment and even a free shuttle bus.

I'm told the plush Greenbank RSL turned over more than $15.8 million last month, a shade ahead of Redcliffe Leagues Club, which spun $15.6 million. There was a spirited battle for minor placings, with Kedron-Wavell Services Club turning over more than $14 million, Sunnybank Rugby Union Club $14 million, Caloundra RSL $13.9 million, Southport Sharks $13.6 million and the Broncos Leagues Club $12.5 million.

The big improver is the Sunnybank rugby club, which has a strong Asian contingent.

The top clubs are allowed no more than 280 machines. The rivers of gold continue to flow, with most top 10 clubs slightly up in net profit for the month.

Their biggest threat is the rise of gambling in hotels, most of them owned by rival retailers Coles Myer and Woolworths.

There are 41,809 operational "electronic gaming machines" or pokies, in pubs and clubs in Queensland latest figures supplied by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing show.

There were 23,052 machines in 558 clubs compared with 18,757 machines in 766 pubs.

The State Government offers little public feedback on the industry for fear of an anti-gambling backlash. This may be because it gets a staggering $10.5 million a week, or $550 million a year, from the machines.

The president of a successful Queensland club went months without even seeing a single problem gambler. And the image of the desperate gambling addict squandering the family grocery money is rare.

He said: "The typical club members are a husband and wife, 40-plus, perhaps semi-retired who come once or twice a week for a show and a cheap meal. They budget $20 to play the machines for two hours for fun with minor jackpots.

"It's a cheap and cheerful form of entertainment; much cheaper than dinner at a restaurant and a night at the pictures."

He believes clubs should be supported because they contribute generously to community projects, unlike most hotels whose machine profits go back to shareholders.

Two years ago the Queensland Household Gambling Survey identified 14,000 problem gamblers in Queensland, many of them casino and racetrack punters. So problem gamblers represent 0.47 per cent of the state's adult population - almost an insignificant number unless, of course, one of them is your partner, daughter or son.

Greenbank RSL chief executive John Limbrick says the club's 80,000 members make it one of the top three in the country.

"The more we generate with gambling the more we can give back to the community." he said.

The club donated to more than 100 organisations, from the RSPCA to the Queensland Cancer Council, schools, churches, the St Vincent de Paul Society and the War Widows' Guild. He says clubs go to great lengths to keep problem gamblers away.

The $550 million in pokie taxes represents less than 1.55 per cent of State Government revenue.

More than $142 million will go to the community through Community Investment Fund programs.

With figures like that, it seems clubs are here to stay. (Credit: The Courier-Mail)

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Punters lose $1b in WA splurge, by Peter Kerr - The West Australian - 13th May 2009

West Australians’ love affair with gambling has grown deeper with losses hitting more than $1 billion in a year — or almost $630 each — for the first time, according to a report.

The latest data on Australia’s gambling habits shows WA punters splurged a record $4.5 billion at the casino, racetrack and on Lotto and sports betting in 2006-07, an average of almost $2800 for each adult.

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This wagering spree was 19.5 per cent higher than the previous period and saw gamblers lose $1 billion over the financial year, up from $850 million previously.

About $453 million was blown at the casino, $264 million on Lotto and instant “scratchies” and $259 million on racing.

But the punting paid off for the State Government, which collected almost $326 million in gambling related taxes over the same period, or about $200 per person.

Anglicare financial counsellor Joanna Carrington said yesterday many West Australians saw gambling as a recreation that could be afforded during boom times but it could easily become a problem as the economy soured if people did not adjust their betting habits.

She said the report revealed how important the WA ban on poker machines was in reducing problem gambling.

With the Government prohibition on poker machines, except for the “gaming” units at Burswood Casino, WA’s gambling turnover paled compared with other States where the machines are widespread, such as NSW, where more than $67 billion was spent on gambling.

NSW has almost 100,000 poker machines compared with fewer than 2000 gaming machines at Burswood.

The figures, obtained from the Queensland Treasury, show gaming accounted for most gambling in WA, with $2.1 billion bet at the casino and $500 million spent on lottery tickets while $1.6 billion was fluttered on racing, with most going to the TAB.

Australians gambled a record $153.3 billion in 2006-07, almost $10,000 a head, up $5 billion on the previous year. Collectively, $18.2 billion was lost, $10.6 billion of it on pokies.

The State Government is considering a proposal from Lotterywest to offer online sales of its games but financial counsellors are concerned that any expansion could increase problem gambling.

Racing Minister Terry Waldron said the Government remained opposed to more poker machines. (Credit: The West Australian)

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Media Man Australia Website Network Milestone

Sydney, Australia

1st May 2009

Media, publicity and portal development company, Media Man Australia, is delighted to announce its latest in a series of significant milestones.

Media Man Australia has expanded its network website portfolio to 11 websites, headed up by flagship website portals www.mediaman.com.au, www.casinonewsmedia.com and www.australiansportsentertainment.com

In addition MMA is the owner and operator of over 20 website domains covering the media, publicity, lifestyle, gaming, tourism and financial sectors.

The Media Man Australia website network attracts approximately 2 million hits per month and the Media Man Australia company website is in the Hitwise Australia top ten (entertainment category).

Some of the key brands Media Man Australia and its ever growing website network have worked with include PartyGaming - PartyCasino - PartyPoker, Virgin Games - Virgin Casino, William Hill Online, Playtech, Casino Rewards - Captain Cooks Casino, InterCasino - Marvel Entertainment, 888, PKR, Centrebet, Betezy, Virgin Blue, Webjet, Wotif, Foxtel, DGM, Ruby Rabbit De Nom, Universal Peace Centre Retreat, Richard Bradley Productions, Maxx-G Aerobatics, Messages On Hold, and the Australian Stunt Academy.

Media Man Australia enjoys supporting worthy community initiatives and some of its favorite charities and community minded organisations include Virgin Unite, beyondblue, The Shane Warne Foundation, The Salvation Army, Variety, Barnardos, Earth Hour, Climate Action, and Friends of Bondi Pavilion.

More information:
Greg Tingle
Director and Founder
Media Man Australia
t: (02) 9365 3164
e: greg@mediaman.com.au
w: www.mediaman.com.au