Monday, October 31, 2011

Guide to picking the Melbourne Cup winner - 31st October 2011

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Americain's defence of the Melbourne Cup makes him the benchmark horse for tomorrow's running of the great race.

As the favourite and the topweight, the French stayer is a logical choice, but winning the cup two years in a row has always been a difficult task and how he stacks up against other historical aspects of the race also have be taken into account.

Only five horses have won the cup two or more times.

The great Makybe Diva won it three years in a row from 2003 to 2005 but the only other horses to win in successive years were the first ever winner Archer (1861-62), Rain Lover (1968-69) and Think Big (1974-75), while Peter Pan won in split years (1932 and 1934).

Americain will carry the prestigious number one as the topweight and since saddlecloths were first recorded in 1877, it has won 10 cups, second only to number four, (Drunken Sailor) and number 12 (Red Cadeaux) with 11 wins each.

Lucas Cranach has drawn gate 11, the same barrier Americain won from last year, and which has won a record eight cups since barriers were first allocated in 1924 and six since starting stalls as we know them, were first used in 1958.

The bogey barrier is 18 (Hawk Island) which is winless.

Liking a horse's name has been a popular way for many to make their cup selection and clearly horses starting with the initial "T" (The Verminator and Tullamore) have had the edge in the cup with 16 wins.

Four and five-year-olds share a record 43 cups each but the recent trend has been towards the more seasoned stayer.

While six-year-olds have only won 29 cups, six have been in the past 13 years while two of 10 seven-year-old winners figure in the same period.

Looking at the jockeys, and it is best to choose those with plain-bodied silks (56 wins) such as Jukebox Jury, Fox Hunt, Illo, Lost In the Moment, Modun, At First Sight and Shamrocker.

It is best to follow in-form horses as 20 of the 30 winners have won or placed at their last start.

Americain would be the 27th outright favourite to win the cup while seven equal favourites have won but horses at $9 and $11 have been the most successful with 12 and 14 wins respectively.

Horses at $5 and $17 (11 wins each) and $6 (10 wins) also have good records while there have been 16 winners at $31 or longer. *Prediction: *Illo from Fox Hunt, Tullamore, and Shamrocker.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Expendables 2 stuntman killed in Bulgaria; Follows Australian stunt Hangover in Bangkok, by Greg Tingle - 30th October 2011

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A fatal accident on the set of the action star-packed action sequel "The Expendables 2" killed one stuntman and left another seriously injured Thursday night, stirring the industry memories of Australian stunty Scott McLean going into a coma last November while doing 'The Hangover Part II' near Bangkok, Thailand.

The Expendables 2 accident occurred while shooting at the Ognyanovo reservoir in Bulgaria at about 7 p.m., when an explosion went off. The injured stunty is now reportedly in stable condition.

"It is with great regret that we confirm this unfortunate accident," a representative for the film's studio, Nu Image/Millennium Films, said in a statement "Our hearts go out to the families and those on the production affected by this tragedy. The filmmakers are working closely with the authorities in responding to and investigating this accident."

The identities of the killed and injured stuntmen have not yet been released.

The film's stars, which include Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris, were not present during the accident.

This is the most recent tragic accident to occur on an overseas film set.

The accident on the set of 'The Hangover Part II in Thailand saw an oncoming car slid into a truck. Wet weather that left the roads slick was believed to have played a significant part in the accident.

Australia's Media Man agency who has managed and worked with stuntmen and actors such as Colin Handley, John 'Vulcan' Seru and Paul 'Maxx-G' Bennett quizzed some of their talent on the dangers of working in stunts.

Handley, who also runs Australian Stunt Academy and has worked with Stallone and Schwarzenegger offered "Safety is our main priority".

Seru, also a professional wrestler and gym owner / operator of 'Gladiators' and 'James Bond' fame said "Working as a stunt man or as a pro wrestler is extremely dangerous. Injuries occur more often that people realise".

Websites

The Expendables

The Hangover Part II

60 Minutes Network Nine Australia - Scott McLean

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Australian Stunt Academy

Stallone copied work for "The Expendables" - lawsuit - 25th October 2011

Action movie star Sylvester Stallone is accused in a lawsuit of copying another writer's screenplay to make "The Expendables," a movie about mercenaries hired to defeat a military dictator.

The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday by writer Marcus Webb, who said the screenplay for "The Expendables" is "strikingly similar and in some places identical" to his work entitled "The Cordoba Caper."

Webb seeks unspecified damages for copyright infringement and an order from the court stopping further infringement in any sequel by Stallone, his credited co-author David Callaham, Millennium Films, its Nu Image Films unit and Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation .

Stallone's publicist, Michelle Bega, declined to comment.

Millennium Films' general counsel, Frank DeMartini, said the company had not been served with the lawsuit, and he declined further comment. A spokeswoman for Lions Gate was not immediately available for comment.

"The Expendables" -- produced by Millennium and Nu Image and distributed by Lions Gate -- was released worldwide on Aug. 13, 2010. It featured a cameo appearance by Arnold Schwarzenegger after he left his post as California governor, along with other aging action heroes Stallone and Jet Li.

According to the lawsuit, Webb registered "The Cordoba Caper" screenplay and a short story with the same title and plot with the U.S. Copyright Office in June 2006. Between 2006 and 2009, the lawsuit said, the screenplay was made widely available by Webb for consideration in the movie industry.

"There can be no dispute that Stallone and/or Callaham had access to and copied protectable elements of the screenplay," the lawsuit said.

"The Cordoba Caper" tells the story of a team of elite, highly-trained mercenaries hired to defeat General Garza, a rogue army general of a small Latin American country," the lawsuit said.

The court document provides details of the ways in which Webb sees similarities between his screenplay and the released movie, including the opening "with a hostage rescue at sea, off a foreign coast, which has nothing to do with the main plot."

It said the main villain in both is a General Garza, a military dictator with a notorious human rights record.

Webb said he has been deprived of benefits from the screenplay such as potential earnings from the production, distribution and performance of "The Expendables."

"Expendables 2," a sequel to "The Expendables," is due for release on Aug. 17, 2012.

The case is Marcus Webb v Sylvester Stallone, et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 11-7517.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Packer upset by suggestions Crown profits from victims - 28th October 2011

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Crown Casino Crown Limited James Packer Politics Melbourne Gaming


Crown Casino chairman James Packers says suggestions his business relies on problem gamblers are upsetting and he is not ignoring the human cost of profits.

Transcript

ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: Crown Casino chairman James Packer says suggestions his casino business relies on problem gamblers is upsetting.

Mr Packer is now publicly attacking the Federal Government's laws to put compulsory betting limits on poker machines.

But he says he's not ignoring the human cost of casino profits.

JAMES PACKER, CROWN CASINO CHAIRMAN (FAIRFAX RADIO): This perception that the only people that come to Crown are helpless victims and we are just sitting there praying on them, you know, I reject that absolutely and that does upset me. And I think that that is, you know, that is a spin line from the latte set, which is completely wrong.

ALI MOORE: Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says James Packer is in as much denial as a problem gambler.

He has challenged the Crown Casino chair to open his gambling books for public scrutiny.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Hotels, Bars, Clubs And Casinos Of Australia And The World, by Greg Tingle


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Hilton Hotel Palazzo Versace The Darling Virgin Limited Edition Ravesi's Swiss-Grand Resort & Spa, Bondi Beach

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Club 23

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South Sydney Rabbitohs

Casinos (Australia and New Zealand)

Crown Casino The Star Jupiters Hotel and Casino Gold Coast Treasury Casino And Hotel Reef Hotel and Casino Casino Canberra Lasseters Hotel and Casino SkyCity Group

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MGM Grand Wynn Hotel and Casino Station Casinos Monte Carlo Golden Nugget Trump Entertainment Resorts

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Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire told to ease off high stakes poker, by Greg Tingle - 28th October 2011

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Tobey Maguire Ben Affleck Leonardo DiCaprio Matt Damon

Many Hollywood (and AussieWood) stars love to gamble, and high-stakes poker is one of their favourite games. Privacy is high on their priorities and it's known that some forms of gambling don't sit well with the law in some parts of the world, including in the United States.

It's understood that Tobey Maguire and mates Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck are long time high stakes poker fans and may have participated in quite a few private games played mainly in Los Angeles and New York.

The word is that the FBI is probing into alleged Russian mob connections to those big dollar games.

A few months ago there was a lawsuit filed against Maguire claiming a big Wall Street investment guy paid his gambling debts with funds inappropriately acquired from his firm’s investors.

A longtime associate of both DiCaprio and Maguire is understood to have said "As much as those boys love to gamble, they don’t need this kind of hassle...It seems clear that a number of very unsavory people have used their own huge wealth to weasel their way into those games.

"No one needs a Frank Sinatra problem these days," added the leak, referring to the Mafia connections that followed Ol’ Blue Eyes most of his life.

DiCaprio and Maguire are currently enjoying a working holiday of Australia and both gents have been spotted at The Star (entertainment complex and casino) more than once.

'Our Leo' is staring in The Great Gatsby. Maguire is not working Spider-Man, but has a number of exciting projects in the works. Man the best player, er, actor Win.

All of this while online gaming companies such as Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, which owns the World Poker Tour, attempts to get the green light from the US government to offer Americans totally legal online poker games.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

In The News

James Packer Shane Warne Leonardo DiCaprio Crown Casino The Star Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Richard Branson Stan Lee Jim Ryan WWE Hulk Hogan John Cena The Rock Ric Flair Kevin Nash NextGen Gaming

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James Packer Whacks Poker Machine Reforms - 27th October 2011

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Crown Casino Crown Limited James Packer Politics Melbourne Gaming


James Packer, chairman of casino owner Crown, says proposed poker machine reforms will not tackle problem gambling.

Speaking at Crown’s annual general meeting in Melbourne this morning, Mr Packer said mandatory pre-commitments for high-intensity poker machines was not the right solution.

"We don’t have an issue with the federal government taking action against problem gambling, but it must be the right solution," he said.

"In my view, there is no evidence that introducing mandatory pre-commitment or introducing a one dollar maximum bet will be effective in tackling problem gambling, but it will hurt recreational players, and that will cost jobs and investment across the industry and cost the state government tax revenue used for essential community services.

"It’s not enough to identify the right problem, we need the right solution." Crown, which owns the Crown Casino in Melbourne and Burswood Casino in Perth, is concerned about problem gambling and always has been, Mr Packer said. "I believe no one in this country, or, in fact, in the world-wide casino industry, has done more to address problem gambling," he said.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crown Casino Bar Club 23: Shane Warne, Elizabeth Hurley and Tiger Woods Tomorrow Night, by Greg Tingle - 26th October 2011

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Australian sporting icon and poker celebrity, Shane Warne, is hosting 50 odd close friends at his new Crown Casino bar Club 23 tomorrow night.

It is believed Shane's fiancee Elizabeth Hurley will attend, but the event is not being promoted as an engagement party.

The rumour mill says its a get together of Warne's family and friends will include Crown Limited top brass James Packer and his lovely wife, Erica.

Ms Hurley jetted into Australia on Monday morning with her son Damian.

Club 23, which Warnie part-owns with poker player and entrepreneur, Joe Hachem, opened on the quite last week. It will enjoy an official launch on November 7.

A few associates of Warne's may also attend, including golf and nightclub lover Tiger Woods.

The club is an initiative to try to keep ahead of the game, with Crown powers that be well aware that Sydney's The Star has been making a lot of noise in the media as of late.

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Al Pacino to visit The Star Sydney with An Evening with Al Pacino, by Greg Tingle - 26th October 2011

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"Fredo, you're my older brother, and I love you. But don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever." - The Godfather (1972)

Legendary actor Al Pacino will be bringing his one-man show, An Evening with Al Pacino, to Sydney next month as part of a special happening on the 17th and 18th November at The Lyric Theatre, The Star.

In a unique performance Al Pacino entertains audiences as he revisits his amazing career and most memorable roles.

Part of the gig includes an intimate on stage interview followed by audience members pitching questions to the living legend.

We've heard the night also concludes with an unforgettable acting finale which needs to be witnessed to be believed.

Pacino has performed for over 40 years and some of his best known work includes The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon, Heat and Scent of a Woman and Scarface.

Tickets are now on sale via Ticketek and range from $109 to $199.

Echo Entertainment and The Star powers that be continue to impress with their entertainment offerings, and Pacino has obviously embraced the opportunity, as have many other showbiz legends such as Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Crown Casino's top brass including James Packer are watching this space closely, so expect Crown to pull a rabbit or two out of the hat as the battle between The Star and Crown Casino continues.

Websites

The Star

Echo Entertainment

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Ticketek

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Melbourne Cup News: Sarah Jessica Parker Mate Kristin Davis Scratched From Cup Trip, by Greg Tingle - 25th October 2011

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Famous actress Sarah Jessica Parker of 'Sex and the City' fame will soon be in Melbourne to both promote her new film and also to take in Oaks Day as well as perhaps the Melbourne Cup.

We heard Sydney's eastern suburbs are near the top of Parkers' favourite Australian destination, however she is contractually obligated to attend Melbourne.

What's the racing - fashion - celeb news at the races?

Well, Charlotte York (SATC) aka Kristin Davis was originally tipped to be joining Sarah Jessica Parker for Oaks Day at Flemington as a guest of Crown Limited.

It's understood the 'Sex and the City' bombshell had Davis as the one to accompany her during her Melbourne stay, and to help promote her new film, 'I Don't Know How She Does It', and slotted into the Crown marquee in the Elms enclosure, but now we hear Davis is a scratching (to use a horsey term).

Davis has had a lot going on in her life as of late, included just adopting baby Gemma Rose

Parker is confirmed for the movie press conference at Crown Casino on Tuesday 1st November and will be doing the red carpet premiere at Crown following day.

Many a hotel - resort in Melbourne's CBD would love for Parker to be their guest. No prizes for guessing how is most likely in the running.

The flick be released nationally on November 3.

Websites

I Don't Know How She Does It

The Weinstein Company (TWC)

Sex And The City (HBO)

Crown Casino

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Melbourne Cup official website

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Sarah Jessica Parker Heading To Melbourne Crown For Movie Premiere, by Greg Tingle - 25th October 2011

Profiles

Crown Limited Crown Casino Movies Hollywood Melbourne Australia


Famous actress Sarah Jessica Parker of 'Sex and the City' fame will soon be in Melbourne to both promote her new film and also to take in Oaks Day as well as the Melbourne Cup.

Don't get us wrong. She just loves Sydney (and its great weather and beaches), but its in Melbourne where she will get to mix business and pleasure.

The American beauty and talented producer will attend the traditional Ladies Day at Flemington in November when she heads to Melbourne for the first time to promote her flick, I Don't Know How She Does It.

We've also been told she's going to be a very guest at the Crown Casino Marquee, one of the most exclusive, as you might have guessed.

Crown Limited PR General Manager Ann Peacock advised they were delighted to welcome the New York fashion icon to Melbourne.

"It's a perfect match on this most traditional of race days," Ms Peacock said.

The new movie, 'I Don't Know How She Does It', also staring Greg Kinnear, Christina Hendricks from Mad Men and Pierce Brosnan, focuses on the life of Parker, a mum-of-two balancing work and family life.

The press conference is to be held on Tuesday 1st November At Crown's complex and the Australian premiere is on Wednesday 2nd November, also at Crown.

It's rumoured that Ms Parker will be staying at the exclusive Crown Towers, where other actors such as Tom Cruise and his actress wife Katie Holmes have also stayed when doing Melbourne. Crown have not confirmed her rumoured stay at this stage.

Crown Limited top dog, James Packer and his world class team continue to impress with their continues successes into the broad entertainment and lifestyle sector. If the entertainment business has elements of being a game, Mr Packer and team sure look like they are winning.

The film be released nationally on November 3.

Websites

I Don't Know How She Does It

The Weinstein Company (TWC)

Sex And The City (HBO)

Crown Casino

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Melbourne Cup official website

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Coke Zero Accepts Paramount Pictures' Mission for Global Partnership with Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol

Tie-in with Tom Cruise Film Rolls Out Around the World with Robust Television, In Cinema, Retail, and Digital Media Campaign

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Brands Paramount Pictures Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible Coke Media Man


ATLANTA, Oct 19, 2011 - Coke Zero(TM) today announces a global promotional campaign with Paramount Pictures for the fourth installment of the timeless franchise, Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol. The campaign is set to begin rolling out around the world over the next several weeks, leading up to the film's worldwide release this December.

Leveraging the brand thematic "Make it Possible," the Coke Zero team has developed a fully integrated marketing program, including TV spots, in cinema advertising, product packaging and digital activation utilizing custom assets from the movie. As part of the campaign, Coke Zero consumers in key markets across the globe, including the U.S., Japan, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, will be privy to exclusive content and interactive experiences centred around the intriguing world of Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol.

"The Mission: Impossible franchise is a cultural phenomenon built on the premise that even seemingly insurmountable challenges can be met when approached from a place of passion and drive," said Chip York, Worldwide Entertainment Marketing Director, The Coca-Cola Company. "This is in line with the values of the Coke Zero brand, and we are excited to contribute to the energy around the release of this highly-anticipated film by giving fans the opportunity to engage with Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol through a unique digital program."

In addition to the promotional campaign, Coke Zero markets around the world are utilizing on-pack graphics and packaging themed to the film. Retail display materials incorporate imagery from the movie, including the iconic Mission: Impossible fuse, secret codes and exterior of the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the world's tallest building in Dubai, which served as the location for a key stunt sequence in the film.

"We are thrilled to be aligning one of the most iconic film franchises in history with a leading global brand like Coke Zero," commented LeeAnne Stables, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Partnerships, Paramount Pictures. "The Mission: Impossible franchise and Coke Zero brand share an audience of fans who appreciate excitement and risk-taking, and this partnership creates a platform to build a unique engagement with consumers before the film's release."

Television and In-Cinema Campaign

For a key pillar of the program, the Coke Zero team has collaborated with Paramount Pictures to create a co-branded TV and cinema spot promoting the partnership, featuring what is sure to be one of the most iconic scenes in the film.

The spot is graphically driven and includes a scene where Tom Cruise jumps from the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, counting down to "Zero": that breath-taking moment of jump-off. The commercial breaks in Japan and Switzerland in October and will roll out globally through the end of the year.

To connect directly with consumers in theatres, Coke Zero is activating global cinema channel concession programs and on-site promotions that include branded cups and popcorn bags.

Digital -- CocaColaZero.com/Mission

In an effort to provide consumers with a dynamic pre-release experience of Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol, the Coke Zero team collaborated with the studio and filmmakers to create www.CokeZero.com/Mission . Visitors to the site will join the IMF (Impossible Mission Force) and complete an escalating series of missions in order to attain agent-level access to special content and exclusive film assets.

Visitors to CokeZero.com/Mission will be able to access exclusive Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol imagery, scenes, wallpapers, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.

SCVNGR Mobile Application

Coke Zero is teaming up with SCVNGR, a social gaming platform for mobile phones, to promote the partnership. Players can download SCVNGR for iPhone(1), iPod Touch(2) or Android(3) and start playing the location-based game at select movie theaters and convenience stores across the United States. Akin to the desktop game-play offered at CokeZero.com/Mission, SCVNGR players will be secret agents in a real-life game, participating in spy-themed missions. The stakes are high for fans as they complete fun challenges, earn points and unlock chances to win rewards like exclusive film collateral, passes to pre-screenings, premiere tickets, and Coke Zero products.

"As we get closer to the movie release we will be rolling out additional elements of the program to further excite fans of the franchise and fans of the brand," York commented.

Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol will be released worldwide this December.

The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company KO +1.59% is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world's most valuable brand, the Company's portfolio features 15 billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply and Georgia. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate of 1.7 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com .

Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol

This holiday season, two-time Academy Award(R)-winner Brad Bird directs, with producers Tom Cruise and J.J. Abrams, the action-packed spy adventure Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol.

Blamed for the terrorist bombing of the Kremlin, IMF operative Ethan Hunt is disavowed along with the rest of the agency when the President initiates "Ghost Protocol." Left without any resources or backup, Ethan must find a way to clear his agency's name and prevent another attack. To complicate matters further, Ethan is forced to embark on this mission with a team of fellow IMF fugitives whose personal motives he does not fully know.

Tom Cruise returns in the starring role as Ethan Hunt and is joined by an international cast that includes Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Vladimir Mashkov, Josh Holloway, Anil Kapoor and Lea Seydoux. Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol is directed by Brad Bird, in his live action film debut, and written by Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec and Christopher McQuarrie. Cruise, who produces the Mission: Impossible films, is joined by producers J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk. The film will be co-financed by Skydance Productions. Jeffrey Chernov, David Ellison, Paul Schwake and Dana Goldberg are the executive producers.

Paramount Pictures Corporation

Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom VIA +2.61% VIA.B +3.05% , 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, Insurge Pictures, 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 Paramount Television & Digital Distribution.

(1) "iPhone" is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

(2) "iTouch" is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

(3) "Android" is a registered trademark of Google Inc.

SOURCE: The Coca-Cola Company

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Betting operators accused of offering free bets, a refund on losing wagers

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Gambling Gaming Australian Sports Sports Betting

A gambling inspector crackdown has seen four operators charged with offering illegal incentives.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation has alleged the four have offered inducements to open betting accounts.

Free bets and a refund on losing wagers were allegedly among the unlawful offers made. Operators can be fined up to $2443 for each offence.

The commission alleged IASbet offered up to $1000 in free bets.

Sportsbet was alleged to have offered free bets of up to $200. Betezy, through roobet and bombersbet, allegedly offered a free bet of $200 and up to $2500 to existing punters who referred a friend.

Betfair is alleged to have offered refunds of between $50 and $100 for unsuccessful bets.

Stay tuned for more developments in the world of gaming and igaming.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pokerfest: PartyPoker’s inaugural online tournament festival starts Sunday

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Series runs until 6th November - quality from as little as $1 NOW!

Gibraltar – 21 October 2011 – The countdown is on for the arrival of PartyPoker.com’s inaugural online poker festival – Pokerfest. With 47 events in a range of game types, the festival starts THIS SUNDAY 23rd October – 6th November guaranteeing $3,000,000. Qualifiers starting from $1 are online now!

A PartyPoker.com spokesman said: "We kick off on Sunday with four no limit hold’em events with guarantees of $300k, $2k, $20k and $150k – these cater for players on all levels with the $2k requiring a points buy-in only. The no limit re-buy tournaments start Monday, with the Pot Limit Omaha dominating Tuesday – the fixed limit hold’em tournaments start on Thursday."

Team PartyPoker.com Pro Kara Scott looks ahead to Pokerfest. Tony G calls everyone out for what he calls a 'Meatfest'.

At least three events every day

Pokerfest will feature at least three events EVERY DAY covering a variety of buy-ins and game types. Below is just some highlights of what is on offer:

· Event #47 - $1,000,000 guaranteed main event - $640 buy-in (qualify from $1)
· Event #23 - $350,000 guaranteed - $215 buy-in (qualify from $2.50)
· Event #46 - $50,000 guaranteed - $33 buy-in
· Event #2 - $2,000 prizepool - 20 Points buy-in

Qualify from as little as $1

PartyPoker.com want everyone to be a part of Pokerfest so they have developed a number of fantastic qualifying routes so players can qualify for a fraction of the main buy-in. There is also a wide range of extra promotions and side events - click on the tabs on the site to check out the $100k leaderboards and get the scoop on how to qualify for a fraction of the buy-in. The grand finale of Pokerfest is the $1,000,000 guaranteed main event taking place at 13.30ET on Sunday 6th November.

Variety of buy-ins and game types

Pokerfest will feature three events every day covering a variety of buy-ins for the following game types:

· No Limit Hold ‘em
· No Limit Hold ‘em + Rebuy(s)
· No Limit Hold ‘em, 6 max table, deep stack Fixed Limit Hold ‘em
· Pot Limit Omaha
· Pot Limit Omaha + Rebuy(s)

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Donald Trump Teams With Avenue’s Lasry in Online Gaming Venture; Casino And Poker Push - 20th October 2011

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Donald Trump has witnessed too much money side slipping him, and he's hoping that situation changes soon.

The real estate, gaming and entertainment giant, and founder of an Atlantic City casino company says the US should legalize internet gambling. The company that bears his name, Trump Entertainment Resorts, is moving forward with plans to establish an online betting venture... just as soon as it is legal to do so.

The company says it wants to get in on the ground floor of the internet gambling industry, and is close to selecting a joint venture partner to run an online gambling operation. The idea is to be well-placed and ready to go as soon as such activity is legalized in the United States.

"It should be approved here," Trump told news media. "An awful lot of money is leaving the U.S. that should and could stay in this country."

Trump Entertainment, which includes Donald Trump and daughter, Ivanka, and the Avenue Capital hedge fund, would own 10% of the new business venture.

Donald Trump advised the key to success in the online gambling market is having the best brand.

"We think we have the hottest brand there is, the Trump brand, my personal brand," he said. "We think it's going to do phenomenally well."

Donald Trump and New York hedge-fund manager Marc Lasry want a seat at the virtual poker table if online gambling is legalized in the U.S.

The real estate financier, Lasry’s Avenue Capital Group and casino operator Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. will form an Internet gaming joint venture should U.S. regulators permit such businesses to operate, according to an Oct. 14 regulatory filing. Trump Entertainment, which Avenue Capital took control of last year, would own 10% of the venture, the company said in its filing. It didn’t disclose the stakes to be held by Trump or Lasry’s $12 billion hedge fund.

The agreement coincides with a push to legalize online gambling by states including Iowa and New Jersey, where Trump Entertainment is based and holds casino licenses. The $6 billion that Americans wager each year through offshore sites is tempting state authorities who face budget deficits, as well as casino companies looking for new sources of growth.

"It’s just a matter of time," Ivanka Trump, Donald’s daughter, said in a telephone interview. "It would be a tremendous source of taxable revenue for states or the federal government and an enormous generator of jobs," said Ivanka, executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, the New York-based parent company of Donald’s real estate operations.

2010 Bankruptcy

Todd Fogarty, a spokesman for Avenue Capital, declined to comment, as did Brian Cahill, a representative for Trump Entertainment. Lasry, 52, is chairman of the company, which operates the Trump Taj Mahal Resort and the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in its hometown of Atlantic City, New Jersey. It sold Trump Marina Hotel Casino earlier this year.

The agreement by Trump Entertainment, Donald Trump and Avenue Capital restricts all three parties from going after competing proposals through May, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Trump Entertainment, which emerged from bankruptcy in July 2010, said in the filing that the joint venture represented "the most advantageous way" to pursue online gaming "at minimal cost" to the company. "One or more other qualified parties" may also participate in the venture, according to the filing.

Ivanka Trump, 29, said that the joint venture is “positioning itself” to be the largest online gaming company if the industry is legalized in the U.S. She added that Trump Entertainment had the necessary licenses, while Lasry’s firm would provide the capital and her father would contribute his name to the venture.

Expensive Proposition

"In terms of the Internet, brand is essential toward attracting players," Ivanka said. "The Trump brand would be the most powerful one in this space."

Setting up an Internet gaming site can be capital intensive, according to Richard “Skip” Bronson, chairman of U.S. Digital Gaming Inc., a Beverly Hills, California, company that has created a technology platform for Internet wagering. While the cost of creating a site is relatively low, online gaming companies must spend heavily to make themselves known and bring in bettors.

"The question is how will you get people to come to the site," Bronson said in a telephone interview. "It takes unique promotions and significant marketing spend."

Trump Entertainment Reorganization

The online gaming industry received a jolt in April, when the U.S. Justice Department indicted the founders of three Internet poker companies, alleging that they circumvented a 2006 federal law barring banks from processing payments to offshore gambling websites. The companies -- PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker -- ranked as the leading online poker sites doing business with U.S. customers, even though they were all based outside the country.

Following the indictments, Caesars Entertainment Corp. and MGM Resorts International, a pair of Las Vegas-based casino companies, funded an advocacy group called FairPlay USA. The group is pushing for the legalization of online poker and revisions to the 2006 law, known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

At least a half dozen states have bills pending tied to the legalization of online gaming, Bronson said, and another six to 10 are studying the issue. He predicts that online gaming will follow the same pattern as state lotteries, which were first adopted in 1964 by New Hampshire and are now offered in 43 states.

‘Domino Effect’

"There will be a domino effect, the same way lotteries started in the 1960s," Bronson said. Under the 2006 federal law, Internet poker sites established in states that legalize online wagering could only accept bets placed within those states, Bronson added.

Lasry, a billionaire investor who specializes in distressed debt, was part of a bondholder group that won control of Trump Entertainment last year when a bankruptcy judge ruled that their bid for the casino company was better than a competing offer from Carl Icahn. The bondholders offered to reduce the company’s debt by $1.4 billion and invest another $225 million, while Icahn sought to convert some $480 million of bank debt into equity, leaving nothing for Lasry’s group.

Under the winning plan, Avenue Capital acquired about a 22 percent stake in Trump Entertainment by swapping the casino company’s beaten-down bonds for stock and purchasing additional shares through a rights offering. Trump, who joined Lasry and the other bondholders after originally submitting a competing proposal with billionaire Andy Beal, received a 10 percent stake in the company for the right to use his name.

Three’s A Charm

Trump, 65, entered the casino business in 1984 with the Trump Plaza, and in 1990 defaulted on $675 million in junk bonds from his Taj Mahal casino and declared bankruptcy. Following the bankruptcy reorganization, he took the company public in 1995 as Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc.

Trump Hotels & Casino filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2004. When the second bankruptcy proceeding was completed the following year, Trump stepped down as chief executive officer while retaining his role as chairman, and the company was renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts.

Just before the casino company made its third bankruptcy filing, in February 2009, Trump stepped down as chairman and Ivanka also left the board. At the time, he held a 24 percent stake in Trump Entertainment.

Lasry has hosted high-stakes poker games in which the take can be as high as $20,000, according to "Hedge Hunters," a 2007 book by Bloomberg News reporter Katherine Burton. He is one of several hedge-fund managers who are also poker buffs, including David Einhorn, head of Greenlight Capital Inc., Cliff Asness, chief of AQR Capital Management LLC and Kenneth Griffin, founder of Citadel LLC.

Just a few online gaming companies that are understood to be interested in coming to business terms with Trump include Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, Richard Branson's Virgin Games and PKR. Most experts see Bwin.Party as the best bet, as they don't have any outstanding issues with the US Department of Justice, and have been playing by the rules (law) for many years, while other gambling companies continue to go after U.S players.

Internet gambling is legal in many countries, with the U.S being a glaring exception.

Media Man is following up.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Donald Trump says US should legalize Internet betting - 21st October 2011

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Donald Trump has witnessed lots of money side slipping him, and he's hoping that situation changes soon.

The real estate, gaming and entertainment tsar, and founder of an Atlantic City casino company says the US should legalize internet gambling. The company that bears his name, Trump Entertainment Resorts, is moving forward with plans to establish an online betting venture... just as soon as it is legal to do so.

The company says it wants to get in on the ground floor of the internet gambling industry, and is close to selecting a joint venture partner to run an online gambling operation. The idea is to be well-placed and ready to go as soon as such activity is legalized in the United States.

"It should be approved here," Trump told news media. "An awful lot of money is leaving the U.S. that should and could stay in this country."

Trump Entertainment, which includes Donald Trump and daughter, Ivanka, and the Avenue Capital hedge fund, would own 10% of the new business venture.

Donald Trump advised the key to success in the online gambling market is having the best brand.

"We think we have the hottest brand there is, the Trump brand, my personal brand," he said. "We think it's going to do phenomenally well."

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Trump Entertainment said it has "determined that such a joint venture represents the most advantageous way for the company to participate in opportunities in online gaming at minimal cost to the company."

No cost estimates were given, and Robert Griffin, the company's CEO, declined to comment Thursday. But in March, after Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill passed by New Jersey lawmakers that would have allowed Internet betting solely within New Jersey's borders, Griffin said the money lost to offshore operators should benefit New Jersey.

The new law would seen New Jersey become the first state in the nation to allow Internet betting.

"Currently, millions of Americans engage in online gaming with illegal offshore operators, and do so with no oversight, no regulation or no consumer protections," Griffin said at the time. "It makes sense for the state of New Jersey to regulate this activity, enforce strict standards to ensure games are fair and safe, and in turn be able to collect tax revenue instead of having those dollars and the jobs they support leaving New Jersey and going illegally overseas."

Christie advised he vetoed the law fearing it was unconstitutional and could lead to an explosion of betting parlors throughout the state. By law, gambling in New Jersey is restricted to gaming hotspot Atlantic City.

But a New Jersey lawmaker is asserting that individual states in fact have the legal right to offer in-state Internet gambling within their own borders.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, wrote in July to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asserting that New Jersey and all other states can legally offer online betting within their borders.

Lesniak said he will introduce legislation in November to address the prime concerns expressed by Christie.

The filing said the company, Donald and Ivanka Trump, and Avenue Capital have signed an agreement authorizing the joint venture once it becomes legal, and that prohibits any of them from seeking other online gambling ventures through May 2012.

Atlantic City is in the midst of a nearly 5-year revenue slump brought on by increasing competition from casinos in neighboring states, and worsened by the continuing unsteady economy. It's also speculated that many AC businesses have not adapted well to the internet medium.

Just a few online gaming companies that are understood to be interested in coming to business terms with Trump include Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, Richard Branson's Virgin Games and PKR. Most experts see Bwin.Party as the best bet, as they don't have any outstanding issues with the US Department of Justice, and have been playing by the rules (law) for many years, while other gambling companies continue to go after U.S players.

Internet gambling is legal in many countries, with the U.S being a glaring exception.

Media Man is following up.

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The Sopranos actor John Marinacci arrested for gambling; Life imitates art, by Greg Tingle - 20th October 2011

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Mid range actor John Marinacci has been arrested along with 36 others as part of an inquiry into a mob-connected gambling ring in New York.

The 56 year old, who has appeared in episodes of The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, was hauled in by police as part of Operation Flat Rate after allegations he solicited bets, collected money and took a percentage of losing wagers for the Gambino crime family.

Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff announced on Tuesday that police have gathered a "great deal of wiretap evidence" against 37 members of the ring, which allegedly operated in Brooklyn from April 2010 until April 2011. Three other Gambino associates were also arrested.

Marinacci, who is also a professional poker teacher, was charged with one count of enterprise corruption, 30 counts of promoting gambling, 30 counts of possession of gambling records and one count of conspiracy, according to the New York Post.

He has been released on $US25,000 ($A24,506) bail.

It's understood Marinacci is or was associated with controversial online poker brand, Bodog, and industry insiders are suggesting that it may be a good idea for the keen gambler to change to a less risky brand, be it World Poker Tour or World Series of Poker (if they will take him).

Other actors from The Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire are not under suspicion of illegal gambling.

Something tells us that the poker lover will soon be self sponsored and will be practising his flushes with inmates.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Betting On United States, by Greg Tingle - 20th October 2011

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Jim Ryan, the co-chief executive of Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is a very busy man.

In fact, he's invested three of the past five weeks in the United States pushing a presentation that advertised to investors the strengths of the world’s largest publicly-traded online gambling - gaming firm. Ryan’s presentation included a one-page chart that listed the top online poker brands in the U.S. market. The names of once fierce competitors PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, were crossed out in red. Is Party the only real game left in town? Time will tell.

“Where you see the red lines, those organizations have been indicted, so although one can’t predict the future, it’s unlikely you will see those brands back in the U.S.,” Ryan said during an interview. “The brand that has the most consumer awareness is in fact the PartyPoker brand.”

Ryan’s company happens to own both PartyPoker and the World Poker Tour, two of the top online poker brands that did not have their U.S. operations shut down by the U.S. Justice Department in April because they were not facilitating for-money online poker play in America—in the case of PartyPoker since 2006. They also own PartyCasino, a top online casino destination website. The fact that Ryan, who is based in Gibraltar, has recently been spending so much time in the U.S. demonstrates he is optimistic and hopeful for a U.S. comeback. “My focus is on the U.S.,” says Ryan, who is in the final stages of negotiating partnerships with two U.S. companies. “Even though there is no guarantee that online gaming will ever regulate in the U.S.”

For years Ryan and his staff at PartyGaming, which merged with Bwin earlier this year, had to sit on the sidelines, watching how much money PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker were snatching. It was a difficult thing to watch for the top brass and workers at PartyGaming, which was the biggest online gambling company in the world thanks to its domination of the U.S. online poker market until Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in 2006. PartyGaming exited the U.S. market and saw its stock price take a massive hit, while PokerStars and Full Tilt kept their U.S. facing .com websites on air. Party competitors enjoyed somewhat of an unfair advantage, with the rouges using the U.S. market to expand globally at PartyGaming’s expense. “We were beyond the point of frustration,” says Ryan.

Next PartyGaming struck a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, paying $105 million and admitting its U.S. operations had for years violated U.S. law. Meanwhile, PokerStars and Full Tilt continued to operate in the U.S. and claimed that their U.S. operations did not violate U.S. law, pointing to legal opinions the companies had received from top American legal eagles. To many, it appeared like PartyGaming had given a lucrative business away. Even at the company’s headquarters there were doubts until April 2011, when federal prosecutors in Manhattan closed down the U.S. operations of PokerStars and Full Tilt, naming them illegal gambling businesses, and indicted some of their key execs. "I think Party has been vindicated now in getting out when they did and in dealing with the Department of Justice," says Behnam Dayanim, a partner at Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider, who negotiated PartyGaming’s agreement with federal prosecutors in downtown Manhattan.

With all that said, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment is not exactly holding a management party quite yet. It's so close, yet so far, from reclaiming online poker’s crown. Operating in highly-regulated and taxed European markets while competing against well-run companies like PokerStars is not for the faint-hearted. Bwin.Party’s stock, which trades on the prestigious London Stock Exchange, has dipped by 50% in 2011. Big corporate mergers can be problematic, but the outfit has also suffered a setback in Germany, where the nation’s top civil court recently decided to uphold an online gambling ban, and been dissed by higher gaming duties across Europe. When the company attempted to take advantage of the April U.S. shutdown of PokerStars and Full Tilt, Bwin.Party found that while some new European players were attracted to its poker brands, revenues remained flat-ish. It wasn’t until Full Tilt’s European regulator suspended Full Tilt’s license in late June that Bwin.Party’s increased advertising and promotional expenditures started to pay dividends. PartyPoker is now the second-biggest online poker room in the world, according to PokerScout, averaging 4,150 cash players during any given time. PokerStars has 22,800.

Ryan, who joined PartyGaming as CEO in 2008, has been waiting for this moment for what seems like forever. He long ago took Bwin’s Norbert Teufelberger to a McDonald’s in La Linea, Spain, and chatted to him at length about the pros of combining Bwin’s strong online sportsbook business with PartyGaming’s poker brands, resulting in the merger that was first announced in 2010. Ryan also fine-tuned his company’s business-to-business capabilities over the last few years with an eye toward finding a U.S. partner with whom he can re-conquer America. "We had to be realistic about where we sat in the food chain," says Ryan. "We figured if the U.S. regulated it would be unlikely that we would secure a license directly, that the laws of the land would be written to allow existing land operators and equipment manufacturers in the U.S. to secure the licenses." Ryan is optimistic about current efforts in Washington, driven by the American Gaming Association and powerful casino companies like Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, to potentially get some sort of online gambling legislation through a divided Congress. Ryan notes he is also preparing for the possibility that online poker gets regulated first on a state-by-state basis.

"We have to be ready for both federal or state," he says. "It feels good to have American taxpaying companies finally driving this.".

If an offshore operator is to succeed in American, Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment looks like the firm to place bets with.

Bwin.Party has identified Australia and New Zealand as places to further expand their business, even sponsoring high profile poker players such as Tony G and Stewart Scott (a former Crown Casino 'Aussie Millions' champion.) PartyPoker is one of a number of rumoured brands set to take over the sponsorship spot at James Packer's Crown Casino that FTP once enjoyed. Party look to have as much chance as anyone, probably more so.

In the meantime, poker and casino game players in regions such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, South America, South Africa and beyond can continue to enjoy their gaming.

Poker playing celebs such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Tobey McGuire are understood to be open to sponsorship approaches from Bwin.Party.

Governments of the world - you're throw of the dice.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Visual Effects Society Lauds Stan Lee - Comic book icon to receive Lifetime Achievement Award. - 19th October 2011

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Comic book publisher and entrepreneur Stan Lee has been selected by the VES Board of Directors as the recipient of the VES 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented at the 10th Annual VES Awards, which will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills on February 7, 2012.

The VES Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals whose "lifetime body of work has made a significant and lasting contribution to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry by way of artistry, invention and/or groundbreaking work." Stan Lee is known to millions as the man whose Super Heroes propelled Marvel Comics to its preeminent position in the comic book industry. His famous co-creations include Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Daredevil, The Avengers, Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange, among many others.

Lee first became publisher of Marvel Comics in 1972 and is presently the Chairman Emeritus of Marvel Enterprises, Inc. and a member of the Editorial Board of Marvel Comics. In 1977, he introduced Spider-Man as a syndicated newspaper strip that went on to become the most successful of all syndicated adventure strips. Spider-Man now appears in more than 500 newspapers worldwide -- making it the longest running of all Super Hero strips. Lee founded, and is currently Chief Creative Officer, of POW! Entertainment, where he continues to write and create new characters.

"Stan Lee's imagination has created a completely original and profitable niche in the entertainment world and has allowed visual effects to flex its muscle in service to it!" said VES Chair Jeffrey A. Okun. "Thanks to Mr. Lee's fantastic creations and amazing stories he not only created a future filled with gadgets and inventions that we aspire to create for real – but all while inspiring the minds and imaginations of storytellers, visual effects artists and computer wizards everywhere," added Okun.

"As a writer there is nothing more rewarding than to see your creations brought to life on the screen and I am indebted to all of the incredibly talented artists who have contributed to my projects," said Lee. "Visual effects have played a pivotal role in the ongoing success of Marvel's characters and allowed fans to experience their stories in an entirely new way. It is truly a great honor to receive this award from the Visual Effects Society."

Without question, Stan 'the Man' Lee has exerted more influence over the comic book industry than anyone in history. He created or co-created 90 percent of Marvel's recognized characters, which have been successfully licensed and marketed since 1965. The numbers are staggering -- more than 2 billion of his comic books have been published in 75 countries and in 25 languages.

In 1981 Stan Lee transformed his Spider-Man and Hulk creations into Saturday morning and syndicated television cartoons. When Marvel Comics and Marvel Productions were acquired by New World Entertainment in 1986, Stan's horizons expanded even further, giving him the opportunity to become more deeply involved in the creation and development of filmed projects for both the big and small screen. He supervised such diverse animated series as X-Men, Spider-Man and The Hulk. To date, Stan's characters have populated over 24 separate television series, all of which continue in syndication around the world.

In 2001, Stan founded POW! Entertainment, Inc., a multi-media entertainment company, where he is creating a myriad of new characters, stories and franchises for traditional and emerging media.

Previous recipients of the VES Lifetime Achievement Award are George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Dennis Muren, Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall, James Cameron and Ray Harryhausen.

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Crown Casino Caught Out By Fake VIP Gambling Whale - 19th October 2011

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It took a "high-value" casino whale type gambler snatched by Crown Casino about five minutes to create the paperwork that duped the venue into advancing him $125,000 that he hoped would recoup what he had lost at its tables.

Jung Hwan Choi dropped $200,000 there last year and yesterday a Melbourne court heard how his "inherently simplistic" scam beat the house.

The County Court was told that Choi was flown to Melbourne from Sydney in November last year in a visit organised by a casino marketing executive.

Prosecutor Amanda Ring advised Choi accessed his bank account at an internet cafe to transfer from his mother's account $1 and then copied the screen shot of the receipt's transaction and his balance.

With the images stored on a USB device, Ms Ring said he then imported them onto a PowerPoint program from which he changed his bank balance from $12.87 to $284,000.

Choi also altered the $1 transfer receipt to reflect a transfer of $100,000 from his account to Crown.

Arriving cashless at the casino on November 14, he was greeted by an executive host who sighted Choi's account balance and the transfer receipt and was advanced $100,000.

After gambling "heavily and unsuccessfully" that night, Ms Ring said Choi the next day was advanced $25,000 in gaming chips.

Arrested in February, Choi told police he had been "desperate" and had lost $200,000 at Crown over several months and "I wanted it back".

Defence barrister Geoffrey Steward said Crown's reaction to that "windfall" had been to ring him and invite him to dinner.

Mr Steward said Choi, 38, dined with a casino marketing executive and was gifted a $600 Louis Vuitton wallet.

"The cynical may say, 'Thank you for losing $200,000, you are welcome any time'," Mr Steward said of Choi's VIP status, which included plane trips, accommodation, limousines, food and beverages.

"You feel like a king, but he was more of a pauper than a king," he said.

Mr Steward told Judge Wendy Wilmoth that Crown did not deserve to lose its money, but to his client it was ''like a monolithic piranha dangling carrots'' of seduction, love and luxuries that were "incapable of resisting".

Choi, a married father of two, described himself as a now-reformed "gamblerholic" who had lost more than $2 million at casinos.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of obtaining a financial advantage by deception and one of making a false document.

Judge Wilmoth sentenced Choi to two years and three months jail, the term suspended for three years, with an order he pay compensation of $125,000.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Smoking rules eased a puff at Crown Casino - 17th October 2011

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Smoking in and around gambling dens in Australia continues to be a hot topic. Media Man investigates...

Crown Casino has been granted exemptions from smoking bans on four separate floors of the casino complex.

Crown Casino has been kindly granted exemptions from smoking bans on four separate floors of the casino complex...despite an election promise by the Baillieu government to review the casino’s special five star treatment.

Health Minister David Davis recently approved smoking in "high roller" or "whale VIP" areas on the ground floor and level one of the casino and on levels 29 and 39 of Crown Towers. Former health minister and now Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews approved similar exemptions for the casino last year.

Crown is the only poker / slot machine venue in Victoria where smoking is allowed.

It also enjoys a more favourable tax rate on its 2500 poker machines, is the only venue allowed to operate 24 hours a day and can make larger cash payments from its machines.

In the lead-up to last year’s election, the Coalition promised to examine "Crown Casino’s exemptions ... to ensure that gambling regulation is as consistent as possible".

"It is an important principle that, insofar as it is appropriate, gambling regulation be consistent across the state and across various modes of gambling. This is particularly so when considering measures that are designed to address problem gambling," the election promise said. Almost 12 months on from the election, the review of Crown’s special treatment is yet to begin.

Premier Ted Baillieu and Gaming Minister Michael O’Brien have also refused to detail discussions they have had with Crown Casino boss James Packer about poker machine reforms proposed by the Tasmanian federal MP, Andrew Wilkie.

The Baillieu government will not rule out a legal challenge to Mr Wilkie’s poker machine reforms, which could include mandatory cards forcing players to pre-set how much they are prepared to lose or low-intensity poker machines. Mr Packer has been actively lobbying federal and state MPs over the proposals.

Mr O’Brien told Fairfax owned The Age the review of Crown’s exemptions would begin "either the second half of this year or early next year".

"There is no doubt that Crown is treated a little differently from other gambling venues; there have been arguments put forward as to why there is good reason for that because of Crown’s mecca as a tourist destination," he said.

"I just think when things have been in place for quite some time it is always useful to have another look at them to see if the reasons you originally introduced them for still apply and if they are still appropriate," he said.

InterChurch Gambling Taskforce’s Mark Zirnsak said it was disappointing the Baillieu government had exempted Crown again from smoking bans.

"I think if employees were to suffer health effects down the track they would be wise to look at their legal options," he said.

He called on the government to review all of Crown’s exemptions.

"It is long overdue to have a review and what’s disappointing here is the same cosy relationship Crown enjoyed with the previous Victorian government appears to continue unabated with the new Baillieu government," he said.

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