Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crown Casino To Host World Series of Poker in 2013; Gold Coast high-roller fails to recover millions

Crown Limited gambler case; The Star entertains with musical in Sin City Sydney; World Series of Poker to Melbourne; Marvel Entertainment Online Games...


Profiles

Gambling Gaming Poker Politics Marvel Entertainment Marvel Slots Marvel Games Entertainment Sports Australia

Crown Casino To Host World Series of Poker in 2013...

James Packer's Crown Casino has announced an exciting partnership with the worlds largest poker brand, the World Series Of Poker. Set to take place at Crown Casino in Melbourne from April 4-15 2013, the World Series of poker Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) is a huge expansion into the world's largest gaming market.

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said, “Our goal is to establish the worldwide grand slam of poker and use our platform to elevate the game through a series of major championships,”
“With WSOP Las Vegas growing annually and WSOP Europe poised for long-term success after five years, the time is right to turn our attention to the dynamic poker scene in Asia and Australia. Given Crown’s success with the ‘Aussie Millions Poker Championship’, we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Crown to establish the Asia-Pacific’s definitive poker festival.”

Crown Casino in Melbourne already is the home to the world's largest tournament series outside of the World Series Of Poker in Las Vegas with the Aussie Millions series each January attracting the worlds premier players. Crown Melbourne's CEO Greg Hawkins said, “This exciting partnership brings together two industry leaders, and two strong brands, to create a premier poker event in this region”.

“Our agreement firmly aligns with our objective of attracting the very best local and international players, all vying for a coveted WSOP bracelet. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved with the Aussie Millions and look forward to featuring WSOP Asia Pacific on our poker calendar in April 2013.”

The WSOP brand is one of the worlds most iconic and every poker player in the world dreams of one day being the proud owner of coveted WSOP Bracelet. The WSOP brand is 42-years old and in 2007 it expanded beyond the USA with the launch of the WSOP Europe in London (2007-2010) and subsequently into France (2011). The WSOP APAC is set to tap into the tremendous growth of peer-2-peer gaming in this region.

As part of the agreement with the WSOP, the WSOP APAC events are expected to be televised globally across ESPN. Fox Sports, as seen on Foxtel, already broadcasts games from competitor, World Poker Tour (owned by Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment).

One man who is no stranger to ESPN and the WSOP is Australian local sporting hero, Joe Hachem. Way back in 2005 Joe won the most prestigious poker event in the world, the World Series Of Poker Main Event.

“It’s thrilling to think the World Series of Poker is coming to Australian soil,” said Joe Hachem. “I know first-hand what a life-changing moment winning the WSOP gold bracelet was and how it served as a catalyst for the growth of poker in Australia and Asia. It will be a dream come true to host a worldwide poker event such as this at Crown. I can’t wait.”

The full WSOP APAC schedule is set to be released later this year.


In other gambling and gaming news...

Gold Coast high-roller fails to recover millions...


A Gold Coast businessman who turned over almost $1.5 billion in 14 months at Melbourne's Crown Casino has lost his bid to recover more than $20 million he lost there.

Property developer Harry Kakavas spent $1.479 billion on 30 separate visits to Crown between June 2005 and August 2006, winning and losing vast sums, but ultimately accruing losses of $20.5 million, a Melbourne court has heard.

Mr Kakavas claimed Crown knew he suffered from pathological gambling and lured him back to the casino with the use of a private jet and cash and entertainment gifts.

But on Monday the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier Supreme Court decision that the casino did not take advantage of his gambling habits.

Appeal judge Justice Bernard Bongiorno said Mr Kakavas alleged his pathological gambling condition impaired his ability to make rational decisions about the amount of money he gambled.

Mr Kakavas would gamble six-figure sums on hands of baccarat, which take a matter of seconds to play.

But Justice Bongiorno said the fact Mr Kakavas was able to negotiate favourable terms for himself at Crown demonstrated his ability to make decisions in his best interest.

"When gambling at Crown he had negotiated the terms on which he gambled and had threatened to and in fact had withheld his custom from Crown when he did not get what he wanted," Justice Bongiorno said.

"These are not the characteristics of someone unable to conserve his own interests."

Justice Bongiorno found the allowances Crown offered to Mr Kakavas were not out of step with those typically offered to high-rolling gamblers.

He also rejected a claim by Mr Kakavas that he had lost $30 million in one losing streak at Crown in 2006.

He said on one occasion in March 2006 Mr Kakavas returned home to the Gold Coast with $14 million in winnings.

"That he lost overall is not in any way surprising," he said.

"The longer a person plays, the more certain it is that he will ultimately lose. Were it otherwise casinos would fail."

Mr Kakavas was ordered to pay Crown's legal costs. (AAP)


The Star entertains with musical: An Officer and a Gentleman...

Australian casinos and entertainment do mix!

Last week An Officer and a Gentleman enjoyed its Sydney, Australia premiere at The Star's Lyric Theatre at Ultimo.

The red carpet premiere was well attended by media and celebrities, and its understood the production is likely to match if not well exceed the substantial hype.

Producer John Frost said that more hard-won world premieres were in store.

"Not just Australian stories, but international stories that can be exported to international markets," Frost said.

Producers from Germany, South Korea, Canada, New York and London were at tonight's opening.

Frost said the $6 million budget for An Officer And A Gentleman was about half what it might have been if it was developed in New York or London.

"Things are just easier and cheaper here, and in New York and London, you're so far out of town (doing the set building) trying to get it right and get it fixed," he said.

Frost said the process of developing new musicals, as opposed to simply remounting a successful overseas version, would help build production skills for the creation of new musicals in the future.

"What this is doing is establishing people like (An Officer And A Gentleman) director Simon Phillips, his choreographer and his assistants, to do new stuff they're not used to doing, because they are used to doing stuff that's already been done and what we are trying to do is to broaden that experience so a lot more directors and a lot more writers get that opportunity," Frost added.

Later next year and early 2014 Frost expects to mount world premieres of Dream Lover: The Bobby Darin Show and Red Dog. His production of Doctor Zhivago is approaching the end of a six month-long run in Seoul and will then be mounted in New York.

The Media Man and Music News Australia agencies were overheard agreeing "Another world class production put on by The Star and Lyric Theatre".

The pitch:

A new musical based on the Paramount Pictures-Lorimar movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" written by Douglas Day Stewart

Music and lyrics by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner
Book by Douglas Day Stewart and Sharleen Cooper Cohen
Director Simon Phillips
Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth
Set and Costume Designer Dale Ferguson
Lighting Designer Matt Scott
Musical Director Dave Skelton
Associate Director Dean Bryant
Producers Sharleen Cooper Cohen and John Frost

In association with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros Theatre Ventures

Based on the hugely successful Academy Award-winning film, this new production has been adapted for the stage by the original screen writer, Douglas Day Stewart and co-writer Sharleen Cooper Cohen, with music and lyrics by Kenny Hirsch and Robin Lerner. It will be produced by Sharleen Cooper Cohen and John Frost, and directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical).

The talented cast that will bring this timeless story to life includes Ben Mingay (Jersey Boys) as Zack Mayo, the classic angry young man who grew up in a "sewer" and dreams of flying jets and parlaying this skill into a better life; Amanda Harrison (Wicked) as Paula Pokrifki, the young factory worker who dreams of becoming a nurse and finding a better life without selling out for it, like everyone around her; Kate Kendall (Next to Normal) as Lynette Pomeroy, Paula's best friend who is determined to marry a flier to escape her dead end life, no matter what it takes; and Alex Rathgeber (The Phantom of the Opera) as Sid Worley, the likeable Okie son of a Navy Admiral who is the class "superstar" at the Naval Academy.

A hit across the ages, the 1982 film has become a phenomenon in cinema history, recently listed by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten love stories in cinema history. Featuring the iconic hit song "Up Where We Belong" and a new score by hit song writer Ken Hirsch and Grammy nominee Robin Lerner this timeless tale of struggle, success, friendship and love promises to be the musical blockbuster of 2012.

An Officer and a Gentleman is a triumphant story of working class heroes surviving great tests; a classic modern day love story about a working class boy and girl who must overcome their upbringing and personal weaknesses to accept life and love.

His Story, Her Romance.

The Star's history of celebrities...

Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair (ok, before it was rebranded The Star - back in Star City Casino days), Al Pacino, Bob Geldof, Russell Crowe, Paris Hilton, Afrojack, will.i.am, Snoop Dogg and so the list goes on.


Legally Blonde To Open 4th October 2012...

The Sydney Lyric Theatre is also going to be host to the famous musical 'Legally Blonde'.

Legally Blonde The Musical is the hilarious story of college sweetheart and homecoming queen, Elle Woods - a girl who doesn't take no for an answer. When her boyfriend dumps her for someone "serious", Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books and heads for Harvard Law School! Along the way, she proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

Legally Blonde The Musical - Winner of Best Musical 2011 Olivier Awards and a smash hit running into its third year on the West End was created by a world-class creative team led by Tony Award-winning director Jerry Mitchell.

The musical opens 4th October 2012.


Marvel Entertainment - The Avengers Boosting Marvel Slots Popularity; Media Agency...

The box office success of Marvel Entertainment comic book based movie 'The Avengers', is boosting the popularity of Marvel slot games across internet networks, the Media Man agency has reported.

A Media Man spokesperson said "Marvel themed games have been popular ever since they were first released, but the success of Marvel Entertainment movies such as Thor, Captain America and The Avengers has at least doubled their popularity according to our data. A new rumoured Hulk movie or TV series, and the upcoming release of The Wolverine movie, staring Australia's own Hugh Jackman, will only further spike online game popularity."

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment has licensed the Marvel deal, and the games can be found at Hitwise top ten website portals such as Media Man, which has a b2b in place with Bwin.Party and PartyCasino.

More Marvel Entertainment games are in the works and the Media Man agency will be providing detailed reviews on the games as more information comes to hand.

Gamers and gamblers, as always - bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

Marvel Entertainment movie game fans and true believers...there's only one thing to say - Excelsior!

Websites

Media Man International

New South Wales Rugby League official website

NRL official website

Casino News Media

Crown Melbourne (Crown Casino)

Media Man Entertainment

Australian Sports Entertainment

Website Network

Media Man Int

Media Man

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Media Man News

Wrestling News Media

Australian Sports Entertainment

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Australian Government may legalise live online gambling; NRL, Crown Limited; The Star, Marvel Games

Australian Government may legalise live online gambling; Crown Limited gambler case; The Star entertains with musical in Sin City Sydney; World Series of Poker to Melbourne; Marvel Entertainment Online Games...


Profiles

Gambling Gaming Poker Politics Marvel Entertainment Marvel Slots Marvel Games Entertainment Sports Australia

The Federal Government has flagged potential amendments to gambling laws that would allow people to bet online during live sporting events.

The Government is currently reviewing interactive gambling laws and is talking with key stakeholders about possible changes.

Currently, punters can only bet on sporting events as they happen in person or over the phone.

However Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has flagged a possible change to allow people to bet online during live events like last night's State of Origin clash.

"While the State of Origin was on last night, you can pick up a phone and make a bet, [but] you can't go online and make a bet," he told Channel Nine.

"So you've got a situation where if you make the phone call it's legal, if you try and do it online it's illegal.

"And that seems an anomaly ... this is one of the issues that needs to be looked at so that you've got consistent laws."

Reports in News Limited publication Herald Sun state that Merrill Lynch gaming analyst Mark Bryan wrote in an email that Mr Conroy's department has provided the industry with a brief on draft legislation. Other firms such as the Media Man agency, Bwin.Party digital entertainment, World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker have also enjoyed positive liasions with various Australian government departments regarding gaming legislation in Australia.


Crown Casino To Host World Series of Poker in 2013...

James Packer's Crown Casino has announced an exciting partnership with the worlds largest poker brand, the World Series Of Poker. Set to take place at Crown Casino in Melbourne from April 4-15 2013, the World Series of poker Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) is a huge expansion into the world's largest gaming market.

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said, “Our goal is to establish the worldwide grand slam of poker and use our platform to elevate the game through a series of major championships,”
“With WSOP Las Vegas growing annually and WSOP Europe poised for long-term success after five years, the time is right to turn our attention to the dynamic poker scene in Asia and Australia. Given Crown’s success with the ‘Aussie Millions Poker Championship’, we couldn’t ask for a better partner than Crown to establish the Asia-Pacific’s definitive poker festival.”

Crown Casino in Melbourne already is the home to the world's largest tournament series outside of the World Series Of Poker in Las Vegas with the Aussie Millions series each January attracting the worlds premier players. Crown Melbourne's CEO Greg Hawkins said, “This exciting partnership brings together two industry leaders, and two strong brands, to create a premier poker event in this region”.

“Our agreement firmly aligns with our objective of attracting the very best local and international players, all vying for a coveted WSOP bracelet. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved with the Aussie Millions and look forward to featuring WSOP Asia Pacific on our poker calendar in April 2013.”

The WSOP brand is one of the worlds most iconic and every poker player in the world dreams of one day being the proud owner of coveted WSOP Bracelet. The WSOP brand is 42-years old and in 2007 it expanded beyond the USA with the launch of the WSOP Europe in London (2007-2010) and subsequently into France (2011). The WSOP APAC is set to tap into the tremendous growth of peer-2-peer gaming in this region.

As part of the agreement with the WSOP, the WSOP APAC events are expected to be televised globally across ESPN. Fox Sports, as seen on Foxtel, already broadcasts games from competitor, World Poker Tour (owned by Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment).

One man who is no stranger to ESPN and the WSOP is Australian local sporting hero, Joe Hachem. Way back in 2005 Joe won the most prestigious poker event in the world, the World Series Of Poker Main Event.

“It’s thrilling to think the World Series of Poker is coming to Australian soil,” said Joe Hachem. “I know first-hand what a life-changing moment winning the WSOP gold bracelet was and how it served as a catalyst for the growth of poker in Australia and Asia. It will be a dream come true to host a worldwide poker event such as this at Crown. I can’t wait.”

The full WSOP APAC schedule is set to be released later this year.


In other gambling and gaming news...

Coast high-roller fails to recover millions...


A Gold Coast businessman who turned over almost $1.5 billion in 14 months at Melbourne's Crown Casino has lost his bid to recover more than $20 million he lost there.

Property developer Harry Kakavas spent $1.479 billion on 30 separate visits to Crown between June 2005 and August 2006, winning and losing vast sums, but ultimately accruing losses of $20.5 million, a Melbourne court has heard.

Mr Kakavas claimed Crown knew he suffered from pathological gambling and lured him back to the casino with the use of a private jet and cash and entertainment gifts.

But on Monday the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier Supreme Court decision that the casino did not take advantage of his gambling habits.

Appeal judge Justice Bernard Bongiorno said Mr Kakavas alleged his pathological gambling condition impaired his ability to make rational decisions about the amount of money he gambled.

Mr Kakavas would gamble six-figure sums on hands of baccarat, which take a matter of seconds to play.

But Justice Bongiorno said the fact Mr Kakavas was able to negotiate favourable terms for himself at Crown demonstrated his ability to make decisions in his best interest.

"When gambling at Crown he had negotiated the terms on which he gambled and had threatened to and in fact had withheld his custom from Crown when he did not get what he wanted," Justice Bongiorno said.

"These are not the characteristics of someone unable to conserve his own interests."

Justice Bongiorno found the allowances Crown offered to Mr Kakavas were not out of step with those typically offered to high-rolling gamblers.

He also rejected a claim by Mr Kakavas that he had lost $30 million in one losing streak at Crown in 2006.

He said on one occasion in March 2006 Mr Kakavas returned home to the Gold Coast with $14 million in winnings.

"That he lost overall is not in any way surprising," he said.

"The longer a person plays, the more certain it is that he will ultimately lose. Were it otherwise casinos would fail."

Mr Kakavas was ordered to pay Crown's legal costs. (AAP)


The Star entertains with musical: An Officer and a Gentleman...

Australian casinos and entertainment do mix!

Last week An Officer and a Gentleman enjoyed its Sydney, Australia premiere at The Star's Lyric Theatre at Ultimo.

The red carpet premiere was well attended by media and celebrities, and its understood the production is likely to match if not well exceed the substantial hype.

Producer John Frost said that more hard-won world premieres were in store.

"Not just Australian stories, but international stories that can be exported to international markets," Frost said.

Producers from Germany, South Korea, Canada, New York and London were at tonight's opening.

Frost said the $6 million budget for An Officer And A Gentleman was about half what it might have been if it was developed in New York or London.

"Things are just easier and cheaper here, and in New York and London, you're so far out of town (doing the set building) trying to get it right and get it fixed," he said.

Frost said the process of developing new musicals, as opposed to simply remounting a successful overseas version, would help build production skills for the creation of new musicals in the future.

"What this is doing is establishing people like (An Officer And A Gentleman) director Simon Phillips, his choreographer and his assistants, to do new stuff they're not used to doing, because they are used to doing stuff that's already been done and what we are trying to do is to broaden that experience so a lot more directors and a lot more writers get that opportunity," Frost added.

Later next year and early 2014 Frost expects to mount world premieres of Dream Lover: The Bobby Darin Show and Red Dog. His production of Doctor Zhivago is approaching the end of a six month-long run in Seoul and will then be mounted in New York.

The Media Man and Music News Australia agencies were overheard agreeing "Another world class production put on by The Star and Lyric Theatre".

The pitch:

A new musical based on the Paramount Pictures-Lorimar movie "An Officer and a Gentleman" written by Douglas Day Stewart

Music and lyrics by Ken Hirsch and Robin Lerner
Book by Douglas Day Stewart and Sharleen Cooper Cohen
Director Simon Phillips
Choreographer Andrew Hallsworth
Set and Costume Designer Dale Ferguson
Lighting Designer Matt Scott
Musical Director Dave Skelton
Associate Director Dean Bryant
Producers Sharleen Cooper Cohen and John Frost

In association with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros Theatre Ventures

Based on the hugely successful Academy Award-winning film, this new production has been adapted for the stage by the original screen writer, Douglas Day Stewart and co-writer Sharleen Cooper Cohen, with music and lyrics by Kenny Hirsch and Robin Lerner. It will be produced by Sharleen Cooper Cohen and John Frost, and directed by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert The Musical).

The talented cast that will bring this timeless story to life includes Ben Mingay (Jersey Boys) as Zack Mayo, the classic angry young man who grew up in a "sewer" and dreams of flying jets and parlaying this skill into a better life; Amanda Harrison (Wicked) as Paula Pokrifki, the young factory worker who dreams of becoming a nurse and finding a better life without selling out for it, like everyone around her; Kate Kendall (Next to Normal) as Lynette Pomeroy, Paula's best friend who is determined to marry a flier to escape her dead end life, no matter what it takes; and Alex Rathgeber (The Phantom of the Opera) as Sid Worley, the likeable Okie son of a Navy Admiral who is the class "superstar" at the Naval Academy.

A hit across the ages, the 1982 film has become a phenomenon in cinema history, recently listed by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten love stories in cinema history. Featuring the iconic hit song "Up Where We Belong" and a new score by hit song writer Ken Hirsch and Grammy nominee Robin Lerner this timeless tale of struggle, success, friendship and love promises to be the musical blockbuster of 2012.

An Officer and a Gentleman is a triumphant story of working class heroes surviving great tests; a classic modern day love story about a working class boy and girl who must overcome their upbringing and personal weaknesses to accept life and love.

His Story, Her Romance.

The Star's history of celebrities...

Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair (ok, before it was rebranded The Star - back in Star City Casino days), Al Pacino, Bob Geldof, Russell Crowe, Paris Hilton, Afrojack, will.i.am, Snoop Dogg and so the list goes on.


Legally Blonde To Open 4th October 2012...

The Sydney Lyric Theatre is also going to be host to the famous musical 'Legally Blonde'.

Legally Blonde The Musical is the hilarious story of college sweetheart and homecoming queen, Elle Woods - a girl who doesn't take no for an answer. When her boyfriend dumps her for someone "serious", Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books and heads for Harvard Law School! Along the way, she proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.

Legally Blonde The Musical - Winner of Best Musical 2011 Olivier Awards and a smash hit running into its third year on the West End was created by a world-class creative team led by Tony Award-winning director Jerry Mitchell.

The musical opens 4th October 2012.


Marvel Entertainment - The Avengers Boosting Marvel Slots Popularity; Media Agency...

The box office success of Marvel Entertainment comic book based movie 'The Avengers', is boosting the popularity of Marvel slot games across internet networks, the Media Man agency has reported.

A Media Man spokesperson said "Marvel themed games have been popular ever since they were first released, but the success of Marvel Entertainment movies such as Thor, Captain America and The Avengers has at least doubled their popularity according to our data. A new rumoured Hulk movie or TV series, and the upcoming release of The Wolverine movie, staring Australia's own Hugh Jackman, will only further spike online game popularity."

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment has licensed the Marvel deal, and the games can be found at Hitwise top ten website portals such as Media Man, which has a b2b in place with Bwin.Party and PartyCasino.

More Marvel Entertainment games are in the works and the Media Man agency will be providing detailed reviews on the games as more information comes to hand.

Gamers and gamblers, as always - bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

Marvel Entertainment movie game fans and true believers...there's only one thing to say - Excelsior!

Websites

Media Man International

New South Wales Rugby League official website

NRL official website

Casino News Media

Crown Melbourne (Crown Casino)

Media Man Entertainment

Australian Sports Entertainment

Website Network

Media Man Int

Media Man

Media Man Entertainment

Media Man News

Wrestling News Media

Australian Sports Entertainment

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bwin.party to pay Spanish back-tax in licence bid; Bwin.Party Extends Live Casino Provider Contract...

Profiles

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment PartyCasino.com PartyPoker.com Casinos Gaming Live Dealer

Bwin.party digital (BPTY.L), the world's largest listed online gaming company, said it would pay 26.56 british pounds ($42 million) in back-taxes to the Spanish government as it vies for a licence to offer online gambling in the country.

The company, formed by the merger of Austria's Bwin and PartyGaming last year, said it had been informed that online operators with customers in Spain had to pay back-taxes under two historic laws that were previously not applied to offshore online gaming.

These laws, one dating from 1966 and the other from 1977, were historically applied to operators based in Spain carrying out offline gaming activities and to certain kinds of bets.

Bwin said it had completed a tax self-assessment in accordance with the Spanish Tax Authority's requirements, and was making a payment of 25.6 million euros, plus surcharges and interest of up to 8 million euros.

"Having taken these steps, we believe we have now fulfilled all requirements and look forward to receiving our licence and entering the Spanish market," the Gibraltar-based company said in a statement on Monday.

Separately, another British online gaming firm Sportingbet Plc (SBT.L) said it was in talks with the Spanish Ministry of Finance about a potential outstanding tax liability covering its operations in the country from January 2009 to May 2011.

Earlier this year, Sportingbet - which has more than 2 million customers in 30 markets - had said it had met with the Spanish gaming regulator and expects to be granted a licence by May.


Bwin.Party Extends Live Casino Provider Contract...

Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment has extended its existing live casino contract with Evolution Gaming, which will see the latter remain on as Bwin's exclusive live casino provider.

The deal will ensure that Evolution Gaming supplies all Bwin.Party's brands for a period of three years. Solutions will be delivered worldwide to .com domains and localised domains according to countries.

According to the Group Director of Casino and Games at Bwin.Party, Daniel Better: "Live Casino is a key part of our product offering for regulated markets. The Evolution solution gives Bwin.Party the highest levels of flexibility in terms of branding and tailoring the service to the needs of local operators, players and regulators."

Adding his comments to Bwin.Party extending its Live Casino contract was the Chief Executive Officer of Evolution Gaming, Jens von Bahr, who said: "This contract extension demonstrates that Bwin.Party is confident our Live Casino solutions can provide the continual flexibility and growth options they need to create world class localised offerings for many other markets too."

Evolution Gaming Takes Bwin Live in Italy

Recently, Bwin.Party launched in Italy through its partnership with Evolution Gaming, which will bring live casino games to Italian players.

The new platform allows access to Venezia Rouletta and Ventuno Blackjack, two popular live casino brands, which have players enjoy the convenience of online gambling and the personal touch of professional, Italian speaking dealers live-streamed in real time.

"Bwin enjoys an extremely strong brand presence in Italy," said the Southern European Director for Bwin.Party, Paolo di Feo. "The Evolution Live Casino platform was the natural choice for Bwin as it gives us the opportunity to further strengthen our brand in this local market with dedicated tables and native speaking dealers from day one."

Evolution's Italian CEO, Gionata La Tore said that as the first Live Casino approved by the Italian gambling authority AAMS, Evolution continues to lead the local market. "We are now delighted to have been selected by yet another key global brand, and to be able to offer Bwin the flexibility of branding and service they desire," he said.

New Bwin Euroloeague Basketball iPad App

Bwin also made news with the launch of a brand new iPad app, which it launched in association with Euroleague Basketball.

The app brings "something genuinely new and valuable" to thousands of Euroleague fans, according to Roser Queralto, speaking for Euroleague.


Bwin.Party Sales Up...

Bwin.party digital, the world's largest listed online gaming company, said first-quarter revenue edged up and that it expects to be offered a licence to offer online gambling in Germany soon.

The company, which was formed by the merger of Austria's Bwin and PartyGaming last year, on Wednesday said revenue rose 1 percent to 215.9 million euros ($275.8 million) in the three months to the end of March as growth in casino and gaming offset weakness at its poker and bingo businesses. It added that April trade was in line with last year.

The Gibraltar-based firm said it expects to be offered a licence to offer online gambling in Germany from the state of Schleswig Holstein.

The northern state, whose centre-right coalition government voted in favour of relaxing its gambling laws in September, said last week that it had awarded three licences valid to 2018 - one to Britain's Betfair for sports betting, one to Germany's Jaxx AG and one to the state lottery.

"Whilst the political situation remains unclear, we expect more licences to be issued by Schleswig-Holstein shortly and that we will also receive a licence," Bwin.party said.

In Spain, where the licensing process has been delayed following the change of government, operators have now been told to expect licences to be issued from the beginning of June 2012, it said.

Bwin.party last week prepared the ground for a possible relaxation of U.S. internet betting laws by signing a deal with a Native American tribe which operates gambling in California.

The company said the amounts wagered in sports betting rose 11 percent in the quarter to 1.08 billion euros but that margins were down on last year which was particularly strong.

"With the imminent launch of our download casino product on the bwin platform, the Euro 2012 football tournament starting next month and the integration of our poker liquidity in the second half, we remain confident about the group's full year prospects," the company said in a statement.

Gaming software group Playtech On Wednesday said the strong performance experienced in the first quarter had continued in the six weeks since the end of March.


World's biggest gambling nations...

The world's biggest gambling nations include plenty of unlikely candidates.

Mention gambling and glitzy images of Las Vegas come to mind. But you'll be surprised to know Americans are not the world's biggest gamblers. In fact, the world's biggest gambling nations include plenty of unlikely candidates.

The rankings are based on data from H2 Gambling Capital, a consultancy based in London. They take into account average gaming losses (the amount bet and never recovered) in a year divided by the adult population in over 200 countries. The numbers include money lost on all types of betting including horse racing, poker machines, lotteries and casinos during 2010.

Read on to find out the countries with the biggest losers and the boldest gamblers.

10. Spain

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $389

Gaming was legalised in Spain in only 1977 and gambling of pure chance (slot machines) was legalised in 1981. Spaniards love to bet on everything from football to cards to the lottery.

Spain's Christmas lottery called "El Gordo", or the Fat One, is the only lottery draw in the world to award more than $1 billion in prizes. Last year, an estimated four in five Spaniards bought this lottery ticket, even at a price tag of 200 euros.

Lottery-crazy Spaniards helped LoterĂ­as y Apuestas del Estado, the organiser of the draw, to earn just under 10 billion euros in revenue last year.

Faced with a mounting fiscal deficit, the Spanish government plans to sell 30 percent of the company and raise up to 7.5 billion euros in the second half of 2011.

9. Greece

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $391

Greece boasts of one of the most legendary gamblers of all times - Nicholas "Nick the Greek" Dandolos. He died almost penniless at the age of 83 in 1966, having lost all his winnings, which were estimated to be worth almost US$500 million in 2009 in inflation-adjusted terms.

Lotteries are among Greeks' favorite ways to gamble. In 2010, the "Joker" lottery accumulated a record jackpot of 19 million euros.

The country is also home to Europe's biggest gambling company, OPAP, which has a market cap of about 4.1 billion euros. Its privatisation, to be finalized by 2012, could help the government pay off some of its debts.

8. Norway

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $416

Lotto, scratch cards, slot machines and football bets are Norwegians' favored ways to gamble. In a survey carried out by the government in 2008, 88 percent Norwegians confessed to being lifetime gamblers. It also found that gambling addictions occurred most frequently among young men who had previously played on gaming machines.

That's despite the fact that the country has made efforts to make gambling less accessible - reducing the number of slot machines in the country to 10,000 from 22,700 machines in July 2007.

That hasn't slowed Norwegians love for betting and many gamblers have turned to playing poker online forcing the government to threaten blocking or filtering online gambling operations.

The state-owned gaming company, Norsk Tipping falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs - and posted revenues last year of A$1.9 billion.

7. Hong Kong

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $468

Casinos are outlawed in Hong Kong, but the world's biggest gambling center, Macau is just an hour's boat ride away, and in the first-quarter of 2011, half a million Hong Kongers visited Macau.

Within Hong Kong, horse racing, lotteries and soccer betting are the only forms of gambling allowed. Little wonder, The Hong Kong Jockey Club is a major draw and a cultural fixation in the territory. The club hosts some 700 races a year and earned A$2.5 billion in betting and lottery revenue in 2010.

The people of Hong Kong are famous for their gambling habits. According to a medical research carried out by the University of Calgary, an estimated one in 20 Hong Kongers have a gambling disorder.

Another survey by Hong Kong-based Caritas Addicted Gamblers Counseling Centre found that of the 1,040 students interviewed, more than half were introduced to gaming by their parents. And 41 percent said they started as young as age 6.

6. Italy

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $481

Italians' favorite gambling activity is to play electronic gaming machines such as slots. According to a 2010 study conducted by strategy and business advisory firm MAG Consulenti Associati, electronic gaming machines generated nearly half of Italy's total gaming revenues in the first half of 2010. During just that six-month period, gaming revenues totaled A$20.4 billion in the country.

Italy is also credited with inventing the popular game Baccarat, and for opening the world's first government-sanctioned casino in Europe back in 1638, called "The Ridotto" in Venice.

The Venetian government finally shut the casino's doors in 1774 in an effort to preserve the city's "piety, sound discipline and moderate behavior".

5. Finland

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $514

Forty-one percent of adult Finns gamble every week, according to a study by Finland's Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in 2007. The minimum age for playing on a slot machine has just been raised to 18 in July 2011, from just 15 previously.

But that's not the only quirk when it comes to Finland and gambling. The country's national lottery company, Veikkaus is entirely owned by the government and is actually run by the ministry of education. Most of the profits of the company are allocated to education, arts and culture.

The Paf Group of Finland, which runs an Internet gambling company, has an interesting "pay back" scheme for loyal customers. If you have spend at least 120 euros ($159.55) on its site and are certified by a medical professional to be suffering from a gambling addiction, you are entitled to a maximum of 10 therapy sessions, worth up to 2,300 euros ($3,057).

4. Canada

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $528

Over 75 percent of adult Canadians gambled on some form or the other, last year. The biggest gamblers come from the potash-rich province of Saskatchewan, which has an average gambling revenue per person (aged 18 and above) of $783, against a national average of $490.

The most common gambling activities in Canada are lotteries and Scratch and Win cards.

Canadians' love for lotteries runs deep, so much so, that the government has set up a national initiative to raise awareness that lottery tickets are inappropriate gifts for minors. This came after criticism of parents who often included a lottery ticket their children's Christmas stockings.

3. Ireland

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $547

Ireland's casino industry is currently entirely unregulated because the country is governed by an outdated Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956. The law allows only bona fide members' club to provide casino services.

Under the Act bets on a gaming machine cannot exceed 6 pence while prizes are capped at 10 shillings. No wonder, the law cannot be enforced as the Irish pound has not been legal tender since 1999 and the country is now trying to enact new legislation.

The Irish government has just given the green light to build a Las Vegas-style sports and leisure complex in Tipperary at an estimated cost of 460 million euros ($668 million).

To be completed in three years, the venue will house a hotel, a casino, an all-weather racecourse, a greyhound track, a golf course and even a full-size replica of the White House, which will be used as a banquet facility.

2. Singapore

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $1,093

Singapore opened its first casino a little over a year ago but it's already the world's third largest-gaming center after Macau and Las Vegas and it's set to overtake Vegas this year.

The decision to allow casinos to be built in the city-state has created plenty of worries that Singaporeans may end up getting hooked to gambling. The government has tried to discourage local gamblers by imposing an entry fee of S$100 ($80.50) for citizens who want to enter a casino.

Authorities have also implemented a "Family Exclusion Order," that allows a family to ban relatives from visiting casinos.

But the measures have done little to dampen enthusiasm for gambling. Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, has forecast that Singapore's gaming revenue could hit A$5.9 billion in 2011, outpacing Las Vegas, which earned A$5.3 billion in 2010.

1. Australia

Gaming Losses Per Adult: $1,199

You know a nation is crazy about gambling when a gaming company offers people a chance to bet on whether the central bank will raise interest rates or not.

Besides that, Australia is the only place in the world that allows online wagering on sport but prevents gamblers from using the internet to place bets during live games. But that may soon change as the government has agreed to review laws following intensive lobbying from the country's major sports bodies.

Slot machines - known locally as pokies - are by far Australia's favorite game, with an estimated 75-80 percent of problem gamblers hooked on them, according to the country's Productivity Commission.

New South Wales, with 100,000 poker machines accounts for half of the nation's total number of poker machines. According to the state's Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, 935 gamblers registered themselves to be banned from casinos between 2006-2010, but were caught 1,249 times for breaching their own ban.

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