Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bwin.party jumps on good results; Bwin.party earnings up, ready for regulatory changes

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


LONDON - Online gaming firm bwin.party digital entertainment leapt into the top spot after it posted a robust set of full year earnings and believes it is well placed to take advantage of regulatory and technological shifts in its industry. Private equity investment firm 3i was another big riser after it revealed in a trading statement that, after a tough start to the year, market sentiment has improved in the last couple of months, leading to a strong performance in the company's investment portfolio - although the rally has come a bit late to have a significant effect on performance in 3i's current financial year, which runs to the end of March. Meanwhile, transport firm FirstGroup (Other OTC: FGROF.PK - news) was the biggest faller after it said lower economic activity in the north of England is putting pressure on its UK Bus business. The group says like-for-like revenues in UK Bus, in the 12 months to the end of March, will be 1.5% ahead of 2010-2011. The North of England and Scotland however are seeing "considerably lower" growth rates and that's where 60% of revenues are generated. FTSE 250 (FTSE: ^FTMC - news) - Risers Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 154.20p +5.47% 3i Group (III) 210.80p +3.33% Ruspetro (RPO) 207.50p +2.52% Drax Group (Frankfurt: A0MK9W - news) (DRX) 537.00p +2.38% Ferrexpo (Stuttgart: A0MRG2 - news) (FXPO) 298.20p +1.95% New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 437.40p +1.67% Kentz Corporation Ltd. (KENZ) 458.30p +1.39% Sports Direct International (SPD) 285.90p +1.31% Kenmare Resources (Irish: JEV.IR - news) (KMR) 49.18p +1.30% Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,035.00p +1.13% FTSE 250 - Fallers FirstGroup (Frankfurt: 896516 - news) (FGP) 249.30p -13.77% National Express Group (NEX) 236.80p -6.03% Dixons Retail (Other OTC: DSITF.PK - news) (DXNS) 18.25p -5.24% TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 137.60p -5.10% Barratt Developments (BDEV) 139.00p -4.92% Petropavlovsk (Other OTC: PPLKF.PK - news) (POG) 592.00p -4.67% Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,242.00p -4.53% Northgate (Other OTC: NGTEF.PK - news) (NTG) 206.30p -4.40% Centamin (DI) (CEY) 68.05p -4.22% Essar Energy (Dusseldorf: 11224817.DU - news) (ESSR) 145.80p -4.08% NR

Bwin.party earnings up, ready for regulatory changes...

LONDON, March 29 - Bwin.party Digital (BPTY.L), the world's largest listed online gaming company, reported a rise in earnings in its maiden set of results and said it was well-placed to take advantage of regulatory and technological shifts in the gaming industry.

The company, which was formed by the merger of Austria's Bwin and PartyGaming last year, reported a 3 percent rise in clean EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) to 199.3 million euros ($264.8 million) in 2011.

The Gibraltar-based firm said synergies coming through faster than expected had offset increased gaming duties in regulated markets, pushing earnings up to just shy of consensus analyst estimates of 202 million euros provided by Bwin.party.

"We expect to gain competitive advantage this year from additional scale and improved flexibility that will flow from the integration and migration of our main products to a single technology platform," co-chief executives Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger said in a statement.

Bwin.party said pro forma total revenue inched up to 816 million euros, compared to 814 million euros in 2010, despite the closures of its French casino and the World Cup football tournament in 2010.

The firm said current trading was robust with average gross average daily revenue 2 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2011 at 2.93 million euros.

"We have secured strong business partners in the United States ahead of any regulation there and have also applied for a license in Spain which is expected to regulate in the second quarter of this year," Ryan and Teufelberger said.

The company has also applied for a license in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany.

The firm said it will add more casino games, improve poker and bingo offerings, and prepare for the UEFA Euro 2012 soccer competition and the London 2012 Olympics.

Bwin.party will pay a final dividend of 1.56 pence per share, making a total of 3.12 pence per share for the year.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Paris Hilton, Friends, Hollywood Celebrities Open Marquee The Star, Sydney, Australia - 30th March 2012

Profiles

The Star Echo Entertainment Clubs Casinos Australian Casinos Paris Hilton Celebrities Sydney


News

News Entertainment News Casino News

Australian entertainment and nightclub fans, and all you celebrity watchers out there... It's time for yet another showbiz update.

The Star's new nightclub Marquee in "Sin City" Sydney, Australia tonight held their grand opening last night and the ultimate party girl herself - Paris Hilton, along with boyfriend DJ Afrojack, and a bush tucker bag of friends and associates including Ashlee Simpson, Nick Lachey, Kellan Lutz, Abbie Cornish and LMFAO's Redfoo helped get the party started on the red (purple) carpet. By the way, the colour purple is supposed to attract money we understand, and it was working for Ms Hilton.

The gamble to sign up Paris and friends appears to have paid off, as far as attracting international headlines, but only time will tell what it does to the bottom line of The Star (once known as Star City Casino).

The Australian contingent of celebs who attended included Laura Dundovic, Alex Dimitriades, Glenn and Sara McGrath, Alex Perry, Nikki Phillips, Didier Cohen, April Rose Pengilly, Tim Commandeur, Laura Cstortan and Chris Joannou.

Marquee is understood to have snatched big dollars tonight, along with some positive press, but upping the ante in star power. Just how much it cost The Star to bring in Ms Hilton is anyone's guess but a well known media agency in Sydney estimated "between $50,000 to $150,000 for Ms Hilton and friends", but don't ever expect to find out the real figure as agents and legal eagles will be guarding that information from falling into the media and public domain.

The official VIP launch party featured DJ sets from The Black Eye Peas, will.i.am and Afrojack, with boat loads of celebs.

The 20,000 square foot nightclub occupies the entire top tier of The Star’s new Pirrama Road harbour side entrance. It enjoys a 1,200 people capacity and is aiming to fill up the venue with the right sort of customers. It's understood that there's three separate spaces within the one venue, and there was something for everyone's mood and taste.

The Main Room sports a 30-foot projection stage with an LED DJ booth and two funky dance floors, while another section entitled 'Boom Box' has an outdoor patio and DJ booth. For those guests who are looking for a bit more intimacy... and we know your out there boys and girls, there's a "library-style" lounge room along with fireplace, where you might want to get all cosy with your best friends.

The new sexy nightclub is a joint effort between The Star and Tao Group, which operates very successful nightclubs in the United States including LAVO in New York and Las Vegas, TAO Las Vegas and Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

We think its a pretty safe bet that you and yours will have fun (and spend a few dollars) at The Star's Marquee, so why not give them a go and tell us all about your experience.

It's all just another move in the Australian casino and entertainment wars, with a good dash of tourism biz factored in, and hopefully the public and Sydney benefit.

Competitor of sorts, Crown Limited, is following the progress of Sydney based 'The Star' closely, and the two gaming companies fight for the entertainment and gambling dollar, with big name celebs and casino "whales" being the most sought after patrons.

The Star will no doubt be hosting more celeb filled parties, but its unclear when Ms Hilton is returning to party (and pick up another payday). No word yet if she's got a whole floor to herself to sleep in and party (like Leonardo DiCaprio did on his previous down under Australian visits), but we highly suspect so.

Will you be on 'The List' any time soon at Marquee? Well, dress the part, work hard, and play harder, and you may soon be partying along with some of the world's hottest socialites.

If your into the best nightlife that Sydney has to offer you owe it to yourself to take the gamble and get on over to Marquee all you cool cats out there.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the event a hot success, and Paris - we hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Australia.

Websites

The Star

Marquee, The Star, Sydney

Echo Entertainment

Paris Hilton official website

Eva Rinaldi Photography

Eva Rinaldi Flickr

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Media Man News Articles - March 2012


News

PartyCasino Wins Media Man 'Online Casino On The Month' Award

The Billionaire Brands

What the Media has said about wrestling over the years

Wrestling Legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper In Fancypants Movie

Delta For Logies!

Echo defends against Crown in shareholder letter

Echo not interested in Packer on the board

MGM Resorts still looking for Massachusetts casino site

EXCLUSIVE: Who's behind anti-Rock sentiment in WWE? What about Trish being welcome back but not Rock? [corrected]

WWE SUPERSTAR JOHN CENA GRILLED By Adorable Children

THE ROCK Childhood EVICTION Drove Me to Become a Beast

WWE to re-release Hulk Hogan movie?

OLYMPIC HERO KURT ANGLE I'm Hunting for the Scammers Who Stole $4k from My Mom

WWE LEGEND KAMALADocs May Amputate OTHER Foot, Too

CM Punk Reveals His Favorite WrestleMania Match, Lilian Garcia Speaks Out Against Bullying, Lita

WrestleMania Countdown: CM Punk

PHOTO CALL: A First Look at Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean

PRESS RELEASE: Marvel's The Avengers to Close 2012 Tribeca Film Festival on April 28

Close to 100 locals expected to begin casino training

Aussie supergrass plays his hand

Chad Elie pleads guilty in online poker scam

Daniel Tzvetkoff to Testify for Prosecution in Black Friday Trial

The Crown's Jewel

Cousins snaps at media after drugs arrest

Pay TV claims were not referred to police

Top ten overseas fashion sites

'Cautiously optimistic' Gianni Versace returns to profit

Street Corner News...

Sydney Airport And The Star's Casino Nightclub To Get Paris Hilton Mania

Best 5 Gangster Movies Of All Time; The Godfather Still Rules The Mob

Entertainment Industry News Update: Australia, Hollywood, Movies, WWE WrestleMania...

News Archive...

Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis arm wrestle

Australian And Hollywood Entertainment, Celebrity and Gaming News; Jackman, Crowe, WWE.. - 20th March 2012

Entertainment, Celebrity And Gaming News; Australia, Hollywood And Internet World - 24th March 2012

Casino, Poker, Bingo, Table Games, Hollywood Slot Games, Casino Classics: PartyGaming Does It All

Bwin.Party Joins Nevada’s Online Poker Licensing Parade - 8th March 2012

Australian Casinos And Sports Use Celeb Push Of Gambling

PartyGaming, PartyCasino, Bwin Do Deal With Las Vegas Land Based Casinos

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sydney Airport And The Star's Casino Nightclub To Get Paris Hilton Mania

Profiles

The Star Echo Entertainment Clubs Casinos Australian Casinos Paris Hilton Celebrities Sydney




News

News Entertainment News Casino News

Australian entertainment and club fans, and all you celebrity watchers out there... It's time for yet another showbiz update.

The Star's new nightclub Marquee in "Sin City" Sydney, Australia is to hold their grand opening this Friday night and guess who is coming to the party - the ultimate party girl herself - Paris Hilton, along with boyfriend DJ Afrojack, and a bush tucker bag of friends and associates including Ashlee Simpson, Nick Lachey, Kellan Lutz, Abbie Cornish and LMFAO's Redfoo.

Then there's the Australian contingent of celebs attending including Laura Dundovic, Alex Dimitriades, Glenn and Sara McGrath, Alex Perry, Nikki Phillips, Didier Cohen, April Rose Pengilly, Tim Commandeur, Laura Cstortan and Chris Joannou.

A Media Man agency spokesperson said "It's likely the most star power and positive entertainment news The Star and any of its clubs are likely to get for a while so the powers that be at The Star are pulling out all of the stops and rabbits out of the hat to ensure that its done right. The Star and its nightclubs appear to be aiming for it to be the place to be seen, with even a street team of sorts assembled to try to encourage Sydney party types to make The Star and its Marquee the preferred nightclub venue in Sydney if not Australia".

The big party bash is set to get massive Australian and international news coverage, but will that translate into dollars for the Echo Entertainment owned premise? That's what The Star's Marquee is gambling on anyway.

Marquee is hoping to attract not only big dollars but also lots of positive press when it holds their mega part for the world's hottest celebs this Friday.

The official VIP launch party will include DJ sets from The Black Eye Peas, will.i.am and Afrojack, with boat loads of celebs.

The 20,000 square foot nightclub occupies the entire top tier of The Star’s new Pirrama Road harbour side entrance. It enjoys a 1,200 people capacity and is aiming to fill up the venue with the right sort of customers. It's understood that there's three separate spaces within the one venue, so hopefully there's something for everyone's mood and taste.

The Main Room sports a 30-foot projection stage with an LED DJ booth and two funky dance floors, while another section entitled 'Boom Box' has an outdoor patio and DJ booth. For those guests who are looking for a bit more intimacy... and we know your out there boys and girls, there's a "library-style" lounge room along with fireplace, where you might want to get all cosy with your best friends and even fast friends, if you follow.

The new funky nightclub is a joint effort between The Star and Tao Group, which operates very successful nightclubs in the United States including LAVO in New York and Las Vegas, TAO Las Vegas and Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

Punter's, we think its a pretty safe bet that you and yours will have fun (and spend a few dollars) at The Star's Marquee, so why not give them a go and tell us all about your experience.

It's all just another move in the Australian casino and entertainment wars, with a good dash of tourism biz factored in, and hopefully the public and Sydney benefit. Something tells us that Crown Limited's James Packer and his other top brass will also be watching the situation pretty closely.

Sydney - brace yourself for a hell of a party, and if The Star gets their way - get used to many more parties.

Will you be on 'The List' any time soon at Marquee - don't change your dial budding socialites.

News For Early Birds; Sydney Airport Tip Off...

Speculation is rife that Paris Hilton and perhaps one or two friends will be flying into Sydney International Airport very early tomorrow (Thursday) morning. A strong press pack is expected to be out there taking the punt that's she gets off a plane. Well, we're all in the gambling mood now aren't we now?

Paris Hilton Tweeted...

Another crazy day at the airport. Goodbye LA! Hello Sydney! ☺

♡ u! RT @CamRaFace: Headed to Australia. Time to catch up on movies & sleep :) #mlm love u @ParisHilton for always letting adventure with u!

At the airport about to take off to Sydney! Haven't been to Australia in a long time, so I'm very excited for this trip! Love it there! ☺♡

Can't wait for The @MarqueeSydney opening party this weekend! Going to be so much fun! Performances by @DJAfrojack @RedFoo & @IamWill! ☺♡♫

Can't wait for the grand opening of @MarqueeSydney this friday! Going to be an incredible party! I love the Aussies! ☺♫ http://tinyurl.com/cohcgeb

Feels good to be home, but not for long. Have to pack again now cause I'm flying to Australia tomorrow night. So excited! I love it there! ...


Flashback To Some Colourful Paris Hilton News From Years Ago That Attracted International News Media...

Why there's gold in them thar cells - 6th May 2007...

Paris Hilton will earn yet another fortune selling diaries and images of her life behind bars, according to leading publicists.

"She will probably make more money from it than Jeffrey Archer," said marketing guru Max Markson. "But she is very silly. She was warned. She was on a suspended sentence. She deserves to get 45 days."

Hilton's sentence for drunk driving is unlikely to adversely affect sales of Bondi Blonde, the beer she was hired to promote by its maker's part-owner, John Singleton, during a five-day visit to Sydney in January.

But she could use her marketing genius and jail sentence for a good cause, according to Greg Tingle, chief executive of Mediaman. "The opportunity certainly exists for Paris to turn this to a positive because of her strong social influence on youth globally," Tingle said.

"Paris and her close advisers should carefully consider what tactic to take with this. It's a golden opportunity to emphasise the dangers of alcohol abuse."

Since her first media appearance at the opening of a Las Vegas casino in 1999, Hilton has out ditzied Marilyn, built a business like Madonna and will soon have the ex-con marketability of Martha Stewart.

She has been so successful at turning a negative to a positive that she has created a new category of celebrity; the sleazebrity.

Who else could turn a humiliating sex video released by a toady former boyfriend into a global launch pad?

Who but Paris could profit from one million American parents signing a petition to ban a TV advertisement in which she slid across a soapy Bentley to eat a hamburger?

In his ebook Paris Hilton is a Fool, author W. Frederick Zimmerman writes that while the socialite/model/TV star is a fool, she is nobody's idiot. "The evidence seems to support the argument that, although she is no intellectual, she is a pretty shrewd businesswoman," Zimmerman writes.

"She is a risk taker who avoided the easy path of relying on a family fortune and struck out on her own to create an innovative personal career."

But life behind bars will be anything but the simple life for the multi-millionaire hotel heiress. (Credit: The Age)

Media Man 2012 Commentary On Paris...

"Paris Hilton may not be saving the world, but when she gets into Australia tomorrow she is bound to give a shot into the arm to Australia's embattled tourism and entertainment industry. 'Sin City' Sydney is to get some extra dollars in the door, and The Star will see much of it. Just how much of that love... dollars gets spread around Sydney remains to be seen, but the land down under is to also get its fair share of entertainment news headlines around the world thanks to Paris, and hopefully that's a good thing. It should be unless there's an unforeseen significant development around the corner. Paris has matured quite a bit in the past few years, plus The Star will be watching over things closely, so it should be smooth sailing. Welcome back to Sydney Paris."

That's it fans. Stay tuned to Media Man and Street Corner for more entertainment news and scoops daily.

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Marquee, The Star, Sydney

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Best 5 Gangster Movies Of All Time; The Godfather Still Rules The Mob

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The Godfather The Godfather II Scarface Casino (movie) Al Pacino Robert De Niro James Packer Movies Hollywood Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal Sharon Stone Mafia




From Bondi Beach, to Blacktown, all the way to Hollywood, Cannes and Italy (we can't forget the Mafia connection), gangster movies are as cool as ever. In Australia we have to settle for Underbelly, Underbelly Razor (now in an Uncut DVD set), and then there was Dirty Deeds (collecting money from pokie dens et al) from a few years ago on TV (soon to be released). Gangster movies serve as history, entertainment and commentary. With a combination of violence, betrayal, power and family, it is no surprise gangster movies are so popular. Here's our Top 5 Gangster Movies of all time.

5. Scarface

Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay and Brian De Palma directed this movie that reflected the violent chaos that cocaine brought to Miami in the late 70s and early 80s. Al Pacino gave an epic performance as Cuban immigrant turned drug lord, Tony Montana. Lots of violence, done in a way that makes the movie even better.

4. Casino

“Casino” was written by Nicholas Pileggi and directed by Martin Scorcese. It is based on the real life story of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, but the protagonist’s name was changed to Sam "Ace" Rothstein. Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone give excellent performances and Robbie Robertson did an excellent job providing the music for the movie. You don't have to be a fan of gambling to appreciate this classic movie.

3. The Godfather

Directed Francis Ford Coppola and written by Coppola and Mario Puzo, “The Godfather” is an epic tale of the fictitious Corleone mafia crime family and their struggles. Marlon Brando gives the performance of a lifetime and Al Pacino is amazing in his break out role.

2. Goodfellas

Nicholas Pillegi wrote and Martin Scorcese directed this real life story of mafia affiliate, Henry Hill. With its raw depiction of criminal life, “Goodfellas” takes away whatever romance and glamour that other movies have attributed to mob life.

1. The Godfather II

Again written by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, “Godfather II” expands on the original by both going forward and backward, covering the origins of the original Godfather, Vito Corleone. The epic tale shows how crime took down Cuba and features great performances by Pacino and DeNiro as well as Lee Srassberg who played the Meyer Lansky based character, Hyman Roth.

News Update...

The Godfather Movie Franchise Turns 40...


Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather turned 40 this past weekend, a surprisingly ripe old age for a movie that hasn't aged a bit.

One of the great American movies, The Godfather hasn't stopped influencing popular culture since the day it was released.

Martin Scorsese owes much of his career to it, The Sopranos wouldn't have made sense without it, and VH1's reality show Mob Wives is a winking travesty of it.

The film's alluring portrait of the mob as Old World charmers with ice-cold hearts appears again and again in crime films, comedies, video games, comic books, hip-hop videos - the list goes on. In fact, nearly anything that focuses on organized crime, corporate gamesmanship or the glories of patriarchy - from HBO's The Wire to AMC's Mad Men - seems unable to escape the long, broad-shouldered shadow of The Godfather. You can even play The Godfather online slot game at Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment owned PartyCasino.com Tell 'em the Media Man sent you.

But for all its heavy themes (immigration, politics, business, the American dream), The Godfather is also vastly entertaining. It's a grand, macho soap opera full of unfettered ids, violently settled scores and men wearing enviable suits. And talk about a bromance: Have you ever seen so many guys hugging and kissing in a Hollywood movie?



Robert De Niro; King Of Gangster Movies Flys Into Perth: Visits Burswood Casino...

The general public might have guessed a president were in Perth a few days ago if they been near the Burswood Entertainment Complex.

Legendary actor Robert De Niro is Hollywood personified and as you might expect he got the super VIP treatment at James Packer's Crown Perth.

Speaking at the launch of his restaurant Nobu Perth on Sunday, De Niro was friendly, relaxed and "slightly scruffy" (said The West Australian). The voice and intense stare was true to form.

De Niro said he was planning to make the most of his whirlwind visit.

"I just got here last night, in the middle of the night," he said. "We have a list of things to do and see, so we are on it.

"I want to see as much as I can."

The New York native said he had "no expectations" of what to expect on his first visit to Perth, but wanted to explore the sights before he leaves tomorrow.

"I'm very curious about the west coast of Australia and my impressions are that it is somewhat like LA, but I could be wrong about that," he said.

Perth's social set jumped at the opportunity to rub shoulders with the star of such films as The Godfather: Part II, Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver.

The 68-year-old and his wife Grace Hightower De Niro, 56, joined his business partners of almost two decades, acclaimed chef and restaurateur Nobu Matsuhisa and movie producer Meir Teper, along with Burswood owner... king of the castle James Packer and wife Erica for the event, which followed in the tradition of Nobu openings around the globe with a sake ceremony.

Premier Colin Barnett and wife Lyn, Seven West Media chairman Kerry Stokes and Christine Simpson Stokes, Adam and Mel Gilchrist, Patti Chong, Janet Holmes a Court and Denise Satterley were in the mix of the 280 guests who walked a red carpet into the beautiful restaurant.

Former boxer turned actor Rai Fazio was quite likely the most excited guest of all.

"I got a call this afternoon saying Mr De Niro requests your company at Nobu tonight," he said.

Fazio met De Niro a year ago in West Hollywood, after they hit it off famously.


That's it fans. Stay tuned to Media Man and Street Corner for more entertainment news and scoops daily.

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The Godfather official website (Paramount Pictures)

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Entertainment Industry News Update: Australia, Hollywood, Movies, WWE WrestleMania...

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News Entertainment News Casino News




Australian movie and entertainment fans. It's time for yet another showbiz update. We've got Marvel Entertainment, Disney, WWE WrestleMania, gaming, celebrities, The Star and more.

Walt Disney Releases "Fun Facts" for THE AVENGERS Movie...

In anticipation for the summer blockbuster release of Marvel's The Avengers superhero team-up of a life time, Walt Disney Pictures have officially released a series of neat "fun facts" surrounding the Joss Whedon-directed production. While we have learned a few of these "facts" prior, indulge in them down below.

* Marvel's The Avengers is based on the Marvel comic created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The first Avengers comic was published in September 1963 and the lineup consisted of Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man and Wasp. Captain America joined the team in #4, after being revived from being trapped in a block of ice. This film brings together Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) when they are called to duty by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

* Production on Marvel's The Avengers commenced on April 25, 2011, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the production shot onstage at Albuquerque Studios and various locations in and around the city until Thursday, July 28. Other filming locations included Wilmington, Ohio; Worthington, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio and New York City. The shoot lasted a total of 93 shooting days on 1st unit and 47 shooting days on second unit.

* The Helicarrier Bridge set was built on a soundstage in Albuquerque. This iconic home base for the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D., whose director is Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), resembles an aircraft carrier, but it's no ordinary carrier -- it can actually fly. The filmmakers wanted to embrace that key element of The Avengers history and give the fans a real thrill when it takes to the air. To achieve the exterior of the Helicarrier, the filmmakers shot on a runway at the Albuquerque International Sunport.

* Another classic Marvel vehicle, the Quinjet, is also making an appearance in the movie. The Quinjet is essentially the jump jet that The Avengers use to go to and from the Helicarrier and to go into battles. The Quinjet design fits in with the Helicarrier -- the same technology that allows the Helicarrier to work has been incorporated into the Quinjet. But at the same time the silhouette of the Quinjet, the cockpit, the engines on the back and the weaponry make it feel as though it could actually exist today.

* In the very first issue of the comic book The Avengers, almost 50 years ago, it was Loki, Thor's brother, who was causing the trouble that brought all the Avengers together for the first time to defeat him. In the making of the movie, Marvel stayed true to that setup. Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, is a much stronger villain on Earth than he is in his own world of Asgard and wreaks havoc in Marvel's The Avengers.

* Chris Hemsworth (Thor) felt that being on location was like summer camp, where no one really knows each other but everyone hangs out together and has a great time. However, Hemsworth did know Tom Hiddleston (Loki) from Thor and developed a great relationship with him on that film that carried over to The Avengers.

* To play expert archer Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner received training from Olympic archers on how to use a bow properly. He learned the basics of archery as well as the proper positions, but one of the most difficult tasks Renner had to master was the consistency he had to employ in drawing back the bow, which is difficult to do when drawing back fast.

* Scarlett Johansson was more than happy to reprise her role as Black Widow in The Avengers. The actress says she is a huge fan of the character and is happy that fans liked her as Black Widow, a role she originated in "Iron Man 2." In "Marvel's The Avengers," during her scenes with another highly skilled S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, Hawkeye, the audience will be let in on some of their backstory and get a glimpse of their longtime working relationship.

* When the cast and crew of The Avengers flew from Albuquerque to Wilmington, Ohio, they didn't have to go far to reach their new shooting location. The production's charter flight landed right next to the film set at Clinton County Airpark, a massive complex complete with a 9,000-foot runway and a one million square foot, state-of-the-art shipping facility that would double in the film for parts of the interior of the Helicarrier.

* The famous battle cry in the comic book, "Avengers Assemble!" is a call to arms for members of the team to fight "the foes no single superhero can withstand." During production, Chris Evans (Captain America) borrowed the famous command to gather up his fellow cast members when he sent out text messages to them to come together for a night on the town in Albuquerque after a long, hard week of work on the production.

* Shooting in Central Park is never easy, but what about when you put the entire cast of the film at Bethesda Fountain on Labor Day weekend? The cast, crew and filmmakers got to find out firsthand as thousands of onlookers gathered to see something that held the attention of even the most hardened New Yorker -- the entire cast of "Marvel's The Avengers" in costume, including Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in their Asgardian finery. For the actors in the film it would be the first time they were all on set together in over a month and also the last time they would be shooting together. For director Joss Whedon the challenge was to keep his cast focused. "It was like a circus crossed with a class reunion," laughs the director. "Paparazzi and fans were everywhere and the cast was so happy to see each other, talk and catch up because they enjoyed hanging out together."

* The film's second unit shot a chase sequence in Worthington, Pennsylvania, at Creekside Mushroom LTD, the former home to World Famous MoonlightĂ‚® brand Mushrooms. Creekside was the world's largest mushroom-growing facility and the only underground mushroom farm in the United States. For the production, shooting at the facility meant gaining access to the 150 miles of tunnels 300 feet below the ground. Without power, prepping the tunnels for the chase sequences that involved Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) took months -- but it all paid off with spectacular results.

* With so many fight sequences in the film, many of the actors, including Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner, participated in extensive fight training with the stunt team. Cast members trained with fight choreographer Jonathan Eusebio. Renaming the gym the "Stunt Dojo," Eusebio and his team trained the cast in different fighting styles, including medieval fighting techniques, Wushu, Kung Fu and Kali.

* For three weeks, the production shut down East 9th Street in Downtown Cleveland to prep and shoot one of the larger action sequences. It was the talk of the town for months and attracted thousands of curious onlookers, who watched the street transform from empty buildings to a bustling New York City street complete with subway stop and popular storefronts with facades. The production design was so convincing that rumors circulated about new stores opening on the street.

* Another challenge for the production design team was transforming Cleveland's historic Public Square into an exterior location that would double for Stuttgart, Germany. The production changed words on the facades of the buildings to German and added a "biergarten" to the square. Local workers in the area loved the changes and hoped the upgrades to the square (new flowers, plants, picnic tables and lampposts) would stay in place after filming was completed.

* Despite being a secure location that only cast and crew members could access, one fan's persistence caught the eye of "The Avengers" cast and crew at the Airpark set in Wilmington, Ohio, when she made a big poster-board sign welcoming the cast to the city and requesting that the actors autograph a T-shirt that was in a bag. The sign was such a hit with the company that they passed it to the set. Filmmakers were able to contact the fan and she was given a tour of the set, an "Avengers" crew hat, a meet and greet with director Joss Whedon and, of course, the cast's autographs on the T-shirt she had placed by the sign. It truly was a day to remember for one lifelong Marvel fan.

* Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Tom Hiddleston was not exposed to American sports, but that all changed during production as he was able to watch a Cleveland Browns preseason football game on the sidelines, attend a Cleveland Indians game, throw out the first pitch, and be courtside at the US Open to watch several matches.

* In shooting one of the bigger action sequences in the film, director Joss Whedon enlisted the help of 25 members of the Ohio-based 391st Military Police Battalion to be part of the scene in which New York City is being attacked by unknown forces. The troops were brought in to add a layer of authenticity and give the combat scenes realism. And realism is exactly what the MPs delivered with their 50-caliber machine guns and Mark-19s. The film crew was blown away by their firepower and teamwork and Whedon was also impressed and appreciative as he posed for pictures with the Battalion after the scene was completed.

* For special effects to pull off the destruction of a New York City street, special effects supervisor Dan Sudick involved precision pyrotechnics and well-timed car gags so that the production's stunt people could safely maneuver through the explosions and flipping cars. To pull off the large pyrotechnic event, Sudick and his team rigged 28 explosions, which went off in a wave fashion down the street to simulate an air attack. The sequence also included setting up 14 cars down the middle of the street, which included cannon cars, flipper cars, ‘pyro cars as well as a semi-truck that exploded. Sudick and his team pulled off the sequence without a hitch and even though it was shot on East 9th Street in downtown Cleveland, it still made the cover of the New York Post with the headline: "Save us, Thor!"

Marvel Studios presents in association with Paramount Pictures “Marvel’s The Avengers”--the super hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel super heroes Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, & directed by Joss Whedon from a screenplay by Joss Whedon, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963 and a comics institution ever since. Prepare yourself for an exciting event movie, packed with action and spectacular special effects, when “Marvel’s The Avengers” assemble on May 4, 2012. The film is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. In addition to "Marvel's The Avengers," Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including "Iron Man 3" on May 3, 2013!; and “Thor 2” on November 15, 2013. Source: Walt Disney Pictures


Why Paramount Pictures And Not Disney Is Credited in Avengers Movie Promos...

Some folks have wondered why it is Paramount Pictures and not Walt Disney Pictures that is credited in the The Avengers promos. After all, last October they announced that they had "reached an agreement under which Paramount will transfer its worldwide marketing and distribution rights to Disney for Marvel Studios' The Avengers and Iron Man 3... Under terms of the new deal, Disney will pay Paramount $115 million for the transfer of the distribution rights to Iron Man 3 and The Avengers to be paid on the theatrical release dates. These monies will serve as a minimum guarantee against the distribution fees. In completing this agreement, Disney will now assume worldwide marketing and distribution of 'The Avengers' and 'Iron Man 3'."

Yet, when you examine both the teaser poster and the new trailer, there is no mention of Disney at all. Variety has a report on this and mentions that some things were left out of the original announcement:

Knowing Disney wanted to turn "The Avengers" into a franchise and bank on the success of "Iron Man" after buying Marvel for $4 billion, Par's brass negotiated a deal in which it continues to collect 8% of the B.O. as part of fees it would have earned for distribbing the pic, as it did with the two "Iron Man" pics, "Thor" and "Captain America." It gets 9% for "Iron Man 3."

At the minimum, it earns $115 million, should they not perform.

At the same time, the deal granted Par placement on the marketing materials for both titles, even though Marvel's films are fully owned by Disney and will be solely distributed and marketed by the Mouse House, Variety learned.

While moviegoers will continue to think Paramount Pictures is releasing The Avengers and Iron Man 3 in theaters, it is Disney doing the vast amount of work and who most of the movie news is coming from. Most fans are not fussed, and just want to see quality super hero themed motion pictures.


Casino Club Promoters from The Star's Marquee Nightclub Ejected From Hugos; Trying to Attract Patrons...

The Star is pulling out all the stops in their ambitious attempt to establish Marquee as Sydney's elite nightclub, with an army of promoters - street team of sorts spotted looking to nab customers from rival nightclubs over the weekend.

There's a bakers dozen play celebrities being flown in from Los Angeles this week to attend the VIP party on Friday - Paris Hilton, Ashlee Simpson, Nick Lachey, Kellan Lutz, Abbie Cornish and LMFAO's Redfoo in the mix.

Rupert Murdoch's Daily Telegraph 'Confidential' Kings Cross spies noticed a group of Marquee workers being requested to leave Hugos on Friday night.

"They were handing out cards and talking up Marquee's big (public) opening on Saturday," said the leak. "Staff saw them and asked them to leave immediately."

Another leak said: "Being in Pyrmont, The Star are aware they really have to work to get people there because there's nothing else around. Even from Ivy it's quite a hike."

As revealed on Saturday, a massive group of socialites and party types have been recruited - many from other clubs - to help drive business to the $20 million Marquee. The official opening night on Saturday features a performance by will.i.am and the casino in a clever move not ticketing the event, with a door charge guaranteeing bigger numbers and early arrivals.


Mel Gibson selling his Costa Rican retreat...

Australian Actor-director Mel Gibson is putting his sprawling hilltop compound in Costa Rica up for sale with a $US29.75 million asking price.

The Oscar winner has suffered a series of public embarrassments in recent years after a decades-long reign as a top box office star.

Fortunately things have pretty much returned to normal for 'Our Mel', who is getting a lot of support from many Hollywooders and close friends.

He is reportedly selling the 500-acre compound to downsize his real estate portfolio.

Over the years Gibson has owned lavish properties in Malibu, Australia, Montana, Connecticut and even a private island in Fiji.

Gibson's Pacific coast compound, on Playa Barrigona on Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula just south of the Nicaragua border, boasts three hilltop homes - the largest of which has seven bedrooms, with soaring ocean and jungle views.

Each villa on the former cattle ranch is outfitted with native Costa Rican woods and Italian and Spanish tiles and features multiple verandas and a private pool.

"The property is expansive, meticulously maintained and ultimately private," said Rick Moeser, a spokesman for Christie's real estate.

"With its multiple homes and outbuildings, this is the ideal family retreat."

Gibson, 56, has seven children from his long marriage which ended in divorce in 2009.

He also has one child with Russian star Oksana Grigorieva, with whom he had an acrimonious break-up.

Many people are looking forward to seeing Mel back in the media for quality film projects that he decides to involve himself in.

WWE WrestleMania: The Rock VS John Cena News...

The Rock, who rose to stardom in the pro wrestling business, says there's nowhere else he'd rather drop The People's Elbow than in the ring. The Rock returns to the WWE for his first WrestleMania match since 2004 when he headlines the April 1 WrestleMania 28 card against former champion John Cena at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, USA.

For a company once home to Hulk Hogan and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, this match is as close as it gets to a dream match. Both hardcore fans, casual fans and news media are buzzing about it.

"I came back to put on the biggest match of all time," Johnson said. "That's all I want to do. There's no one I can do that with right now other than John. He's far and above everyone else in terms of popularity. He's the guy. Is he Stone Cold? No. Is he Hogan? No. But he is John Cena and he's been on top for a long time now."

Johnson reigned in that top spot at the end of the 1990s and the early part of the last decade
before embarking on an impressive run in Hollywood. His current film, "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," grossed $95 million in its first six weeks in the U.S attained $300 million worldwide. His previous movie, "Fast Five," made more than $210 million in U.S grosses, proving that Johnson knows how to rock the box office.

All that big-ticket drawing power is why the WWE believes he can attract more than a million pay-per-view buys (at $54.95 U.S) in his return singles match.

"They know that I'm back, not for money, not because I like being on the road, but because I love the business," Johnson said. "The energy level is different this time around, the connection is more emotional this time around."

Sitting in the Wells Fargo Center seats hours before 18,088 fans packed the place for Monday's live "Raw," Johnson reflected on a career that took him from $40 paydays and Waffle House meals to his choice of top movie roles and a lavish $3.4 million pad in South Florida.

His stories are interrupted by visits from today's WWE crew. Sheamus, a rising WWE star, had a brief chat with The Rock.

"Great match on Friday," Rock says. "I texted Chris (Jericho) on Friday. You guys killed it. That boot at the end, that was awesome."

Sheamus smiles and appreciates the feedback.

"Thank you, Rock."

The Rock says, if the boys in the back are resentful he slid into the main event without toiling 200-plus days last year on the road, he hasn't noticed.

"The best part of me coming back is hearing them say, 'You've inspired me, thank you,'" Johnson said. "That's the greatest compliment that I can get. It's so cool man. They don't talk about movies. They don't talk about other matches. It's just, 'You've inspired me.'"

On screen, Cena has a contrasting take.

"I was a fan in '99. I'm not a fan now," Cena said. "I don't know what he's got going on upstairs."

The Rock returned to Vince McMahon's empire last year as WrestleMania's guest host, but couldn't help but get physical in the main event. He dropped his finishing move, The Rock Bottom, on Cena which allowed WWE champion The Miz to get the pin and retain his title. The next night on "Raw," Cena and Rock agreed to a bout for this year's signature event, a bold and risky yearlong push for a company where real injuries often fracture fantasy storylines.

Johnson's return boosted Wrestlemania's buy rate to 1,042,000 worldwide—the first time it topped a million in three years and seventh time overall.

The Rock wrestled for the first time in 7 1/2 years when he teamed with Cena at November's Survivor Series pay-per-view against Miz and R-Truth.

The temporary alliance disintegrated and the duo have engaged in verbal battles for most of the last two months. Cena tweaked Rock's catchphrases in a rap song. Rock strummed the guitar and sang his own tune about where he wants to stick his boots at Wrestlemania. The two have gone back-and-forth on Twitter. It's a unique twist on hype—far removed from the ferociousness of Roddy Piper bashing Jimmy Snuka's head with a coconut.

"We've been griping like two little kids now for about a year," Cena said. "Now, everybody wants to see us fight."

Cena and Rock top a card that includes WWE champion CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho, "Triple H" Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. the Undertaker in a steel cage, and Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres vs. Kelly Kelly and "Extra" co-host and current "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Maria Menounos.

Like Johnson, Jericho has found mainstream success as an author, lead singer of the band "Fozzy," and reality TV and awards show host. Jericho said few people have Johnson's oversized personality to transition into all forms of entertainment.

"I know just how much firepower Rock has," Jericho said. "I think people forget sometimes how good he is."

Fans have tuned in, though not quite in the monster numbers of Johnson's "Attitude Era" heyday. The March 12 "Raw," averaged 4.82 million viewers (4.97 million watched the second hour of the show) which bested the highest-rated NCAA tournament cable game, Kansas vs. Purdue (4.43 million viewers).

Johnson has committed to appearing at next year's WrestleMania at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. In what role, he hasn't said.

It's clear if the WWE wants to squeeze another potential blockbuster buy rate out of the Rock, the last man standing to get the headline match would be the return of former WWE and UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

How about it: Brock vs. Rock at WrestleMania 29?

"I'm not saying a thing," said a laughing, grinning Rock, eyebrow raised. "I didn't say anything."

The Rock silenced. That's a first.

Before Johnson can map out a storyline for next year's WrestleMania, there are more movies to shoot. He just wrapped, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," and begins filming Michael Bay's "Pain & Gain," with Mark Wahlberg on April 3. He also has starring roles lined up for "Fast Six," and "Hercules."

Johnson would like to shed the invincible hero role for once and grapple with a meatier, dramatic role.

"A role like that will come," he said. "I can't wait for that to come, by the way. We'll develop things. I'm patient."

He won't have to wait much longer for WrestleMania.

*Australian fans can order WrestleMania 28 via the Main Event Channel on Foxtel for $34.95 - "Very good value for money considering the strength of the card" said a Media Man spokeperson. "If your going to order just one wrestling PPV this year, this is the one to get without question" continued the PR from the Media Man agency.

Main Event TV - WrestleMania promo...

WWE Wrestlemania XXVIII
LIVE Monday, April 2 at 9am AEDT
Replays: 2pm, 7pm, 12am AEST
Encores: 3 till 5 April 2012 then 8 till 9 April

In the most anticipated WrestleMania clash in history, John Cena will collide with The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII, emanating from The Great One’s hometown of Miami.

Few could have anticipated that two of sports-entertainment’s most celebrated icons would ever meet in the squared circle, let alone on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Yet, the WWE Universe will bear witness to this blockbuster collision - one year after The Cenation Commander-in-Chief and “The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment” agreed to battle in a dream match for the ages.

Following a seven-year absence, The Rock returned to WWE in characteristically grand fashion in early 2010 to host WrestleMania XXVII. Although The People’s Champion was overjoyed to be reunited with his millions – and millions – of fans at long last, he was quick to take aim at Cena, sparking a very public war of words with his fellow multi-time World Champion.

The verbal jousts escalated to physical confrontation in the weeks that followed, and it became abundantly clear that the pair would cross paths at The Showcase of the Immortals in one way or another. Ultimately, in front of a record-breaking crowd of more than 71,000 WWE Universe members in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, The Rock put an exclamation point on his rivalry with Cena by hitting him with a Rock Bottom, a maneuver that afforded The Miz the opportunity to retain his coveted WWE Championship.

The following night on Raw, these two icons faced off once again, but this time the physicality was limited to a handshake. For the first time in history, a WrestleMania main event was made one year prior to the event itself.

Cena and The Rock forged an unstable alliance to combat The Awesome Truth – an outspoken tandem consisting of The Miz & R-Truth – at the monumental 25th annual Survivor Series in Madison Square Garden. Although “The Most Charismatic Tag Team of All Time” kept their cool for the most part as they battled common enemies, The People’s Champ issued a forceful WrestleMania reminder to his temporary tag team partner after their victory when he nailed Cena with yet another Rock Bottom.

The battle lines were drawn once again...

2pm, 7pm, 12am AEST

FOXTEL, OPTUS, AUSTAR $34.95

WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?
Are you a loyal member of Cenation, or are you allied with Team Bring It? Join the discussion about this monumental main event with the rest of the WWE Universe on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to watch history unfold by tuning in to WrestleMania XXVIII, April 2, 2012.


That's it fans. Stay tuned to Media Man and Street Corner for more entertainment news and scoops daily.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

World's Biggest Gamblers; History Of Bets At Casinos - Kerry Packer, David Walsh Et Al

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Lloyd Williams plays blackjack with the late Kerry Packer at Melbourne's Crown Casino

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Want to try your luck at a casino? ... Land based or online - there's all sorts of options out that, but first here's some real life stories regarding whales aka VIP high rollers at casinos, the racetrack and elsewhere.

PS: how about those Aussies - they will bet on anything won't they. World's biggest gamblers we heard.

Zeljko Ranogajec – Bookies beware! Allegedly, the world’s biggest gambler is an Australian billionaire of Croatian descent. After studying law in Tasmania, Ranogajec got a job in a casino where he learnt the tricks of the trade. Starting with an initial stake of hundreds, he went on to win millions on casino betting before turning his attention to horses. He now employs a full staff to compare odds and find him the best bets, putting around $1 billion a year on races around the world.

Kerry Packer – Staying Down Under, the late Kerry Packer was the media-mogul who was a thorn in Rupert Murdoch’s side – and a prolific gambler. This was the man who would happily walk into casinos and wager millions, supposedly losing $28 million in three weeks of gambling while in London. Another time he lost $15 million on the roulette tables, the staff saying he walked out with "no regrets". However, on his better days he has won up to $7 million in one casino betting session. There’s even a legend that Packer made a bet of $100 million dollars on the toss of a coin, but his opponent backed down.

Akio Kashiwagi – Known as ‘The Warrior’, this Japanese businessman became a casino legend before meeting a violent end. A master of baccarat, he regularly wagered $200,000 a time in US casinos, once winning $6 million in one night. However, he wasn’t always so lucky; he died in 1992 after being stabbed 150 times with a samurai sword while still owing casinos millions.

Archie Karas - Perhaps the most extraordinary of recent legendary streaks is possessed by Mr. Archie Karas, a Greek immigrant, who in 1992-1993 had one of the greatest runs in Vegas history. Starting with a borrowed stake of ten thousand dollars, Archie went on a rampage of poker at Binion's Horseshoe, defeating 15 of the world's greatest poker players in head-to-head competition, including World Champions Chip Reese, Stu Unger, Puggy Pearson, and Johnny Chan. When he ran out of poker competitors, Archie headed to the Horseshoe's craps tables where he won millions more. At one point in his run, Archie possessed all of the Horseshoe's $5,000 chips -- over 11 million dollars worth. When the run was over, Archie was up over 17 million dollars between poker and craps, all at the Horseshoe.

Betfred vs Betvictor – The names behind two of the biggest high street bookies were involved in what may have been the biggest sports betting wager in British history. Fred Done of Betfred fame and Victor Chandler of Betvictor bet on the outcome of the Premier League in 2005. Fred and Victor supported Manchester United and Chelsea respectively, so they wagered £1 million, as you do. It was Chelsea who came out on top and Done paid up in one of the best bets we’ve seen; what could be better than two sports betting giants walking it like they talk it?

Steve Whitely – Arriving by bus with a free ticket to watch racing at Exeter, 61-year-old heating engineer Steve Whitely turned a couple of quid into millions back in March last year. He didn’t bother to compare odds or make an effort to find the best bets, he just used his two pounds to make a Tote bet. A few hours later and he was minted after winning the jackpot when he correctly predicted all six of the winners. So, what is Steve’s sage advice to budding punters who want to win millions? “I like racing, yeah, but I don’t know nothing about it, do I?” Cheers Steve.

David Walsh - Not a great deal is know about this Tasmanian - Australian, but he founded MONA - (Museum of Old and New Art). Australian press has described him in a few colourful ways, such as - "multi-millionaire professional gambler and one of the nation's leading art collectors - dismisses himself as "just a privileged guy with a megaphone". He might be right. But the world is about to discover just how wonderful, disturbing, beautiful and occasionally challenging that megaphone is". In the second year of his science degree at the University of Tasmania, he was asked by friends to develop a model that would enable them to win at blackjack in the nearby Wrest Point Casino. When he discovered that the scope for winning at card games was limited he dropped out of his degree and, for most of the ’80s and early ’90s, spent 100 or more hours per week developing a mathematical model that would enable him and his partners to win at other forms of gambling, especially horseracing. This he now pursues on a large scale in a number of countries. There is a network of people involved in Walsh’s outfit, most notably his business partner of 30 years, Zeljko Ranogajec. Walsh met Ranogajec at university where the latter studied law and economics before he too dropped out to pursue a career in gambling. Walsh describes Ranogajec as a “relentless motivator and a loyal friend” who, despite not sharing his interest in art, has provided financial support for his collecting mania “whenever my cashflow dried to a trickle”. As Walsh inelegantly puts it: "I am throwing the shit, he is happy to be the fan. And he doesn’t even like the shit."

Other names whose win/loss positions move in the multiple millions in a single night include Malaysian tycoons Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay and Quek Leng Chan, Indonesia’s Putera Sampoerna, and Hustler founder Larry Flynt.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kerry Packer Aussie Legend Live On Via Art And TV - 12th May 2010

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Media Man revisits one of their most popular news stories from 2010...

G'day punters, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, media magnates, journalists, historians and art lovers. Art lovers?! Yes, today we bring you a special Kerry Packer special. The legend lives on, not only here, but now at an Australian artists exhibition, and of course 'Our James' (James Packer) continues to fly the flag and do the family legacy proud with his Crown Limited empire. Not only that, we also cover the pending return of KP to Australian television in an ABC mini series tipped to hit the jackpot, and Network Nine is bringing back 'Underbelly', complete with gambling themes. Media Man and Gambling911 present The Kerry Packer Special...

Kerry Packer & Friends...

Kerry Packer & Friends - NG Art Gallery - 7th Dec - 24th Dec 2010

3 Little Queen Street

Chippendale, NSW Sydney AUSTRALIA

Tuesday - Saturday 11.00am - 5.30pm

Ok punters, here's the rundown. The artist - storyteller is Gina Sinozich. She's an 80 year old, Croat, Sydney based artist who paints in order to help recycle memory. Sinozich's latest exhibition, Kerry Packer and Friends, is her first solo commercial effort in Sydney and is tells the story of the legendary Kerry Packer. She covers the unique personality and complexities of a legend who was known for his astronomical wealth, super whale gambling exploits, running his business with an iron fist, and colourful run ins with the Australian government, amongst other things.

Sinozich migrated down under to Australia is 1956 and began to paint at the age of 75, now having work in Australian and New Zealand corporate and public collections. Her show showcases Packer as 'one of us' rather than the untouchable media tycoon. Sinozich was inspired to tell the story on the premise that we often hear bad before good. This tribute to KP is generous and reveals alot of the most powerful men in the world, who in 2004, was estimated to have a net worth of AUD 6.5 billion. The work of Sinozich will be showcased at NG Art Gallery from the 7th-24th of December and is certain to excite audiences, punters, art lovers or both. A fews Aussie commentator think this blows away much of the art that American gambling tycoon Steve Wynn shows off. Maybe Wynn might like to make a purchase of some classic Packer creations.

Sinozich says Packer gave back to society in a meaningful way and the series was intended to stand as a testament for this man's intrinsic goodwill after his death in December 2005. She recites a story that fuelled her initial interest in Packer, "...one lady said that she was on George Street with two little kids behind her and she was running...running to go on the train, and he (Packer) stopped her and said, 'don't you have a car?' and he wrote a cheque for her and said here, 'buy yourself a car'." Sinozich also fondly recalls, "...when he was playing in casino in Perth he won so much money and the girl who was serving wine...he asked her, 'do you have a mortgage on the house?' she said 'yes', then he wrote a cheque for AUD 600,000."

The talented, even cunning, artist worked like a Trojan horse for a fortnight and managed to produce 26 paintings that deeply explore her subject's nature, removing much of the mystic of Packer as an uncompromising media mogul. All the characters in Sinozich's work have a yarn to tell, and most aspects of his life are covered... birth, death, and much of the in between. Make no mistake, the works are smart, and unique, and are tipped to become collectors items.

The work is relatively simple, but full of life, and has been described as "traditional representational painting", which one may argue is a dying art. We think KP would have liked the tribute, and we await word to see what living members of the Packer clan think of the works.


Kerry Packer Legend To Return To Australian TV In Cleo Mini Series...

Packer is to return to life on Aussie TV via new ABC drama Paper Giants: The Birth Of Cleo (not to be confused with the Cleopatra slot game).

Australian readers may recall the public backlash to the introduction of the super sexy womens’ title in 1972. There were Cleo lovers and haters, but we're still talking about it today, so it made an impact, which is better than many of today's rags.

Rob Carlton will play a young Packer opposite Asher Keddie as publishing pioneer, the sexy and smart Ita Buttrose.

Rumours of a sexual relationship between Packer and Ita around the time of Cleo magazine's start off, but this won't be a focus on the mini-series, due to air next year.

Buttrose, who first made her mark as the magazine's editor, was a consultant on the production.

"If there was a supposed affair it didn't happen in this timeframe. I have no idea if there was, we didn't raise it with her," Edwards said.

There ABC publicity brief has whet our appetite for lots of Packer classic stuff and enough scandal to keep us coming back for more.

"It's 1972. Skirts are up, pants are down. Girls can have anything: Fabulous careers, fashionable clothes and oral sex," spruiks the promo.

The drama cleverly follows the death of Sir Frank Packer and the rise of his second son, who defies even family expectation to succeed, in a way no one could have expected.

"It was a real turning point in Kerry's career. It was a period when he made his first big move and it was an astonishing success and one against the odds in some respects," Edwards said.

Cleo magazine itself was a fine, yet controversial work, and introduced the nude male centrefold and sexual hits, tips, tricks and more for women. Media Man friend, actor Jack Thompson, is tipped to have his racy centrefold recreated. Something about a 6th finger, down there.

ABC TV by all accounts have taken a calculated risk on the series. Most quarters of society, both insiders and outsiders we've chatted with believe the gamble will pay off with a tidy jackpot, and whispers already circulate as to how many awards the show and actors will pick up.


Nine's David Gyngell Respects Packer History; PBL Becomes Nine Entertainment Co...

KP put Publishing & Broadcasting Media on the map and grew it to become arguably the biggest media brands in Australia.

PBL - the name, is now history, since Bondi Beach based chief executive, David Gyngell, rebranded it with Nine Entertainment Co.

Gyngell, who announced the rebranding at Nine's 2011 program launch in Sydney on Friday, advised the new name would be more recognisable to the public and large and went on to emphasise Nine's broad range of businesses, which sport Nine, ACP Magazines, Ticketek and NineMSN.

The recognition factor is important since the firm is likely to be floated on the Australian Stock Exchange by its private equity owners, CVC Asia Pacific, in the first half of next year.

It's understood that a strong level of support from a host of retail investors will be key to the $5 billion-plus float's chances of a jackpot.

Gyngell wisely acknowledged it was not an easy decision given he is the late Kerry Packer's godson and great mate of James Packer. History buffs, just in case you wondered, PBL was formed way back in 1994 when KP merged Nine with ACP (Australian Consolidated Press).

"PBL has a long association with the Packers so personally I don't take that lightly. But it's modernising a business that needs to be publicly known. We don't have the luxury of having James Packer or another mogul giving the company real gravitas."

Other media updates down under include Network Seven being backed by Kerry Stokes and Network Ten's board now has James Packer, News Corporation director Lachlan Murdoch, mining magnate Gina Rinehart and WIN TV owner Bruce Gordon.

"Nine is the biggest thing that we have and it is also the thing that supports all the other companies in the best possible way," Gyngell said. "It will be a new year. We are starting again.

Nine confirmed its crime drama Underbelly would come back with a series set in the roaring 20s in Sydney as well as 3 Underbelly movies! And, get this, a good spot of gambling will also be featured.

Greg Tingle is a Special Contributor to the Gambling911.com website and Runs Media Man International.

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Fallen Aussie tycoon and FBI's net-bet supergrass to star in US trial - 21st March 2012...

Daniel Tzvetkoff, the one-time high-flying Queensland internet whiz who brought down America's multibillion-dollar online poker industry, will come out of hiding next month.

The 29-year-old faced a sentence of 75 years in a US federal prison but in 2010, while languishing in a New York jail, he struck a secret deal with prosecutors and has become a star informant for the US government in its bid to prosecute the kingpins of three of the world's largest online gambling companies: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

AAP can reveal that Tzvetkoff, whose Queensland-based company Intabill allegedly processed more than $US1 billion ($957 million) worth of illegal transactions between US gamblers and internet gaming websites based offshore, has handed more than 90,000 documents over to prosecutors.

The inside information includes confidential emails.

Tzvetkoff's first public test as a prosecution witness will come on April 9 in a New York courtroom when a former Las Vegas-based business partner, Chad Elie, and a Utah banker, John Campos, go on trial.

Elie, 31, is charged with nine offences including conspiring to commit bank fraud and money laundering and faces a maximum jail sentence of 85 years if convicted.

Campos, a 57-year-old executive at Utah's SunFirst Bank who allegedly agreed to process gambling transactions, is charged with six offences and could be jailed for 35 years.

This week, Elie's lawyers complained to the judge handling the case that, on the eve of the trial, prosecutors dumped a "mountain of documents" on them, including Tzvetkoff's emails.

"For example, although the government had previously produced emails for Daniel Tzvetkoff, one of the government's main witnesses in this case, the material we recently received revealed that Mr Tzvetkoff had deleted his emails from the Intabill server, which had previously been made available to the defence, and that the Tzvetkoff emails that were included in prior productions were therefore ones that Mr Tzvetkoff had cherry-picked for the government," Monday's filing from Elie's lawyers, Barry Berke and Dani James, stated.

"Only after we pointed this out to the government did we receive a full set of Mr Tzvetkoff's materials, which included more than 90,000 documents and which we were able to access for the first time only yesterday."

Tzvetkoff was once a media darling in Australia, flaunting his wealth - estimated at $82 million just a few years ago - with a $27 million home on the Gold Coast, a garage filled with Lamborghinis and Ferraris, and as a sponsor of V8 Supercar racing team, Team IntaRacing.

His world came crashing down in 2009 when the internet poker companies, for which he allegedly helped launder $US1 billion, accused him of stealing about $US100 million.

Tzvetkoff was arrested at Las Vegas's upmarket Encore casino in April 2010 and charged with money laundering, bank fraud and other charges.

US federal prosecutors vigorously fought to keep Tzvetkoff in jail after his arrest, including successfully overturning a Las Vegas judge's decision to grant Tzvetkoff bail.

Tzvetkoff was transferred to a New York jail and sat there until June 2010 but, in secret dealings, sealed by judges, Tzvetkoff disappeared.

"He's turned the corner, seen the light and is co-operating," former FBI agent Harold Copus, after reviewing the details of the case, told AAP.

On April 15, 2011, Tzvetkoff's inside knowledge led to what has been dubbed in the US as "Black Friday", the day tens of thousands of US poker players logged on to their computers and discovered three top gambling sites - PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker - had been shut down in the US by authorities.

The FBI and prosecutors also announced that day internet gambling kingpins Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate of PokerStars, Raymond Bitar and Nelson Burtnick of Full Tilt Poker, and Scott Tom and Brent Beckley of Absolute Poker, were charged with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offences.

Elie and Campos were also charged in the sweep.

Prosecutors alleged Elie, as Tzvetkoff's Intabill was crumbling in 2009, fleeced $US4 million from PokerStars.

"Intabill's founder, Daniel Tzvetkoff, who processed over $US1 billion for the poker companies, ended up owing tens of millions to PokerStars," prosecutor Arlo Deviln-Brown wrote in a recent court filing.

"While Tzvetkoff's lifestyle is squarely responsible for much of the missing money ($US25 million on a house, for example), the fact is that 'sub-processors' that Tzvetkoff relied on - including Elie - also failed to remit and indeed simply made off with the money PokerStars was missing." (AAP)


Auckland High Court grants Kim Dotcom $46,700 a month expenses...

A NEW Zealand court has granted Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom $46,700 a month in living expenses as he awaits a US bid to extradite him on online piracy charges.

The German national reportedly applied for $171,240 a month to cover his costs when he was freed on bail last month, including funds to pay for luxuries such as a butler and nannies.

The High Court in Auckland ruled Dotcom, who US authorities allege violated piracy laws to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, could have $46,700 a month, Fairfax Media reported.

It also gave the internet tycoon - a keen car enthusiast - access to a 2011 Mercedes Benz, The New Zealand Herald reported.

The 38-year-old's assets were frozen after New Zealand police, cooperating with a major US probe, raided his sprawling Auckland mansion on January 20, seizing artworks and luxury cars including a pink Cadillac.

Megaupload was founded in 2005 but shut down in January after the Auckland raid.

A US application for Dotcom's extradition is expected to be heard on August 20. US authorities have said they will seek the maximum penalty of 20 years in jail if he is brought before an American court.

Dotcom, who legally changed his name from Kim Schmitz, has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight extradition, labelling the case against him "misleading and malicious."


Casino rewards cards examined in hunt for cheats...

CASINO rewards cards could be the next secret weapon used by Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office to take down frauds and welfare cheats.

The Absolute Rewards program, which is available through Queensland's three major casinos, is being considered by investigators as a way to nab dodgy individuals suspected of breaking the law.

Absolute Rewards allows members through its Absolute Assist function to set a daily gambling limit of their choice and tracks their spending to ensure machines lock users out when their limit is reached.

A Treasury Casino spokeswoman confirmed members were able to ask for summaries of their spending history.

By cross-referencing the spending with other documents, investigators could potentially determine whether fraud had taken place.

Section 264 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 allows officers to obtain documents or data they require to further their probe.

An ATO spokeswoman said the office "would not rule out" using Absolute Rewards and Absolute Assist information to investigate targets.

"From time to time, we do use our powers under S264 to obtain information on individuals from third parties (such as casinos and other businesses) which may assist us to identify undisclosed income," she said.

"We would not rule out the possibility of using such a system to access information in the future."

Centrelink may also begin using rewards cards to track down welfare cheats.

Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen said while information hadn't so far been obtained through the system, it was a possibility.

"Based on the available information, the department would only seek to access details through the Absolute Assist program on an individual basis during an investigation into a customer's undisclosed wealth," he said.

A Treasury Casino spokeswoman said the casino had provided government agencies with information at their request.

Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Michael Cope said he couldn't foresee any privacy issues provided the method was used only to investigate those already under suspicion. (News Limited)


Sports betting growing gambling...

The Aussie tradition of taking a punt is reaching new heights with online gambling leading to an explosion in sports betting.

Although still dwarfed by other forms of gambling, sports betting is gaining popularity, according to industry research group IBISWorld.

Sports betting was the fastest growing market segment, with annual growth of 14.7 per cent for the last five years.

IBISWorld Australian general manager Karen Dobie said sports betters were mostly young, single professionals with disposable income. They did not view it as a serious form of gambling.

'Sports betting is most accessible online. Given this demographic is particularly comfortable in the online environment, this is another factor driving growth,' Ms Dobie said in a statement on Wednesday.

The diversity of bets on offer, including who leads at half time and shoots the first goal was also driving spending.

Despite its rising popularity, sports betting accounts for only 1.6 per cent, or $360.5 million, of gambling spend.

Casino gambling accounts for 20 per cent of total expenditure, the research found.

Pokies, lotteries and racing were in decline, but pokies still took the lion's share of the market with 60.2 per cent.

Australians are among the most prolific gamblers in the world with the research predicting gambling expenditure to reach $22.5 billion or an average of $1,256 per person in 2011/12.

'More than 70 per cent of us have a flutter at least once a year, especially in line with key cultural events such as Anzac Day and the Melbourne Cup,' Ms Dobie said.

NSW had the most gamblers, making up 38 per cent of gambling spending, followed by Victoria and Queensland.


bwin.party sells Ongame to Shuffle Master - 6th March 2012...

bwin.party digital entertainment has agreed to sell Ongame, its business-to-business online poker network, to Shuffle Master for up to €29.5m.

bwin.party says the agreement is consistent with the group's stated strategy and follows its announced intention to sell Ongame last June.

An initial consideration of €19.5m is payable in cash on completion, subject to a post-completion working capital adjustment.

A further consideration of up to €10.0m payable in cash in the event that regulated online poker starts in the United States on either a federal or intra-state basis within five years from completion.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

EPIX Celebrates Superheroes and the Legendary Stan Lee With Marvel Heroes Weekend April 27-29 - Hosted by Stan Lee

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Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics and true believers... here's some excelsior news you've been waiting for.

The Marvel Heroes Weekend is coming up in late April, so mark it down.

The comics world has been buzzing about this - from Bondi Beach, Sydney, to Hollywood, to manga crazy Japan and all points in between...

EPIX Celebrates Superheroes and the Legendary Stan Lee With Marvel Heroes Weekend April 27-29
--Hosted by Lee, Event Features World Television Premieres of Captain America: The First Avenger & EPIX Original Documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story --National Free Preview Makes Marvel Heroes Weekend Available to Subscribers of Affiliated Partners...

NEW YORK, March 19, 2012 - EPIX, the multiplatform premium entertainment service, will present Marvel Heroes Weekend, April 27 - 29, a marathon of superhero movies including Iron Man 2, Thor, the world television premiere of Captain America: The First Avenger and the EPIX Original Documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story. Hosted by legendary comic book creator Stan Lee, the marathon also includes EPIX Extra: Mighty Movie Superheroes, examining the origins and fan following of the mighty team. The weekend celebration of Marvel's famed superheroes and their creator features the movies that have led up to the highly anticipated theatrical release of The Avengers on May 4.

The EPIX Original Documentary With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story follows the life and creations of Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spider-Man, Captain America, Hulk, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man and over 200 other characters that can be found in Marvel comic books, on movie screens and in retail stores around the world.

"These action-packed superhero films are some of the most highly viewed titles among EPIX audiences across all platforms," said EPIX CEO and President Mark Greenberg. "We're excited to give fans more access than ever before to the mastermind behind it all, Stan Lee."

Marvel Heroes Weekend is part of a free preview of EPIX for all subscribers of affiliate partners, which will also showcase Hollywood blockbusters Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Rango, Conan the Barbarian, True Grit, The Lincoln Lawyer and more, along with EPIX original comedy and music events Lewis Black: In God We Rust, Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell and Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball. Over 30 million homes nationwide will have access to the free preview, including over 150 titles available On Demand and more than 3000 movie titles available online at EpixHD.com and through EPIX apps.

*please note: Australian residents may not be able to access all functionality from EPIX. If you have any issues please contact EPIX technical support.

The weekend event and free preview will be supported by television, print, online and out of home advertising and a national contest hosted by EPIX which will send winners to the Hollywood premiere of The Avengers. For more information or to enter, visit the EPIX Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EpixHD. Additionally, EPIX has partnered with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for Avengers-themed sweepstakes promoted across Ryan Seacrest's nationally syndicated radio shows and website and across several local Clear Channel stations in the top 10 media markets.

EPIX is the first all screen network, available anytime, anywhere, on any screen.

Studio: Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM

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EPIX delivers instant access to thousands of Hollywood Blockbusters

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WHAT IS EPIX?
EPIX, a joint venture between Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate, is a next-generation premium entertainment channel, video-on-demand and online service launched on October 30, 2009. With access to more than 15,000 motion pictures spanning the vast libraries of its partners and other studios, EPIX provides a powerful entertainment experience with more feature films on demand and online and more HD movies than any other service. It is the only premium service providing its entire monthly line-up of new Hollywood titles, classic feature films, original series, music and comedy specials through the linear channel, video-on-demand and online at EpixHD.com, the leading online destination for movies. EPIX has made the commitment to deliver the industry’s most expansive online collection of movies, making more than 3,000 titles available on EpixHD.com. The service is available to over 30 million homes nationwide through distribution partners including Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DISH Network, Mediacom Communications, NCTC, Suddenlink Communications and Verizon FiOS.

That's it fans. Stay tuned to Media Man and Street Corner for more entertainment news and scoops daily.

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