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SkyCity Marriott Launches Hong Kong Disneyland New 2-Day Ticket (Effective 1 March 2012)

Book the Magical Escape Room Package to Receive a Complimentary Upgrade to Hong Kong Disneyland 2-Day Ticket

HONG KONG, Feb 23, 2012 - Working closely with Hong Kong Disneyland Resort as one of its top-performing hotel partners, SkyCity Marriott proudly launches Hong Kong Disneyland's new 2-Day Ticket. Guests can now enjoy two magical visits to the Park with just one ticket.

With the new 2-Day Ticket, which costs only HK$100 more than the 1-Day Ticket, guests can enjoy flexibility in visiting the Park on any two days within a seven-day period. With every purchase of any two Hong Kong Disneyland Tickets at the concierge, guests will receive a complimentary special edition Toy Story Land Shopping Bag. Both 1-Day and 2-Day Tickets are now available at the hotel's concierge (refer to appendix A for price table).

To mark the launch of the new ticket type, guests who pre-book the Magical Escape Room Package to stay at the hotel between 1 March to 30 June 2012 will receive a complimentary upgrade from the 1-Day Ticket to a 2-Day Ticket as part of this exciting Hong Kong hotel deal. Guests can take their time to fully explore the Park and meet their favorite Toy Story friends in its latest Toy Story Land.

The Magical Escape Room Package is available for booking, Monday to Sunday, from HK$2,088+ per night. The Package includes a Deluxe Room one-night stay, two adult Hong Kong Disneyland Park Tickets and buffet breakfast for two. Reservations can be made through skycitymarriott.com or by calling (852) 3969 1888 (refer to appendix B for room package and promotion details).

Located just 20 minutes away from the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, SkyCity Marriott is one of the closest hotels in Hong Kong to the theme park. Due to its proximity, our 5 star Hong Kong hotel is popular among local Hong Kong residents and short-haul leisure travelers from South East Asia, who wish to visit Hong Kong Disneyland and experience five-star luxurious accommodations.

SkyCity Marriott first launched the Magical Escape Room package in 2009 and it is has been one of the most popular room packages, especially among families. The room package has been specially designed to cater to this market with the inclusion of Hong Kong Disneyland Park Tickets and buffet breakfast. To provide a seamless and hassle-free experience, SkyCity Marriott offers complimentary shuttle bus service to and from the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort on a daily basis -- 10am from SkyCity Marriott to the resort, 8:45pm from the resort to SkyCity Marriott.

In addition to our unparalleled holiday offer for families and leisure travelers, guests can also enjoy the hotel's five-star facilities -- 24-hour gym, 27-meter indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi. For golf enthusiast, the SkyCity Nine Eagles Golf Course is at the door-step of the hotel. Traveling out of the hotel is convenient with complimentary shuttle bus service to Tung Chung MTR station and the Airport. To reach town, guest can take the Airport Express Line, which is connected to the hotel via AsiaWorld-Expo.

About Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel Nestled on the edge of Lantau Island and on banks of the South China Sea, the Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel offers a refreshing escape from the bustling city. A five-star luxury hotel, the Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel provides luxurious accommodations with 658 guest rooms, 13 premium meeting rooms for corporate events, houses five restaurants for a variety of dining options and offers pampering spa treats at the boutique Quan Spa. Transportation to the hotel is a breeze as the hotel is located next to the Hong Kong International Airport and is just a 28-minute train ride (Airport Express Line) away from Hong Kong's central business district. For the leisure travelers, they can enjoy the convenience of the hotel being located near Hong Kong's famous tourist attractions -- Disneyland, Ngong Ping 360 and the Tian Tan Buddha. This modern day oasis is perfect for conferences, business travelers and leisure guests seeking the best of both worlds -- the luxury and convenience of contemporary living set in peaceful tranquility.

About Hong Kong Disneyland Hong Kong Disneyland Resort offers immersive, unique Disney experiences for all families, generations and ages to enjoy. Hong Kong is one of only five locations in the world that is home to a Disney theme park and the many Disney characters that are beloved the world over, such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Stitch and Buzz Lightyear. Since the Grand Opening in September 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland has received more than 31 million Guests from around the globe. Through the unique product offering and the world-class service provided by the 5,000 strong Cast at the theme park and the two hotels, the Resort has received outstanding Guest satisfaction ratings and a range of awards from the hospitality and entertainment sectors.

 

Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent or region, depending on the definition. It covers 8.6% of the Earth's total surface area, or 29.4% of its land area, and it contains more than 60% of the world's human population.

Asia is traditionally defined as part of the landmass of Africa-Eurasia – with the western portion of the latter occupied by Europe – lying east of the Suez Canal, east of the Ural Mountains, and south of the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian and Black Seas.

Etymology
The word Asia entered English, via Latin, from Ancient Greek (Asia; see also List of traditional Greek place names). This name is first attested in Herodotus (about 440 BC), where it refers to Anatolia; or, for the purposes of describing the Persian Wars, to the Persian Empire, in contrast to Greece and Egypt. Herodotus comments that he is puzzled as to why three women's names are used to describe one land mass (Europa, Asia and Libya, referring to Africa), stating that most Greeks assumed that Asia was named after the wife of Prometheus but that the Lydians say it was named after Asias, son of Cotys who passed the name on to a tribe in Sardis.

Even before Herodotus, Homer knew of a Trojan ally named Asios, son of Hyrtacus, a ruler over several towns, and elsewhere he describes a marsh as as??? (Iliad 2, 461). The Greek term may be derived from Assuwa, a 14th century BC confederation of states in Western Anatolia. Hittite assu- = "good" is probably an element in that name.

Alternatively, the ultimate etymology of the term may be from the Akkadian word (w)a?û(m), which means "to go out" or "to ascend", referring to the direction of the sun at sunrise in the Middle East, and also likely connected with the Phoenician word asa meaning east. This may be contrasted to a similar etymology proposed for Europe, as being from Semitic erebu "to enter" or "set" (of the sun). However, this etymology is considered doubtful, because it does not explain how the term "Asia" first came to be associated with Anatolia, which is west of the Semitic-speaking areas, unless they refer to the viewpoint of a Phoenician sailor sailing through the straits between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

Definition and boundaries
Medieval Europeans considered Asia as a continent – a distinct landmass. The European concept of the three continents in the Old World goes back to Classical Antiquity, but during the Middle Ages was notably due to Isidore of Sevilla (see T and O map). The demarcation between Asia and Africa is the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea. The boundary between Asia and Europe is commonly considered to run through the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus, the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea, the Ural River to its source, and the Ural Mountains to the Kara Sea near Kara, Russia. While this interpretation of tripartite continents (i.e., of Asia, Europe, and Africa) remains common in modernity, discovery of the extent of Africa and Asia have made this definition somewhat anachronistic. This is especially true in the case of Asia, which would have several regions that would be considered distinct landmasses if these criteria were used (for example, Southern Asia and Eastern Asia).

Generally, geologists and physical geographers do not consider Asia and Europe to be separate continents. Physiographically, Asia is the major eastern constituent of the continent of Eurasia – with Europe being a northwestern peninsula of the landmass – or of Africa-Eurasia: geologically, Asia, Europe, and Africa comprise a single continuous landmass (save the Suez Canal) and share a common continental shelf. Almost all of Europe and most of Asia sit atop the Eurasian Plate, adjoined on the south by the Arabian and Indian Plates, and with much of Siberia situated on the North American Plate.

In geography, there are two schools of thought. One school follows historical convention and treats Europe and Asia as different continents, categorizing subregions within them for more detailed analysis. The other school equates the word "continent" with a geographical region when referring to Europe, and use the term "region" to describe Asia in terms of physiography. Since, in linguistic terms, "continent" implies a distinct landmass, it is becoming increasingly common to substitute the term "region" for "continent" to avoid the problem of disambiguation altogether.

Given the scope and diversity of the landmass, it is sometimes not even clear exactly what "Asia" consists of. Some definitions exclude Turkey, the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia while only considering the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent to compose Asia. The term is sometimes used more strictly in reference to the Asia-Pacific region, which does not include the Middle East or Russia, but does include islands in the Pacific Ocean — a number of which may also be considered part of Australasia or Oceania although Pacific Islanders are commonly not considered Asian.


'Asian' as a demonym
The demonym 'Asian' often refers to a category of people from a subregion of Asia instead of being used as a mere adjective for anyone from the (Asian) continent. In British English, 'Asian' usually refers to South Asian, but may also refer to other Asian groups.[4] In the United States, 'Asian American' is usually taken to mean East Asian Americans due to the historical and cultural influences of China and Japan on the U.S. up to the 1960s and in preference to the terms 'Oriental' and 'Asiatic'; however, the term is increasingly taken to include Southeast Asian Americans and South Asian Americans due to the increasing demographics of these groups.

Ecconomy

As of 2007, the largest national economy within Asia, in terms of gross domestic product (PPP), is that of China followed by that of India and Japan. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the economies of China and India have been growing rapidly, both with an average annual growth rate of more than 8%.

However, in terms of exchange rates (nominal GDP), Japan has the largest economy in Asia and second-largest of any single nation in the world, after surpassing the Soviet Union (measured in net material product) in 1986 and Germany in 1968. (NB: A number of supernational economies are larger, such as the EU, NAFTA or APEC). Economic growth in Asia since World War II to the 1990s had been concentrated in few countries of the Pacific Rim, and has spread more recently to other regions.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Japan's economy was almost as large as that of the rest of the continent combined. In 1995, Japan's economy nearly equalled that of the USA to tie the largest economy in the world for a day, after the Japanese currency reached a record high of 79 yen. But since then, Japan's currency has corrected and China has grown to be the second-largest Asian economy, followed by India, in terms of exchange rates. It is expected that China will surpass Japan in currency terms to have the largest nominal GDP in Asia within a decade or two. India is expected to overtake Japan by 2030.

Trade blocs:

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Asia-Europe Economic Meeting
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement
Commonwealth of Independent States
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Natural resources
Asia is the largest continent in the world by a considerable margin, and it is rich in natural resources, such as petroleum and iron.

High productivity in agriculture, especially of rice, allows high population density of countries in the warm and humid area. Other main agricultural products include wheat and chicken.

Forestry is extensive throughout Asia, except in Southwest and Central Asia. Fishing is a major source of food in Asia, particularly in Japan.


Manufacturing
Manufacturing in Asia has traditionally been strongest in East and Southeast Asia, particularly in mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. The industry varies from manufacturing cheap goods such as toys to high-tech products such as computers and cars. Many companies from Europe, North America, and Japan have significant operations in Asia's developing countries to take advantage of its abundant supply of cheap labour.

One of the major employers in manufacturing in Asia is the textile industry. Much of the world's supply of clothing and footwear now originates in India and Southeast Asia.


Financial and other services
Asia has three main financial centres: in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo. Call centres and business process outsourcing (BPOs) are becoming major employers in India and the Philippines due to the availability of a large pool of highly-skilled, English-speaking workers. The rise of the business process outsourcing industry has seen the rise of India and China as other financial centres. Due its large and extremely competitive information technology industry, Bangalore is often dubbed as the Silicon Valley of India.


Early history
History of Asia

Map of Asia published in 1892.The history of Asia can be seen as the distinct histories of several peripheral coastal regions: East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East, linked by the interior mass of the Central Asian steppes.

The coastal periphery was home to some of the world's earliest known civilizations, each of them developing around fertile river valleys. The civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Yangtze shared many similarities. These civilizations may well have exchanged technologies and ideas such as mathematics and the wheel. Other innovations, such as writing, seem to have been developed individually in each area. Cities, states, and empires developed in these lowlands.

The central steppe region had long been inhabited by horse-mounted nomads who could reach all areas of Asia from the steppes. The earliest postulated expansion out of the steppe is that of the Indo-Europeans, who spread their languages into the Middle East, India, and the borders of China, where the Tocharians resided. The northernmost part of Asia, including much of Siberia, was largely inaccessible to the steppe nomads, owing to the dense forests, climate, and tundra. These areas remained very sparsely populated.

The center and the peripheries were mostly kept separated by mountains and deserts. The Caucasus and Himalaya mountains and the Karakum and Gobi deserts formed barriers that the steppe horsemen could cross only with difficulty. While the urban city dwellers were more advanced technologically and socially, in many cases they could do little in a military aspect to defend against the mounted hordes of the steppe. However, the lowlands did not have enough open grasslands to support a large horsebound force; for this and other reasons, the nomads who conquered states in China, India, and the Middle East often found themselves adapting to the local, more affluent societies.


Rabindranath Tagore, the first Asian Nobel laureate.

Languages and literature
Asia is home to several language families and many language isolates. Most Asian countries have more than one language that is natively spoken. For instance, according to Ethnologue, more than 600 languages are spoken in Indonesia, more than 415 languages spoken in India, and more than 100 are spoken in the Philippines. China has many languages and dialects in different provinces. Korea, however, is home to only one language, albeit one with high dialectal diversity.


Nobel prizes
The polymath Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet, dramatist, and writer from Santiniketan, now in West Bengal, India, became in 1913 the first Asian Nobel laureate. He won his Nobel Prize in Literature for notable impact his prose works and poetic thought had on English, French, and other national literatures of Europe and the Americas. He also wrote the Indian anthem.

Tagore is said to have named another Bengali Indian Nobel prize winner, the 1998 laureate in Economics, Amartya Sen. Sen's work has centered around global issues including famine, welfare, and third-world development. Amartya Sen was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University, U.K., from 1998-2004, becoming the first Asian to head an 'Oxbridge' College.

Other Asian writers who won Nobel Prizes include Yasunari Kawabata (Japan, 1966), Kenzaburo Oe (Japan, 1994), Gao Xingjian (China, 2000) and Orhan Pamuk (Turkey, 2006) Also,Shirin Ebadi of Iran was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially for the rights of women and children. She is the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to receive the prize.

In 2006 Dr. Mohammad Yunus from Bangladesh and Grameen Bank he established to lend money to poor people especially women in Bangladesh was awarded Nobel Peace prize. Dr. Yunus received his Ph.D. in economics from Vanderbilt University, United States. He is internationally known for the concept of micro credit which allows poor and destitutes with little or no collateral to borrow money. The borrowers typically pay back money within specified period of time and the incidence of default is very low.


Beliefs

Mythology
The story of Great Floods find reference in most of the regions of Asia. The story is first found in Mesopotamian mythology, in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Hindu mythology tells about an avatar of God Vishnu in the form of a fish who warned Manu of a terrible flood. In ancient Chinese mythology, Shan Hai Jing, the Chinese ruler Da Yu, had to spend 10 years to control a deluge which swept out most of ancient China and was aided by the goddess Nüwa who "fixed" the "broken" sky through which huge rains were pouring. The story is also found in the Tanakh, Bible and Qur'an.

List of mythologies native to Asia:

Arabian mythology
Balinese mythology
Buddhist mythology
Chinese mythology

The Mahabharata is a crucial component of ancient Hindu philosophy.Hindu mythology
Vedic mythology
Japanese mythology
Shinto
Oomoto
Korean mythology
Mesopotamian mythology
Babylonian and Assyrian religion
Babylonian mythology
Chaldean mythology
Canaanite mythology
Canaanite religion
Hittite mythology
Sumerian mythology
Persian mythology
Yezidis (Modified indigenous Kurdish belief)
Zoroastrianism
Philippine mythology
Anito
Gabâ
Kulam
Turkic mythology
Tatar mythology
Tengriism (Indigenous Mongol, Tartar & Kazakh belief)

Philosophy
Eastern philosophy

Originated in India, Yoga forms an integral part of Hindu philosophy.Asian philosophical traditions originated in India and China and cover a large spectrum of philosophical thoughts and writings. Indian philosophy includes Hindu philosophy and Buddhist philosophy. They include elements of nonmaterial pursuits, whereas another school of thought from India, Carvaka, preached the enjoyment of material world.

Taoism was founded by Chinese philosopher Lao Zi, who lived 605-520 B.C. Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, who lived 563-483 B.C.

During the 20th century, in the two most populous countries of Asia, two dramatically different political philosophies took shape. Gandhi gave a new meaning to Ahimsa, and redefined the concepts of nonviolence and nonresistance. During the same period, Mao Zedong’s communist philosophy was crystallized.


Religions
The Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá'í Faith originated in West Asia. The Dharmic religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism originated in South Asia. In East Asia, particularly in China and Japan, Confucianism, Taoism, Zen Buddhism and Shinto took shape. Other religions of Asia include the Zoroastrianism, Shamanism practiced in Siberia, and Animism practiced in the eastern parts of the Indian subcontinent and in Southeast Asia.

Today 30% of Muslims live in the South Asian regions of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The world's largest single Muslim community (within the bounds of one nation) is in Indonesia. There are also significant Muslim populations in China, Iran, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia and most of West Asia and Central Asia.

In the Philippines and East Timor, Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion; it was introduced by the Spaniards and the Portuguese, respectively. In Armenia, Eastern Orthodoxy is the predominant religion. Various Christian sects have adherents in portions of the Middle East, as well as China and India.

A large majority of people in the world who practice a religious faith practice one founded in Asia.

Religions founded in Asia and with a majority of their contemporary adherents in Asia include:

Ahmadi: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan.
Animism: Eastern India, Japan, tribal Philippines.
Bahá'í Faith: slightly more than half of all adherents are in Asia.
Bön: Tibet.

A stone image of the Buddha.Buddhism: Tibet, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, parts of India and parts of central and eastern Russia (Siberia).
Mahayana Buddhism: Bhutan, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, parts of the Philippines.
Theravada Buddhism: Cambodia, parts of China, Chittagong Hill Tracts, West Bengal, Laos, mainly northern parts of Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, as well as parts of Vietnam.
Vajrayana Buddhism: Parts of China, Mongolia, Tibet, parts of northern and eastern India, parts of central, eastern Russia and Siberia.
Daoism: China, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam.
Hinduism: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia Bali, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore and South Asian immigrants in West Asia.
Islam: Central Asia, South Asia, and Southwest Asia, Maritime Southeast Asia, Mindanao Philippines , Southern Thailand, Rakhine State Myanmar.
Shia Islam: largely to specific Iran, Azerbaijan, parts of Iraq, Bahrain, parts of Afghanistan, parts of India, parts of Pakistan.
Sunni Islam: dominant in the rest of the regions mentioned above.
Jainism: India.
Kejawen: Indonesia
Shamanism: Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Siberia.
Shinto: Japan.
Sikhism: India, Malaysia, Hong Kong.
Yezidi : Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey.
Zikri: Pakistan, Iran.
Zoroastrianism: Iran, India, Pakistan.
Religions founded in Asia that have the majority of their contemporary adherents in other regions include:

Christianity: Armenia, East Timor, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Pakistan, Palestinian territories, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Syria.
Judaism: slightly fewer than half of its adherents reside in Asia; Israel, India, Iran, Russia, Syria. (Credit: Wikipedia)

News

Asia Pacific Mega Gambling News Update, by Greg Tingle - 9th April 2011

Newcastle NSW War Pokie Laws...

New poker machine restrictions proposed by Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie will "annihilate" pubs and clubs in the Hunter, leaving hundreds out of work, ClubsNSW Newcastle councillor Jon Chin says. Clubs Australia is launching a $20 million advertising campaign on Monday in an attempt to prevent the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment technology for all poker machines. Banjo, a John "Singo" Singleton company is behind the campaign. Mandatory pre-commitment requires pokies users to commit to a spending limit before they begin gambling. Once they reach that limit they will be unable to gamble again until the following day or longer, depending on what restrictions the player sets for themselves. Chin said the cost of implementing the new technology in the Hunter region would surpass $100 million. This figure did not include the 40% in revenue clubs would experience once the restrictions were imposed, he said. "This means Hunter clubs will lose another $100 million, making it impossible for us to sustain our businesses," he said. Australian Hotels Association Hunter sub-branch vice-president Bruce Woods said there was no evidence to suggest the restrictions would discourage people from gambling. "This won't help pathological gamblers at all but it will lead to a loss of jobs," he said. "We support the clubs' campaign against this, it will affect pubs just as much as clubs".

Online Gaming Strong Growth In Asia...

Online gaming industry has grown into a $US3 billion business that provides a good standard of living to migrant workers in Asia who play games all day and sometimes, all night! Virtual currency is all the rage, it sometimes gets sold to punters abroad for cash. A World Bank study demonstrates an emerging industry in which firms seeking to boost their brands' popularity pay low-skilled workers overseas to become their Facebook fans or Twitter followers. The study, Knowledge Map of the Virtual Economy, is the World Bank's first in-depth look at the impact of online gaming and social media in the developing world. Vili Lehdonvirta, a co-author of the report, advised that the bank should not pour its money into the industry, because he said the deal making violated some of the game publishers' terms of service and was cheating. Known in the business as "gold farming", the game-playing boomed in the early 2000s with games like World of Warcraft and has evolved considerably. Labourers in Asia spend numerous hours each day advancing through levels of an online game, picking up gold, swords and gems that enhance a game player's status. Then gaming studios, which employ the players, sell those virtual goods to online retailers. Next step, the retailers sell on those goods to more than 120 million players globally, many of them in Europe and North America, who don't want to play the games day and night to gather their own. The bank's report indicates that online gaming has a positive impact in Asia because 70% of the industry's revenue remains in the gaming countries, with most of that money going to the gaming studios. Compared with the $US70 billion coffee market...in which only a tiny fraction of the revenue remains in the bean-growing countries...the gaming industry had a "much better development impact", the report states. A report survey checks out on a group of 26 players and studio managers that offers a rough, yet rare demographic look at their lives. Most of the players work out of studios in China, in Beijing or Changsha, capital of Hunan province. They earn an average wage of $US2.70 an hour, $US1 more than Beijing's minimum wage for part-time factory work. "The larger point is that online gaming is often viewed as exploitation, Lehdonvirta said. "Certainly it's not a dream career, but the players are not at sweatshop levels." The gaming studios keep about 60% of the industry's $US3 billion in revenue. Readers, would you like to be a prize gather for the gaming studios on that level of pay? Better not answer!

Samoan Casino Proposal Has Social Concerns For Kiwi, Samoan Locals...

All these places have land based casinos - Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, Macau, Melbourne and just maybe soon - Apia in Samoa. Some business folks have earmarked it as a future gambling destination, and Kiwi group, the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand, is advising against it, citing social harms of a casino will outweigh any economical benefits that the Samoan government will hope to achieve. In an admission of the dangers of gambling, the proposed casino in Apia will attempt to bar locals by only allowing the holders of foreign passports to gamble. Problem #1... many locals have duplicate passports, so getting in to a casino for locals may not be that hard, and don't even bring up the subject of fake ID. Will the region get a land based casino? Stay tuned for updates.

Clubs Australia War On Gillard Labor Government Re Pokie Laws...

Clubs Australia has declared "open warfare" on the Gillard government, preparing a $20 million media campaign to try to stop laws to limit how much punters can spend on poker machines. Last year "Tasmanian Devil" (MM satire) independent MP Andrew Wilkie backed Labor to form a minority government in return for a clampdown on the use of poker machines. Now, the lobby that represents clubs and pubs is wrestling and punching back, with a media blitz targeting Wilkie and Prime Minister Julie Gillard. Both Wilkie and Gillard are in big trouble in the popularity polls, with Labor set to lose the next federal election, following their NSW loss, where it was bloody and crimson mass. Billboards, a website, beer coasters and more It's war on nationwide. The campaign has been criticised as misleading for claiming punters will need a licence to gamble. Clubs Australia executive director Anthony Ball rejects that. "What we do know is that everyone who plays a poker machine will need to register and obtain a card, and then insert it into a poker machine and set a binding limit. There needs to be player tracking, because how else does the machine know what the player is doing? It will have your private details and your gambling history on it. Now if that's not a licence, I don't know what is." Under Wilkie's master plan, gamblers would have to nominate a dollar figure for how much they are prepared to lose before they start gambling, a scheme known as "mandatory pre-commitment". Wilkie wants the law in place by 2014 and he has the backing of South Australian independent Senator Nick 'Mr X' (MM satire) Xenophon. Senator Xenophon describes the Clubs Australia campaign as a "joke". "This industry is willing to spend $20 million of tax-break money that they get from community clubs - effectively taxpayers' monies, indirectly - to peddle lies in terms of a campaign where they haven't even seen what the final report will say. Whether it's $20 million or $200 million, this mob can spend as much as they like, but they can't spin that they are causing enormous damage out in the community. There are 300,000 Australians who either have a severe gambling problem because of poker machines, or are already showing the signs of one."

Proposed Pokie Laws With Cost 10,000's of Aussie Jobs...

Clubs Australia advise the changes will cost jobs. They want it to be a voluntary scheme and have rejected a government request to hold off on the ad war. "It will cost jobs, for the simple reason that asking Australians to sign on to this licence to gamble will mean they'll do something else," Mr Ball said. "They'll go and gamble online where none of these controls exist, or they they'll go to the TAB - they won't do it at the club.Even the proponent of this, Andrew Wilkie, is saying that this will cost up to 40% of revenue."
It's all hot fodder in Aussie Parliament too. Liberal Steve Ciobo sits on the joint committee on gambling reform, which has been hearing arguments pro and con against a mandatory pre-commitment scheme. "The committee was charged by the Labor party with the responsibility to look at a roll-out of pre-commitment," he said. "But Coalition members will be putting in a dissenting report because the evidence is clear that it's going to cost jobs, it's going to cost investment, and I'm concerned based on the evidence that it will make problem gambling potentially worse." The committee is due to report in the next few weeks. The states and territories have until the end of May to decide if they will agree to the Wilkie-led reforms. If they refuse, the Commonwealth believes it has the power to introduce overriding legislation to impose a national scheme. The pokie industry has shown the willingness to wrestle all the way to the next election, and perhaps even beyond. It's the lovers VS the haters. Who will win, and when will the final victor emerge. Stay tuned.

Sky City Entertainment Group Stocks Fall From Sky...

Sky City Entertainment Group, the casino and hotel operator, fell 0.9% to $3.41 amid media reports that overseas competitors were looking to hire the 500 staff made redundant or on leave without pay due to the closure of the Christchurch Casino. SkyCity owns a 50% stake in the business.

Casino Bouncer Thought Disabled Bloke Was Drunk...

A South Australian man with deasiese cerebral palsy says he was refused entry to the Adelaide Casino because the bouncer thought he was drunk. Mark Thiele was on a big night out with friends when he attempted to enter the casino, but was refused by a bouncer aka "gorilla". Thiele says the bouncer mistakenly thought he was drunk, but the casino is sticking by its decision. "I had said to the man that I wasn't a drunk, I was crippled," said Thiele, talking about his rejection on 7.30 South Australia. "He had said to me he was convinced I was intoxicated even though we said that I had only had a few drinks earlier on in the evening. "So I can't see why I was singled out and everybody else in my party wasn't. There was no difference between any of us besides the obvious. It's a mystery to me really." Last month, he and his friends had walked to the casino from the city's Hindley Street entertainment strip a few blocks away. Thiele has trouble moving his body and for him, walking distances is a big effort. His mate Aaron Nettlebeck says the casino bouncer did not understand. "Walking that sort of distance does get very, very sweaty over that sort of short period. It was a bit infuriating that it happened like that after such a nice evening." Thiele says he has not had a problem at venues until now. "For the vast majority it's never been a problem. Bouncers that I've come into contact with have been understanding and even let me skip the line a few times just to put me at ease," he said. "Obviously it's a stamina thing that I can't walk these long distances and stand in lines and all of these things." He says he is considering lodging a complaint with the commission or under South Australia's liquor laws.The casino's general manager, David Christian, has offered an apology of sorts. "It was certainly not our intention that Mark would have felt discriminated against and I'm sorry that he does feel that way," he said. But he is defending the actions of his staff. "They believe that they made the right call. I would believe that with the calibre we have and the training we put into our security officers, and the level of management that oversees it, that they would be right most of the time."

New Zealand Christchurch Casino Workers Hurting From Earthquake Financial Aftershocks...

Financial and emotional aftershocks are still be felt by the casino sector after a series of earthquakes that rocked the Asia Pacific - Japan and New Zealand region. Christchurch Casino workers are feeling disappointed and even depressed after having failed attempt to get a bigger redundancy payday.In excess of 500 formally happy and motivated casino employees were offered redundancy at the central Christchurch casino last weekend, which was badly damaged in the February 22 quake and has stayed closed ever since the act of mother nature. Anyone who wants to stay at the casino will be paid their holiday pay as either a weekly amount or in a "lump sum". Simply put, they will remain as employees of the land based casino on leave without pay until the the gambling den opens again. The SFWU (Service and Food Workers' Union), which reps for 100 plus casino workers, has a meeting with the casino's managers on Thursday. SFWU strategic industry boss Len 'Razor' (MM tag) Richards said workers were sombre but firm in their desire about securing a more attractive redundancy package. The union power that be were also asking for continued pay for employees that choose to stay on until the casino opens again. However, he advised management was not prepared to increase the amount of redundancy pay for staff, but did agree to request for a government wage subsidy. Due to a private insurance deal and policy in place, the land based casino has not relied upon the $1.5 million government subsidy available for quake-affected businesses. Richards stated that the union has contacted earthquake recovery minister Gerry Brownlee to request assistance to help pay workers who remain employed. SkyCity, half owner of the famous Christchurch Casino, has projected a $130 million plus profit this year. It's not known how much financially the quake cost Christchurch Casino or SkyCity. Christchurch Casino top sheep er top dog...chief executive Brett 'Ask Him' (MM satire) Anderson said about 70% of employees have indicated they will stay with the company rather than take the offered redundancy. He said a number of employees are also being offered jobs offshore. Anderson elaborated "I'm getting phone calls from Australia looking for our people and likewise all over New Zealand, and a few of them have spread their wings. More than a few have gone over to the Gold Coast. It's a lot warmer, it's a lot more stable, you can swim in the sea, the pay rates are better." Anderson said he still does not know when the casino will reopen.Employees have a deadline until Monday to decide whether they will take the redundancy package or stay on. Yep, it's the money or the box. Workers who have not contacted the company by showdown at 5pm on Monday will be deemed to have left their jobs and will be paid out a four-weeks-notice payment, along with their annual leave entitlements. Casino workers, did you get that. D Day is approaching.

A Media Man spokesperson said "In the current global economy anyone with a decent job should be grateful, especially in the casino or gaming sector. Well done to Christchurch Casino management for doing their utmost to assist in their difficult times. Employers will always want to ask for more... its in the nature. Land based casinos generally remain popular around the world so good staff will always be in demand."

Media Man and Gambling911 wish all parties well with their dealings, and hopefully some win - win - wins will still be possible.

States Probe Sports Betting Ads...

Aussie states are uniting to consider a crackdown on an explosion in advertising of sports betting, Victoria's Gaming Minister says. Michael O'Brien last night revealed the betting blitz on sport was being examined by the Council of Australian Governments. "There is growing concern at the extent to which is becoming inseparable from the coverage of major sporting events. Kids are being exposed to it constantly just by watching the footy or cricket," he said.AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said the league had expressed its concerns to stadium managers. Goal posts, boundary line fences and scoreboards at the MCG and Etihad Stadium have been plastered with ads from bookmakers. Demetriou said the alarm was raised during last year's Brownlow Medal telecast. "There seemed to be an enormous amount of (gambling) advertising after each break," he told press. O'Brien said the AFL, which enjoys lucrative sponsorship arrangements with gambling giants, could take responsibility through its media and stadium deals. "It may be that there's an opportunity for this influence to be exercised to ensure the promotion of sports betting isn't allowed to detract from family-friendly objectives of (such) sports," he said. This week, former Demon Daniel Ward revealed in the the newspapers his battle with gambling. "It's always in your face," he said of the ads. "It's like being a drug addict and an advert comes on saying, 'The first 50 people to ring will get a free bag of marijuana'."

Hawkins Former Ms Univervese Lookalike Kahili Blundell Wins Ralph Swimwear Title At Star...

Sin City Sydney babe Kahili Blundell has snatched the Ralph Australian Swimwear Model of the Year comp. The Crows Nest bikini super babe bested more than 2000 babes from all over Australia and Kiwi land to grab the coveted title at Sin Sydney's Star City Casino on Thurday. "I feel more than special right now, I'm blown away and so honoured to be given this position," Blundell said. "I was expecting him to call another number and I stood there thinking 27, is that me? "It's also my boyfriend's birthday, but I realised it was me and I was shivering." The 21-year-old Jennifer Hawkins lookalike works as a personal assistant and dabbles in makeup artistry in her spare time. Blundell says modelling has been tough, slogging it out for 3 years. "Since November I've been training every week for this, thinking about it every night," she said. "I've been brought up to eat very healthy, so I don't have too much trouble doing that, but I definitely exercise a lot. I've been working very hard so thank god it's all paid off." The comp saw the 38 finalists strut their stuff in catwalk parades. Sex bikinis were all the rage. A select group of a bakers dozen were picked, then reigning champ Emmi Moore handed over her sash and championship title to Blundell. "I've been doing this for three years now and this is exactly what I've been dreaming and hoping for," Blundell said. "I'm open to any opportunity and I love challenges. I've obviously done well in the bikini field, so I might just continue on this track for a little while." Burlesque babe Sina King from Underbelly home Melbourne snatched runner-up while second runner-up went to 21-year-old writer - journo type Tiffany Baker from Fremantle in Western Australia.

Australian Boxer Katsidis To Fight Guerrero In MGM Grand Casino Las Vegas Bloody Sunday...

Down under's Australia's Michael Katsidis and his opponent in Sunday's (AEST) interim lightweight world-title fight at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Casino, America's Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, also have powerful stories. Guerrero's world was crushed big time circa 2007 when his wife, Casey, was diagnosed with leukemia. The Californian gave up boxing, giving up his world-title, so he could be by Casey's side and stay close to their young children as she underwent a bone-marrow transplant. Things are now looking up for Guerrero. "Casey has been cancer free for almost a year now," 28-year-old Guerrero, the number one ranked lightweight in the world and a former featherweight and super featherweight champion, said. Last year Katsidis' was having a dream run. The likable 30-year-old blokefrom Toowoomba celebrated his first wedding anniversary with wife Kumiko. He loved being a dad to their one-year-old daughter Kalia and was preparing for the biggest bout of his career, a world-title fight in Las Vegas against Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez. Things quickly went downhill when five weeks before the Marquez fight he learned his 31-year-old brother, champion Australian jockey (horse racing) Stathi Katsidis, had passed away. Just days later Katsidis' longtime trainer, Brendon Smith, received two more bad news calls. Smith's nephew got paralysed from the chest down in an accident and one of the trainer's former boxers passed away. "We got it all within three weeks and just before the Marquez fight," Smith said. Katsidis and Smith made the call to keep training at their Thai boxing camp and take on Marquez at the MGM Grand Casino, a match that would be voted the Fight of the Year after Katsidis floored Marquez to the mat in the third round. Marquez guts and balls by getting up and pounding Katsidis so badly ref Kenny Bayless ended the match in the ninth round, giving Marquez a ninth round technical knockout victory. On the eve of the Guerrero fight, Katsidis and Smith, who kept quite before the Marquez bout, finally opened up about their personal tragedies. Katsidis did not sleep two days before the Marquez fight. "He was emotionally spent before he got in the ring and to do what he did under the circumstances was incredible," Smith said. "I believe if something doesn't kill you it only makes you stronger," Katsidis said. Guerrero has 22 knockouts in his 27 professional victories. "This is truly a fight for boxing fans," Guerrero, who has a 28 win (18 KO), one loss professional record, said. "You are going to see two guys go at it and give it their all." The winner of the match will be named the interim World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organisation lightweight champions. Promoter 'Golden Boy' Oscar De La Hoya has named the MGM card "Action Heroes", with another Mexican legend, Erik Morales, fighting Argentina's exciting welterweight contender Marcos Maidana and in another welterweight battle, Brooklyn's Paulie Malignaggi VS Jose Miguel Cotto. The matches will be broadcast live in Australia on Sunday from 11am AEST by Main Event pay-per-view. "For a boxing card, sounds like it will be value for money for a bit of a change", said a Media Man insider.

 

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