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Julia Gillard


Julie Gillard

Media Man does not represent Julia Gillard

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PM yet to announce position on pokies - 16th January 2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard says her talks with anti-poker machine federal independent MP Andrew Wilkie have been constructive and are continuing.

Ms Gillard met on Sunday with the Tasmanian politician to talk about his proposed poker machine gambling reforms but has so far declined to give any details.

"Those discussions are ongoing and it's not going to be my intention to comment on them in the media," she told reporters in Hobart on Monday.

"But we had a constructive discussion yesterday."

Asked about Senator Nick Xenophon's comment that the reforms are doomed to failure because the federal government no longer relies on Mr Wilkie's lower house vote to hold power, Ms Gillard said he wasn't involved in her talks with Mr Wilkie.

"Senator Xenophon was not in those discussions yesterday so the people who best know how those discussions are going were in those talks ... and me and Mr Wilkie describe them as constructive because they were."

Mr Wilkie was due on Monday to fly to Adelaide to meet Senator Xenophon, who has been a strong supporter of the lower house MP's poker machine reforms.

Mr Wilkie said on Sunday it was inconceivable Gillard would renege on the deal to impose mandatory pre-commitment for high loss poker machines and a $1 limit on other machines.

The reforms were part of the deal Mr Wilkie struck in return for his support for a Labor minority government after the 2010 election.

But the Gillard government is less reliant on Mr Wilkie's support since coalition MP Peter Slipper defected to become Speaker.

Senator Xenophon, who backs a $1 limit on all bets, said on Sunday the government was about to commit an act of "political bastardry" and sink the reforms by making them too contentious for many MPs to vote for.

Greens Senator Richard Di Natale on Monday agreed there was a risk the proposed reforms may not go ahead.

"I think that there's a real risk that the policy proposal put forward by Andrew Wilkie won't get up," he told ABC Radio.

Anthony Ball from Clubs Australia said the $1 maximum bet, just like mandatory pre-commitment, probably won't help problem gamblers, but will be "hugely expensive" to implement.

"It would be a sad day that we pursued policy simply because it's easier to get through parliament and that's what Nick Xenophon and others are talking about," Mr Ball told ABC Radio.

Key Independent MP Tony Windsor told ABC Radio: "I think the $1 bet suggestion is a lot easier to understand.

"I think people have difficulty understanding what mandatory pre-commitment meant in the first place.

"But obviously putting a limit on the bet is more understandable."

Mr Wilkie said he expected to give a detailed public update on the progress later this week.

 

Julia Gillard VS Tony Abbott

Tony Abbott VS Julia Gillard (2010)

Media Man does not represent Tony Abbott

 

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22nd January 2009 - Barack Obama is sworn in as the President of the United States of America

January 2009 - Barack Obama immortalized in pop culture as he makes the front cover of Marvel Comics

5th November 2008 - the president-elect of the United States is Barack Obama

24th November 2007 - Kevin Rudd elected new Australian Prime Minister

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Greg Tingle (Media Man director) and The Hon Wayne Swan

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Australian Punters Bet On Julie Gillard PM, by Greg Tingle - 6th July 2010

The Australian punting public has spoken... they believe that Prime Minster Julie Gillard will hold on cum the next Australian election, likely to be held within 3 months... Media Man and Gambling911 probe politics and watch the watchers...

Australian Prime Minister, the smart, humble and most sexy Julia Gillard, will win the next election however Labor will loose 8 seats, the Aussie punters predict at this time.

The Federal Government's chances, stocks and image, so it seems, have improved quite a bit since Labor boned (thanks Eddie McGuire) Kevin "Bloody" Rudd last month in favour of his former deputy Ms Gillard (speculation reigns for how long she will remain a Ms... marriage this year?)

Aussie betting - gaming giant Centrebet (Betfair) - James Packer 50% owned is the competitor) still expects the Government to lose 8 seats at the upcoming election however still enough to form a 10-seat majority. That's 10 (think of Julia as the Bo Derek of Aussie politics hey baby).

With this scenario, Labor would hold 80 federal seats, in comparison with 67 for the Coalition and 3 for the independents (Bob Brown and friends).

A redistribution has made 5 Coalition-held seats notionally Labor, putting 88 electorates in the Government's column so to speak.

A uniform swing (not swinger) of 1.5 per cent away from Labor would see the Government lose 8 seats, including the electorate of Bennelong held by high-profile television journo queen cum MP Maxine McKew.

Disendorsed MP Belinda Neal's NSW central coast seat of Robertson would also fall to the coalition along with Perth WA electorate of Hasluck and the Darwin NT seat of Solomon.

Labor's odds of winning the next election have shortened to $1.29 with the Coalition's odds now at $3.50, following a whopping $50,000 bet with Centrebet on the weekend.

This is the Government's shortest odds of victory since December last year, when the Liberals dumped Malcolm Turnbull as leader for Tony "The Bruiser" Abbott.

Centrebet has temporarily suspended betting for an election date, with August 28 presently the favourite.

With Ms Gillard heading to Queensland, an election is unlikely to be called today for early August.

Meanwhile, Ms Gillard has finally joined the social-networking site Twitter - and she's sent it into a Sunday afternoon feeding frenzy.

Ms Gillard had been maintaining a dignified silence on Twitter, which other politicians appear addicted to.

But commensurate with her new role running the country, Ms Gillard joined the internet age.

Tweeting under "JuliaGillard", the prime minister said: "I've decided it's time to take the Twitter plunge! Hopefully Ill master it. JG."

Within 30 mins of her first tweet, Ms Gillard had surged to 450 followers, and was adding one sheep er (follower) every three seconds.

Her site includes an ALP logo and a smart, even titillating, photograph of her in matching necklace and earrings. Of course, beauty (and sexiness) is in the eye of the beholder.

Twitter allows anyone to sign up send out messages of 140 characters or less whenever they like; others sign up and follow the messages.

Ms Gillard may be the talk of Twitter but she has a long way to go before she can match her former boss Kevin Rudd, who has almost one million people following his regular tweets.

Posting under the not-entirely-accurate moniker "KevinRuddPM", Mr Rudd's latest message showed him enjoying a day out with his family on the Sunshine Coast.

"Doing normal things like shopping. Turns out I'm still a lousy shopper," Mr Rudd tweeted yesterday.

Mr Rudd's recent posts have received wide media coverage as he communicated what he was up to and how he felt after losing the leadership in the dark of night. His wife, Therese Rein, is also a committed tweeter.

Mr Abbott is just shy of 10,000 followers on Twitter, and that's with or without his famous Budgie Smugglers not so shy photo shot (Julie, pleaseee try to top Tony... I beg you...a beach shot would be appreciated by many. If too hot or provocative, perhaps one from a day at the races).

Meanwhile, Ms Gillard has called for an open debate on asylum seekers days before the Government is expected to announce a new policy on refugees.

A three-month freeze on the processing of Sri Lankan asylum seekers is due to expire on Thursday. A Media Man staffer was heard joking in regard to Labor "So, the inmates are no longer running the asylum, time will tell, and let's see what Liberal's Malcolm Turnbull might get up to re the three way dance".

Ms Gillard would not be probed further on what decision her Government would make or if it would apply to refugees more broadly. Gillard is no broad and widely remains viewed as beauty and brains.

However, she said people should be able to speak their mind on the issue, free from political correctness.

"I'd like to sweep away any sense that people should close down any debate, including this debate, through a sense of self-censorship or political correctness," Ms Gillard said while on a tour of bushfire-attacked Marysville down south in Victoria.

"People should say what they feel and my view is many in the community should feel anxious when they see asylum seeker boats and obviously we as a government want to manage our borders.

"For people to say they're anxious about border security doesn't make them intolerant, it certainly doesn't make them a racist, it means that they're expressing a genuine view that they're anxious about border security.

"By the same token people who express concern about children being in detention, that doesn't mean they're soft on border protection, that just means that they're expressing a real human concern."

Media Man prefers Gillard's approach, style and media policy (and good looks) to that of her former equivalent, Kevin Rudd. We hope Senator Stephen Conroy ("Minister Of Censorship") picks up on a few communication tips from "Our Julia".

Australian's wish our American friends a belated Happy Independence Day - 4th of July

Twitter - For Twits Or Smart Operators?...

Oh, did we mention... Julie Gillard recently joined the social networking craze with her Twitter account

http://twitter.com/JuliaGillard

Media Man Int Twitter
http://twitter.com/mediamanint

Media Man Politics Twitter
http://twitter.com/mediamanpolitic

Gambling911 Twitter
http://twitter.com/gambling911

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Punters, please play it legal, bet with your head, not over it, know the odds, have fun and try to remember to vote, unless you can get a donkey to vote for you... just kidding.

PS: Julia, are you certain about keeping Senator Stephen Conroy on board? Then again, Media Man spies advise that he's been listening to Crown Casino king James Packer, continuing on great work with GenerationOne and Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, so perhaps excellent idea to keep Sen Conroy. We note the proposed Aussie internet filter proposal is getting reconsidered. If done right it may be a vote winner, if done wrong, it may be The Election Looser! You're throw of the dice Jules.

Political Trivia...

American President Barack Omaba is the only president to ever make front cover of Marvel Comics (shared with Spider-Man)

Marvel icon Stan Lee 2 years ago released comic 'Election Daze'

Australian PM Julie Gillard was voted by Australians as the Sexiest Politician

Aussie sex symbol Madame Lash (Gretel Pinniger) formed her own ill fated political party in 1996 based out of Palm Beach, The Extra Dimension Party! She had promised to bring "rubber, leather, glitter, glamour and, of course, lashes" to Canberra! Lash was also understood to have enjoyed a spanking good relationship with Clyde Packer, same family as gaming and media mogul, the late Kerry Packer (father of James Packer).

Jesse 'The Body' Ventura (James George Janos), former governor of Minnesota was once a front man for American sports betting and gaming company, BetUS

Linda McMahon, World Wrestling Entertainment former CEO, is running for U.S Senate. She announced her candidacy for U.S. Senator from Connecticut on September 16, 2009. On May 21, 2010, she became the presumptive nominee, winning a majority of support from the Connecticut Republican Party. She is running as a Republican, campaigning on promises of lower taxes, fiscal conservatism, and job creation.

Jack Abramoff was a Washington, D.C. lobbyist, businessman, and con man. He is the key figure in the gaming and political themed 'Casino Jack and the United States of Money' documentary film and the story is also known as 'Bagman', staring Kevin Spacey as Jack. The rumor mill says Jack was recently spotted flipping Pizzas.

Malcolm Turnbull, former leader of the Liberal Party of Australia is also an internet entrepreneur and made millions with his once start up, ISP OzEmail.

Crown Casino and competitor, Star City Casino, are a few of the biggest donors to Australia's major political parties (Labor and Liberal)

Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger the 38th Governor of California, acting and bodybuilding icon, is also featured in the online slot game 'The Terminator' found at political and media savvy - PartyGaming - PartyCasino http://www.partycasino.com/index.htm?wm=3221754

*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a bakers dozen of sectors they cover. They also offer political analysis and commentary.

 

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Internet Censorship in Australia: Senate Transcript - May 2010

For those of you who have been following the exploits of Australia Communications Director Stephen Conroy and his attempts to censor the Internet here at Gambling911.com, we have obtained a copy of the Senate transcript as it relates to Google in Australian Parliament, courtesy of Greg Tingle.

Conroy does not mention or reference gaming or gambling, however, it is known that some of those sites appearing on a so-called "black list" include online gambling websites such as Betfair.

CHAIR - We now move to program 1.2, Telecommunications, Online and Postal Services. We are waiting for Senator Ludlum, who indicated that he has questions here. We will start with Senator Fisher.

Senator FISHER -There was a story on the ABC News website recently that Google was trawling streets collecting wi-fi data, and there was a suggestion that in the process of collecting that data they somehow downloaded network connection contents of people's houses.

Senator Conroy - I do not think it was ‘somehow'; I think they set out to collect it.

Senator FISHER - Minister, given the concerns that have been raised about the potential privacy issues and the concerns that have been ventilated as to what use Google will put this information and for how long they will keep it or have their wonderful way with it, what do you propose to do about it?

Senator Conroy - I believe the Privacy Commissioner has written to them. I think they are now engaged in a conversation.

Senator FISHER - Did you ask her to do so?

Senator Conroy - No. The Privacy Commissioner is in a different portfolio.

Senator FISHER - That would not stop you asking.

Senator Conroy - I note that the German minister has referred it to the criminal authorities for illegal data collection.

Senator FISHER - For the same thing in Germany?

Senator Conroy - This has been worldwide. Google takes the view that they can do anything they want-they do not evil to themselves. I do have a little bit of information. You actually cut into an answer I was hoping to give, but I will take you through the information that I have.

It is possible that this has been the largest privacy breach in history across Western democracies. After being caught out by European privacy commissioners, Google has admitted that their Streetview cars-the ones that drive down your street and photograph your house without your permission so that they can make it available worldwide for use in their Streetview product-has also been collecting information from people using wi-fi connections; that is, your personal data, including, potentially, emails. Welcome, Senator Ludlam. We are just filling in for you.

Senator FISHER - And connection equipment and so on.

Senator Conroy - All of that information. Ten privacy commissioners around the world recently wrote to Google about their concerns. Many privacy commissioners, including Australia's, are investigating Google for data breaches. Google have admitted to doing this and claim it was a mistake in the software code, meaning that it was actually quite deliberate; the code was collecting it.

Senator FISHER - Can you explain that?

Senator Conroy - The computer program that collects it was designed to collect this information.

Senator FISHER - Are you disputing Google's claim that it was inadvertent?

Senator Conroy - Yes. I am saying that they wrote a piece of code designed to do it.

Senator FISHER - So, it was deliberate in your view?

Senator Conroy - It is interesting to note that this claim that it was a mistake came only after the data protection authority in Germany asked to audit Google's data. They continually say publicly, ‘Trust us.' This comes on top of recent controversies relating to the Google Buzz product, which made public the details of the people users most emailed and chatted with on their social networking site.

I can fully explain the policies being adopted by a company like Google. In December 2009 their CEO, Eric Schmidt, told CNBC, ‘If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.' At the World Mobile Conference in Barcelona in February the same CEO falsely denied any privacy breach with Buzz. He stated, ‘People thought that somehow we were publishing their email addresses and private information, which was not true', when it was true. He said, ‘It was our fault that we did not communicate that fact very well, but the important thing is that no really bad stuff happens in the sense that nobody's personal information was disclosed.' I repeat that it was. Google Buzz exposed one user's location to her abusive ex-partner, and it was only after worldwide condemnation of Google that they actually apologised. People should not mistake the approach being taken by Google on a range of issues around the world.

Senator FISHER - Obviously there is little love lost between you and Google.

Senator Conroy - No, it is fair to say I am just chronicling the activities of Google worldwide. I have not finished yet.

Senator FISHER - I gathered not.

Senator Conroy - At the Abu Dhabi media summit-

Senator FISHER - I was about to beg to differ, because I am quite genuine in my question.

Senator LUDLAM - This is starting to sound really personal. Go ahead.

Senator Conroy - I am very pleased to note that you have arrived for me to finish my answer. At an Abu Dhabi media summit in March 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, ‘Google sees itself really differently from other companies, because we see ourselves as a company with a mission about information and not a mission about revenue or profits.' Yet at the third quarter earning call for Google on 15 October 2009, Eric Schmidt told Wall Street analysts on the phone hook-up, ‘We love cash.' Mr Schmidt, in December, said this-I noted this previously, but I am not sure that you heard this, Senator Ludlam, so I want to repeat it: ‘If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.'

Senator LUDLAM - You read that 30 seconds ago.

Senator Conroy - I was not sure if you were in the room when I read it the first time. Schmidt also absurdly claimed to be misunderstood over Google Buzz and he went on to say, ‘People thought that somehow we were publishing their email addresses and private information.' Again, I am not sure if you were here.

Senator LUDLAM - Yes, I was here.

Senator Conroy - Schmidt made the statement about how they were not really doing these things and the abusive ex-partner got someone's address. Schmidt said that after a civil liberties group had already issued a warning about Buzz's serious problems with private information and after Google's own spokesman, Todd Jackson, had said, ‘Google was very, very sorry for getting millions of users rightfully upset.' Google were also questioned at the Abu Dhabi media summit. Mr Schmidt was asked about the company's worrisome stash of private data on its users: ‘All this information that you have about us, does that scare anyone in the room?' The response from Mr Schmidt was: ‘Would you prefer someone else? Is there a government that you would prefer to be in charge of this?' Frankly, I think the approach taken by Mr Schmidt is a bit creepy.

Senator LUDLAM - Are you going to quote them on your filter, because I presume that is what this is all about?

Senator Conroy - I have not even got to the filters yet.

Senator FISHER - I have not finished my question yet either.

Senator Conroy - No, you have not. I have almost finished, so I thank you for your patience, Senator Fisher. This is a company that says ‘do no evil', but tries to pretend that it is not motivated by profit and that it knows best and ‘you can trust us' when it comes to privacy. Unfortunately there are no safeguards. You are dealing with company policy. There are more issues that I will come to when we get to YouTube later. When it comes to their attitude to their own censorship, their response is simply, ‘Trust us.' They state on the website, ‘Trust us.'

Senator LUDLAM - Terrible!

Senator Conroy - They consider themselves to be above government. They consider that they are the appropriate people to make the decisions about people's privacy data, that they are perfectly entitled to drive the streets and collect private information by photographing over fences and collecting data/information. This is probably the single greatest breach in history of privacy. That is why so many governments around the world have reacted in the way they have to a company like Google.

Senator FISHER - So, you say they consider themselves above government. Are they above the Telecommunications Act?

Senator Conroy - Not in the slightest; not in this country.

Senator FISHER - Have you referred these actions for investigation as a potential breach of the Telecommunications Act?

Senator Conroy - As I said, the Privacy Commissioner has written to them seeking further information, and we will be liaising with the Privacy Commissioner to see where that gets to before we take any further action. We will be awaiting the Privacy Commissioner's-

Senator FISHER - Why, given that indictment? That is five minutes of estimates we will never get back.

Senator Conroy - The German government has already referred it. We will see what the Privacy Commissioner has to say, but we will be watching it very closely.

Senator FISHER - Why are you sitting back and watching? Why are you not referring the matter?

Senator Conroy - The Privacy Commissioner is the appropriate place to start this process.

Senator FISHER - Surely there are other aspects of the Telecommunications Act that could potentially have been breached by this behaviour, if it is as indictable as you suggest.

Senator Conroy - What I said was that Germany has described it as indictable. I did not say that we had. Let me be very clear about this. I did not say we had.

Senator FISHER - I was using a generic description of your downloading-your description of their behaviour.

Senator Conroy - No. What I said was that we would await the Privacy Commissioner's report.

Senator FISHER - Why?

Senator Conroy - It has already been referred in Germany.

Senator FISHER - Why await the Privacy Commissioner's report? Is privacy the only aspect that may have been violated by this?

Senator Conroy - We can take that on notice.

Senator FISHER - You have just given a diatribe of their behaviour.

Senator Conroy - I have described what has happened in other jurisdictions. You are talking about one specific instance. What I have said is that the Privacy Commissioner has already written to them and we will be awaiting what the Privacy Commissioner says to see if there are any breaches of Australia's laws.

Senator FISHER - You are hiding behind Karen Curtis?

Senator Conroy - I am not hiding behind anybody. She is engaged in her statutory obligations. That is her statutory obligation and she is pursuing them.

Senator FISHER - If the Privacy Commissioner concludes that, for example, there is no breach of privacy issues, what would you do then?

Senator Conroy - If there is no breach of privacy issues, there is nothing we can do. We will have conversations. As I said, we will take on notice the issue of whether or not there are any other breaches. We are happy to take that on notice, but at this stage the Privacy Commissioner is pursuing it.

Senator FISHER - My final question on notice is: why would you not, in any event, refer the matter for investigation for potential breach of the Telecommunications Act?

Senator Conroy - As I said, we will take that on notice and give you some information about that. At this stage the Privacy Commissioner has taken it forward and we will be coordinating with the Privacy Commissioner.

Senator FISHER - In your answer you inferred that there may be breaches of the Telecommunications Act outside privacy issues, did you not?

Senator Conroy - ACMA were here earlier. You could have asked ACMA if they thought there was a breach. I am happy to take that on notice for you and ask ACMA.

Senator FISHER - I am asking you, Minister.

Senator Conroy - As I said, I am happy to take that on notice and ask ACMA on your behalf.

Senator FISHER - Thank you.

 

News

Australian Gambling Report Asks Federal Government to Control, by Greg Tingle - May 2010

The Australian Productivity report on gaming and gambling has come out, but relax - it's not all bad news.

A report tells the Aussie federal government to basically take over the regulation of gambling, which Australians spend $18 billion a year on, states collecting $4.69bn in tax revenue annually, and that's only the figures they know about.

Education think tank powerhouses at Deakin University and the Australia Institute, urge the Rudd government to put a 2 per cent tax on all gambling revenue. Furthermore, using some of the $378 million to give state governments that reduce gambling levels "incentive payments" (not a bribe of sorts?!) to reduce their "reliance" on pokies tax.

The report argues that the land down under Australia should establish a national gambling regulator that would set poker machine quotas and bet limits. They also call for the establishment of a national (not-for-profit) lottery to replace revenue states would lose. North and South Carolina has the Education Lottery, which gambling and wrestling fans will be aware of 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair fronting.

The Aussie reports goes as far to state the commonwealth should establish a national player tracking system to detect "abnormal or risky playing patterns".

Associate Professor Hancock said problem gambling was a serious health risk. "This whole approach . . . needs to be a central plank in the Rudd government's health plan," she stressed.

Media Man and Gambling911 acknowledge the existence of "problem gamblers", but in society many people have problems, be it gambling, employment, relationships, health, time management and all sorts of matter, so it does point an accusing finger at the gaming and gambling sector. Some types of personalities are more likely to encounter problems with gambling, and that's just part of the human make up.

Some serious and concerning information was also included in the report. In the state of Victoria, one in five people arriving at The Alfred Hospital's emergency unit after suicide attempts were gamblers in crisis, Professor Hancock said. A high profile U.S. gambler here in the states may have also committed suicide due to high gambling debts.

Some Australian politicians are buying right into the argument. Well known anti-pokies campaigner and independent senator Nick Xenophon advised he was inspired to run for federal politics because Kevin Rudd said he would act against gambling.

"Can I suggest to the Prime Minister that now the emissions trading scheme is off the agenda, there's a lot more time in the Senate to consider legislation," Senator Xenophon said.

"State governments are the No 1 jackpot junkies. They can't be trusted when it comes to gambling regulation. And despite his promise to deal with gambling, the Prime Minister had done nothing to reduce rates".

Labor clubs operating "one armed bandits" provide the Labor Party with $1m plus in campaign donations per annum.

Mr Rudd pledged to do something about the rise of poker machines across the country.

"I hate poker machines and I know something of their impact on families," he said.

The Productivity Commission draft report on gambling late last year recommended that pokie bets be restricted to $1 a play, and cash withdrawal limits should be placed on adjacent ATMs.

The report states Australians lost $18bn a year on gambling, and about 15% of Aussies gambled regularly (excluding Lotto), scratchies and the like.

Its estimated 10% of regular gamblers are "problem gamblers".

The new report says the commonwealth should add to the "Grants Commission formula incentives" for state governments to reduce their reliance on gambling taxes or reduce their commonwealth grants if they did not do so.

At present much discussion in the gaming and igaming sector revolves around if full regulation of the sector, both globally and in the Asia Pacific region is the way forward, with the vast majority saying Yes.

Media Man and Gambling911 encourage gamblers to know the odds, bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

News

Australia Gets New Gambling Watchdog in Town: Woof!, by Greg Tingle - 3rd June 2010

Australian gambling remains politically red hot. With the changes in town comes a new watchdog... yep, a man of a different breed who appears to be a shoot straight, and takes a balanced view of the industry. Media Man, Gambling911 and our pack of sniffer dogs pound the pavement and sniff out the story... Ruff

Meet Mr Ches Baragwanath, Australia's new Gambling Watchdog. No, he's not affiliated with our unmet friends at Affiliate Guard Dog (or CAP or GPWA for that matter).

For the unacquainted, Baragwanath, is a former auditor-general of Australia circa 1990.

This watchdog has a reputation of not taking rubbish from the animals in Parliament or in the gambling sector.

Via Fairfax Media we learned of a previous masterstroke and key happening re today's new sheriff in town ....the Victorian government before last November's election, Mr Baragwanath let it be known to the house he has accepted an invitation to become a commissioner for gambling regulation.

His appointment, announced just yesterday, comes at a pivotal time for the Australian gaming and gambling industry. Shakes ups of late include James Packer's Crown Casino growing, politicians are open to seeing the proposed Mildura "Jewel" Casino happen on their watch.

Baragwanath has his finger on the pulse. No spring chicken, at 75 years of age, he's wiser and more experienced than the best of them, and is understood to process a brilliant mind, understands the typical man in the street (and boasts outstation credentials and business contacts). Insiders say he's expected to make fair but tough rulings, and is not a casino lover nor casino hater. Controlled growth and suitable regulation, maintaining balance, are understood to be high on his priorities.

Mr B says "I've spent a bit of time in Las Vegas; it's a soul-destroying place. I would hate Melbourne to become the Las Vegas of the southern hemisphere. Pokies are the most mindless and boring pastime I could imagine". Still, he respects people to play the pokies, and other legal casino games of their choosing.

The personable, hang on, likable, Mr B (Big) loves the horses, having a beer and is known to even try his luck having a punt on Tattslotto, if you believe the media gossip around town.

The Melbourne Age was able to get this rip snorter quote from the man..."Despite what political parties might say in opposition, once they get into government they are fascinated by the revenue that flows from nicotine, booze and gambling - wait until they decide how to tax sex! The Victorian government - and most governments, for that matter - do very well out of problem gamblers, they do very well out of problem drinkers and they do very well out of problem smokers, so they've got a moral obligation to support those people who are harmed by gambling, nicotine and alcohol. I haven't read the Bible for some time, but I seem to recall the Roman soldiers were rolling dice underneath the crucifix. I would say to them, look, 97.5 or 98 per cent of the population enjoy a mild flutter on poker machines. Should they be penalised because 2 per cent can't control themselves? I enjoy a drink. Should I be penalised because some people can't hold their liquor? If gambling went underground, the criminal element could take over. I can remember when I was a kid growing up in Brunswick just near the Union Hotel, the bigwig in the area was the local SP (starting price) bookmaker. Do we really want SP bookmakers back on the scene? To some extent it (the role) is to ensure the criminal element is kept out of this field - you know, we don't want the bloody Mafia buying into hotels with poker machines".

Whether "Blueys" err, Mr Big's bark is bigger than his bite remains to be seen. Insiders meantime question who let the dogs out, and what side of the fence will "Mr Dog" prefer?

Media Man remains a proud shareholder in Crown Casino, understood to remain a focus point of the new sheriff in town. "Mr Big" will also be acutely aware that the funds the pour into the likes of Crown Casino flow back into the community and create real and sustainable employment opportunities, some of which tie in with celebrated employment initiative GenerationOne, a project of which Media Man remains in close contact with.

Casinos remain a key element in the Australian tourism, entertainment and employment landscape, and "Mr Big" will no doubt remind himself of these facts when it comes to the hard decisions that will be coming his way for as long as his holds the top dog position.

Loyal readers of Gambling911, as always bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

*The writer is a special contributor for Gambling911

 

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. The gaming sector is just one of a bakers of dozen of industries they cover.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

 

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