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Smartphones More Dangerous and Expensive Than Gambling, by Greg Tingle - 10th Man 2010

Technology has opened up all kinds of exciting possibilities for punters, sports lovers, news hounds, big business, and just about everyone else, however, technology can both make and cost us all a lot of money. Technology has certainly joined the ranks of the Good VS Evil club. Tech giant Google proclaims 'Don't Be Evil', and as Media Man and Gambling911 learn, folks are starting to question the core of Apple and a host of telcos, along with parts of their business model. Worse than preying on "problem gamblers"? Are "problem smartphone" users the new addiction to be alert to? You be the judge...

Red hot iPhones and smartphones are seeing multitudes of the population getting massive bills generated from web downloads.

Of late the online gambling sector has been copping a bit of heat from some small but vocal parts of the community and government, but iphones in general are stating to be seen as quite the "wolf in sheep's clothing". You don't have to visiting an online casino or sports betting website to run into danger of getting a 5 figure bill.

The Media Man research crew has learned that with iphones one can loose track of data costs and the bill can go through the roof, where as with online casinos and sports betting one is much more aware of what they are downloading and spending, and are much less likely to be hit with a huge data bill. Furthermore, a number of online casinos such as PartyGaming - PartyCasino offer the option to play in browser mode, so the customer doesn't have to worry about large downloads and data costs. Sports bets can be done online for just a few dollars after an account has been set up.

Readers, a most important part of the equation with iphones and the like is to ensure you are on the correct plan (and adapt your use to it). Get the terms and conditions in writing. If you do rake up a bill and are not happy with the ISP and comms company you believe responsible, most countries offer a telecommunications complaint department. Down under in Australia it's the Australian Telecommunications Ombudsman, and our spies tell us it is a very busy office. Australia is understood to have more telecommunications complaints per capita than any other country.

Aussie MP Gets Stung For Huge Bill Via Son's iPhone Downloading

A South Australian MP (Member of Parliament) has been hit with a whopping $10,000 bill on his phone after it was discovered his son downloaded footy games! God, the Australian sports scandals continue to find new directions just when we thought we were getting closer to exhausting our efforts.

MP Russell Wortley usually got a phone bill for $200 bucks. After getting the latest bill he went into what is known as "bill shock".

"I was in shock, I only use my phone for mobile calls, so I knew there was a problem" Mr Wortley said.

His 13-year-old son was the culprit. You've got to watch those "little monsters". The minor had downloaded "free games" on his dad's impressive new iPhone without permission.

Mr Wortley failed understand that, while the smartphone had the capacity to download the applications, his phone plan did not. This may be covered in the fine print. Insiders say Mr Wortley may do well to bring in the legal eagles, as telecommunications companies are well known to overcharge people, just as banks are... the mongrels.

As of time of publication it was undetermined if the charges are from the actual download, or for the time his boy spent playing the "free games".

"I can't believe somebody would be charged $4000 for playing a game for one hour," he said. "It sounds mind-boggling. "People should know that they, or their children, could be innocently downloading games which they think are free, but at the end of the day they end up costing thousands of dollars," he said.

An update... to Media Man's disappointment we have learned that Mr Wortley is now going to pay the bill himself.

The "bill shock" matter serves as a warning to those intending to play games on their iphones or whatever. Again, check your plan and the fine print. One may do well to take precautions and keep the iphone locked up somewhere safe if not using it... especially out of sight and grasp of young and inquiring minds.

The victim has even taken the complaint to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who said he would follow it up with the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA).

AMTA chief executive Chris Althaus advise the industry group had contacted Senator Conroy's office after the publicity over the Mr Wortley's phone bill.

But Mr Althaus advised his take on precautions punters er consumers could take to avoid "bill shock".

Pre-paid plans can help people who are virgins to determine how much data they are downloading without a nasty surprise at the end of the month.

Data monitoring can provide alerts to those on plans when they are reaching the end of their data limits.

"We're very anxious that people get a sense of what their consumption might be because it's a new format...there are...new applications and new ways of downloading content," he said.

"The mobile data scene is going to be incredibly valuable to consumers, the economy and all manner of sectors ... but we've all got to get a little educated along the way.

"It's in nobody's interest to have people in debt."

iPhones - heaven or hell... take a bite out of the Garden Of Eden if you will, but be prepared to meet the devil... ok, meet your accountant and the accounts receivable departments.

A number of Australian MP's are looking to get some iphone applications banned, and are probing at least one Australian iphone app maker. Based on this this horror story it may be a good idea to further regulate the igaming sector, and they should further clean up the Australian telecommunications sector whilst they are at it. It's no secret the Aussie comms sector has a number of "snake oil" salesmen and operators within, so let's get the bad guys who give the industry a bad name.

Maybe the online slot games that have a "play for free" option, as well as "play for money", aren't such bad value for money after all. You've got to be in it to win it. Spin to win, but be alert to spin of a different kind from your friendly igaming data firm and telco.

Popular game titles such as Cleo (Cleopatra) and Tomb Raider are starting to hit the iphone market but the testers in the "rat lab" at Media Man reckon its better and safer to play them on a regular computer. Again, know what plan you're on. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Media Man and Gambling911 want winners, not losers.

Know the odds, set limits and have fun... and it you have a "smartphone" aka iphone, be alert and take precautions.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company

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