Thursday, August 30, 2012

Betting firm bwin signs three-year deal with Man United - 16th August 2012


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British online betting firm digital entertainment said it had entered into a three-year deal with Manchester United, including the right to run betting kiosks and advertise at the English premier league football club’s Old Trafford home.

Bwin said the deal would also give it the chance to exploit the club’s international appeal to expand in social gaming – free-to-use web games played against other users that offer additional features paid for with online credits.

“Man Utd has 569 million followers outside of Europe, providing us with a great opportunity to offer jointly designed and innovative products in countries that do not yet allow real money online sports betting,” said’s co-CEO Norbert Teufelberger.

Bwin, which is already the shirt sponsor of Spanish football club Real Madrid, said football remained key to its long-term future, making up about half of its sports betting revenue in 2011.

Man Utd, which debuted on the New York stock exchange last week, has a series of commercial linkups, including with insurance broker AON, whose name is currently emblazoned on its shirts, set to be replaced on the famous red jerseys by GM’s Chevrolet in 2014.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

The Expendables 2 snags No. 1 box-office spot for second-straight weekend


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Sylvester Stallone's "The Expendables 2" snagged the No. 1 box-office spot for the second-straight weekend with $13.5 million. Released by Lionsgate, the film raised its domestic total to $52.3 million after two weekends.

Holdover movies easily led the weekend box office again, as "The Bourne Legacy" landed in second place with $9.3 million, followed by "ParaNorman" with $8.5 million.

Hollywood may have run out of summer hits, but an anti-Obama documentary is helping to fill the gap.

The weekend's new wide releases were overshadowed by "2016: Obama's America," which expanded from limited to nationwide release and took in $6.2 million to finish at No. 8.

The documentary is a conservative critique of what the country would look like four years from now if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

Released by Rocky Mountain Pictures, "Obama's America" nearly matched the $6.3 million debut of the No. 7 movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's action tale "Premium Rush," a Sony release that played in more than twice as many theaters as the Obama documentary.

The weekend's other new wide releases opened weakly. Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell's road-chase comedy "Hit & Run," released by Open Road Films, debuted at No. 10 with $4.7 million, and the Warner Bros. fright flick "The Apparition" opened at No. 12 with $3 million.

The weak openings are typical of late August, a dumping ground for movies without much audience appeal as the summer blockbuster season winds down and young viewers switch to back-to-school mode.

But with less competition from Hollywood releases, it also opens the door for surprise successes such as "Obama's America."

"Obama's America" is based on the book "The Roots of Obama's Rage," written by Dinesh D'Souza, who co-directed the movie with John Sullivan.

The documentary now has climbed to a $9.1 million domestic total, with prospects for strong business as the Republican National Convention unfolds over the next few days. (U.S report)


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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Australasian Gaming Expo report from Sydney; Australia - Day 3 - 23rd August 2012


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Today was the 3rd day for the most high profile and successful gaming expo in Australia - the Australasian Gaming Expo, which is being hosted by the Sydney Convention Centre at Darling Harbour. It's gaming, gambling, technology, sales...even creative arts elements and much more.

It's a key time for the gaming industry in Australia with all the regulation elements, responsible gambling initiatives and such, and most of the big boys of the industry were on hand to show off their wares, with some exhibitors demonstrating significant creative flair to help showoff their latest and greatest wares.

Our friends at Human Statue Bodyart were back again and they had a couple of body models made up in bodypaint (Anastasia as a butterfly and Victoria as a panda) - complete with wings and sparkles, for leading gaming brand Paltronics and its latest game 'Jungle Madness'.

The expo centre itself is huge - 15,000 square metres (about the size of an Aussie Rules football oval) and this provided more than ample opportunity for over 750 slot games on display.

The Australasian Gaming Expo is by far the largest event of its type in Australia and one of the world’s biggest.

We learned through the grapevine that a trip for 2 to Las Vegas will be won by a lucky visitor on each of the 3 days of the Expo, and this is compliments of the Gaming Technologies Association which owns the event. It's understood the winner of the trip will be named later this afternoon.

It's tipped over 20,000 people have walked through the games expo thus far, with those in the business being the majority, and no doubt a few punters, checked through the gates (but note that the games on display do not accept coins or notes).

Well done to everyone associated with the success of the expo and we'll see you there again next year.


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Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Big One At PartyCasino At Record Level Of Over $6 Million; bwin enters into digital partnership with Manchester United

Pig's Don't Fly but They Ride Motorbikes!

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The Big One at PartyCasino, the world's largest online casino, currently stands at an unprecedented level of over $6 million - the biggest jackpot currently up for grabs in the online gaming industry and a record high for the site. The previous record jackpot record was hit back in May 2011 when a female customer who had only opened an account nine days before scooped a whopping $4,445,947.4!

The Big One is structured as a five-tiered pool. The highest tier-Colossal Cash-seeds at $1.5 million, the biggest online jackpot seed in the industry. Games in which 'The Big One' can be won include Melon Madness, Snowbusiness, Loot'EnKhuman and the more recently introduced 'Going Nuts' with its screaming squirrels. Now they are joined by brand new slot Roadhogs!

Roadhogs is a five reel, 50 line cartoon slot featuring, you guessed, pigs on motorbikes! The feature is triggered when three or more scattered bike symbols appear anywhere in view - there the player gets to choose any one bike which reveals the number of free spins and multipliers the player has won.

"First it was crazy nutty squirrels and now it is pigs on motorbikes - who thought they could make you a millionaire? Someone is going to seriously have their head in the trough if they scoop over $6 million so get your motor running and head up on the highway!" has the most frequent game launches in the industry and offers over 160 games, including over 100 slots. pays out easily over $10 million EVERY DAY to players.


16 August 2012

bwin enters into digital partnership with Manchester United

Fans offered the chance to win season tickets for United’s twentieth title hunt

bwin, Europe’s leading sports book, today announces a new agreement with Manchester United to become the club’s official online gaming and betting partner. The partnership was launched today at Old Trafford with Man Utd’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson, along with players Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney.

The initial three-year deal will increase the profile of bwin in the UK and many other countries, reinforcing its position as Europe’s leading sports betting brand in football. The sponsorship package positions bwin at the centre of promotional activities for the world’s most popular football club and includes the integration of bwin into United’s website, the creation of co-branded social gaming products, match day perimeter board signage, access to players for marketing campaigns, a range of in-stadia initiatives including bwin-branded betting kiosks and other marketing rights.

To celebrate the coming together of Manchester United and Europe’s leading sports book, bwin is offering fans the chance to win two season tickets to all of Man Utd’s 19 Premier League home games as the Red Devils go for an unparalleled twentieth league title. Runners-up prizes also include 20 signed shirts and 20 free £100 bets. To take part, all fans need to do is place £5 on any Manchester United related bet from a new or existing account. Full details can be found at and further updates on Twitter using the hashtag #backmanutd.

Welcoming the deal, Norbert Teufelberger, Co-CEO of bwin’s parent company, said:

“Manchester United is one of the biggest names in world sport with a global fan base running into hundreds of millions. We share a passion for football that has always been at the heart of our long term brand development strategy.

“As Europe’s leading online sports betting operator, football is fundamental to our long-term success, making up approximately half of our total sports betting revenue of €261m in 2011.

“As well as supporting our real money gaming business, the agreement complements our recent move into social gaming. Man Utd has 569 million followers outside of Europe, providing us with a great opportunity to offer jointly designed and innovative products in countries that do not yet allow real money online sports betting.”

Manchester United’s Commercial Director, Richard Arnold said:

“bwin has an established and reputable reputation in online gaming in Europe and Manchester United is pleased to be bringing that model to not only the 75,000 football fans who visit Old Trafford each week, but also our huge global audience.

“Like Manchester United, bwin is a leader in its market. It offers an enhanced betting experience with engaging content, utilising the latest technologies and bringing something new to the UK market. This, along with the company’s knowledge of football, is why we chose to align ourselves with bwin and we are looking forward to a successful partnership.”

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Scooby Doo meets WWE in new movie


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Warner Bros have revealed that the canine crime fighter's next animated feature will see him mixing with some of wrestling's most famous stars.

It seems that Scooby Doo is about to meet up with some of the most eccentric characters ever as he and the Mystery Machine posse attempt to solve a mystery at the WWE Wrestlemania.

Warner Bros have announced that the next feature length movie featuring the canine crime fighter and his pals will also star animated version of the likes of Triple H, Kane and WWE CEO Vince McMahon.

The press release read, “Warner Bros and WWE Studios (NYSE:WWE) announced they will co-produce a Scooby-Doo animated feature that will find Scooby and the gang solving a mystery at WrestleMania®.The announcement was made today by Jeff Brown, Executive Vice President and General Manager, TV, Family & Animation, Warner Home Video and Michael Luisi, President, WWE Studios.

“WWE Superstars and Divas including Triple H®, John Cena®, Kane, The Miz®, Brodus Clay™, Santino Marella®, Sin Cara™ and AJ™ will appear in animated form and lend their voices to the project. WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon® will also lend his voice and appear in animated form.”

Warner Home Video exec Jeff Brown said, “Warner Bros is thrilled to get into the ring with WWE Studios to bring fans an unprecedented animated adventure. We’re excited to leverage the WWE’s family-friendly brand and passionate fan base and integrate some of the most popular WWE Superstars and Divas within the Scooby-Doo gang.”

Press Release...



STAMFORD, Conn., August 15, 2012 – Warner Bros. and WWE Studios (NYSE:WWE) announced they will co-produce a Scooby-Doo animated feature that will find Scooby and the gang solving a mystery at WrestleMania®. The announcement was made today by Jeff Brown, Executive Vice President and General Manager, TV, Family & Animation, Warner Home Video and Michael Luisi, President, WWE Studios.

WWE Superstars and Divas including Triple H®, John Cena®, Kane, The Miz®, Brodus Clay™, Santino Marella®, Sin Cara™ and AJ™ will appear in animated form and lend their voices to the project. WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon® will also lend his voice and appear in animated form.

“We are excited to partner with Warner Bros. on this wonderful animated film,” said WWE Studios President Michael Luisi. “Kids and adults are going to enjoy seeing their favorite WWE Superstars in animated form join forces with an icon like Scooby-Doo to solve a mystery at the biggest pop-culture event of the year – WrestleMania.”

“Warner Bros. is thrilled to get into the ring with WWE Studios to bring fans an unprecedented animated adventure,” said Jeff Brown, Executive Vice President and General Manager, TV, Warner Home Video. “We’re excited to leverage the WWE’s family-friendly brand and passionate fan base and integrate some of the most popular WWE Superstars and Divas within the Scooby-Doo gang.”

When Shaggy and Scooby win tickets to WrestleMania, the entire gang travels in the Mystery Machine to WWE City to attend the epic event. However, when a mysterious ghostly bear appears and threatens to ruin the show, Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred work with WWE Superstars to solve the case.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will handle worldwide distribution on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and digital download. The film will be produced by Warner Bros. Animation. WWE will utilize its extensive global reach through its television, digital media and print assets to market the release of the film.

Bradley Buchanan, VP of Business and Legal Affairs negotiated on behalf of WWE Studios.

About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment's home video, digital distribution, interactive entertainment/videogames, direct-to-DVD production, technical operations and anti-piracy businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. WBHEG is responsible for the global distribution of content through DVD, electronic sell-through and VOD, and delivery of theatrical content to wireless and online channels, and is also a significant worldwide publisher for both internal and third party videogame titles.

About Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) is one of the leading producers of animation in the entertainment industry, with an innovative and talent-rich roster boasting some of the most accomplished writers, producers and artists working today. The studio is on the cutting edge of animation technology and has both CG and traditionally animated projects in current production and development. For TV, WBA produces series such as Green Lantern: The Animated Series, The Looney Tunes Show, MAD, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Young Justice: Invasion, as well as the forthcoming Beware The Batman and Teen Titans Go! for Cartoon Network. WBA also produces series and additional original content — including animated shorts — for Cartoon Network’s multiplatform branded DC Nation programming block. In addition to TV programming, WBA produces theatrically released CG cartoon shorts featuring iconic Looney Tunes characters, rendered in stereoscopic 3D. WBA also creates the highly successful series of DC Universe Original Animated Movies for DVD. Producing for multiple platforms including TV, digital and home entertainment both domestically and internationally, WBA is highly respected for its creative and technical excellence, as well as for maintaining the Studio’s rich cartoon heritage. It is also the home of the iconic animated characters from the DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera, MGM and Looney Tunes libraries. One of the most-honored animation studios in history, WBA has been honored with six Academy Awards®, 35 Emmy® Awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Environmental Media Award, a Parents’ Choice Award, the HUMANITAS Prize, two Prism Awards and 20 Annie Awards (honoring excellence in animation).

About WWE Studios
WWE Studios continues to strategically diversify its slate of films, which includes theatrical releases and direct-to-home premieres, under the guidance of President Michael Luisi. Upcoming films for WWE Studios include: Dead Man Down, which was co-financed with IM Global and will be distributed by FilmDistrict, starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace; The Hive, which was co-produced with Troika Pictures, starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin; No One Lives, which was co-produced with Pathé Films and was accepted to Midnight Madness at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, starring Luke Evans and WWE Superstar Brodus Clay™; and cult hit The Day, which will be distributed in theaters by Anchor Bay Films on August 29, starring Dominic Monaghan and Ashley Bell.

About WWE
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 145 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 600 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Istanbul and Tokyo.

Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at and For information on our global activities, go to


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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympics: Wrestling at The Olympic Games, WWE, Pro Wrestling, Mark Henry, Brock Lesnar fight, SummerSlam 2012

Olympics News, Entertainment news, WWE, SummerSlam 2012, Australia, gaming and more...


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Sports and sports entertainment fans. Have we got a booming edition for you today. Australia has won 2 gold at the London Olympics. The gold medal drought is officially over. Then we have WWE superstar and former Olympian, Mark Henry, checking out talent at the games. We've got wrestling news from the games, and of course good old pro wrestling aka sports entertainment. The Media Man agency delivers yet another bodyslamming news update from around the world.

Australians Pearson and Meares double Aussie gold...

Steely Sally Pearson and iron-willed Anna Meares turned mettle into precious gold on Australia's most successful day of the London Olympics on Tuesday.

Pearson dramatically won the 100m hurdles gold medal while Meares triumphed in her golden grudge match against Brit Victoria Pendleton in cycling's sprint final.

The determined duo doubled Australia's gold medal tally at the London Games, the nation now with four gold, 12 silver and nine bronze to sit 11th on the overall table.

Cyclist Annette Edmondson added another bronze in the women's omnium, the only other Australian medal on Tuesday.

Pearson had rehearsed her race daily in her mind for years, but come the victory moment didn't know how to react.

After displaying her customary cold countenance pre-race, Pearson was forced to wait agonising seconds to find out if she won.

The Queenslander beat American Dawn Harper by just two-hundredths of a second and defied drizzly rain to clock a new Olympic record, 12.35 seconds.

When the result flashed onto the scoreboard Pearson screamed in delight, sank to her knees, crying - then onto her back, then crouched on the track before turning to the crowd.

"When I saw my name on the screen at No.1, it was a dream come true," Pearson said.

"I had a bit of a panic, but I knew in my heart I'd won it and it was just a matter of confirming it on the screen.

"The feeling is just relief. I'm so happy."

Pearson's success came within hours of Meares' pluck being rewarded with gold at the cycling track.

Meares was beaten by Pendleton in the sprint final in Beijing, just seven months after breaking her neck.

She sensationally turned the tables in London by outclassing her British rival twice in a row in the best of three final, the first race result - when Pendleton narrowly beat Meares - being overturned by the race judges after the Brit rode out of the sprinter's lane.

"This is the sweetest and most incredible victory of my career," said an emotional Meares.

In other Tuesday action, Australia's world No.1 men's hockey team trounced Pakistan 7-0 to remain unbeaten and progress into Thursday's semi-final.

But coach Ric Charlesworth has been involved in too many Olympic let-downs to read anything into their undefeated streak.

"I don't think that means anything ... now this is a separate tournament," Charlesworth said.

Australia's women's basketball team also advanced into a semi-final by downing China 75-60 on Tuesday.

The Opals, inspired by Liz Cambage's 17 points and seven rebounds, booked a Thursday semi-final against gold medal favourites the United States.

But Australia's women's water polo team were heartbroken after losing their semi-final to the USA in extra time.

The Americans, who sunk the Stingers in a semi-final at the Beijing Games, prevailed 11-9 in London.

Australia's Big Benn Harradine finished ninth in the discus final, and diver Ethan Warren came seventh in the men's 3m springboard final.

Artistic gymnast Lauren Mitchell lamented minor blemishes in the floor final, the former world champ finishing fifth - two-thirds of a point shy of the medals.

Australian Courtney Atkinson was the nation's best finisher in the men's triathlon, placing 18th as Brit Alistair Brownlee won gold and his younger brother Jonathon collected the bronze.

And Australia's K4 sprint canoeists upset world champions Germany en route to making Thursday's medal race at Eton.

The crew of Murray Stewart, Tate Smith, David Smith and Jake Clear will battle Slovakia and Hungary in the final.

WWE Sports Entertainment News Update: Shawn Michaels, Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman, CM Punk, John Cena...

In recent years, the debate on whether WWE superstars should be classified as "pro wrestlers" or "sports entertainers" has continued on television, social media and talk.

At times, it's been used as part of storylines, with performers like CM Punk and Chris Jericho mocking the use of the words "sports entertainment." But on the most recent edition on WWE Raw, fans saw the back curtain and kayfabe lift the lid even more.

Look at the careers of Shawn Michaels, who was being recognized in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, and Brock Lesnar and there's a huge difference. One is Mr. "WrestleMania," and the other is a former UFC champion and self proclaimed "ass kicker" (and not "entertainer").

Yet they stood across the ring from each other on Raw, with Paul Heyman speaking on Lesnar's behalf. Heyman event went as far as to call Michaels the greatest "entertainer" in WWE history.

But even that, he said, couldn't compare to Lesnar's abilities as a fighter and a warrior. Michaels responded by saying he has faith in his longtime friend - and frequent enemy - Triple H to take care of business.

And Michaels will have a front-row seat for the action, as he plans to be in Triple H's corner.

The segment ended without much drama, as Triple H emerged and Lesnar left, with Heyman cryptically indicating that they'll be seeing Michaels before SummerSlam.

WWE has done a top job with the slow build to the Triple H-Lesnar match, and Heyman deserves a lot of the credit, as he's carried the program on the Lesnar side to this point.

The Rock-John Cena fued leading up to this year's WrestleMania was the first attempt at a long-term build with limited appearances by one of the competitors, and it was apparently a success, as WWE seems to be adopting that strategy with Lesnar, as well as The Rock's Royal Rumble challenge.

After losing the Cena at Extreme Rules, Lesnar needs to be the alpha male and dominating in order for his WWE return to be considered successful. Wrestling insiders are hoping Lesnar bests Triple H at SummerSlam.

Ed note: The jury is still out whether Lesnar got into a real fight with Ryback, as reported on as Super Luchas and Wrestling Observer. Stay tuned, but we think not to expect an official comment from WWE, as they will be obviously looking to protect their rising monster and touted future champion Ryback.

WWE SummerSlam Matches Confirmed...

WWE added two items to the Summerslam PPV line-up in two weeks. Most notable is Shawn Michaels in Triple H's corner for Hunter's headline match against Brock Lesnar.

WWE also announced Daniel Bryan vs. Kane in a singles match. WWE did not draw attention to Charlie Sheen, who was mentioned for a potential fight/confrontation/scrap/match against Bryan in recent weeks.

There is a good chance that Chris Jericho will also be on the card, as his rock band 'Fozzy' are not going ahead with their prior rock concert commitment.

Australia fans can order WWE SummerSlam via Foxtel - Main Event TV. The PPV will be broadcast on Main Event on Monday 10th August at 10am.

Summerslam PPV line-up

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H with Shawn Michaels in his corner.

WWE champion C.M. Punk vs. John Cena vs. Big Show for the WWE Title.

World Hvt. champion Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Title.

Daniel Bryan vs. Kane.

Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler

WWE superstar and ex Olympian Mark Henry checks out Olympic talent at London 2012...

WWE superstar "The World's Strongest Man" Mark Henry has been attendance at various events at Olympic Park to catch Olympic action.

The Olympic Games is used to seeing huge performances, but there can be fewer bigger performers at London 2012 than Henry.

Six foot three, 412lb WWE superstar Mark Henry has been in attendance to take in the sights and sounds of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Henry knows all about life as an Olympian after his time representing Team USA in weightlifting in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

As a weightlifter, Henry gained recognition for his intimidating size and massive strength.

His talents were rewarded three years later when Henry won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Pan American Games.

His successes on the podium did not go unnoticed. Impressed by his sporting achievements, WWE signed Mark Henry in 1996 sparking an illustrious career that is as impressive today as his Olympic performances of old.

He continues to follow weightlifting and is apparently scouting talent for the WWE at this year’s Olympic competition.

The Media Man agency reckons WWE would do well to check out Olympic shot putter Reese Hoffa. He appears to have the "It Factor". How well he would adapt to WWE rings in yet to be known, but surly worth more investigation.

Fox Sports Dominique Dawes investigates how Olympic shot putter Reese Hoffa went from unwanted child to Olympic hopeful.

YouTube Wrestling Footage...

Greco-Roman wrestler's insane 'flying squirrel' takedown via YouTube

Brock Lesnar Submits! Ryan Tobin still has South Dakota Title

Rosa Mendes alleges assault by ex-WWE wrestler fiance, WWE issues statement...

The San Antonio Police Department has issued a police report on an alleged incident involving WWE Diva Rosa Mendes (real name Milena Roucka) that began Sunday in Las Vegas and carried over to San Antonio when Roucka arrived in San Antonio for Monday's Raw. The following was reported by TMZ:

- Roucka alleged that she was assaulted by her fiance, former WWE wrestler Jackson Andrews, who infamously had a very brief stint on WWE TV as Tyson Kidd's bodyguard. Roucka told police that she "was afraid (her fiance) would try to kill her." She also stated the abuse was "on-going."

- The rumor of Roucka being intoxicated at the San Antonio Airport was included in the police report. Police said Roucka was under the influence of alcohol at the time they made contact with her at the airport. However, Roucka was not arrested, as was rumored, but escorted from the airport by police.

- Mendes filed a battery report around 10:17 p.m. on Sunday night and police took 30 photos of where she appeared to have bruises and scratches on her body from the alleged assault.

- WWE issued a statement to TMZ on the serious nature of the situation, which read: "Milena Roucka contacted a WWE Talent Relations representative this morning to notify WWE that, upon her arrival in San Antonio last evening, she contacted police at the airport to report alleged domestic abuse that occurred just prior to her flight."

WWE added that the company will "provide her with professional assistance." Jackson Andrews, real name Andy Slocum, was not able to be reached for comment.

WWE RAW social media score up 54 percent - 7th August 2012

Monday's WWE Raw episode was up 54 percent in social media activity compared to last week's post-1,000 hangover show as WWE tries to find a baseline during the three-hour era. Raw scored 401,202 on Monday, up from 259,203 last week, but down from a record 907,443 two weeks ago. Raw ranked #4 on cable TV Monday night, trailing Olympics coverage on NBC Universal and "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta" on VH1.( Data: )

Olympics-Wrestling-Korean "Mowgli": Greco-Roman king - 7th August 2012...

A South Korean wrestler nicknamed 'Mowgli' won gold in the Greco-Roman wrestling at the London Games on Tuesday, overcoming a badly swollen eye that left him struggling to see properly.

Kim Hyeonwoo, 23, beat Hungary's Tamas Lorincz in the 66kg final, the third lightest category in one of the world's oldest and most physical sports.

With his mop of black hair and winning smile, he bears more than a passing resemblance to the little boy raised by wolves in the Disney adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic stories, "The Jungle Book".

"In my high school, I used to run around in my bare feet, so my friends gave the nickname of Mowgli," he said. "I'm very happy with that, even though my foreign friends in the (wrestling) fights keep calling me Mowgli, Mowgli."

Kim's bruising route to the final owed more to the Rocky films than Disney, however. He suffered a nasty blow to the right eye in the first qualifying round and it had closed by the time he reached the final.

"I couldn't open the eye, I couldn't see," he said. "The swelling got bigger and bigger as I went on."

After winning the final, Kim knelt on the wrestling mat and kissed his country's flag as a packed arena cheered.


There was more success for Iran in the second final of the night when Ghasem Rezaei won the Greco-Roman heavyweight class, taking his country's wrestling gold tally to three.

The Iranian, who only managed 16th place in Beijing four years ago, beat Russia's Rustam Totrov in the final of the 96kg weight class.

Jubilant Iranian supporters roared and waved their nation's flags as Rezaei kissed and hugged his coach in celebration.

Rezaei had beaten the Armenian favourite Artur Aleksanyan in the quarter-final. Totrov won bronze at the world championships in 2011 and was among the favourites for gold in London.

"To see all the Iranians inside the stadium and back home, to bring smiles to their faces is the happiest moment of my life," said Rezaei.

It was the final day of the Greco-Roman, a discipline where holds must be above the waist and athletes are restricted from using their legs to bring down an opponent.

The freestyle - where athletes can use their legs to defend and attack - runs from Wednesday to Sunday. (Reuters)

Olympics wrestling: Ghasem Rezaei wins another gold for Iran...

Ghasem Rezaei added another Olympic wrestling gold to Iran's haul in London, beating Rustam Totrov in the -96kg Greco-Roman final.

Rezaei, 26, beat his Russian opponent 2-0 1-0 at ExCeL.

It was the third wrestling gold medal of the Games for Iran, following previous victories in both the men's -55kg Greco-Roman and men's -60kg Greco-Roman categories.

Armenia's Artur Aleksanyan and Jimmy Lidberg of Sweden took bronze medals.

They defeated Yunior Estrada Falcon of Cuba and Belarusian Tsimafei Dzeinichenka respectively.

Rezaei, who finished 16th in Beijing four years ago, lifted his opponent off the mat to win the first period before successfully defending a par terre in the second.

Iran had not won any golds in the Greco-Roman discipline before London.

Final Results

Rank Athlete Country Result
1 Rezaei IRI 3
2 Totrov RUS 0
3 Aleksanyan ARM 3
3 Lidberg SWE 3

Tarash gets lonely at training - 28th July 2012...

Australian wrestler Farzad Tarash struck an unexpected training snag on just his second day at the Olympics.

No one to train with.

Tarash arrived at the Redbridge training facility just outside London early Friday morning (local time) only to find himself all alone.

Typically before a big meet, rival wrestlers pair up for training sessions and for a two or three minute bout.

But Tarash, 25, couldn't find anyone in his 60kg division to match up with, although some Cuban wrestlers arrived just as he was leaving.

It seems the Melbourne engineer is a tad more driven than some of his wrestling mates.

"Yeah, Cuba came but it was a little bit too late," he told AAP.

"I think it's very quiet because people are taking it easy because it's going to be a long night with the opening ceremony."

Tarash is unlikely to make the podium in London, but is hoping to feed off the experience.

"I know most of the wrestlers in my weight division and it's good to have them as training partners.

"Some have very broken English, but we seem to understand each other somehow.

"Wrestling is not a sport where you need too many words." (AAP)

Cuba's Lopez wins wrestling gold - 7th August 2012...

Mijain Lopez of Cuba won gold Monday in the men's 120-kilogram category of the Greco-Roman wrestling at the London Olympics.

Lopez defeated Heiki Nabi of Estonia 2-0, 1-0 to win his second straight Olympic gold medal.

Lopez is the third wrestler to win multiple golds at 120 kilograms, joining Russian legend Alexander Karelin and Alexander Koltschinkski of the former Soviet Union.

Lopez, the four-time world champion, also beat Turkey's Riza Kayaalp in the semis after losing to the Turk in Istanbul during last year's world championships.

beating Estonia's Heiki Nabi

in the final.

Turkey's Riza Kayaalp and Johan Euren of Sweden took bronze medals. (AP)

Iran's Noroozi wins Olympic wrestling gold...

Omid Noroozi of Iran won the gold medal Monday in men's 60-kilogram Greco-Roman wrestling at the London Olympics.

Noroozi, the defending world champion, beat Georgia's Revaz Lashkhi 1-0, 1-0 to give Iran its second Greco-Roman medal in as many days.

Hamid Soryan won the country's first Greco-Roman gold on Sunday.

Noroozi beat Kazakhstan's Almat Kebispayev in a rematch of the 2011 world championship final, then took out Lashkhi for his first gold medal.

Russia's Zaur Kuramagomedov and Japan's Ryutaro Matsumoto won bronze medals. (AP)

First Second unveils André the Giant comic...

First Second has confirmed its André the Giant biography.

Cartoonist Box Brown is working on the book charting the life of the professional wrestler and actor, reports ICv2.

André Roussimoff was a star and one-time champion of the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE).

He is also known for his role in cult classic movie The Princess Bride.

Roussimoff has the condition acromegaly, which saw him grow to 7'4" in height. He died of heart failure in 1993 at the age of 46.

Box is the author of Xeric grant-funded graphic novel Love Is a Peculiar Type of Thing.

The untitled André the Giant biography is scheduled for release in 2014.

Fans of Andre will be delighted to hear that an Andre The Giant online slot game is available on Virgin Casino - Virgin Games, which can be accessed via the Media Man network.

McMahon finds herself on familiar Connecticut turf: attacked, ahead - 28th July 2012...

Pro wrestling mogul Linda McMahon finds herself in a familiar position this summer -- attacked as a candidate depending more on her personal wealth than her political skills to win a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut -- but once again the likely Republican primary winner.

The only real difference for the millionaire, former professional wrestling executive is the primary attacks this year have been exceptionally harsh, even compared to those against McMahon in her debut 2010 run.

One ad two years ago shows a wrestler pretending to smash a folding chair over the head of his opponent, then McMahon, a former World Wrestling Entertainment chief executive officer, standing in the ring hand-in-hand with husband and company founder Vince McMahon.

This year’s primary opponent, former GOP Rep. Christopher Shays, recently called McMahon “clueless” and said she is the political opponent for whom he has the least respect, after having served 32 years in elected office.

“I have never run against an opponent that I have respected less,” Shays told the New Haven Register after a July 18 debate, then characterized McMahon’s performance as “embarrassingly clueless.”

McMahon’s camp and political analysts have said the recent comments from the well-respect Shays suggest his frustration and realization that his political career might be coming to a close as McMahon holds a significant lead just weeks before the August primary.

“It has become increasingly clear that Shays has become unglued,” McMahon campaign manager Tim Murtaugh said. “It’s sad to see his career end this way.”

A recent Quinnipiac poll shows McMahon leading Shays by 29 points.

Shays, a moderate with support from such Washington Republicans as Karl Rove, appeared to suggest after the debate that he faces long odds in extending his political career, considering the campaign could not afford TV ads – crucial when trailing late and because he has under-whelming name recognition despite 21 years in the House.

His campaign said this week it had received an infusion of money for media buys and remains optimistic about winning.

Communications Director Amanda Bergen didn’t question the validity of the Quinnipiac poll, but said it might not reflect true voter sentiment because voters disconnect during the summer.

“People won’t start paying attention until early August,” she said.

Bergen said the campaign is also focusing on Republican primary voters and spending its advertising money in their specific markets.

“This election is too important to waste,” she said. “Chris votes on principle (and) he has the experience to hit the ground running.”

The Shays campaign also has repeatedly characterized McMahon as scripted and unprepared for Congress, much like she was criticized in the 2010 primary against former Rep. Rob Simmons and in the general election with Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who defeated her.

Regardless of who wins, either candidate will have a difficult time defeating the Democrat challenger in the race for the open seat of Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent, considering the blue state has a no Republicans in either the House or Senate.

Meanwhile, McMahon continues to poor millions of her own money into the race, as she did in 2010. And her campaign continues to stick to its message and look ahead to a match up with likely Democratic nominee Rep. Chris Murphy.

“Linda McMahon will be the Republican winner on the night of August 14,” Murtaugh told

He also said the campaign is sticking to its grass-roots campaign effort to contacts thousands of voters and tell people that McMahon is not a career Washington politician, but in fact a jobs creator whose wrestling business started as a kitchen table operation that once went bankrupt.

“She understands the plight of the small business person because she has lived through it,” Murtaugh said. (Fox News)

Brock Lesnar - Ryback backstage fight? - Internet rumour lights up...

Rumors of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar attacking WWE rising superstar Ryback have been sending the internet news sites crazy.

The rumor has been covered on several pro-wrestling news sites, including Mexican wrestling website SuperLuchas, and Pro Wrestling Observer.

SuperLuchas—as well as multiple sources throughout the Internet—claims that the news was first broken by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, despite the lack of evidence of the reputable newsletter ever publishing such news.

According to the websites which cite the alleged Wrestling Observer Newsletter report:

Lesnar left the building after getting into a physical altercation with fellow WWE superstar, Ryan Reeves, known in ring as Ryback.

Not much information is being let out, but the source says Lesnar was in the arena early to rehearse a major angle with SummerSlam opponent Triple H. Before things even began, Reeves, who was also in the building, got into a heated argument with Lesnar. It is uncertain what the argument was about.

Reeves put his hands on Lesnar, though the source tells us that people who witnessed it said Reeves was going to apologize. Lesnar shoved Reeves back and a shoving match ensued. Lesnar threw Reeves to the floor and hit him in the face three times before being pulled off.

Reeves suffered a laceration above his left eyebrow which is required stitches. 'Ryback' will not be competing tonight as he was originally planned. Lesnar left the building immediately, and all efforts to reach him have failed.

Ex Olympian Kurt Angle in movie...

You can donate as little as $2 to help get Angle's first starring role in a feature film, Singlet: The Dana Kelly Story, made. Angle plays Dana Kelly in the film, which takes a look at the world of Olympic Weightlifting. You can get more details here,com_moviehatch/competition,-1:/movie,640/task,detail/

Media Man Wrap-Up...

We told you we had a ripper news update for today. Fans, as always, keep checking the Media Man blogs for more news on these developing news stories.


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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Virgin Games review



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Crown wants world's best hotel for Sydney


Crown Limited Casinos James Packer Property Hotels Affiliate Programs Advertising

Billionaire casino mogul James Packer says he will build the world's best hotel in Sydney if he gets approval to include a gambling facility for high rollers in the development.

Mr Packer, the executive chairman of casinos operator Crown Ltd, said on Thursday that Crown wanted to build a hotel at Barangaroo South that would attract millions of tourists to Sydney and create thousands of new jobs.

Barangaroo is a residential, office and parkland development currently under construction on Sydney Harbour.

Crown and Lend Lease, the developer of Barangaroo, have signed a two-year exclusive dealing arrangement for the hotel development, but building approvals are still required from the NSW government.

"Sydney deserves one of the world's great hotels on its magnificent harbour," Mr Packer said in a statement.

"My desire is for Crown to build the best hotel in the world at Barangaroo."

Mr Packer said Crown wanted to incorporate a "VIP-only" gambling facility into the hotel, which would require approval from the NSW government and gaming authorities.

He said a facility for high rollers was "necessary to provide the commercial underpinning for any development and for the operation of a world-class six-star hotel resort".

Acting NSW Premier Andrew Stoner appeared to welcome Mr Packer's plan to build a world-leading hotel at Barangaroo, but stopped short of commenting on plans for a gambling room.

"The creation of a hotel of this stature would deliver new jobs in construction, off-site manufacturing and the tourism industry, along with hundreds of millions of dollars for the state economy each year," he said.

Crown chief financial officer Ken Barton told AAP that Crown said detailed costing of the project would be developed in the next two years.

He said if Crown was to operate a gaming facility in Sydney it would require the NSW government to issue a new licence, or it would have to be done as part of the existing licence which is held by Echo Entertainment Group, the operator of The Star casino in Sydney.

"I guess that's part of the two-year program as well: working through a licensing scenario," Mr Barton said.

"If the NSW government were to issue another licence between now and November 2019, it would be exposed to a requirement to pay compensation to Echo."

Asked if Crown had engaged with the NSW government to sound out its attitude towards a second licence, Mr Barton said: "Not in any conclusive way."

Crown operates casinos in Melbourne and Perth and is pushing for a presence in Sydney, where it holds a stake of around 10 per cent in Echo.

Crown has applied to regulators in NSW and Queensland for permission to lift its stake in Echo to up to 25 per cent.

Crown has been upgrading its casinos in Melbourne and Perth in a move to entice more high-rolling VIP gamblers from Asia.

It is planning to spend $568 million building a new six-star hotel at its Burswood complex in Perth.

Shares in Crown closed eight cents lower at $8.39 on Thursday. (AAP)


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Casino News Media: Crown to expand Burswood casino, Entertainment News, gaming, movies...

Entertainment news, gaming, Australia...


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Crown to expand Burswood casino...

Casino operator Crown will spend $568 million on a new luxury hotel at its Burswood complex in Perth.

The James Packer-controlled company said Crown Towers Hotel would be the largest in Perth, and create 500 new jobs once completed, plus 700 construction jobs.

Construction of the hotel tower will begin in 2013, with completion expected in 2016.
The development will be built on land currently owned by Burswood, plus land to be bought from the West Australian government for $60 million.

As part of its land purchase agreement with the government, Crown will be allowed to operate an additional 500 poker machines and 130 gaming tables at the Burswood casino.

The new gaming tables and machines will be rolled out over the next five years.

"The new hotel comes at a time when Perth and Western Australia are in desperate need of additional luxury hotel and short term accommodation to satisfy the demands of business travellers and tourists and will put Perth firmly back on the map for leisure travellers seeking exclusive, resort-style experiences," Crown said in a statement.

Some regulatory approvals are required before construction can begin. (AAP)

Packer plans 6-star casino in Perth...

James Packer has vowed not to undertake further luxury hotel-casino developments in Australia without bipartisan support after yesterday securing the backing of the West Australian government to spend $568 million to develop Perth's first six-star hotel.

The hotel, to be built on the Burswood Peninsula and called Crown Towers in line with the flagship in Melbourne, will feature 500 rooms as well as restaurants, bars, resort and convention facilities and take capacity at the casino precinct to 1200 rooms.

Crown set to join the Birdcage party at Melbourne Cup...

Business and gambling mogul James Packer has taken the lead by launching a Crown Casino corporate hospitality marquee in the Birdcage at this year's Melbourne Cup.

Race organisers have been flooded with sponsorship and hospitality deals that will push this year's spring racing carnival revenues 20 per cent above those before the global financial crisis.

It is believed the Victorian Racing Committee, the organiser of the carnival and the race that stops the nation, will soon unveil Crown Casino as a new marquee sponsor at the Melbourne Cup for 2012, along with another 18 new corporate private marquee clients at Flemington.

The decision by Crown to launch its Birdcage tent, which will be along millionaires' row that hugs the racetrack and overlooks the finish line, is part of a broader and deeper push by businesses to hook up sponsorship deals with the 2012 Melbourne Cup as well as ongoing deals that will now stretch out to 2015.

It is understood the Crown Casino marquee will have catering from some of the casino's best restaurants, such as Japanese eatery Nobu, part owned by Hollywood actor Robert De Niro, and popular French establishment Bistro Guillaume.

G. H. Mumm has just re-signed as official champagne sponsor for the next five years, The Age can reveal, while other new or extended sponsorship contracts have been inked by vitamins group Swisse, National Australia Bank, Yellowglen and Australia's largest brewer, Lion.

According to VRC documents, a suite of popular corporate sponsorships for this year's Cup, now less than 100 days away, have already sold out, including the Winning Post enclosure for Cup day, Trackside Enclosure on Stakes day and the private boxes for Derby and Cup days.

This has helped the VRC push its carnival sponsorship revenue up 19.4 per cent on pre-global financial crisis levels, while corporate hospitality revenue is up 32 per cent on 2009.

A study conducted by the consultancy group, IER, claims that the four days at Flemington generated a value-added contribution to Victoria's gross state product of more than $164.5 million - a figure that captures money injected into the Victorian economy from out-of-state visitors.

Victorian businesses also benefited from the $349 million in financial stimulus generated by the carnival, according to the report, while nationally, the economic output generated by spending associated with the carnival reached more than $746 million.

Fashion spending also increased, with racegoers spending $28.5 million ($26 million in 2010) in Victoria on items to wear to the Melbourne Cup carnival, representing an average outlay of $149.78 for each racegoer at Flemington.

Meanwhile, Black Caviar - whose presence at the track would provide a further significant fillip for Victorian racing - is undergoing a battery of tests to determine whether she will continue to race.

After she crowned her unbeaten career with a dramatic win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, Black Caviar was found to have suffered a number of muscle injuries.

Trainer Peter Moody and the mare's owners are expected to decide soon whether her racing career is over. (Fairfax Media)

Social concerns over proposed casino expansion...

The social welfare charity Anglicare is concerned about plans to add another 500 poker machines and more than 100 gaming tables to the Burswood Casino.

Yesterday it was announced that a 500 room, six-star hotel is set to be built alongside the Burswood casino complex in Perth.

The State Government has sold the land to the James Packer-owned company Crown for $60 million.

The hotel will cost nearly $500 million to build and is due to open in mid 2016.

Crown is also applying for an additional 500 gaming machines and 130 gaming tables.

Anglicare's chief executive Ian Carter says the impact the extra gaming machines will have on families should not be underplayed.

"We don't need an expansion of more opportunities for people to lose money," he said.

"We need to be clear here that the potential for family and marriage break down and for people to get into significant financial difficulty is associated with problem gambling.

"It's an issue in our community we're seeing increasing evidence of gambling opps being made available."

The new development also spells the end of the Burswood golf course.

Jeff McCann from the Burswood Residents Action Group, which has been lobbying to keep the course, says the news has come from left field.

"In many respects we feel deceived and we're very very disappointed," he said.

However, the Premier Colin Barnett has welcomed the development, saying the project will help ease the accommodation shortage in Perth.

"I am told it will be the best hotel in Australia by a significant margin and will do so much to help overcome the high quality shortage of hotel rooms in Perth," he said.

The Tourism Minister Kim Hames says it will help combat the shortage but more needs to be done.

"This will be the start of the change in this," he said.

"We will continue to work as a Government with other sites such as the Elizabeth Quay Development, the sinking of the railway line, East Perth development and of course we have recently announced the FESA house development.

"They will provide opportunities for the future to further address the hotel needs we have in this state." (ABC News)

Six star hotel to be built in Perth...

A 500 room six-star hotel is set to be built alongside the Burswood casino complex in Perth.

The State Government has sold the land to the James Packer-owned company Crown for $60 million.

The hotel will cost nearly $500 million to build and is due to open in mid 2016.

Crown is also applying for an additional 500 gaming machines and 130 gaming tables.

WA Premier Colin Barnett says the development will create 700 construction jobs and a further 500 once the hotel is completed.

"I am told it will be the best hotel in Australia by a significant margin and will do so much to help overcome the high quality shortage of hotel rooms in Perth," he said.

The Tourism Minister Kim Hames says it will help combat the shortage but more needs to be done.

"This will be the start of the change in this," he said.

"We will continue to work as a Government with other sites such as the Elizabeth Quay Development, the sinking of the railway line, East Perth development and of course we have recently announced the FESA house development.

"They will provide opportunities for the future to further address the hotel needs we have in this state."

NRL rejects player gambling research...

Gambling counsellor and former Newcastle Knights player Ashley Gordon says the National Rugby League needs to investigate the impacts of gambling on rugby league players.

Mr Gordon says gambling is having a devastating impact on the lives of some players and their families.

As part of his work with Southern Cross University he put forward a proposal to the NRL to conduct research into player gambling, but it's been rejected.

"I think it has been part of the game and part of the culture for too long," he said.

"I think the NRL are aware of this and really we need to take some strong steps to address the problems.

"I would like to see some research done to the players to provide us with the information on their beliefs and their values around gambling and money and so forth and their behaviour.

"That would give us valuable information to then put in programs and structures."

"We gave them a proposal that was knocked on the head.

"They weren't able to come up with the funds to support that initiative.

"I think it is important to provide the NRL with some important information would have been achieved by this research.

"At the moment it's a band aid solution where someone comes out, talks about the issue and we try and help that individual and then we wait for someone else to come forward with another problem. We need to do more."

Accusations cruise ship ran illegal casino...

The New South Wales Government has ordered an investigation into claims a P&O cruise ship ran an illegal floating casino off the state's south coast.

Last weekend, a P&O cruise ship left Sydney on a three-night cruise, including a stop at Jervis Bay.

Passengers say once at sea they could access up to $5,000 from their credit cards to gamble on games including blackjack, poker and roulette.

Under state laws it is only legal to run casinos on ships that are at least 12 nautical miles offshore.

NSW Gaming Minister George Souris says the waters around Jervis Bay are technically Commonwealth territory, but he has asked the Office of Liquor and Gaming to investigate.

"If it turns out that gambling operations were being conducted in New South Wales territorial waters of the coast line then that is indeed a breach," he said.

P&O says it has always worked to operate within the legislative framework.

Packer jet's close encounter with Virgin...

Details have emerged of a close shave between a corporate jet owned by James Packer's Crown Casino and a Virgin Australia passenger aircraft over the skies of Armidale, New South Wales, late last year.

A report from air safety inspectors, released today, reveals that the Gulfstream IV, which is used to fly Asian high-rollers to Crown's Melbourne casino, and the Virgin 737-800 were flying towards each other on air routes which intersected about 35 nautical miles north-west of the city on October 8.

An air traffic controller identified the situation but the instructions issued to the pilot of the Gulfstream meant that the corporate jet was cleared for descent below the level at which the 737 was flying.

The progress towards what air inspectors term a "breakdown of separation" continued when the controller did not recognise the error during the Gulfstream pilot's read-back of the clearance, the report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau states.

A breakdown of separation occurred about 3pm when the planes got within 4.8 nautical miles (8.9 kilometres) of each other.

The appropriate separation between planes is 5 nautical miles side by side, or 1000 feet vertically.

Fortunately, an automatic alarm was activated seconds later, and the controller issued an alert to the Virgin pilots advising them that the Gulfstream was at 1 o'clock in their line of vision at 4 nautical miles.

"The pilot of the 737 responded that the traffic was sighted and that a traffic alert and collision avoidance system ... traffic advisory alert ... had been received. This was reported to have assisted the pilot to visually sight the descending Gulfstream IV," the report states.

"Subsequently the controller acted correctly to recover from the ensuing breakdown of separation."

The ATSB's general manager of aviation safety investigation, Ian Sangston, said today that the report highlighted the various layers of defence in a complex air-safety system.

"In a complex situation there are a number of layers of defence ... and where there is an inadvertent slip up on the part of the controller, other layers in the system catch the slip," he said.

The report found no evidence the pilots of either aircraft were at fault.

The Virgin jet was flying from Brisbane to Sydney, while the Gulfstream was operating a flight from Melbourne to the Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta.

The corporate jet is one of three Gulfstreams – two of which are V versions – the casino owns to fly high rollers to Melbourne from destinations throughout Asia.

In a VIP configuration, Crown's corporate jets can seat about 10 people.

Crown controls 80 per cent of the high-roller market in Australia. (Fairfax Media)

Legal questions over latest Echo plan...

Another day, another theory about the carve up of Echo Entertainment, owner of Sydney casino The Star.

Unfortunately, the latest leaked plan from "well placed sources" suffers a major flaw - it is illegal.

For months, speculation and imaginations have run wild, ever since Malaysian casino group Genting snapped up a stake in Echo and gradually lifted it to 10 per cent, rivalling that of James Packer's Crown Group.

The sudden arrival of the Malaysians threw Packer's neat plan - to gain control of Echo without a takeover offer and then use its monopoly casino licence and its balance sheet to build a glittering new gambling den at Barangaroo - into chaos.

Would there be a bidding war? Or would the pair join forces to carve up Echo?

Given Packer's reluctance to stretch his finances, the latter idea has dominated thinking. Earlier this year, there were reports the Malaysians really just wanted a slice of the action in Macau, where Crown has a joint venture on several casinos with the Ho family. A deal was imminent. Or so we were told. No-one could ever explain the twisted logic of why anyone would buy a stake in an Australian casino group in order to get an advantage in Macau.

This week, reports appeared that Crown and Echo will work together to carve up the VIP market for wealthy Asian gamblers.

If true, that would be a major capitulation on the part of the Echo board and a serious about face after its earlier fierce opposition to Packer's plans. It would also possibly raise concerns from the competition regulator.

But the latest theory, that Genting and Crown have hatched a plan to each buy 25 per cent of Echo and then control the company, would represent a serious breach of the Corporations Act.

Such a deal would make the pair related parties. As a result, they would be prohibited from buying any more than 19.9 per cent between them. And should the pair want to extend beyond that, they would either have to jointly launch a takeover or buy 3 per cent every six months through their joint vehicle.

Both groups have requested regulatory approval to lift their holdings beyond the 10 per cent limit enforced by gaming authorities.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission chief Greg Medcraft recently voiced concerns to a parliamentary inquiry about the latest trend towards gaining control of a company by skirting the takeover laws.

He was specifically referring to Echo and Fairfax Media which has been under siege from Gina Rinehart.

These latest reports should be a red flag to the regulator.

Genting put a serious dent in Crown's Asian expansion plans a few years ago when it beat the Packer organisation for the rights to build and operate a massive new casino in Singapore. And it is no stranger to Australia. It was the original operator of Perth's Burswood casino, now owned by Crown, and was an early key investor in the Queensland-based Jupiters Casinos, now owned by Echo.

As your columnist postulated months ago, the more likely scenario is that Genting has built a blocking stake and will attempt to wrestle the three Queensland casinos out of the group if Packer launches a takeover bid.

But that's just another theory. (Fairfax Media)

Crown gambles on six-star hotel in WA...

James Packer has continued to gamble heavily on luring Asian tourists to his Australian casino resorts, with Crown Ltd announcing plans yesterday to spend $568 million building a six-star hotel at its Perth casino.

The deal with the WA government also includes a boost to its gambling facilities. Crown is also seeking permission from NSW and Queensland gaming regulators to increase its stake in Echo Entertainment from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

The Echo investment is part of another plan to engage its local rival in a joint venture focused on Asian VIP gamblers. Crown intends to create a billion-dollar luxury destination for Asian high rollers at Sydney's showpiece harbour development, Barangaroo, but needs Echo's casino licence - and money - to do it.

Yesterday Crown announced it had an in-principle agreement to pay the WA government $60 million to acquire land for the planned hotel development.

The government has agreed not to oppose an application for 500 additional gaming machines at the Perth casino and 130 additional gaming tables, Crown said. The application will include plans for private gambling salons for VIP gamblers.

The luxury hotel, to be known as Crown Towers Perth, adds to the $2.2 billion Crown is spending on its two Australian casino resorts in a bid to attract Asian VIP gamblers from the strong competition in Singapore and Macau.

''Our goal is to create an integrated resort capable of competing with the best in the Asian region,'' Mr Packer told a Perth audience last year. He has made no secret of the need to invest heavily in luxury accommodation and facilities to compete in the lucrative global market for China's tourists who are displaying an appetite for travel, gourmet food and gambling.

A third of Crown's Australian revenue last year, about $800 million, was generated from international visitors. Most of this revenue comes from high rollers and other VIP-level customers, but the recent opening of two casino resorts in Singapore has affected Crown's business, especially in Perth. The increase in gambling facilities in Perth will be phased in over five years, subject to the approval of the Gaming and Wagering Commission of Western Australia, Crown said.

Construction of the 500-room hotel on a property near the casino will commence early next year and take three years, according to a statement from Crown.

The development is also expected to include restaurants, bars, resort and convention facilities.

The company's shares closed 2¢ higher at $8.47 yesterday. (Fairfax Media)

TEXT-Fitch Affirms Australia's Crown at 'BBB'; Outlook Stable - 30th July 2012...

SYDNEY, July 30 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has affirmed Crown Limited's (Crown) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and its senior unsecured rating at 'BBB'. The Outlook on the IDR is Stable.

The Australian gaming and entertainment operator's ratings are supported by its strong market position as the sole licensed casino operator in the states of Victoria and Western Australia. Its gaming assets in Melbourne and Perth have demonstrated consistent cash flow generation, which in part reflect stable and predictable local markets that represent over 50% of consolidated revenue.

Crown has outperformed the Australian industry by increasing market share even as total gaming expenditure in the country has grown at a slower pace than inflation. More significantly, the company has achieved this growth in a period of disruption to its operations as it is in the midst of a significant capex programme.

These strengths are offset by the concentration of operating assets in two casinos from which all of Crown's cash generation is derived.

Crown has planned to incur expansionary capex till FY15 (financial year ending June). As most of the capex will be incurred on existing properties, project implementation risk is minimal. Sizable expansionary capex coupled with annual dividend payout would result in Crown continuing to generate negative free cash flow (FCF) till at least end of FY15. However, Fitch does not expect Crown's financial risk (net adjusted debt to operating EBITDAR) to exceed 2.5x (FY11:1.6x) during this period.

What Could Trigger a Rating Action?

Positive: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to a positive rating action include:

-the completion of the extensive capex that Crown is undertaking. This would need to be combined with ongoing evidence that Crown's focus will remain on lower-risk assets

-Net adjusted debt (excluding working capital cash) to EBITDA falls below 1.75x on a sustained basis

Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to a negative rating action include:

-Net adjusted debt (excluding working capital cash) to EBITDA increases above 2.5x on a sustained basis.

-Significant negative regulatory action -Additional material funding of investments

Shane McMahon Note...

YOU On Demand Holdings, a leading Pay-Per-View and Video On Demand platform in China of which Shane McMahon is CEO and Chairman, announced today via a press release that it has signed an agreement to offer Paramount Pictures titles through their Video On Demand and Subscription Video On Demand services in the People's Republic of China. The titles that will be available to YOU On Demand customers include Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Transformers, No Country For Old Men and Star Trek.

"Paramount Pictures is one of Hollywood's most iconic studios and we are delighted to offer films from its rich library to our customers," said Shane McMahon. "The addition of Paramount's roster now gives YOU On Demand the most vibrant and compelling titles available in the People's Republic of China."

WWE News: Ric Flair's Daughter Reports to FCW...

WWE may have signed their next huge female star.

Women's wrestling website Diva-Dirt reports that Ashley Fliehr Johnson, the daughter of wrestling legend Ric Flair, made her first official appearance for Florida Championship Wrestling at an event a few days ago.

It was first reported back in May that Fliehr had inked a deal with the company and was expected to join FCW imminently. She will follow in the footsteps of second- and third-generation Divas like Natalya Neidhart, Tamina Snuka, and Shaul Guerrero, who are all currently under WWE contract. (Guerrero is still training in developmental, while Snuka and Neidhart have been on the main roster for some time.)

Fliehr, who has a background in personal fitness, previously found herself in the public eye back in 2008 after an embarrassing—and volatile—family argument in her hometown of Chapel Hill, NC, which ended with the then-21-year-old's arrest. She was later sentenced to probation and ordered to pay a $200 fine over the incident.

At the time her signing was announced, it sparked interest in some circles that the aspiring Diva had elected to go to WWE and not TNA, the company to which her father contracted at the time.

Of course, shortly afterwards it was announced that "The Nature Boy" had acrimoniously parted ways with America's No. 2 wrestling promotion, which may have explained the move.

Although Flair's daughter may be on the FCW roster, his own future in WWE remains up in the air. While the promotion would surely love to have the popular and charismatic legend back—and had jumped at the chance to sign his daughter—the current TNA/WWE lawsuit for issues related to contract tampering looks to have prevented his return for the time being.

Movie News: Top Ten based on weekend estimates (USA)...

1. The Dark Knight Rises (Legendary/Warner Bros) Week 2 [4,404 Runs] PG13
Friday $18.0M, Saturday $25.6M, Weekend $64.0M (-60%), Cume $289.0M

2. Ice Age 4 3D (Fox) Week 3 [3,869 Runs) PG
Friday $4.1M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $13.3M, Cume $114.8M

3. The Watch (Fox) NEW 3,168 Runs) R
Friday $4.5M, Saturday $4.9M, Weekend $13M

4. Step Up Revolution 3D (Summit/Lionsgate) NEW [2,567 Runs) PG13
Friday $5.0M, Saturday 3.9M, Weekend $11.8M

5. Ted (Universal) Week 5 [3,129 Runs) R
Friday $2.1M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $7.3M, Cume $193.6M

6. The Amazing Spider-Man 3D (Col/Sony) Week 4 [3,160 Run]
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $2.9M, Weekend $6.8M, Cume $242.0M

7. Brave 3D (Pixar/Disney) Week 6 [2,551 Runs] PG
Friday $1.2M, Saturday $1.6M, Weekend $4.2M, Cume $217.2M

8. Magic Mike (Warner Bros) Week 5 [2,075 Runs] R
Friday $800K, Saturday $1.0M, Weekend $2.5M, Cume $107.5M

9. Savages (Universal) Week 4 [1,414 Runs] R
Friday $480K, Saturday $742K, Weekend $1.7M, Cume $43.8M

10. Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features) Week 9 [853 Runs] PG13
Friday $363K, Saturday $614K, Weekend $1.3M, Cume $38.3M

The Critics’ Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time...

1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)
5. Sunrise: A Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
8. Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)
10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)

The Directors’ Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time...

1. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
4. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
5. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1980)
6. Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
7. The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
8. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
9. Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1974)
10. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)


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