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Latest Posts

Latest Posts

Government’s liquor reforms benefit The Star Casino

Written By Carla Harris

The StarSince the City of Sydney introduced strict ‘lockout’ laws in February that prevented patrons from entering clubs and pubs after 1.30am, the Star casino, which is subject to different licensing laws, has been seeing an influx of revellers in the early morning hours.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Star Casino has become a popular late-night destination for those out on the town who are not quite done when the deadline rolls around. The law is intended to curb alcohol-related violence by prohibiting entry to premises after 1.30am and the sale of drinks at bars after 3am. The zone covers the CBD and Kings Cross, ending at Darling Harbour, which makes the Star exempt.

According to the Police Association of NSW president, Scott Weber, who spoke to the Herald, more and more patrons are migrating to areas outside the lockout zone such as Newtown and Pyrmont, attracted by late-night venues that include the Star. He said that having an epicenter for alcohol can lead to violence and was ‘a recipe for disaster’.

So who are these patrons lining up to visit the Star in the early morning hours? The Herald spoke to some, including a group of 18-year-old girls who were heading there because they knew of nowhere else to go. One said they weren’t planning to gamble and were reportedly relieved when informed that there was a nightclub inside the casino.

Casino employees that spoke to the Herald on condition of anonymity said that the casino was definitely busier in the early morning hours since the lockout was introduced. One employee said, “As opposed to people coming in around 10pm, 11pm, you see a lot of people coming in at 1am, 2am. And people still coming in at 3am, 4am even as we’re trying to close.”

According to the Herald, the Star has denied that it has benefitted from the lockouts, saying attendance is still much the same as it was before the law. A spokesman for the casino went as far as to say that a head count of patrons on Friday and Saturday nights had fallen slightly. The casino, however, would not provide figures or confirm whether the head counts were made on a Saturday or Sunday morning. However, the Herald reported that the Star’s revenue had increased significantly from January to June, which the company attributed to marketing efforts. Whether the number of gamblers has risen proportionally, or if these new patrons were only drinking and dancing, is also unknown.

The success of the lockout strategy in curbing alcohol-related violence has yet to be determined, but the measure was drafted in the wake of two deaths from so-called ‘one-punch hits’ – a single unprovoked punch to the head by a stranger. Casinos are generally renowned for their security where surveillance cameras and hefty security guards are the order of the day, so it is unlikely that such incidents would occur there. 

South Australia Gambling Advertising Rules Change

Written By Carla Harris

South Australia GamblingThe South Australian Gambling Codes of Practice Notice 2013 recently went into effect, requiring gambling organizations and wagering operators to attach a warning to any commercial advertisements or marketing messages that are accessible to residents of South Australia.

The regulations detailed in the notice extend to all forms of gambling advertising across all publications, broadcasts, and digital media outlets. This broad and general approach affects print ads, radio and television commercials, online marketing campaigns, localized ads within specific venues, and commercial announcements that are delivered via text message.

Similar to cautionary notices that have been imposed within various alcohol and tobacco markets, the new South Australian gambling warnings are intended to inform consumers about potential risks and dangers that are commonly associated with wagering on games of chance.

The specific nature of these warnings depends entirely upon the type of advertisement that it accompanies. For example, any print ad that appears in a newspaper or magazine must include a warning message that is “presented in a font, in a colour and with sufficient contrast such as to make it distinct” and must “occupy at least 10% of the space occupied by the advertising.”

By contrast, all traditional television commercials must include a warning message that occupies “at least 25% of the screen area for at least one-sixth of the length of the advertisement” or “the whole of the screen area for at least one-tenth of the length of the advertisement.”

Major gambling industry organizations and lobbying groups such as the Australian Wagering Council (AWC) are staunchly opposed to the South Australian Gambling Codes of Practice Notice 2013. The AWC maintains that these Codes of Practice fail to adequately balance a concern for public well-being with potential unintended consequences on the gaming industry. The organization also sites the effectiveness of existing safeguards, the excessive burden of additional regulatory costs, and the difficulty of addressing commercial advertisements that cross South Australian state lines.


Rural Australians Continue to Gamble More Than Their Urban Counterparts

Written By Carla Harris

Australian FlagA 2014 study by Roy Morgan Research recently determined that while overall Australian gambling rates have declined over the past 10 years, participation in games of chance remains most widespread in Australia’s rural areas. According to the study, 56 percent of rural Australians confirm that they tend to place at least one wager over an average three-month period. Australia’s city-dwellers, however, tend to gamble significantly less. During the same three-month timeframe, only 47 percent of capital city residents report instances of gambling.


Polling a wide range of Australians over the age of 17, the Roy Morgan study asked survey participants about all forms of gaming and wagering, from sports booking to keno. In both the country and the city, the most popular gambling outlets are lottery and scratch-off tickets. Poker machines are Australians’ second-favourite form of gambling, despite the fact that these devices are currently illegal in many areas. In Western Australia, for example, poker machines are restricted to a single location: the Crown Perth Casino.

Despite the high concentration of poker machines in urban areas, rural Australians use these devices far more than their urban counterparts. This trend is consistent with public tendencies across all forms of gaming and wagering. In fact, only casino table games attract more gamblers from the city than from the country. When compared with rural gamblers, urban residents are three times more likely to play a table game in a casino.

The results of the Roy Morgan study lend credence to previous research into Australian gambling trends throughout the countryside. Drawing upon well-established empirical data, this research has shown that young people in rural areas are introduced to social and recreational gambling through a combination of parents, siblings, and older friends. Because it is passed down from generation to generation within a family context, the gambling tradition is instilled at an extremely early age.

Three epic new games at Casino-Mate Mobile Casino

Written By Carla Harris

PRESS RELEASE: Three grand new titles have arrived at Casino-Mate Mobile Casino. That means three new adventures to be had with brand new opportunities to scoop up serious rewards – and, of course, more variety in Casino-Mate’s ever growing catalogue of quality games for Apple/iOS and Android 4.0 devices.

Age of Discovery Slot MachineAge of Discovery will certainly appeal to any players who yearn for a grand experience on the high seas, setting off into the vast unknown where enormous wealth is destined to be found. This 5 Reel Video Slot features 25 Paylines and features Wilds and Scatters to keep the excitement going without end. Plus, there’s a Treasure Bonus where winnings quickly swell. Age of Discovery also includes a Gamble Feature for the truly daring explorers.

Bars and Stripes SlotBars and Stripes is a celebration of all things American – amongst the bald eagles, apple pies and hotdogs there are piles of gold bullion. Here players can realize their own American dream on 5 Reels and 25 Paylines, with Wilds and Scatters that multiply winnings and trigger a Bonus Game where players pick 3 of 5 Uncle Sam hats – the correct selection wins the sizeable Bonus Jackpot.

Classic Blackjack Gold is a welcome addition to the Table Games on offer, and is easily the most polished and player-friendly Blackjack variant around, let alone on mobile. It aims for a fully realistic experience, aided by sharp graphics and sound effects, so that one can almost feel the felt of the table beneath one’s fingers. Classic Blackjack Gold is played with a single 52 card deck. The dealer must stand on all 17’s and blackjack pays 3 credits for every to 2 wagered.

Carla Harris, Casino-Mate manager and spokesperson, said, “Each of these three games offers a unique gaming experience with unique ways to win. The selection of great games for mobile just keeps on growing and growing.”

Two Gambling Ads Banned by UK Watchdog

Written By Carla Harris

Monitor with dice

If one U.K.-based gaming company had taken bets on its latest ad campaign causing so much controversy, it would have been raking in the winnings right about now. The controversy was loud enough for U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to take action, Marketing Week reports, banning two of the company's advertising posters on Tuesday.

One of the banned posters sports the phrase “When you win it’s skill – when you lose it’s bad luck.” The other reads “Once is luck – twice is talent.” The ASA says the posters may “condone an irresponsible attitude to gambling” when taken out of context from the gaming company's full TV and video campaign.

The full campaign tells the story of five men, each with personality traits that align with his style of gambling. While the campaign, which was launched in April, was intended to be humorous, 98 complaints proved that not all viewers found it amusing. The ASA determined that most viewers were likely to understand the playful and sarcastic nature of the TV and video ads and allowed them to stand.

Ads That Crossed the Line

Campaigns from other companies have also teetered on advertising regulation lines. In April, the ASA quashed a prominent online casino's campaign that depicted the face of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius on an Academy Award statue with the tagline “money back if he walks.” The ASA upheld complaints that the ad was tasteless and demanded the campaign be stopped, according to the gambling news site CalvinAyre.com.

One U.S.-based casino received a costlier punishment nearly a decade ago when it was commanded to pay a $100,000 fine for two ads deemed offensive by the Nevada Gaming Commission, AP reports. One ad pictured a man and woman atop a gambling table with the tagline “There’s always a temptation to cheat.” The other said the casino believes in “your Monday night rights: large quantities of prescription stimulants (and) having wives in two states."

Heston Blumenthal to Open Restaurant at Crown Casino

Written By Carla Harris

Heston Blumenthal

After scrapping plans to open a new restaurant in New York City’s luxurious Mandarin Oriental, world-renowned British chef Heston Blumenthal has finalized plans to begin a new venture at the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex in Melbourne, Victoria.

Blumenthal rose to prominence as owner of the Fat Duck in Berkshire, England, which has been lauded for its exciting and experimental cuisine. The Fat Duck has been voted the best restaurant in the world by a number of top industry authorities. The prestigious Michelin Guide currently gives the restaurant its top rating of three stars. 

Blumenthal will close the Fat Duck’s Berkshire facilities for a period six months to bring his entire kitchen staff and extensive cooking operations to Crown Resorts in Melbourne. The casino resort will serve as Fat Duck’s temporary home from February to August of next year. During this time, the world’s foremost gastronomical connoisseurs will undoubtedly flock to Crown Resorts to sample Fat Duck’s signature dishes, including snail porridge with Iberico de Bellota ham and the Sound of the Sea, a seafood dish that asks diners to eat while listening to seagulls and crashing waves on a pair of earphones. Blumenthal chose Crown Resorts as his newest restaurant location, in part, because he considers Melbourne one of the “top five cities in the world for food."

When the Fat Duck moves back to the United Kingdom in August, the Crown restaurant will continue to operate as a version of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. A two-Michelin-star restaurant, Dinner’s existing location in London is directed by former Fat Duck head chef Ashley Palmer-Watts.

In its ambitious attempt to recreate British culinary history, Dinner has crafted a number of innovative dishes such as Meat Fruit and Tipsy Cake with spit-roast pineapple and Bohemian Cake with grapefruit jam, chocolate mousse, and honey ice cream. In April 2014, Restaurant Magazine ranked Dinner by Heston Blumenthal No. 5 on its list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants.

How to Play Blackjack: Reducing the House Edge

Written By Carla Harris

The house edge is a statistical advantage created especially for the financial benefit of the casino. The casino and the dealer are always going to have the edge in any gambling game. The casinos advantage is very high, if the player doesn’t adopt a basic strategy in a game of Blackjack.

If you’re thinking this sounds a little unfair, you’re probably right, but there’s no need to worry as the house advantage is reduced to a great extent when using the basic strategies.

Having a strategy provides the player with a bit more lee-way to play the game, with less control coming from the house.

If you play your cards right, using the mind of a mathematician, then you are also going to have a better opportunity of maximizing your chance of beating the house. Not only has this been proven by men like Edward O. Thorp and Emmanuel Kimmel (known as the “men who beat Las Vegas”), but thinking with a mathematical mind when playing Blackjack has been tried and tested through computer simulations, which has proven to be very successful in reducing the house edge to an absolute minimum.

Don’t be misled though, Blackjack is not essentially a game revolving around mathematics, nor does the player need to have a photographic memory in order to win. Just a bit of logic will do.

You’ll notice that there’ll be varying rules with regards to whether a dealer hits or stands on a soft 17. (This is usually printed on the felt on the Blackjack table: H17, means the dealer MUST hit on soft 17; S17 indicates the dealer will stand on a soft 17.)

If the dealer’s up card has a face value of 7 or higher, it’s advised to keep drawing cards until you have a hard hand of at least 17 and higher or a soft hand of 18 and higher (remember a soft hand contains an ace with a value of either 1 or 11).

The above is just an excerpt from our comprehensive guide on How to Play Blackjack , which will show the ropes to beginners and provide strategic advice to those who are more familiar with the game. The best part? This eBook is 100% free – no conditions attached.

Baccarat: A Quick History

Written By Carla Harris

Felix Falguierein, who played with Tarot cards in the late 15th century Italy, has been the acclaimed inventor of Baccarat (meaning “Zero” in French, which also happens to be the game’s worst hand, adding a sort of lethal edge to its atmosphere).

During the Franco-Italian war, King Charles VIII brought Baccarat to France from Italy in 1490, through his soldiers, who in all probability must have learnt Baccarat from the Italian civilians. Baccarat was given wide-spread recognition throughout France. This brought about the different variants such as Chemin de Fer and Baccarat en Banque, which were played only by the French Aristocrats and in secrecy because at various time in its history the game has been illegal, just like many forms of gambling.

Baccarat gained momentum and popularity once it reached Europe, and by the 19th century, French and English immigrants had spread the game’s antics to the Americas. Surprisingly though, Americans were not as immediately smitten with the game in the way that the Europeans had been centuries before, at least not at first.

Baccarat’s popularity only soared in America from around the 1950’s, when Tommy Renzoni passed baccarat from the Cubans, to the Las Vegas strip and promoted its possible prominence in the gambling industry. This is where the third version of Baccarat - Punto Banco (Player vs. Banker) came into being and turned out to be the preferred version to play in North America.

Las Vegas encouraged Punto Banco’s primacy by offering the game in VIP lounges for the pleasure of high rollers. This created an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue for the general public, which led to the clichéd idea that Baccarat is for the well-to-do.

Chemin de Fer, anyone?

This is the original version of Baccarat which was introduced to France in 1490. It’s also the variant that is still practiced there and to this day is very popular. During the time of its introduction, the cards were dealt out of an iron box, thus the name Chemin de Fer – meaning “way of iron” or more accurately, “railroad”. The table is oval in shape and seats up to eight clients at one time.

Six decks of cards are used. Play begins to the right of the dealer and continues in an anti-clockwise direction.

The dealer first shuffles all the cards, after which the client to the left of the dealer will then cut the deck.

One of the clients is given the position as the “banker” and will also have to deal the cards. The remaining 7 clients are named “punters”. The banker position will be passed on anti-clockwise and each client (when they become the Banker) will wager his/her bet. The punters (or clients rather,) have the option to say out loud – “go bank” and will then play against the entire existing bank, with your matching bet. Only one client can “go bank”, so being the first to say it is important (if of course you would like to play against the bank), otherwise, if no one says “go bank” then clients place their bets in order. The total of the bets can either be less than the bank, or more in which the bank can choose to either allow bystanders to join and bet up to the amount of the bank or if bets turn out to be greater than the bank, the banker can increase the bank bet to match or remove the bet in the opposite (clockwise) order of play.

Banker shares out four cards face-down, two of which are the bankers and the remaining two cards are communal for the clients. The client, who has offered the highest bet, represents the rest of the clients. An immediate 8 or 9 must be announced and cards must be turned face-up, otherwise if both hands contain neither an 8 nor a 9 – the client can accept a third card, if they wish. The rules from here on out are the same as in Full Scale Baccarat.

From hushed and illegal to the vivacious presence the game has today, Baccarat and its variations is a game of choice for many players. The online casino environment is no different with scores of players clicking away with the chance of great cash rewards.

The Popularity of Sports Betting in Australia

Written By Carla Harris

Live Sports Betting

Although lottery scratch tickets and poker machines are currently Australia’s favourite form of gambling, the country also has a longstanding tradition of sports betting. In the wake of regulatory restrictions such as the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) of 2001, sports betting has enjoyed something of a resurgence.

The IGA specifically targeted casino gaming, making it more difficult for gambling businesses to offer casino gaming and advertise these services to Australian citizens. Under current Australian law, however, it remains perfectly legal for licensed gambling companies to offer online and brick-and-mortar sports betting.

According to a recent study by Roy Morgan Research, the majority of Australians go online to place sports bets — and this trend is currently on the rise. In fact, the popularity of Internet sports betting has more than quadrupled since 2004. Between June 2013 and June 2014, approximately 1.1 percent of adult Australians (207,000 individuals) placed at least one online sports bet over an average of three months.

The second most popular sports betting outlet is provided by Australia’s Totalisator Agency Board. Operating under the acronym TAB, this organization maintains a network of agencies and outlets in clubs, bars, and hotels. As a whole, TAB services attract 137,000 gaming enthusiasts (0.8 percent of the adult population) in any given three months.

The second most popular sports betting outlet is provided by Australia’s Totalisator Agency Board. Operating under the acronym TAB, this organization maintains a network of agencies and outlets in clubs, bars, and hotels. As a whole, TAB services attract 137,000 gaming enthusiasts (0.8 percent of the adult population) in any given three months.

A large number of Australians and Australian tourists also place sports bets in the country’s numerous casinos. Major gaming resorts such as the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex in Melbourne, Victoria, offer professional in-house bookies who can broker wagers on sporting events throughout Australia and the rest of the world.

To accommodate those who want to watch the sports drama unfold in real time, Crown offers a number of HD televisions that are tuned to a wide variety of popular games, matches, and races. These massive-screen TVs are spread evenly throughout Crown’s spacious sports betting area.

Will Aussie Casino Locations Lure Organised Crime?

Written By Carla Harris

Casino Chips

With several world-class gaming resorts soon opening in Australia, there is palpable excitement about a potential tourist boom that could bring in billions.

If media reports are to be believed, Asian crime gangs may want in on the action too.

A recent news story expressed concern that some Asian casino junket operators may have connections to organised crime and money laundering. These junket operators, who are popular in China among large bettors, transport high-rolling wagerers to casinos while providing them with amenities.

Australia's new casinos are expected to draw a large number of Asian gamers. Many of the big-betting "whales" Aussie casinos will likely target junket operators, prompting concern that criminal activity may spill over into local casinos.

The problem appears to be acute in Macau , one of the world's gaming capitals and the favoured location for many rich Chinese bettors. Because casinos are forbidden on mainland China, many Chinese wagerers use junket operators for gaming trips to Macau. Some of these operators are reputed to engage in questionable activity, such as loaning money to bettors and then enforcing subsequent debts through violence.

While Macau may have significant problems with junket operators, the situation is far less likely to occur in Australia. While Australia's junket regulations are not uniform and vary by jurisdiction, their presence is enough to deter the kind of behaviour seen in Macau. Australia also has stringent laws governing financial transactions, making money-laundering far less likely. Australian casinos must face regular audits, and every transaction greater than $10,000 must be reported to a national monitoring agency.

Given the safeguards in place, the odds of Aussie casinos becoming burdened by organised crime seem like a long shot — though it makes for an interesting story.


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