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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently joined government officials from the State of Queensland to green-light plans for a multi-billion-dollar casino and entertainment resort near the tropical tourist destination of Cairns. Dubbed the Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort, this “mega” casino is the brainchild of Hong Kong businessman and billionaire investor Tony Fung, who is embarking on the project with hopes of attracting legions of big-spending Chinese gamblers to Northern Australia.


Although Mr. Fung’s holding company, Aquis Reef, already owns and operates a casino in the Greater Cairns Area, ACCC officials anticipate little crossover with the new mega-casino. Aquis’s existing casino caters primarily to local residents and domestic vacationers who typically make low-stake wagers. The proposed Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort, by contrast, will focus on attracting VIP tourist customers from overseas. ACCC Commissioner Jill Walker has released a statement saying that the new Aquis resort, if developed, “would be of a scale that is unprecedented in Australia.”

Located roughly 13 kilometers north of Cairns in the beach community of Yorkeys Knob, the planned project is slated to include nine luxury hotels with a combined total of 7,500 rooms, 1,200 apartments, 135 villas, a 25,000-seat sports stadium, one of the largest aquariums in the world, a full-service convention and exhibition center, a 13-hectare reef lagoon, an 18-hole golf course, a number of theaters, and plenty of high-end retail shopping. Of course, the resort will also feature extensive, state-of-the-art gambling facilities with approximately 750 gaming tables and 1,500 gaming machines.

Committed to protecting the Greater Cairns region and helping it thrive, Tony Fung is proceeding with all relevant social and environmental safeguards firmly in place. The Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort will provide area residents with roughly 9,300 long-term construction jobs and 10,000 permanent positions upon completion. If all goes according to plan, the mega-casino will open its doors sometime in 2018.

In a perfect world, every hand you play would be a win and every casino visit, whether in person or at an online site, would end with a big payoff. The reality of course lies somewhere in between — you’re not going to win every pot, but you might come out ahead if you play smart.

While casinos make a profit from losses there are many big wins that occur daily. They do not mind forking the cash for these wins and to provide incentives for players to return. That’s why many have developed loyalty programs as well as second and third deposit bonus offers that reward players for continuing to invest. These programs offer regular players everything from credit and free plays to access to VIP areas or other nice tangibles.

Taking advantage of these perks can be part of a sensible strategy to increase your opportunities to play and reap potentially larger payments when you win.

Here are some suggestions to make the numbers work in your favour.

1. Start with More

Most online casinos offer some incentive to get you started. It could be a certain amount of credits, extra spins on slots, or even a limited time to play without having to invest money. These trial or non-credit plays let you check out the site to see if something catches your interest and will hopefully get you hooked. In most cases, winnings under these initial periods can’t be redeemed immediately. To make sure newcomers don’t cash out immediately, online casinos often require you play for a certain amount of time or a certain number of games, such as 50 slot games or 100 table games.

2. Frequency Helps

You’ll often see monthly incentives, weekly deals, and even daily prizes just for showing up. Sometimes these are simple promotions to change the environment up a little, but in other cases, they can be considered rewards for regular players. These can be extra spins or match plays, where the casino provides additional credits. Even if you don’t play long sessions, at least check in regularly. You may find rewards for consecutive achievements, such as winning money for logging in three days in a row.

3. Invest Big

If you can swing it with your household budget, invest more than the minimum, especially during promotional opportunities, to get more money back. How much extra you can win varies depending on the casino, but most seem to start returning rewards in better ways past the $100 mark. Extra incentives could include higher deposit bonuses — a 50 percent payback on $200 gives you $100 extra, which can mean a longer session or larger bets. Double-check the conditions — some sites have caps on how large your money can grow at higher percentage levels.

4. Aim for a Higher Level

Some casinos allow skilled players to move up to different levels based on their performance. Each level may include a higher percentage return or extra credits per win, which makes it a viable goal for players to shoot for. Along with the recognition that you’re doing well, a higher level could allow players to accrue winnings faster and move to even higher levels.

5. Pick a Game and Stick with it

This may prove to be a challenge with a diverse, entertaining online casino. But you’re more likely to grow your winnings faster by sticking to one game over a period of time than by trying a whole bunch during your session. And the industry consensus says that online slots tend to have larger payoffs or higher percentage returns compared to online table games.

Overall, there really is a great deal of opportunity available through loyalty programs for those eager to stretch their gambling dollars a little further. And with all the online casinos out there these days, the power is in the player’s hands to decide where to spend their money. With so much competition, the more attractive casinos don’t stop at a nice signup bonus but continue to offer all sorts of chances for regular customers to stay put.

Blaise PascalThe Roulette you have grown to love in the 21 st century looked very different a few hundred years back. There is an interesting history as well as mystical superstitions surrounding the game and its variations. Here’s a look at some interesting facts about Roulette that you have never known.

  • The game of Roulette originated in France way back in the 17th century when the famous mathematician and physicist - Blaise Pascal, invented a primitive form of the Roulette wheel. The wheel came about when Pascal was attempting to invent a perpetual motion machine. The word Roulette actually comes from the French meaning “small wheel”.

  • Later in the 18th century the Roulette wheel underwent some changes with the addition of elements from other games, namely the English games Roly-Poly, E.O. and Ace of Hearts as well as the Italian board games Hoca and Biribi. The game then became extremely popular in France and a few other European countries.

  • An early description of Roulette can be found in a 1796 French novel, La Roulette, ou le Jour, by Jaques Lablee. The wheel is described as containing two of the bank’s numbers, 0 and 00.
  • By the 19th century the game was already well established, appearing in casinos in U.S.A. and Monte Carlo. The European Roulette wheels were numbered 1-36 and featured both a 0 and 00 while some of the early American Roulette wheels were only numbered 1-28, had both 0 and 00, and an American Eagle pocket on the wheel. The Eagle was seen as a symbol of American liberty and was also a house slot that further increased the house-edge. That tradition, however, soon vanished.
  • In 1842 two Frenchmen, François and Louis Blanc, introduced the Roulette wheel with the single zero instead of the usual 00. This was done in order to encourage greater casino patronage as it lowered the house-edge.
  • There is a legend that says that François and Blanc sold their souls to the devil in exchange for all the secrets of Roulette. This legend is fuelled by the fact that the sum of all the numbers on a Roulette wheel total 666, also known as the number of the beast.
  • The single ‘0’ pocket was introduced by the brothers François and Louis Blanc, who wanted to attract gamblers to their Hamburg casino by offering superior odds
  • European roulette has much better odds than American roulette since the house edge is only 2.63%- compared to the American house edge of 5.26%
  • All roulette wheels feature three colours in the slotted pockets. The numbers from 1-36 are in alternating red or black slots, and the 0 slots are green. These colours are repeated on the corresponding layout of the gaming table where the chips are placed
  • Unlike many other popular casino games it is considered to be in bad taste to consume food or beverages while playing at Roulette tables
  • Roulette is possibly the only casino table game where a tip for the dealer is considered obligatory

The information above is just an excerpt from the our comprehensive PDF Roulette for Beginners . If you want more practical knowledge of the game, like how to play and strategies and tips to increase your skill and understanding, give this quick, informative eBook a read.

Since 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.

The Star

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. 

The 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.

South Australia Gambling

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.

A 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.

Australian Flag

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.

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Age of Discovery Slot Machine

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Bars and Stripes Slot

Bars 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.”

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.

Monitor with dice

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

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."

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.

Heston Blumenthal

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.

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.