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The Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex continues to receive unprecedented support from Victorian government authorities, which recognize the Melbourne resort and gaming center as an essential component of the regional economy. As part of a wide range of legislative reforms, the upper house of the Parliament of Victoria recently extended Crown Casino’s gaming license through 2050 while allowing an additional 100 poker tables on the premises. Now, the upper house has approved a deal that will help safeguard Crown’s bottom line against a wide range of future gambling restrictions.

Victoria Parliament

On Tuesday, October 14, Victoria’s upper house granted the largest casino in Australia a contractual guarantee that Green Party leader Greg Barber describes as “absolutely extraordinary.” Under the terms of the agreement, Crown Melbourne can receive up to $200 million in publicly funded compensation to offset potential losses from any forthcoming gambling legislation that might prove problematic for the casino giant. Representative Barber predicts that major casinos across Australia will follow Crown’s lead and push for similar governmental deals.

The Crown agreement will insure the organization against a wide range of prospective antigambling measures, including tougher limits on maximum bets and organized public campaigns against gambling addiction. Crown may even receive concessions if government officials seek to ban smoking in certain areas on the casino grounds.

In return for this compensation and its extensive license to operate, Crown has agreed to make more than $900 million in payments to the Victorian government. This figure includes an initial contribution of $250 million, which will be delivered within seven days of the bill’s implementation. Despite these substantial payments, Representative Barber claims that Crown should have no problem recouping its investment and generating a considerable profit over the course of its 50-year license period.

Playing cards are generally believed to have originated in China sometime around the 9th century, making their way to Europe some five centuries later. However there is also evidence that suggests they were first used in India, whilst others historians have found further evidence of them in the Islamic countries bordering the Mediterranean. Ultimately, though, everyone is in agreement that by the 14th century they were being used in Europe, where the 52 card deck and the modern concept of card suits were born.

The Italo-Spanish deck was made up of cups, coins, clubs and swords, but the suits that we know today (hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades) were courtesy of the French, which is where most people believe the game of Blackjack originated.

Like so many card games, there is no consensus as to Blackjack’s origins. It more than likely originated in France (like so many of the card games that migrated to North America), probably around 1700. It was called ‘Vingt-et-Un’ (Twenty-one), which explains why Blackjack is also known as ‘21’. It could also have been influenced by the card games ‘Chemin de Fer’ and ‘French Ferme’ – two very popular amusements with the gaming classes of the time.

However there was also a similar game that existed in Spain that predated the French version. Author of the classic novel ‘Don Quixote’, Miguel Cervantes referenced this version in a story called Ronconete y Cortadillo in Novelas Ejemplare, in the early 1600s, and this is the earliest written reference found to date that relates to the game of Blackjack. ‘Ventuina’, as it was known, also translates to 21 and although the deck on which it was played lacked eights, nines and tens, the aim was to reach 21 points.

The game travelled to North America with French colonists and soon spread through the continent. French culture was exceedingly popular with Americans at the time, which can explain why it caught on so quickly. However the rules were still different to the modern version played today. Nevada gambling houses began to introduce unique bonus hands to attract gamblers. One such bet offered a 10 to 1 payout for any player that achieved a 21-point hand made up of the Ace of Spades and either the Jack of Clubs or Spades – it was, of course, known as ‘blackjack’. The name soon stuck (although the payout didn’t!) and referring to the game as 21 became less and less common.

What is unique about Blackjack is that it continues to evolve and adapt, with new variants cropping up – especially at online casinos that usually boast a number of versions. It’s no surprise that Blackjack has maintained its popularity and is played in casinos, and online, around the world.

In September of 2014, the Australian-based sports betting organization Sports Trading Club Partnership sold half of its holdings to the Universal Sports Group, a subsidiary of Jenforth Holdings Limited with headquarters in the British Virgin Islands.

Football Sports Betting

The Sports Trading Club has done substantial business for years throughout the countries of Australia and New Zealand. Rebranded as USG Partners (or USGP) in the wake of the fifty-percent acquisition, the Universal Sports Group is now poised to give the Sports Trading Club brand name a significant foothold throughout South Africa and Asia.

Working with commodities traders in Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, the Sports Trading Club launched a joint venture to expand into the Indochina region. Following this promising endeavor, USGP secured an additional license to bring the Sports Trading Club to the growing South African marketplace.

According to Sports Trading Club General Partner Anne Larter, USGP has “big plans to grow the Club internationally.” Larter went on to explain that USGP considers Sports Trading Club to be an “emerging brand with a strong track record throughout Australia and New Zealand” and that the recent acquisition presents an excellent opportunity to capitalize on the “extraordinary profits” and “phenomenal growth” in the booming field of online sports gambling. “This is a real opportunity to go to the next stage,” she added.

Asian gambling companies currently make up 34 percent of the worldwide gambling market, and by 2015, the Asian online sports booking sector is expected to reach a combined net worth of more than $164 billion.

Against all odds, an invasive Indonesian sea snake joined gamblers at SkyCity Casino, engaging them in a potentially deadly game of chance that they had no intention of playing.

Aussie Sea Snake

Shortly after midnight on Sunday, October 19th, security at the Darwin, Australia seaside casino phoned a local snake catcher, reporting that a 1.3 metre yellow-lipped banded sea krait had wandered onto the premises. While contacting the snake professional, the SkyCity staff acted quickly to protect patrons. When authorities arrived on the scene, they found the snake safely confined in a lunch bag.

While hastily attained, the ad-hoc paper prison was more than enough security to hold the banded sea krait. Although its venom ranks among the most poisonous in the world and its fangs are as long as a death adder’s, the snake itself is so submissive and docile that humans are rarely bitten. Even on the chaotic and threatening casino floor, the banded sea krait will maintain what scientists have called “a really good personality.”

Like many tourists, the snake travelled quite a long way to pay its visit to SkyCity. Native to Samoa, Papua New Guinea, South India, and Japan, the banded sea krait is believed to have travelled to Australia by riding ocean currents and tides. According to environmental scientist expert Mick Guinea, Australian voyages of this kind may be a rising trend among the species. “It’s very likely they could be naturally migrating,” he said. “They have a very high range of habitats, and it could be that they are expanding this range.” The recent SkyCity visitor was the second banded sea krait to be found within Darwin city limits.

The World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) is quickly becoming one of the premier gambling events in the Southern Hemisphere. Poker players from Australia and around the world descended on the iconic Crown Melbourne to play, watch, and gamble with some of the best poker players in the world.


This year’s WSOP APAC is only the second time the tournament series has been held, but due to its clear popularity (and expanded television coverage) it is all-but-guaranteed that the WSOP APAC is here to stay.

With 10 exciting events and millions of dollars on the line, it is impossible to go over every noteworthy development in the series. The following highlights are just three of the best (but far from the only) stories from the series.

Scott Davies wins his first AU$10,000 APAC Main Event

Like so many other gamblers, American-born Scott Davies came to the Crown Melbourne with the intention of taking down the APAC Main Event. Unlike everyone else, Davies was actually able to pull it off, earning a gold WSOP bracelet and AU$850,136 in prize money.

Mike Leah takes down the prestigious AU$25,000 High Roller Event

In case the AU$10,000 buyin Main Event wasn’t enough action for you, the High Roller Event featured a buyin two and a half times that size. Canadian poker pro Mike Leah won his first WSOP bracelet (and AU$600,000) in one of the most prestigious events on the global circuit. Runner-up was New Zealand poker pro David Yan (with AU$360,025 in winnings).

WSOP veteran George Danzer bests the field at the AU$5000 Eight-Game Mixed Event

George Danzer is no stranger to WSOP final tables, or WSOP bracelets for that matter. Danzer’s impressive takedown of the notoriously difficult AU$5000 Mixed-Game Event earned him his third WSOP bracelet of the year, while also making him a strong contender for the WSOP Player of the Year.

With such a successful series, chances are great that next year’s WSOP APAC will be even bigger than the one that just concluded. All eyes will be on the event itself as well as the potentially impressive lineup, each Poker Star with their own fan base.

November’s release gives players an updated intergalactic adventure in Max Damage Online Slot

Max Damage online slot

Wednesday, 5th November 2014 is going to be an explosive day in the world of online gaming. The Max Damage Online Slot blasts into Casino-Mate ‘unleashing a second wave of alien activity’ and bringing space-age wins and rewards for all players blood enough to report for duty.

Players fell for the original Max Damage game – Max Damage and the Alien Attack Arcade Slot – and this rebooted version is set to join it on the favourites’ list. It’s the same iconic arcade-game feel boasting 80s old-school cool, but the special features and bonuses are totally space-age. The 5-Reel, 243-Ways-to-Win Slot kicks off with all guns blazing in the Base Game – Max is the Wild Symbol and the pays are out of this world. 3, 4 or 5 Alien Scatters set the gaming galaxy on fire with 15 Free Spins boosted by a 2x Multiplier, so wins are doubled. And when the Enemy Spaceship Scatters invade, Max fights back with random cash prizes. Wins skyrocket up to 120,000.00.

Casino manager and spokesperson, Carla Harris, said, “If you enjoyed the original Max Damage then you are in for a real treat. The new Max Damage Slot is a fast-paced, action-filled game with unbelievable prizes up for grabs. I’m already a fan.”

New players at Casino-Mate are greeted with a choice between two Welcome Offers to get their gaming off to a cracking start. There’s the 4-Tier Deposit Bonus of $/£/€1,400 Free in Bonuses on their first four deposits. They get a Bonus of 100% on their first deposit up to $/€100, 200% on their second deposit up to $/€50, 25% up to $/€500 and 50% up to $/€750 on their fourth deposit.

As well as these new titles, there are over 650 other high-quality games. Banking security is a serious priority and a range of banking options are available, from credit cards to web wallet services. All banking and personal information is carried over 128-bit encryption technology, an industry standard.

All queries can be resolved by the casino’s comprehensive FAQ page or by contacting the 24/7 multilingual contact centre. They can be reached either by email, toll-free number or live chat.

Rhonda Quinn has claimed the title of Australian Deaf Poker Champion 2014 at this year’s Deaf Poker Association tournament held in Western Australia.


Quinn made an impressive array of back-to-back wins at the table in this year’s prestigious tournament held at the Crown Perth. In total, Quinn was able to beat a pool of 101 Poker maestros in the main event becoming the third woman in history to claim the prize.

The competition was tough with former Champions Michelle Rowlands and John Girvan on the list of entries as well as prominent names from Europe such as Andrew Mclean and Magnus Olofsson. Nevertheless, Quinn confidently powered through the event defeating all of her opponents.

Quinn’s final blow was delivered on Sunday, 19 Oct, when she ousted Carlos Navarro from New South Wales from the competition who was hot on her heels. She rolled out a Js-5c hand that paired beautifully with the Qd-2c-Jh-5h on the board.

Of considerable note is Quinn’s epically calm reaction to the win against the backdrop of screams and celebrations from her Melbourne Kings team members. She remained still for a good few minutes before requesting a photograph be taken of her on her camera phone.

Running for its 6th successful year, the DPA’s Championship provides the opportunity for deaf and hearing-impaired players who have a passion for the game to use a combination of Australian sign language and regular speech at Poker tables.

Quickly gaining in popularity, next year’s DPA event will be appended to the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT).

The owner of leading gaming and entertainment conglomerate Crown Resorts Limited, James Packer, recently bought ownership in Australia's National Rugby League premiership champions, the South Sydney Rabbitohs. In a deal that was finalized on Thursday, October 23rd, Packer acquired a 37.5 per cent share in the South Sydney Rabbitohs (commonly known as the Souths) from prominent businessman Peter Holmes à Court. The $7.5 million purchase positioned Packer alongside Hollywood movie star Russell Crowe as an official co-owner of the South Sydney rugby club.

James Packer Rugby Team

His newfound ownership in the Souths has a great deal of personal relevance for Packer, who began working at Crown Resorts Limited under the guidance of his late father Kerry. Before his death in 2005, Kerry Packer had been a longtime fan and supporter ofthe South Sydney Rabbitohs. Over the course of his career, the legendary investment professional helped lead his beloved Souths to anumber of championship performances.

After the October 23rd transaction was complete, James Packer released a statement declaring, "This is a very proud day for myfamily." He went on to discuss his father’s long history and passionate association with Souths. “And now being a co-owner with RussellCrowe and the members,” Packer said, “is an honour and a privilege.”

Forming Blackcourt League Investments in 2006, Russell Crowe and Peter Holmes à Court originally paid $3 million to acquire 75 percent of the Souths. In the wake of the recent deal, ownership of Blackcourt League Investments was equally divided between Packer and Crowe.

Of considerable note is Quinn’s epically calm reaction to the win against the backdrop of screams and celebrations from her Melbourne Kings team members. She remained still for a good few minutes before requesting a photograph be taken of her on her camera phone.

Running for its 6th successful year, the DPA’s Championship provides the opportunity for deaf and hearing-impaired players who have a passion for the game to use a combination of Australian sign language and regular speech at Poker tables.

Quickly gaining in popularity, next year’s DPA event will be appended to the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT).

Rival Australian gaming companies Crown Resorts Limited and the Echo Entertainment Group have submitted separate proposals to develop a casino in the Queensland city of Brisbane.

Crown Casino

The Queensland government recently earmarked prime waterfront real estate in Brisbane’s central business district for a new gambling and entertainment resort. Upon completion, this complex will occupy a place on the historic Queen's Wharf, an international tourist destination that preserves and celebrates Brisbane's rich legacy while supporting a wide range of heritage buildings, government institutions, and beautiful public spaces.

Both Echo Entertainment and Crown Resorts placed final bids for the casino project on Tuesday, October 28th. According to its comprehensive public proposal, Crown plans to work with its Chinese consortium partner, the Greenland Group, to build a six-star hotel and casino at the proposed site.

Echo reported that it was unable to disclose any specific details about its proposal due to the confidential nature of the government bidding process. However, Echo’s chief executive officer Matt Bekier assured Brisbane residents that the company “put forward a responsible offer that delivers a truly iconic precinct.” He also predicted that the Queen's Wharf project would be a major string to Echo’s bow.

No matter which company ultimately wins the development bid, the moneymaking potential of the proposed Brisbane casino is bound to be significant.

The Queensland government will be completing an extensive evaluation process over the next few months in order to assess each proposal in detail. The preferred plan will be announced in the first part of 2015.

An ongoing investigation into the illegal activities of former professional tennis player and coach Matthew Charles Fox has unearthed new information that implicates his professional associate and friend Nick Lindahl. Previously ranked among the 200 best tennis players in the world, Lindahl competed at the Grand Slam and ATP Tour levels.

Tennis Match Fixing Scandal

In October of 2014, police charged Matthew Charles Fox with drug trafficking and two counts of illegal betting on Australian tournament matches. While appearing at the Melbourne Magistrates Court to plead guilty to these charges, Fox and his attorneys revealed damning information about Lindahl. According to court records, Fox and Lindahl allegedly conspired to fix a prominent match at the 2014 Toowoomba Futures tournament.

Lindahl was the odds-on favourite to defeat Andrew Corbitt at Toowoomba. After informing Fox that he would "tank" the match, Lindahl approached his lower-ranked opponent to ask for his compliance in the match fixing scheme. Corbitt reportedly refused. In the end, however, Corbitt won the competition 6-2 and 6-3. Match officials immediately approached Lindahl after the final volley.

Purana Task Force detectives report that Lindahl and Fox first cemented their match-fixing agreement in 2013. The plan was simple: Lindahl would throw his matches, and Fox would place bets according to the predetermined results. After winning thousands of dollars on these fixed tournament competitions, Lindahl and Feeney both retired from professional sport.

When Fairfax Media attempted to reach Lindahl for comment, he simply hung up the phone. Lindahl has previously released statements insisting that he had no knowledge of the Fox match fixing investigation and that he maintains no lasting links to the tennis community in Victoria.