Покер... Кажется, весь мир сидит на этой игре. В нее играют и студенты, и занятые директора, и люди, вышедшие на пенсию. Для этой игры нет разницы мужчина вы или женщина, сколько вам лет и какой вы национальности – вы либо умеете играть, либо нет.
C такими суждениями и полной уверенностью в своих силах, многие знаменитости переходят из шоу-бизнеса или даже спорта в покер. Для них это не только возможность хорошо организовать свой досуг, но и увеличить свое состояние.
Вы, наверное, уже не раз видели по телевизору рекламу с Роналдо или Рафаэлем Надалем где они играют в онлайн покер на деньги? Великие спортсмены полностью отдали себя увлекательной игре. Теперь они с удовольствием могут похвастаться тем, что стали участниками команды самой крупной в мире покерной комнаты PokerStars, и имеют прекрасную возможность представлять ее интересы на многочисленных мероприятиях.
Карьера в мире футбола у Роналдо Луиса Назарио де Лима закончилась еще в 2011 году, и с тех пор перед ним возник вопрос о планах на будущее. Сначала покер был одним из вариантов отлично провести время, но, хорошо в нем разобравшись и достигнув определенных результатов, бывший футболист стал воспринимать покер всерьез.
После нескольких великолепно сыгранных партий его заметили представители PokerStars и предложили подписать контракт. Роналдо не отказался, что вполне заметно благодаря частой рекламе по телевидению, участию во многих мировых покерных сериях и мероприятиях. Футболист снова у всех на виду, хоть уже и в совершенно другом амплуа.
Планам знаменитого футболиста стать лучшим среди звездных покеристов может помешать другой, не менее известный спортсмен, теннисист Рафаэль Надаль. Уже не впервые они соревнуются между собой за первенство на покерных просторах, и, по правде сказать, Надаль пока что ближе к победе.
Как и в случае с Роналдо, достигнув пика в карьере профессионального спортсмена, он обратил свой взор на покер. И сделал это довольно успешно. Между прочим, многочисленные выигрыши Рафаэль направил на благотворительность. Разве это не достойно похвалы?
Кроме всего прочего, как действующий член команды PokerStars, Рафаэль Надаль привлекает огромное количество своих фанатов в онлайн покер. Деятельность звезды существенно увеличила популярность лучшей покерной комнаты мира в Испании!
Еще один футболист за покерным столом - Андрей Шевченко. Правда, этот спортсмен, в отличие от двух предыдущих, карьеру в данной сфере делать пока что не собирается. Ему достаточно хорошо провести время, а также сразиться с настоящими знатоками игры. А о более серьезном подходе к этому делу говорить с Андреем еще рановато.
Турниры со знаменитостями
Теперь, зная нелегкий путь каждого спортсмена к признанию в покерных кругах, вспомним об удивительном состязании этих звезд в Праге, а позже и в Лондоне.
В последнем, конечно, не принимал участия Шевченко, но наблюдать за тем, как Надаль получил 50 тысяч долларов выигрыша, а Роналдо мыл посуду (это вовсе не шутка) после завершения поединка было не менее увлекательно.
Как мы уже говорили выше, покерную прибыль Надаль отдает на благотворительность, и в этот раз Рафаэль продолжил хорошую традицию. У теннисиста уже давно существует свой фонд помощи, который он активно развивает. Как результат, все его громкие победы идут на благо детям.
В целом, кроме вышеупомянутых всемирно известных спортсменов-активистов покерной игры, еще много других знаменитостей и влиятельных людей отдают предпочтение такому проведению досуга. Ведь покер для них - это не просто игра, а стиль жизни.
У вас есть прекрасная возможность оказаться за игровым столом с каждым из знаменитых спортсменов, о которых мы рассказали в этой статье. Все, что вам нужно, - начать играть в онлайн покер! А в этом вам поможет сайт Мир Покера. На нем вы найдете великолепную школу покера, огромный пласт обучающих видео и разнообразные статьи на покерную тематику. Причем все это абсолютно бесплатно!
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MACAU’S prospects as the world’s casino capital depend on policymakers in Beijing, a reality that — if ever in doubt — was made clear last year as China’s antigraft crusade dealt the coastal city its first annual decline in gambling revenue.
Last year gambling revenue in Macau fell 2.6 per cent to 351.5 billion patacas ($54.3bn), government data showed on Friday. It was the first decline since a public accounting of such data began in 2002. December gambling revenue plunged a record 30 per cent from a year earlier to 23.29 billion patacas, extending a seven-month losing streak in the casino hub.
The slide has pummelled casino stocks. Shares of Macau’s six licensed casino operators fell an average 40 per cent last year. Las Vegas Sands Corporation unit Sands China and Galaxy Entertainment Group — the two operators included in Hong Kong’s blue-chip Hang Seng index — were among the worst-performing stocks on the index last year, weighing down the entire market. Galaxy shares dropped 37 per cent, and Sands China shares fell 40 per cent, compared with the Hang Seng’s 0.4 per cent rise for the year. By contrast, in 2013 when Macau gambling revenue rose 19 per cent, prices more than doubled for shares of Nasdaq-listed Melco Crown Entertainment and Hong Kong-listed MGM China Holdings and Galaxy.
That year, Macau, which for some time had been growing annually by the size of the Las Vegas strip, raked in seven times the gambling revenue as its US counterpart. So the sharp revenue reversal for the Chinese casino hub in 2014, even as visitors continued to pour in, was a shock to many executives, analysts and investors.
The China-wide crackdown on corruption had driven the sudden downturn, they said. While netting many top officials on the mainland, the sweeping campaign also prompted highrollers to shy away from Macau’s baccarat tables, industry watchers said. Other government policies also have hurt gambling revenue, including tighter visa policies for Chinese travelling to Macau and increased oversight of the UnionPay cards many gamblers use to access funds there.
Many associated with the industry said they had no idea when things in Macau would improve, though they said the casino hub would eventually right itself.
Wynn Resorts chief Steve Wynn, who has long lauded what he deemed predictable government policies in China, said last year that the anti-graft campaign had “put a lot of the wealthy businessmen in the foxholes” and that he was unsure how long the policies would affect Macau.
Beijing has also been intensifying its calls for Macau to diversify its economy away from gambling, which accounted for more than 80 per cent of the local government’s revenue in 2013, according to official data.
Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated the message during a rare visit to Macau last month.
A once desolate Chinese island called Hengqin is the linchpin of the diversification plan, according to a Macau government adviser. China wanted land-strapped Macau to use its riches from gambling to develop non-gambling ventures on the island, the person said.
Hengqin is three times the size of Macau and part of the economic powerhouse known as the Pearl River Delta, which includes major cities in southern China as well as the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong.
But Beijing has been frustrated with the slow pace of development on Hengqin and complained that many Macau investors were just sitting on island property with no plans to develop it soon, said an executive involved in discussions about Hengqin.
Now, however, the central government was no longer just suggesting changes, said the Macau government adviser. The call had become “an order”.
Macau casino operators, including Galaxy and MGM China, have said they planned to invest in non-gambling projects in the area. Casino companies could also participate in the diversification plan by offering more non-gambling activities at their casino resorts, said Ambrose So, chief executive of SJM Holdings, Macau’s oldest casino operator.
“Integrated resorts offer a diverse mix of activities for patrons — including lodging, dining, shopping, entertainment” and meetings and convention facilities, he said in an email.
“This requires hiring and training local employees with a diverse set of skills.”
While China’s policies had hurt casino investors, many in Macau welcomed the fresh direction, said Eric Sautede, a political commentator and part-time university professor in Macau.
In the year ending June 2014, international visitors spent $30.1 billion in Australia, with $5.3 billion of this revenue generated by Chinese visitors alone.1 Australia is also seeing record numbers of visitors from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India and the US.2
It is no surprise that casino developers are seeking to develop new casinos in Australia to capitalise on existing Chinese tourism and to further promote Australia to Chinese tourists.
The development of casino destinations is becoming an increasingly popular focus of infrastructure investment for Asian countries such as Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam. This seeks to follow the success of Macau, which now, as a result of visitors from the Chinese mainland, generates gambling revenues in excess of the revenues generated by all the casino destinations in the United States combined (this includes Las Vegas and Atlantic City).
There appears to be potential for similar success in Australia. Based on 2009 research, each international visitor to Australia who visits a casino during their holiday spends an average of $4940, nearly double the amount spend on average by a visitor who does not (who spends on average $2630).3
The success of casino destinations in Macau and Singapore has encouraged the governments of Australian states New South Wales and Queensland to adopt strategies designed to capitalise on and/or encourage casino-tourism, with a view to obtaining benefits such as increased employment opportunities, tourism and revenues for the state.
However, the adoption of these strategies and the development of new casinos (or ‘integrated resorts’):
requires consideration of a complex legal and regulatory framework; and
faces significant opposition from the anti-gambling lobby, which argues that casino gambling leads to adverse social impacts, for example, problem gambling, corruption and crime.
NSW: The ‘VIP Gaming Facility’
In November 2013, the NSW government entered into a binding agreement with Crown Resorts Limited (Crown) to develop a new integrated VIP ‘gaming facility’ hotel and casino (VIP Gaming Facility) in Sydney CBD’s Barangaroo South, which is scheduled to open in 2019. Crown’s existing casino portfolio includes the casinos in Melbourne and Perth.
By approving Crown’s unsolicited proposal for an integrated resort-casino, the NSW state government has changed fundamentally the previous policy in NSW which had contemplated only a single casino in NSW.
Also in November 2013, the NSW Parliament passed the Casino Control Amendment (Barangaroo Restricted Gaming Facility) Act 2013 (NSW) to enable the grant of a ‘restricted gaming licence’ to the Barangaroo development.
The arrangement between the NSW government and Crown4 relating to the approval of this proposal includes a number of strict conditions on Crown, for example:
a delay on the commencement of gaming until 15 November 2019;
a prohibition on poker machines;
the application of minimum bet limits (commensurate with the expected limits in a VIP facility); and
the barring of the general public from entry into the casino.
Further, Crown is restricted from having a “material” association with prominent Macau based casino developer, Dr Stanley Ho and his associates and from allowing Dr Ho to obtain an interest, or hold a relevant position, in Crown.
Local residents who wish to apply for VIP membership status at the new facility must either demonstrate similar ‘VIP’ membership status at another casino, or wait for a 24-hour ‘cooling-off’ period before their membership is approved and they are permitted to gamble. The imposition of these conditions support arguments made publicly by James Packer and Crown that the target market of the new facility comprises high-value tourists.
The requirement for responsible gambling measures to be implemented is one of the means by which the new facilities are being marketed to the electorate, with Crown accepting the formation of a memorandum of understanding with Mission Australia as a condition of the grant of its NSW licence. Crown has also undertaken to pay a special tax rate, which includes a 2% responsible gambling levy that will be re-directed to the NSW Responsible Gambling Fund.
Crown needs to secure planning approval for the development from the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.
Queensland: SEVEN casinos!
In October 2013, the Queensland government announced that it had issued conditional licences for three new casinos.
Unlike the more restrictive legislative arrangements and agreements in NSW, the Casino Control Act 1982 (Qld) permits the Governor to grant an unlimited number of casino licences.
Plans have been announced for three new casinos in Queensland (which will be in addition to the four casinos already in operation in Queensland):
Hong Kong billionaire Tony Fung has proposed a $8.15 billion Aquis resort in Cairns. The proposed location is Yorkeys Knob, 15 kilometres north of the existing Reef Hotel Casino (RHC) in Cairns. However, at the time of writing, Mr Fung had withdrawn his offer to purchase the RHC. Whilst Mr Fung remains committed to the Aquis proposal, his purchase of the RHC was initially part of his strategy to raise funds for the development of Aquis;
a conditional licence has been granted to ASF Consortium for its proposed $7.5 billion Broadwater Marine Casino on the Gold Coast; and
the tender period for a second Brisbane casino has closed. Echo Entertainment (owner of the Star casino in Sydney) and Crown (among others) have lodged tenders. A decision is due in February 2015.
It’s not just gambling law that matters
In addition to the gambling laws requirements in each state, other laws also apply, for example, planning and environmental law. As mentioned above, Crown’s proposed VIP Gaming Facility is yet to obtain the approval of the Barangaroo Delivery Authority and the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.
Additionally, the Commonwealth competition and consumer regulator, the ACCC, has been paying close attention to the developments.
The ACCC investigated both Echo Entertainment and Crown for potential cartel conduct in 2013 following Crown’s acquisition of shares in Echo. The ACCC found that no contraventions had taken place. The ACCC also examined, and elected not to oppose, Mr Fung’s proposed acquisition of the RHC in 2014. (As stated above, Mr Fung decided subsequently not to proceed with this acquisition.)
A significant question relating to the proposed casino development which has arisen is whether sufficient demand exists and/or can be generated to enable both the existing and proposed casinos to remain independently economically viable. This is particularly relevant to Queensland, where seven casinos will be in operation if each of the proposed licences is granted and these casinos proceed to open.
As the new Australian casinos are, to a large extent, targeted directly at Chinese visitors, the following trends and developments may prove significant:
In October 2013, the Chinese government introduced a series of strict anti-corruption laws in response to serious incidents of Chinese tourists being coerced and harassed into shopping and gambling while travelling in tour groups overseas. These laws were designed to break down the close relationships and arrangements between tour operators and gambling service providers in destination countries. While Australian tours were not identified as a source of concern, these laws may affect the viability of the Chinese casino tourism market in Australia.
There have been reports in the media in late 2014 that the Chinese tourism market is contracting, as the growth in Australian tourist arrivals from China halved in 2014 compared to 2013.5 Additionally, Macau saw a 23% fall in gaming revenue in October 2014, a decline attributed to slowing in-bound tourism from China. (However, this decline has also been attributed to specific legislative reforms in Macau targeting tourism and the imposition of smoking bans.)
In addition to the proposals for new Australian casinos, significant investment is also being undertaken by existing Australian casinos operators, with extensive refurbishment and development expenditure taking place.
Commentators have also expressed concerns about the dominance of casinos in smaller cities and whether this dominance will prejudice the appeal of other hospitality venues and restaurants. This is due to the potential preference of tourists to visit casino developments, rather than other venues, thereby creating job losses which may well offset the employment opportunities and revenues generated by the new integrated resorts (and by improvements to existing casinos).
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HONG Kong billionaire Tony Fung’s Aquis Group has completed the $6 million acquisition of the Canberra casino from Casinos Austria, after gaining approval from the ACT government.
Aquis said it is working to develop “an exciting vision” for Casino Canberra and expects to release details around its plans early in the new year.
Aquis also said the acquisition of the Canberra casino will provide the opportunity to undertake a listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2016 as part of the funding strategy to develop the Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort at Yorkeys Knob, 15km north of Cairns.
The acquisition of the Canberra casino was originally part of a broader proposal by Aquis to acquire the Reef Casino Trust (RCT), which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Reef Casino Trust operates a casino in Cairns, and Casinos Austria and Accor are the main stakeholders in RCT.
Initially, the acquisition of the Canberra casino was conditional on the success of the overall RCT takeover offer.
But Aquis dropped its takeover bid for RCT because of regulatory delays and agreed with Casinos Austria that the acquisition of the Canberra casino would no longer be conditional upon the RCT takeover offer.