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AG’s Week on the Punt – Blackjack is not called 22

Fri, May 16, 5:21pm by Brad McGrath

AG's week on the punt

AT an AustralianGambling staff dinner during the week we were discussing online casinos and whether it would ever become the norm for people to gamble virtually, rather than visit a bricks and mortar casino.

We discussed the boom in online sports betting and remembered the days when you would visit the TAB or your local watering hole that catered for punters to put bets on.

We wondered if online casinos would follow the same trend and begin to eat into the market share of their land-based brothers.

We reached the conclusion that interactive gaming – which is a term used to encompass all online betting – will continue to grow and grow in Australia.

One thing that will help online casinos like Royal Vegas, is rules like Melbourne’s Crown Casino version of blackjack, which doesn’t pay out when the dealer hits 22.

A Canadian relative of one of our staff members has vowed never to attend Crown Casino Melbourne again after being stitched up by the controversial rule.

Do you think the interactive gambling industry is set to blossom in Australia? We’d love to hear from you at

Welcome to Melbourne – the home of 22

Canadians BlackjackA short, Italian editor at AustralianGambling, who does not want to be named (but may or may not go by the name of Dominic), was taking some Canadian cousins on a tour of Melbourne last week when they ‘happened’ upon the Crown Casino.

After a meal, a tour around the facilities and a couple of drinks, the Canadians were keen for their first punt on Australian soil.

“Point us in the direction of your blackjack tables,” they demanded.

So off they marched to the blackjack tables, excitedly handing over their cash to begin playing.

After a few hands, the Canadians are flying. The oldest of the group, Mark, is upping his bets by $10 with each win and after a string of great hands, has won almost $500 and finds himself betting $100 per hand.

With his biggest bet of the night so far, he gets two aces, which he decides to split, meaning he’s invested $200 on the hand.

“Screw it. If we win this, that’s the flights to the Gold Coast paid for and we walk,” Mark tells his brothers.

The two cards come down – nine and nine. He has two hands of 20, which is still well-placed against the dealer’s six.

The first card the dealer draws is another six – he’s on 12.

“All we need is a picture card and I’ve got this!” Mark says.

A King comes.

The Canadians erupt in joy. High fives all around. The dealer has 22 and the collect is $200.

But wait, no.

“Sorry,” says the dealer.

“The house splits on 22.”

The Canadians look at the poor dealer like he’s just confessed to killing the family dog.

“Excuse me?” Mark asks, flabbergasted.

“At Crown Casino with BlackjackPlus, the house splits on 22. 23 is now a bust.”

At that point, Mark looks for his Australian relative, finds him and quickly pulls him over to the table.

“Is this for real? What kind of con job is your country running?” Mark says.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I should have warned you – the Casinos blatantly rip you off in Black Jack now,” Dom says.

Mark is stunned.


“Because they know suckers like us will play anyway, because there’s no other casino in the state.”

Mark, still up $500 from his hour of play, is happy, but the mood is not as jovial as it could have been.

On the way out, Mark leans over to Dom and says, “I thought you had a great city here Dom… but this has soured the whole thing for me.”

Let this be a lesson to everyone taking international relatives to Melbourne’s Crown Casino and a large majority of casinos around the country using the same new terrible rules.

Make sure you warn them that we play 22, not 21 and if they’re really, really keen to play blackjack the fair, old-school way, get them on a computer and do the real thing at Royal Vegas.

Corruption in sport to reach tsunami levels

A FORUM of experts gathered in Melbourne this week to discuss match-fixing.

The group of experts included Canadian investigative journalist Declan Hill who said Australia was likely to be hit hard by match-fixers in the coming years.

Hill said he has witnessed sporting competitions around the world be ruined because of corruption and believes Australia is a prime target for this type of activity because of our close proximity to Asia.

“Australians need to have a kind of quantum leap in imagination in understanding how significant this problem is,” he told the Herald Sun.

“You’re losing literally hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorships, you’ve got television rights going, you’ve got empty stadiums, you’ve got a disaster in Japanese baseball, in Japanese sumo wrestling … you have hundreds of players who have been arrested, you have suicides of people.

“This is a massive, huge problem.

“I’m not saying in Australia right now there is huge amounts of match fixing, but I’m saying it will come. Logically, it will come.

“You’re right next to Asia, you’re almost in the same time zone. It’s a massive wave of corruption that’s swept over most of western Europe, it’s going to come to Australia and the time to build your defences is right now.”

Other key speakers at the one day conference included Officers from Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit.

Heating up behind the scenes at BetEasy

THINGS are happening for the new player in Australia’s competitive online bookmaking industry.

Emerchants Limited announced a few days ago that it had signed an agreement with BetEasy PTY Ltd to provide their customers with reloadable cards.

BetEasy is hopeful of rolling out the cards in the second half of the year, pending approval from emerchants’ sponsoring Authorised Deposit-Taking Institution.

They won’t be the first Australian bookie to operate an ATM style withdrawal system with Ladbrokes unveiling a similar card earlier this year.

Launched in March 2014 by former Sportsbet head Matthew Tripp, BetEasy is licensed by the Northern Territory government, and is expected to become a factor in the Australian market in the not too distant future.

“We are very pleased to announce this agreement with BetEasy. Although it is a new name and brand, the company and its management team have an impressive track record and BetEasy is well-positioned to become a leader in the Australian wagering market,” said Mr Tom Cregan, Managing Director of emerchants Limited.

The new BetEasy brand and online wagering interfaces are due to launch in July 2014, and will entirely supersede the existing Betezy interfaces and brand.

Wooden spoon fraught with danger for bookies

EVER notice how bookies around the country changed the name of their ‘Wooden Spoon’ market a few years back?

Sportsbet risk manager Neil May said they changed the market name to ‘least wins’ after the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal.

The Storm were stripped of all their competition points in 2010 and finished in last place despite being among the competition pacesetters when they were penalized.

May said bookies had changed the name of the market to limit confusion if a team is ever penalized and stripped of competition points again.

In 2010 the Storm finished with 14 wins but finished bottom despite North Queensland only winning five matches for the season.

Maroons favoured to make it nine straight

PUNTERS have crunched Queensland’s odds of lifting their ninth successive State Of Origin shield into the shortest price since betting commenced on the 2014 series directly after game three last July.

The Maroons have firmed significantly from $1.70 into $1.50 at to win this year’s State Of Origin series, while the Blues’ odds have ballooned from $2.15 to $2.60.

“Each time the Blues are dealt bad news the punters launch into Queensland, and they’ve been launching a lot lately,” Sportingbet’s Andrew Brown said.

“Almost 70% of the money we’re holding for the series winner now is for the Maroons and that’s up from 55% two months ago.”

Prior to game 1 last year, Queensland was $1.70 to win the 2013 series, while NSW was $2.10.

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