Pokie payouts a ‘myth’: landmark legal action

The 85 per cent return figure is calculated over the lifetime of a machine. Photo: Erin JonassonAustralia’s voracious gaming machines are facing a landmark legal test, with a former pokie addict set to challenge the industry’s assurance that players are returned a minimum 85 per cent of their stake.
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In the Federal Court on Wednesday, Adelaide-based lead applicant Shonica Guy will seek a declaration against industry giants Crown casino and pokie manufacturer Aristocrat that the machines she played for 14 years were misleading and deceptive.

In September, Fairfax Media revealed details of Ms Guy’s claim that the popular Dolphin Treasure machine was designed to mislead players. This included an uneven spread of symbols needed to win across the game’s five “reels” and the disguising of losses as wins through images and sound.

But in an updated claim, Ms Guy will also argue that information to players provided on machines is deceptive, notably the assurance that players will get a “theoretical” return of 85 per cent (the figure varies by state and by machine).

The 85 per cent return figure is calculated over the lifetime of a machine and includes jackpots that occasional players rarely win.

Prominent Melbourne-based law firm Maurice Blackburn is representing Ms Guy. Principal Jacob Varghese slammed the 85 per cent advice to players as  a “myth” based on the average return from a single spin.

Ms Guy’s team will claim that, contrary to federal consumer law, players are tricked into believing that if they enter a pokies venue with $100 they will leave hours later with $85.

But because 15 per cent on average is lost each game, the return cumulatively diminishes, with average players losing $5 every minute and $10 in five minutes.

“So if you put money into the machine and have multiple spins, you likely will be left with nothing,” said Mr Varghese. He said that to be confident of an 85 per cent return a player would have to have unlimited funds and use a machine for its lifetime.

Mr Varghese said the case was the first to focus on the effects of poker machine design on the prospects of winning. If successful it would have ramifications for the design of all pokie machines across the industry.

The case centres on the Dolphin Treasure machine and the claim the machine is designed – including in its reels and symbols – to make winning far more difficult than it appears to players,

Ms Guy said the machines took over her life for 14 years. “I do not want that to happen to another family.

“People deserve to know what is going on with the design of these machines, which deliberately give people false hope that they have a chance of winning to keep them playing. It is wrong, and it has to stop,” she said.

The legal action is being supported by the Alliance for Gambling Reform and backed up with analysis by researchers at Monash University.

Australians lose more than $11 billion on pokies each year. Some $2.5 billion is lost in Victoria alone, with $1 billion flowing to state coffers through taxes. Crown has a licence to operate 2628 poker machines.

Pokies manufacturer Aristocrat did not comment on Tuesday but has previously said it would “vigorously” defend any legal action.

It has said it “emphatically rejects” that its games are designed to encourage problem gambling or do not comply “with all relevant regulations and laws”.

In a brief written statement a spokeswoman  for Crown in Melbourne said it would also defend any claim.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Canberra Raiders prop Junior Paulo ready for boxing rumble with Paul Gallen

Junior Paulo has impressed ringside observers of his boxing training. Photo: Jay CronanCanberra behemoth Junior Paulo is looming as the most likely opponent for Paul Gallen as some of the biggest names in rugby league prepare to take their rivalries into the boxing ring.
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The identity of Gallen’s foe for the upcoming footy charity fight night has been a heavily guarded secret. But it’s understood the forward enforcers will be the headline act in a series of bouts between NRL stars in Sydney on December 8.

Paulo and Gallen almost crossed paths a month ago when the Raiders met the Sharks in the opening week of the final series. The Cronulla captain had to sit out that encounter due to injury, instead watching on as his side won the match en route to their maiden premiership victory.

Paulo, considered one of the most intimidating forwards in the game, will have a chance to earn payback for the Green Machine when he laces up for his boxing debut. There is already bad blood between supporters of the teams after Canberra coach Ricky Stuart took exception to veteran hooker Michael Ennis’ mocking of the popular “Viking clap”.

Gallen will likely go into the encounter as the favourite after emerging undefeated from five professional bouts. The most recent was a technical knockout of Herman Ene Purcell in Toowoomba, Gallen’s second win over the Queensland bouncer.

While Gallen sees Paulo as a stepping stone towards his ultimate ambition of stepping into the ring against Sonny Bill Williams, those in the Paulo camp are confident of his chances. The former Parramatta prop has been training for the fight in recent weeks and those overseeing his preparation have been amazed by his power and agility.

Gallen has retired from State of Origin football, opening up a vacancy in the NSW forward pack. Paulo could become a contender to replace him in the Blues engine room if he can continue his rapid rise in the nation’s capital.

Paulo earned notoriety for a series of off-field incidents this year. The 22-year-old made headlines after donning headgear and secretly running out for Oatley third grade rugby. The Samoan international was also one of several NRL stars to be issued with a consorting notice for associating with criminals.

Parramatta forward Peni Terepo and former Eels halfback Chris Sandow are expected to be part of the footy fight card, although their opponents are yet to be confirmed.

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Australian Boomers star Patty Mills puts Spurs culture and NBA dreams ahead of contract talks

Patrick Mills will put NBA championship dreams ahead of his individual contract ambitions as he prepares for one of the biggest seasons in his eight-year career in the world’s best league.
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The Canberra basketballer will join the San Antonio Spurs on the road for their season-opener against the all-star Golden State Warriors on Wednesday afternoon (AEDT).

It’s the start of a huge campaign for Mills as the three-time Olympian readies himself for free agency at the end of the year and the Spurs play for the first time in 19 years without future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan.

Challenges don’t come much bigger than taking on the Warriors at their home fortress in Oakland with Kevin Durant teaming up with Steph Curry for the first time as an NBA power couple.

But Mills has narrowed his focus to becoming a leader for San Antonio, declaring “I will play my heart out for the Spurs” this year as he chases a second NBA title.

“I want to accomplish more and achieve more,” Mills told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

“Playing against the Warriors is not a bad way to kick things off … it’s pretty exciting to think that the season is already here.

“We haven’t looked too much at anyone else in the league at the moment because we’ve got our own growing plans for us to develop. It’s come around so quickly and playing against [Curry and Durant] is a good way to test ourselves.”

Mills will spearhead an impressive cast of Australians in the NBA this year, with No. 1 draft pick Ben Simmons set to make an impact, Dante Exum coming back from injury, Andrew Bogut testing himself at a new team and Matthew Dellavedova starting a $US30 million contract in Milwaukee.

Mills has established himself as a significant role player on the Spurs roster but is still keen to leave a bigger mark on the league as he works with Tony Parker in the point guard job.

The former Canberra Marist College student has a burning ambition to become a starting point guard in the world’s toughest competition and a strong season will increase his bargaining power next year.

Mills is nearing the end of his $12 million, three-year deal with the Spurs, but he says he will bury contract speculation at the back of his mind to concentrate on a title bid.

“I can’t control anything about next year or beyond that at all, so for me it’s about focusing on this season,” Mills said.

“I’ll go about this year the same way I would for any other year and cross the bridge of all of the contract stuff when it’s all over.

“It’s not something that will affect me on or off the court. It’s just another year and another opportunity to get back to the finals, it’s not different on my end.”

Mills made his NBA debut in 2009 and has played 361 games with the Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers.

He has also been the Australian Boomers inspirational leader, taking charge of their Rio Olympic Games campaign earlier this year before suffering personal and team heartbreak in the dying seconds of a bronze-medal match.

Mills was intent on guiding the Boomers to their first medal at an Olympics and was on track against Spain when the referees controversially called a foul against him with 5.4 seconds left in the game.

Spain iced the free throws and won the match by one point. But Mills’ classy reaction spoke volumes for his character and now he wants to transfer the Olympic passion into the Spurs’ season.

Mills sees one of his major roles as stepping up as a leader to carry on the Spurs legacy after the retirement of five-time champion Duncan.

“The Olympics still stings and burns and I think it will linger for a while, but at the same time it adds a bit more fuel to the fire,” Mills said.

“What happened at the Olympics will hurt for a long while, but I’ve learnt you’ve got to use those experiences to motivate you to get better. In the long run I truly believe it will pay off if you handle it the right way.

“I’m going into my sixth season with the Spurs and the way I feel about playing for them and for the city, I’ve become to understand what it means to be a Spur.

“It’s very similar to the passion and pride I have for playing for Australia. That’s the growth I’ve had being in San Antonio, that contributes to the fun and the passion. I want to play my heart out for the Spurs.

“I want to establish myself more as a leader in this Spurs culture to get everyone to buy in. A championship goal goes without saying, it has to be our goal.”

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Teenager approached in Morpeth

Police are appealing for information after a girl was approached at Morpeththis week.
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About 5.30pm on Monday, October 24, police were told two men approached a 13-year-old girl at the Morpeth boat ramp and asked her to come over to their vehicle.

The girl ignored the men and walked away towards Swan Street. The men got into a silver-coloured single-cab utility, drove ahead of the girl and parked.

One man got out and approached the girl again before the girl asked a passer-by for help. The two men then left the scene in their vehicle.

Police from Central Hunter Local Area Command were notified of the incident and have started inquiries.

Investigators would like to speak with two men who may be able to assist with their inquiries.

The passenger in the vehicle is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 20 years old with short brown hair and had his left ear pierced with a spacer. He was last seen wearing a black T-shirt.

The driver of the vehicle is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 20 years old with short blonde hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a brown shirt.

Anyone with information is urged to come forward and contact Maitland Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Meanwhile, the incident has again prompted police to encourage parents to discuss the ‘Safe People, Safe Places’ messages with their children, including;

Make sure your parents or another adult you know knows where you are at all times.Always walk straight home or to the place you are walking to. Walk near busier roads and streets, or use paths where there are lots of other people.Know where safe places are – a shop, service station, police station, library or school. If you are ever frightened, you should go to one of these places and ask them to call the police.Learn about safe adults you can look for and talk to if you need help – police officers, teachers at school, adults you know and trust.Don’t talk to people you don’t know and never get into a car with someone you don’t know. If a car stops on the side of the road and you don’t know the person inside, do not stop.If you are scared and can use a phone, call 000 and tell them you are scared.If someone tries to grab you, yell out, ‘Go away, I don’t know you’. This lets other people know you have been approached by someone you don’t know.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.