Australia’s wagering giant awakens with a new brand and high-profile sports ambassadors

Australia’s wagering giant unwakens with the unveiling of a thrilling new brand, UBET, at a gala ‘green carpet’ event at Sydney’s Carriageworks on Wednesday 29 April 2015.

The re-branded wagering division from TattsBet to UBET will become Australia’s premier sports and race betting destination. TattsBet started trading in 1962 as TAB Queensland. It was privatised in 1999 and took over TAB operations in NT (2000), SA (2002), Tasmania (2012). The business generates turnover in excess of $3.5 billion annually. Parent company Tatts Group is Australia’s largest provider of wagering, lotteries and gaming in products and services.

Amid the fanfare, UBET announced a series of high-profile sports ambassadors and suite of new sponsorships. UBET announced its League of Legends, featuring some of the biggest names on the Australian sporting scene.

Three-time AFL premiership player Jonathan Brown, dual NRL premiership player, NSW Origin and Kangaroos legend Anthony Minichiello, former Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe, four-time Bathurst champion Greg Murphy and former ESPN host and US sports expert, Jason Bennett all joined the UBET team as ambassadors.

All five will provide expert insights and commentary for UBET punters.

In addition to its existing sponsorships of racing carnivals around the country and the Gold Coast Suns, UBET announced new partnerships with the Port Adelaide Football Club, V8 Supercars, Melbourne City Football Club as well as official, national charity partner – Mates4Mates.

UBET, as the exclusive retail operator in Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania, has the distinct advantage of being one of only two wagering providers to offer a true multi-channel experience with web, mobile app and telephone betting available in addition to on and off-course retail outlets. One of the major changes under UBET is the emphasis on innovation and new technology.

UBET has launched a new website as well as best in class mobile and iPad apps, which provide punters with a vastly different digital experience. Some of the key features include a more intuitive design, quick multi bets, improved account management functionality and live Sky Racing vision (excluding NSW and Victorian thoroughbreds).

But UBET isn’t turning to the online world at the expense of bricks and mortar. It recently opened Australia’s first UBET store at New Farm in Brisbane, commencing a multi-million dollar investment in its 1,200 outlet-strong retail network, with the next store to roll out in Tasmania followed by Adelaide.

The new retail concept represents the TAB of the future – a vastly different look and feel with cutting–edge video wall technology, sound canopies, stadium-style seating and new betting terminals. The TAB stores won’t all move to UBET stores overnight. It’s a 3-5 year transition given the size of the network

In an Australian first, the inclusion of UBET Live, a digital, in-play sports betting solution will allow punters to bet through a customised app on an in-store tablet device.

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Percy’s Bistro launches at the North Sydney Hotel as apart of the North Sydney Leisure and Lifestyle Festival

To celebrate the first North Sydney Leisure and Lifestyle Festival, a celebrity cricket match was held at North Sydney Oval on Thursday 5 February 2015, followed by a VIP cocktail function was held at the newly renovated North Sydney Hotel’s bistro, Percy’s. 

North Sydney Council Mayor Jilly Gibson hosted this VIP cocktail function, opening the new bistro to the public for post-match drinks. Celebrities in attendance included cricketer brothers Brett Lee and Shane Lee, singer, songwriter (and 2003 Australian Idol winner) Guy Sebastian, guy Sebastian’s wife Jules Sebastian, singer (and 2003 Australian Idol runner up) Shannon Noll, singer Danny Fai Fai, Australian cricket legend Dean James, Australian cricketers Nathan Hauritz, Aiden Blizzard, Cameron Merchant, New Zealand cricketer Daryl Tuffey, West Indies cricketer Darren Bravo, Olympic gold medalist swimmer Natalie Cook and 15 year old Spartan Scholarship winner Jack James. 

The North Sydney Leisure and Lifestyle Festival is a star-studded three day spectacular that took place on 5, 6 & 7 February 2015. It is an initiative of Spartan Sports which promotes healthy and active lifestyles for all ages.

Proceeds from the North Sydney Leisure and Lifestyle Festival will go to The Sebastian Foundation, with the festival also including a concert staring Guy Sebastian, Lee Kernaghan, Shannon Noll, Samantha Jade, and Timomatic, a food and wine festival, the first ever ‘Rebel Run’ throughout St. Leonards Park (led by Joint Olympian and World Champion Jess Fox), a group fitness class conducted by Cam Byrnes from hit TV show ‘Bringing Sexy Back’ and Penny Walsh from ‘Biggest Loser’ and a kids’ obstacle course race.

Percy’s is located at 292 Miller Street North Sydney (across the road from North Sydney Oval). It is open from 10am to 12am Monday to Saturday and 10am to 10pm Sunday. For further information go to: http://www.northsydneyhotel.com.au/northsydneyhotel-bistro/

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SLAM Beach Volley Ball Festival launches in Sydney

It is almost summer, and it is time to round up your friends, grab your gear, head down to the beach, and play volley ball while listening to cool tunes.

On Tuesday, 18th November 2014, fitness fans, celebs, bloggers and sponsors headed to Tamarama Beach for the official Summer Launch of SLAM Beach Volley Ball Festival. The gorgeous beachside location was transformed into a SLAM haven, which even included an inflatable court.

In its 15th year, founder Andrew Lemon was thrilled to announce SLAM’s first international launch to New Zealand.

Guests were treated to H2Coco and Zubrowka Vodka cocktails, Corona beers and canapes from Tamarama Kiosk, while enjoying the smooth sounds of New Native as the sun set.

Amongst the crowd was Samantha Frost and Jessica Jones, Tom Derricks and Dane Rampey, Lauren Seymour, Lola Berry, Pia Muellenbeck, and Christian Miranda.

The sponsors were Corona Extra, H2Coco, Schick, BONDS, Rockstar Energy and CLEO Magazine. The gift bag contributors included Wet Ones, Banana Boat, The Nut Job, Anytime Fitness, flopZ, Verival Muesli as well as some goodies from the sponsors.

SLAM is excited for its national tour around Australia for the loudest social beach volleyball festival kicking off in Cronulla 6th December. Team registrations are now open at www.slamfestival.com where teams can enter in Social sixes or Competitive fours as DJs play and teams compete in crazy costumes.

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Waterford Polo in the City series kicks off at Sydney’s Centennial Park

The Waterford Crystal Polo in the City series, now in its ninth year, kicked off at Mission Field, Centennial Park on Saturday 15 November 2014.

Polo is a sport that has been around for about 2,000 years. Ruki Baillieu and Janek Gazecki established Polo Enterprises Australia Pty Ltd in 2006 to introduce polo to a broader audience, promote professional polo players and attract new players to the sport. Polo Enterprises spends the whole year organising the Polo in the City series, which is Australia’s only national polo series and one of the largest in the world.

At this year’s annual Sydney event, attendees got to witness Australia’s best professional polo players compete for the Waterford Trophy. The day featured polo matches, a fashion on the field competition for both men and women, divot stomping, the women’s and men’s barefoot dash, a lucky door prize, and the best ex-racehorse competition.

I witnessed all the days activities from the comfort of the glamorous VIP Waterford Crystal marquee where I spent the day sipping Winston Churchill’s favourite champagne, Pol Roger, from Waterford Crystal champagne glasses while mingling with celebrities and polo players.

The celebrities who attended the event included Jennifer Hawkins, Camilla Frank, Guy Sebastian, Neale Whitaker, Darren Palmer, Buck Palmer, Terry Biviano and husband Anthony Minichiello.

Polo in the City matches are also held in Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. There are also Polo by the Sea events held around Australia. For more information visit www.polointhecity.com.

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‘Winner Circle’ after party at Circa The Prince was the place to be on Melbourne Cup and Oaks Day

According to The Age newspaper, Circa The Prince, St Kilda’s famed bar and restaurant, was the hottest place to be after the races on Melbourne Cup and Oaks Day. The after party, called the Winners Circle after party, was held on The Deck, Circa’s iconic timber terrace and outdoor space, and open to VIP guests, race day attendees and the public.

It was perfect venue for race‐goers looking to continue their daytime festivities into the night, offering an open space for guests to relax after a long day at the track. Over the two evenings, the ‘Winners Circle’ after parties hosted high profile and influential celebrities, key industry identities and the general public. Celebrities spotted over the two night included Masterchef Australia judge Matt Preston, television presenter Emma Freedman, film and television actor Firass Divani, actor and model Alisha Rutherford, and Miss Australia 2012 Renae Ayris, just to name a few. 

Premium beverage offerings by Moet, DOM Perignon and Belvedere Vodka were available for purchase. Further, there was unbridled access to premium spirits, cocktails and a striking Campari Negroni Bar for all guests.

Well-known local DJs including DJ Prequel, Edd Fisher and Andee Frost set the tone for the after parties and tempting food offerings from the award‐winning Circa, The Prince kitchen meet all guests needs to continue their carnival experience.

In addition to the parties upstairs, Circa Bar, located downstairs, was transformed into the Veuve Clicqout Bar for the Melbourne Cup Carnival week. Guests were invited to enjoy Veuve Clicqout champagne and Rose wine specials in the bright garden bar; styled with green grass, white picket fencing and the iconic Veuve Clicquot Yellow theming.

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The Glenmore’s Winter Rooftop Party

On 2 July 2014, The Glenmore‘s iconic rooftop was transformed into a winter wonderland for its first ever Winter Rooftop Party.

The fully decked out venue was the perfect spot to party into the night with complimentary canapés and Smirnoff Double Black cocktails, including the specially created Smirnoff Comet (made of Smirnoff vodka, raspberry juice, lemon juice, pineapple juice and soda).

Smirnoff Vodka also provided headbands, gloves and reflective glasses to party goers. These items were in limited supply and latecomers missed out. One latecomer wanted a headband so much that he offered money to other revellers if they were willing to sell. Luckily the buyer found a seller and an exchange was made.

The talented Mark Matthews was the DJ and saxophonist for the night, while Chloe West provided the vocals and Chris Bongoliro played the drums. Together they played their funky sounds until late.

Revellers who uploaded images of the night on Instagram could get a copy of the image printed by Your Scene and went into the draw to win the lucky door prize – one of 10 day ski passes to the Thredbo Resort. One reveller, who posted more pictures on Instagram than anyone else, was very happy to go home with a brand new snow board. —    at The Glenmore

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Winter Festival Launch 2014 at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour

Being a Sydney girl born and bred, I did not get a chance to experience any winter activities growing up. In fact, I have never experienced snow. The closest I ever got to snow was when my parents took me to St Moritz in Switzerland during the European summer when I was a teenager. On that trip, we travelled by train to Gornegrat from Zermatt for a good vantage point of the Matterhorn. The Matterhorn is the highest peak in the Alps and the most photographed mountain in Switzerland. On the ride up, I told these American tourists that I had never seen snow so, when we arrived, they suggested I make a snowball from the small puddles of ice that were yet to melt. I remember trying to form a ball with the dirty ice and feeling unconvinced. I looked up the Matterhorn (which still had snow on it) and thought to myself that this snow experience did not count.

Today, Sydneysiders don’t have to travel far to experience a European winter. On 18 June 2014, Winter Festivals Australia held a launch party at the Apres Skate Lounge at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour, Sydney. The Winter Festival is aligned with Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority‘s Cool Yule which is running until 13 July 2014. Co-founders Martin Kratky and Christoph Doerfel have been organising this festival in Sydney since 2009. With the help of Popcorn X, guests got a real taste of winter by experiencing open-air ice-skating, watching a Fire On Ice Synchronized Skatingperformance, enjoying traditional winter culinary delights from the Alpine Village, listening to DJ Adam Camilleri from Oddular and being photographed with St Bernard dogs from the The Saint Bernard Club of NSW Inc.

Guests were served Gluhweim, Wild Brumby Schnapps, Lindt Chocolate Cafe Australia hot chocolate, Moët & Chandon Chandon, Oyster Bay red and white wine and a variety of beers. They were also provided with food from two establishments: Agape Organic Restaurant & Bar and Eat Art Truck. Agape Organic Restaurant & Bar supplied wagyu beef and vegetarian nachos, tofu or pork and prawn sang choy bao with peanut sauce, and chocolate spelt brownie with chocolate sauce and almond praline. Eat Art Truck served pulled pork in a bun with mustard cabbage and BB bourbon sauce, and eight hours slow roasted beef brisket in a bun with iceberg lettuce. Lindt Australiaalso provided macaroons and chocolates.

Celebrities in attendance were Channel Ten news presenter Tracey Spicer, Jack Kennedy and Australian fashion model Avril Alexander. There were also two ladies wearing Harmony & Lawson fur coats who looked the part but, as it turns out, they were the owners of the brand. Further, Uber were on hand to provide the celebrity feel chauffeur ride home free for up to $50 for all new Uber users who attend the Winter Festival.

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