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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Award winning Nissos Beer launches in Sydney in true Greek style

The ancient Greeks are known for many of their achievements. They gave the world the first democracy, they invented the Olympic Games, they built magnificent buildings and developed formulas that have influenced architecture for the last two millennia, they wrote the first histories, they were the first to take a scientific approach to medicine and study diseases, they invented the rules of geometry, they created outstanding literature, they wrote the first dramas that were performed in outdoor theatres, and they studied and classified plants. However, all I hear about Greece now is their economic woes rather than any achievements, until I heard about this craft beer known as Nissos.

Nissos hails from the isle of Tinos in Greece, and has been winning awards Europe. On 23 April 2015, Nissos Beer launched in Sydney’s CYREN Restaurant, Darling Harbour, and I got to taste this award winning beer.

Brewed and bottled in small quantities, the result is a spicy herbal-citrusy fragrant aroma with subtle malt flavours, rounding off with a pleasant hoppiness at finish and a perfect mouthfeel.

Nissos took home the Silver Bohemian-Style Pilsner 2014 Award at the European Beer Competition in Bavaria, Germany among 42 countries and 1,613 beers on offer, with judges evaluating taste, colour, flavour and overall impression. Nissos also won National Champion at the European Business Award 2014/15.

Guests were invited to celebrating in true Greek style with master brewer, Alexandros Kouris,, enjoying an abundance of authentic Greek foods including such classics as Spanakopita, prawns, halloumi, cypriot sausage called sheftalia, grilled lamb and chicken skewers, salt and pepper octopus, and freshly shucked oysters. For dessert, guests were treated to a delicious Nissos Beer sorbet and fetta and watermelon on skewers.

Celebrities and notable guests included Jay Lyon, Melinda Kemp, Tim Dormer, Samantha Frost, Rachel Smith, Emma Birdsall, the Greek ambassador and, my favourite, the Acropolis Now character of Effie Stefanides, Mary Coustas.

Nissos is now available in Sydney and Melbourne through Beverage Imports Pty Ltd, with a future roll out of off-premise stores to occur over the next 12 months.

Exclusively on-premise for now, Nissos can be found at Nick’s Restaurant & Bar venues, including Cyren, Nick’s Seafood Restaurant, Nick’s Bar & Grill, Stacks Taverna, I’m Angus Steakhouse and Adria Bar Restaurant. Nissos is priced at $9 per bottle, $8.50 ‘on tap’ and $24 per jug (only at Stacks).

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Hotel Centennial celebrates their first birthday with an elegant soiree

Hotel Centennial turned one and to celebrate a great year they invited locals and celebrities to an elegant soiree at their Scarlett Lounge with cocktails, Veuve Clicquot champagne, canapes and a big birthday cake on Tuesday 21 April 2015.

The night included a speech by editor at large of News.com.au, Melissa Hoyer, and celebrity chef, Justin North.

Guests were spoilt with canapes including: heirloom tomato, goat’s cheese and basil tart; crab and cucumber brioche; Glacier 51 tooth fish roll ups with miso, black sesame and lime; yellow fin tuna tartare taco with green chilli and ginger; caramalised pork belly with wood fired eggplant; prosciutto and smoked buffalo mozzarella croquettes and nettle aioli; native ribery fruit meringues; and chocolate fudge with smoked salt.

Drinks included Veuve Clicquot champagne and cocktails such as: Centennial Sunrise made of Mezcal Amores, pineapple, Cilantro, lime and Habanero Grenadine; Berry and Black Tea Punch made of FAIRRum, FAIRGoji liqueur, black tea, orange and cinnamon; and Mayan Flip made of Mezcal Amores, vanilla liqueur, coffee, chocolate bitters, chilli syrup and whole egg.

The festivities continued through the week with events including an organic high tea on Monday, a Best of Woollahra dinner on Wedesday, a celebrity chef dinner with Manu Feildel and Justin North on Thursday, and Friday flutes on Friday.

The Hotel Centennial was originally established in 1888, and after a million refurbishment was transformed from a pub into an elegant bar and reopened in April 2014 by Halcyon Hotels. The hotel won the 2014 AHA award for the best redeveloped hotel in Sydney.

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