Who Owns Poker Machines in Australia?

Public outrage and government attempts to limit pokies have not managed to reduce profits generated from machines in pubs and clubs; each machine brings in over $100,000 annually according to a confidential report commissioned by NSW’s peak club body.

ALH, Australia’s largest pokies operator, owns over 12,000 machines across 330 venues owned by Woolworths-owned ALH in Australia and employs 16,000 people at these venues. ALH shares are estimated to be valued at $8 billion.

This company invests in profitable pubs in socially stressful areas with the intent of attracting high-spending pokie players, using sophisticated analytics to identify profitable sites before purchasing them. One such profitable pub is Pritchards Hotel located in Sydney’s Fairfield local government area which is among its most disadvantaged local governments, reflecting wider profit-driven gambling in NSW where locals lose an estimated annual $14.5 billion on poker machines.

Pokies can be extremely lucrative to run and their profits can be used to finance staff salaries, maintenance costs and repairs, addiction treatment programs and major debt accumulation – which has resulted in numerous individuals experiencing mental health problems and creating ripple effects throughout their communities. Pokies affect everyone involved from local residents who become dependent to businesses that benefit from them to those that rely on the profits from pokies operations for profit.

Even so, many still find great pleasure in playing slot machines. Some find the mechanical reel more alluring than its electronic equivalent while others just like watching the wheels spin and becoming obsessed with one particular game; similar to having their favorite drink or cigarette brand.

Australia-based companies are well positioned to meet global demand for pokies. Australian companies are one of the world’s largest exporters of gambling equipment and boast manufacturing plants around the world – Aristocrat Leisure Limited is an example, boasting offices and manufacturing plants in Sydney’s North Ryde as well as South Africa and Russia with licenses to manufacture gambling machines in over 200 jurisdictions worldwide.

Black Rhino has already purchased several Victorian pubs and its CEO David Tomsic revealed plans for “a massive hotel acquisition next year.” US-based Bally is also an influential force, operating out of Sydney with a distribution centre selling popular pokies like Zeus and Kelly’s Fortune. Additionally, Bally has made waves in online casino markets by providing wide range of slot games including Zeus and Kelly’s Fortune. Game maker Rovio Entertainment operates out of offices in the US, Canada, and UK and trades its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Rovio’s net profit over the past 12 months totaled an impressive $1.3 billion; they reported impressive US business expansion that contributed significantly to their revenues.


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