Aristocrat ‘aggressively’ moving gambling behind closed doors.

COVID ‘leveraged’ to promote home gaming

Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL) is successfully transitioning gamblers to online and digital apps and games and away from ‘physical’ gaming venues such as community based pubs and clubs.

This is removing problem gambling from public sight, away from the oversight of regulators, containing the issue to homes. Monitoring, welfare checks and harm minimisation efforts are being made redundant or powerless.

Meanwhile Aristocrat is participating in a trial of cashless poker machine gaming in Newcastle. This trial threatens to hasten the trend to online gaming and leaves community-based venues and clubs vulnerable.

While poker machine revenue is down 10% for Aristocrat, revenue from online digital gaming jumped 28.8% in the six months to March.

The new ‘Aristocrat Digital’ division is driving company earnings and the message from the Chairman and CEO in the company’s 2020 Annual Report is clear:

“Aristocrat Digital delivered exceptional operational performance … Aggressive and dynamic investment in User Acquisition supported momentum and allowed the business to fully leverage COVID-19 related tailwinds ….”

Aristocrat has approximately $2 billion in available liquidity and has invested almost a quarter of a billion ($242.7 million) over the last six months in design and development of new games.

“Aristocrat is a very rich company spending millions on taking gaming behind closed doors, out of sight and away from community clubs and venues,” said Jason Bryce, Spokesperson for the Cash Welcome* campaign.

“Community Clubs possibly face extinction as Aristocrat moves gamers online and cashless poker machines at community venues could hasten this trend.

“Clubs and hotels must abide by responsible gambling laws and can lose their license or be fined if they are not responsible,” said Jason Bryce “Victims can take legal action against an irresponsible operator.

“Where are the checks and balances on gaming at home with Aristocrat apps?”

“Are we solving the pokies problem by moving the issue behind closed doors?”

“Cash is greatest budgeting tool yet invented and the removal of cash from gaming could lead to more problems, both in clubs and community venues and by moving the issue to homes and phones.

“Spending with cash is real while moving money around online and making in-app purchases can be deceptively easy.”

“How is this boom in online gaming to be regulated?”

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