Aussie pokie machine manufacturer cuts jobs

by Ethan Anderson Last Updated
Ainsworth signs as partner with Leander Games

An Australia-based manufacturer and supplies of gaming technology has announced it is shedding 107 jobs to soften the blow from the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Casino Directory reports Ainsworth Game Technology revealed on Thursday that its Novomatic subsidiary estimates that by eliminating 67 redundancies and 40 additional roles, which comprise 23 Australia-based positions and 44 in the Americas, that it will save about A$10 million a year.

The New South Wales headquartered company took an A$43 million hit after customers in all its major markets halted operations in response to the worldwide pandemic.

According to the news agency, those sobering results included a 36 per cent year-on-year slant in revenues to A$149 million – with the biggest year-on-year declined, 42 per cent to A$42 million – suffered in the Latin American market.

The North American market fell 37 per cent to A$72 million, while a 27 per cent decline was seen in Australia, to A$35 million.

According to Ainsworth, the cost saving measures will ensure the 25-year-old company “can endure a protracted downturn.”

“In addition to voluntary salary and other overhead reductions, the group has reduced employee numbers by eliminating 107 roles at an annual cost saving of approximately A$10 million, which is expected to carry forward into FY21,” the group said.

Chief executive officer for the Australian slot maker Lawrence Levy said while COVID-19 hit the casino industry hard, the company has moved quickly to protect itself.

“We took proactive measures to streamline our overheads and restructure previous financing arrangements to ensure we can endure the current downturn,” he said.

“Ainsworth is well positioned as customers across our markets look to recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, earlier this year, the company announced its American subsidiary would acquire Montana-based content specialist MTD Gaming Incorporated for up to $13 million, half of which is contingent upon the “successful delivery of financial targets and contract renewals.”

The chief executive said at the time that the acquisition “marks another positive step in transitioning towards growth and improved profitability.”

Pokies heir and neighbour battle over fence

Geoff Ainsworth, pokies heir and philanthropist, bought up on the quiet suburban streets of waterfront Birchgrove some five years ago.

Now that peace and quiet has come to an end, thanks to an inglorious neighbourhood dispute.

The Brisbane Times reported in March that next door to Ainsworth and his wife, poet Joanna Featherstone, is the historic major known as Wyoming.

Last year, acting for Wyoming’s owners Colin and Janette Sullivan, architects at Lucas Stapleton Johnson applied for permission to build a 1.8 metre fence along the boundary shared with the Ainsworths.

The fence would serve as a high-security barricade between the two homes.

“The barriers are being proposed to improve security and prevent trespassing onto the property via neighbouring properties, an issue the owners of Wyoming have recently been experiencing,” the architects wrote in a heritage impact statement last July.

Ainsworth, it turns out, was unimpressed at the suggestion they were responsible for trampling across the Sullivans’ domain.

He was so unhappy, he brought in high flying silk Sandy Dawson SC, most recently assisting the ABC to fight off the Australian Federal Police, and is contemplating a defamation lawsuit.

Lucas Stapleton Johnson has employed Sue Chrysanthou, better known as Geoffrey Rush’s barrister.

So far, all that they’ve been arguing about is who wanted those sentences placed in the heritage report.

And that key question – were the Sullivans actually claiming that it was the Ainsworths trespassing on their property?

Lawyers for Lucas Stapleton Johnson say that’s not the case.

“Our client inferred that trespassers were entering the property by means of or via the next door neighbours’ properties and that a fence or barrier was needed between the property,” they wrote.

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