Australia’s Largest Super Funds Have Invested Billions in Gambling Firms
- The top 10 super funds in Australia all hold billions worth of gambling stocks
- AustralianSuper invested in Aristocrat through its Socially Aware option
- Australia is fighting gambling addiction as Aussies are considered the world’s biggest gambling losers
The biggest superannuation funds in Australia are investing massive sums in the gambling industry.
According to a report by Guardian Australia, as of June 30, 2022, Australian super funds have put $4.2 billion of employees’ retirement savings into businesses involved in the gambling sector, such as casino and lottery operators, as well as pokies manufacturers. Some of those investments come from the super funds’ “Socially Aware” option, according to the report.
10 Biggest Australian Super Funds All Invest in Gambling
Among those investing in the gambling industry is AustralianSuper, the country’s largest superannuation fund. It holds huge stocks in two of the biggest companies in the gambling machine market, Endeavour Group and Aristocrat Leisure Ltd.
Endeavour Group is the biggest pokies/slot machine operator in Australia, running more than 12,500 pokies across 300 hotels throughout the country. Aristocrat Ltd is the nation’s biggest manufacturer of gambling machines. With a presence in 23 global locations, it is one of the world’s top gaming content and technology companies.
Retail employee fund Rest and Australia’s third-largest super fund Aware also have investments in both Endeavour and Aristocrat. Guardian Australia obtained and analysed data from the portfolio holdings disclosures of the country’s 10 biggest super funds. It found that all 10 hold a combined $1.67 billion worth of shares in Aristocrat.
AustralianSuper’s shares in Aristocrat rose to 6.6% in June 2022, up from 5.05%. Almost $921 million of the super fund’s investment as of June came from its flagship option, Balanced. AustralianSuper also put $624 million into Endeavour via the popular option, with $661 million going to the Lottery Corporation and $148 million invested in Tabcorp.
AustralianSuper’s other gambling investments include SkyCity Entertainment ($103 million) and the embattled casino operator Star Entertainment ($4 million).
Some Gambling Investments Come From “Socially Aware” Option
AustralianSuper also invested $16 million in Aristocrat through its Socially Aware option. On top of that, it also holds nearly $45 million worth of stocks in four other major gambling companies in the country in 2022.
The Socially Aware option excludes firms directly engaged in fossil fuel or uranium reserves, land mines, cluster munitions, and tobacco production. The option also removes from its investment list companies receiving red flag rating on human rights and labour rights, as well as those with single-gender boards and involved in environmental or governance controversies.
The report comes as Australia continues to deal with rising problem gambling rates, with Australians considered the world’s biggest gambling losers.