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Woolworths: the largest operator of pokie machines in the world

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The first thing that comes to mind when you talk about Woolworths, otherwise called Woolies, would be its supermarket, considered to be among the biggest supermarket in the world. Now, Woolies may also be known for another thing – being the largest operator of pokie machines in the world. It has around 11,700 pokie machines all over Australia.

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This is so much bigger than the number of slot machines that you can find in all six of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas. Due to its massive number of slot machines, Woolies has experienced a surge in its income over the past few months. The company is estimated to get over $200 million in income each year from gaming alone. This is almost at the same level of income as that of Echo Entertainment, which is considered as the fourth largest gaming operator based in Australia.

The significant augmentation to Woolies’ income has not only become possible due to its pokies machines. It is also partly brought about by how Victoria has changed its license system regarding the regulation of pokies.

This shift puts an end to the monopoly of Tatts and Tabcorp, two gambling giants, in the running of slot machines throughout the country. Woolies is currently enjoying the benefits brought about by the new license system for pokies alone. It has 4667 machines, which is about a third of the number of slot machines distributed in the pubs and bars in Victoria. This is also close to the number of slot machines allowed for each company under the new licensing arrangements.

Woolworth was estimated to have raked in $140 million last year, based on the Citi Bank statement. This income is expected to grow with $27 million more each year for its income This growth is credited to the current license system, according to the Citi Bank analyst Craig Woolford. Woolies will have to pay for $164.3 million in fees to get the machines and $26.2 million more on additional slot machines. The company owns 16% of Victoria’s slot machines, including the 2,500 machines operating in Crownt. In return, the Baillieu government will get taxes on these machines amounting to $1.12 billion for the current financial year.

However, it also stands to earn over $1 billion from Tatts and Tabcorp’s legal claims, their savings from not having to pay both companies upon the loss of the pokie operator’s licenses.

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