Monday, 28 Nov 2022

Socially aware superannuation funds among those investing billions in gambling industry

Socially aware superannuation funds among those investing billions in gambling industry


Socially aware superannuation funds among those investing billions in gambling industry

Australia's biggest super funds have poured more than $4.2bn of workers' retirement savings into the gambling industry - including pokies manufacturers, casino operators and lottery companies - even through investment options that claim to be "socially aware".

Investors in Australia's biggest poker machine operator, Endeavour Group, which runs 12,539 pokies across 300 hotels, include the "Socially Aware" option run by the nation's biggest fund, AustralianSuper, and the "Sustainable Growth" option offered by the retail employee fund Rest.

AustralianSuper's Socially Aware option is also invested in casino operators and Australia's biggest pokies manufacturer, Aristocrat Leisure Ltd.

Australia's third biggest super fund, Aware, which promises to "invest your super in ways that will do good for your community", is also a big holder of gambling stocks, including Aristocrat and Endeavour.

Guardian Australia analysed portfolio holdings disclosures for the most popular investment options offered by the 10 biggest superannuation funds in Australia, as well as socially aware options offered by AustralianSuper and Rest.

Under laws brought in last year by the Morrison government, superannuation funds are required to provide details biannually of what they invest in. The data analysed was the most recent available and was correct as of 30 June this year.

It reveals that the 10 biggest super funds all invest in Aristocrat Leisure, owning a total of at least $1.67bn worth of shares. It is one of the world's largest poker machine manufacturers as well as a gambling app developer. In 2021, the company generated $4.7bn in revenue and held 80% of the market share in pokies in Australia, according to Ibisworld.

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