Ainsworth enters agreement with US credit facility 

By Noah Taylor Updated
Ainsworth Game Technology appoints new chief product officer

Australian poker machine makers Ainsworth Game Technology have entered into a five-year secured credit facility with a US-based lender.

Gambling Insider reports that Ainsworth’s team with Western Alliance Bancorporation is worth US$35 million.

Ainsworth’s parent entities, AGT Pty Ltd and Ainsworth Game Technology Limited will serve as guarantors.

Proceeds of US$28 million from this new facility have been used to extinguish all company obligations under the prior revolving credit facility with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited,” Ainsworth said in a Friday filing to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Ainsworth announced it will release further details about the new facility when it reports its unaudited financial results on February 25.

In early February, the Australian publicly listed company reported cash balances of A$24 million as of December 31, 2020, with a net debt of $15 million.

For the six months to December 31, it revealed revenue of $72 million, a 71 per cent increase from the second half of the 2020 financial year, but a 33 per cent year-on-year decline.

It also expects to report an underlying positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $6 million from the first half of the 2021 financial year.

Queanbeyan poker machines do a roaring trade

While poker machines were closed in the Australian Capital Territory, just across the border, trade was roaring.

The Canberra Times reported in October that profits from pokies in neighbouring Queanbeyan more than doubled each month after ACT clubs stayed closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, when compared to the year prior.

Following reports Canberrans rushed across the border to gamble when NSW venues opened on June 1, the 15 venues in the Queanbeyan-Palerang local government area took in $7,384,845 from gaming that month, up from $3,462,833 in June 2019.

While ACT gaming machines stayed switched off to comply with early stage-three restrictions in July, Queanbeyan’s gaming profit shot up more than 150 per cent on the same time last year.

The NSW gaming data revealed a more moderate increase of 84 per cent in August, with Canberra gaming venues switched back on in the second week of that month.

ClubsACT chief executive Gwyn Rees fought hard to bring Canberra in line with its border state, claiming clubs were losing about $5 million in revenue per week during restrictions.

“The ACT was the last jurisdiction to provide a COVID recovery roadmap, last to get relief out, slowest to reopen business and is the worst performing on business support,” Mr Rees said at the time.

With Canberra clubs reopened throughout September, gaming machine profit from Queanbeyan’s eight clubs and seven hotels dropped to $45,321,528, still up 27 per cent on last year.

Relationships Australia spokesperson Julie King said clients who engaged with the support service for counselling and financial advice during the coronavirus closures in Canberra had reported crossing to NSW during COVID-19.

Ms King said while having all gaming-machine venues closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus had been beneficial to problem gamblers who used machines, they had seen an increased uptake of online gambling.

“I think the biggest issue of what’s happened with COVID is not necessarily changing the behaviour of the gambler but it’s the potential impact that had on their families,” she said.

“If the gambler would not normally be gambling in the house the children would not normally be exposed to it, but given during the COVID time children were at home often they would observe their parents or their older sibling gambling, which increases the risk to children.”

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