Pokie billionaire Len Ainsworth has given millions to Sydney institutions. Now questions are being asked

2 weeks ago 28

The Ainsworth household sanction adorns creation galleries, universities and hospitals crossed Sydney.

There is an Ainsworth helping astatine the Sydney Children’s Hospital. An Ainsworth Family Gallery astatine Sydney Modern, the caller limb of the Art Gallery of NSW, wherever the Ainsworths’ person helped fund, part-fund oregon fixed astir 100 works, including those by celebrated artists specified arsenic Russell Drysdale, John Black, Simryn Gill and David Hockney.

There is an Ainsworth Building astatine UNSW, and different astatine the Western Sydney University. Meanwhile, Sydney University has The Ainsworth Interactive Collection of Medical Pathology that comprises 1600 preserved aesculapian specimens, including a bosom dating to 1895, a lung infected by the 1918 Spanish flu, and an 1888 flask of broth made and sealed by Louis Pasteur. Sydney University besides has an Ainsworth Chair of Technology and Innovation, acceptable up astatine the petition of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, with backing it received from the Ainsworths.

Near the Prince of Wales’ infirmary precinct determination is simply a Margarete Ainsworth Building, aft the family’s wealth helped physique the autarkic Neuroscience Research Australia centre.


The Ainsworths are 1 of the 20 wealthiest families successful Australia, with an estimated luck of immoderate $5.7 billion, according to The Australian Financial Review Rich List.

Their patriarch, Len Ainsworth, turns 100 successful July. He, his present ex-second woman Margarete, and immoderate of his 7 sons, person an awesome grounds of generosity crossed the city, having fixed astatine slightest $60 cardinal away. In return, their sanction has been attached to salient institutions arsenic an enduring awesome of achievement, wherever aboriginal generations volition retrieve the family’s philanthropic legacy.

The origins of the Ainsworth’s money, which came from poker instrumentality manufacturing, whitethorn beryllium forgotten implicit time. But not if immoderate critics tin assistance it. They are questioning the guidelines and morals of the education, wellness and arts institutions, and whether they should beryllium accepting the family’s philanthropy astatine all.

“The contented present is that Mr Ainsworth’s luck comes from gambling, and precisely the manufacture of gambling machines, which are intelligibly and unequivocally the astir harmful signifier of gambling successful this country,” says Charles Livingstone, caput of Monash University’s Gambling and Social Determinants Unit. “Whether it comes straight from Mr Ainsworth, oregon his children, is irrelevant. The wealth came from the proceeds of harming a important fig of people, among them, immoderate of the astir susceptible successful the country.”

It’s a presumption shared, not surprisingly, by 1 of the country’s staunchest gambling betterment campaigners, Tim Costello, who besides chairs the Community Council for Australia, a highest assemblage for the foundation sector. He says specified organisations shouldn’t beryllium taking wealth that has been derived from an manufacture that has caused societal harm and misery. “There are ethical questions. None of those institutions would instrumentality it if the wealth had travel from the manufacturing of baccy oregon guns.”

‘Most charitable organisations, erstwhile they conscionable me, are grateful for enactment to execute their wonderful, altruistic aims.’

Len Ainsworth, laminitis of Aristocrat and Ainsworth Gaming Technologies

Len Ainsworth is the begetter of the poker instrumentality manufacturing manufacture successful Australia. The manufacture has generated billions of dollars successful gross and, immoderate argue, created hundreds of thousands of gambling addicts.

A study, published past period successful the Journal of Behaviour Addictions, of 71,103 gambling cases successful Australia, concluded that poker machines were liable for 51-57 per cent of gambling addiction successful the country, which person resulted successful societal problems specified arsenic the indebtedness, crime, cause use, household breakdowns, home violence, homelessness and suicides.

The study’s authors wrote: “Electronic Gaming Machines (poker machines) are liable for the bulk of gambling problems successful the country. Regardless, calls to trim availability, restrict their much addictive structural features, oregon instrumentality different features that mightiness interrupt excessive spending, each look to person been ignored. Electronic Gaming Machine regularisation should beryllium the archetypal precedence for reducing gambling harm successful Australia.”

Poker instrumentality gambling addiction has besides go a run contented successful the forthcoming NSW election, with Premier Dominic Perrottet committing to introducing a cashless gaming card for each the state’s poker machines by 2028. The Opposition has committed to a trial.

The NSW Crime Commission called for betterment past year, including a cashless gaming card, aft claiming that $95 cardinal successful currency flows done poker machines successful pubs and clubs successful NSW each year, making it the gambling superior of Australia. Those currency flows besides included laundered wealth from transgression gangs.

Len Ainsworth created 2 poker instrumentality manufacturers, Aristocrat and Ainsworth Gaming Technologies, which person been hugely palmy present and globally. They person generated astir unimaginable wealth, truthful overmuch truthful that Ainsworth is 1 of 5 Australians who person joined the Bill Gates-inspired Giving Pledge, to springiness distant fractional his fortune. Asked however astir of that luck volition beryllium fixed distant aft helium dies, Ainsworth told The Sydney Morning Herald: “Ask maine erstwhile I’m 105.”

Ainsworth backing  has helped sphere  the Ainsworth Interactive Collection of Medical Pathology that comprises 1600 preserved aesculapian  specimens.

Ainsworth backing has helped sphere the Ainsworth Interactive Collection of Medical Pathology that comprises 1600 preserved aesculapian specimens.

Even so, Ainsworth says his purpose has been to marque “a affirmative and lasting publication to aesculapian probe and education”. He says the institutions helium and his household person fixed to person taken “a precise antithetic educated and considered view” from his critics. “Most charitable organisations erstwhile they conscionable maine are grateful for enactment to execute their wonderful, altruistic aims.”

Sydney University, which has received millions from Ainsworth, has a Gambling Research and Treatment Clinic that has helped much than 550 occupation gamblers, done its Brain and Mind Centre. The assemblage says it has strict guidelines astir its acquisition argumentation and procedures.

The UNSW offers a gambling and betterment enactment people and has done probe into occupation gambling. It received a donation of $10 cardinal from Len Ainsworth to assistance conception a caller gathering successful its engineering and manufacturing faculty, present known arsenic the Ainsworth Building. UNSW says it accepts philanthropic gifts successful bully faith, with the volition the donation volition person a affirmative impact.

Western Sydney University received a $10 cardinal donation for its gathering works from Ainsworth. Last month, the university’s deliberation tank, the Centre for Western Sydney, released an issues paper declaring that gambling is Western Sydney’s soundless epidemic. It noted that determination was 1 poker instrumentality for each 105 radical successful Western Sydney, compared with 1 successful 113 radical for the remainder of Sydney.

Western Sydney University said successful a connection the acquisition from Len Ainsworth was successful alignment with its guidelines for donations and fundraising, and with its mission, goals and policies.

The Ainsworth Building astatine  the UNSW successful  the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering precinct.

The Ainsworth Building astatine the UNSW successful the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering precinct.

    St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney, which besides referred to its rigorous philanthropic guidelines, received a $5 cardinal donation from Ainsworth to lend to its gathering works. The nationalist limb of St Vincent’s runs a statewide, government-funded Gambling Treatment Program.

    “If you’re a foundation oregon organisation that’s moving with occupation gamblers, and are trying to assistance radical who person got gambling addiction problems, oregon conscionable request welfare, taking wealth from the root of the problem, oregon portion of the root of the problem, is counterproductive,” says John McLeod, a elder probe advisor astatine JBWere’s Philanthropic Services and Family Advisory.

    Len Ainsworth’s oldest son, Geoff, has a instauration known arsenic Oranges & Sardines, and says it’s transparent with its recipients astir its archetypal root of income. Geoff, who declined to beryllium interviewed, has not been progressive oregon held shares successful Aristocrat since the mid-90s.

    It is up to the institutions to judge oregon diminution donations from philanthropists and bash the owed diligence, says McLeod. He offers this proposal to clients. “When we’re advising for-purpose organisations astir accepting donations, the basal happening we inquire them to deliberation astir is by accepting that money, what are the implications for you successful accepting it, and does that heighten oregon detract from your cause?”

    Simon Longstaff, enforcement manager of The Ethics Centre, says determination is an ethical contented successful accepting wealth that has been derived from the gambling industry. However, helium says it’s not a elemental one, peculiarly if the individual, specified arsenic Len Ainsworth, has had a agelong narration with definite charitable organisations, and hasn’t conscionable decided to varnish however helium made his luck with a veneer of do-goodery.


    “It’s imaginable that Mr Ainsworth has been doing this softly for years and years and years, and there’s a full web of relationships, which are based connected idiosyncratic interaction, and that he’s developed a truly sincere affinity for the causes that helium supports,” says Longstaff. “So, it’s not astir trying to lavation his hands of immoderate criticism.”

    Even so, Len Ainsworth and his household present find themselves giving backmost successful a satellite wherever determination is increasing disapproval that specified philanthropy volition ne'er lucifer what poker machines person taken.

    The Morning Edition newsletter is our usher to the day’s astir important and absorbing stories, investigation and insights. Sign up here.

    Read Entire Article