An updated list of the 250 wealthiest individuals in Australia reveals 139 billionaires. Famous names like James Packer continue to dominate the casino scene, while some up-and-coming figures in the gaming industry have made their debut.
Iris Capital owner Sam Arnaout stands outside one of his properties. He joins a select group as one of two entrepreneurs to join the billionaire’s club in Australia. (Image: The Australian )
The Australian released the list, which is led by the mining industry’s golden girl, Gina Rinehart. The country has broken its own record with the most billionaires ever, as the country’s economy has posted a year-on-year growth of 6% per the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Two familiar names from the gaming sphere are listed too. Whether or not they stay there will depend on how the government deals with gambling reforms.
Gaming Magnates Bet Big to Triumph
Sam Arnaout managed to make an impression with his spot on the list, boasting a net worth of AU$2.3 billion (US$1.5 billion), according to The Australian .
His company Iris Capital owns over 30 bars, 20 hotels and several casinos. The acquisition of Casino Canberra for the price of AU$63 million (US$42 million) has proven to be a lucrative investment, despite some setbacks.
The firm’s plans to expand their gambling operations have included slot machines, but they have been thwarted by bureaucracy. Although they have added more machines than originally anticipated, it was still fewer than they had hoped.
Edward Craven also snuck onto the list, with a fortune of AU$2.01 billion (US$1.34 billion). He owes his success to his controversial betting platform, Stake.com. The site has become popular for its million-dollar wagers by music artist Drake, but can’t legally operate in Australia. This means that all of its money is made from international sources.
Gina Rinehart’s wealth of AU$32.64 billion (US$21.73 billion) puts her far ahead of these two gaming moguls. Her fortune is partly due to her refusal to sponsor Netball Australia, after a backlash against her late father’s comments about indigenous Australians.
Government Decisions Could Impact Gambling Industry
The upcoming New South Wales elections this weekend will bring about changes for the gambling industry. There is also a federal bill that could alter the playing field for the industry across the country.
The bill is supported by two parliamentarians, long-time anti-gambling advocate Andrew Wilkie and Rebekha Sharkie. It would require online gaming operators to take more responsibility with anti-money laundering and responsible gambling policies.
The operators would have to ensure they aren’t receiving any illegal funds, and remind players of the amount of time and money they have spent gambling. It would also forbid the use of credit cards on online gaming platforms, as is the case in many countries.
Should all of the bill’s provisions pass, it could have a significant effect on the country’s gambling market. In combination with changes to land-based gambling, Australia’s richest list could look very different.