When the popular shopping brand Woolworth’s started going under several years ago, the company decided that getting into the hospitality and gaming market would be the best way to recover lost profits. Unfortunately, the company seems to have taken the low road towards financial recovery, actually taking advantage of low-income individuals.
Anti-gambling activists have recently criticized gaming operators for targeting low-income areas, but most companies place their machines evenly across the country. Woolworth’s, on the other hand, seems to have an active focus on the poorer suburbs of Australia, as a recent report reveals.
“The irony is there are people out there today who can’t afford to buy groceries in Woolworths because they have lost their money in Woolworths’ poker machines,” says Nick Xenophon.
According to Adelaide Now, a large portion of the pokie machines that are operated by Woolworths have been placed in low-income areas like Salisbury. The company currently owns 1000 pokie games and 10% are in Salisbury while the remainder are scattered mostly throughout low-income neighbourhoods.
Woolworth’s has combatted these claims. A spokesperson for the company states that many of the machines were bought as group purchases, and that Woolworth’s did not intentionally and target low-income areas.