Pokies heir and neighbour battle over fence

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
Ainsworth signs as partner with Leander Games

Geoff Ainsworth, pokies heir and philanthropist, bought up on the quiet suburban streets of waterfront Birchgrove some five years ago.

Now that peace and quiet has come to an end, thanks to an inglorious neighbourhood dispute.

The Brisbane Times reports that next door to Ainsworth and his wife, poet Joanna Featherstone, is the historic major known as Wyoming.

Last year, acting for Wyoming’s owners Colin and Janette Sullivan, architects at Lucas Stapleton Johnson applied for permission to build a 1.8 metre fence along the boundary shared with the Ainsworths.

The fence would serve as a high-security barricade between the two homes.

“The barriers are being proposed to improve security and prevent trespassing onto the property via neighbouring properties, an issue the owners of Wyoming have recently been experiencing,” the architects wrote in a heritage impact statement last July.

Ainsworth, it turns out, was unimpressed at the suggestion they were responsible for trampling across the Sullivans’ domain.

He was so unhappy, he brought in high flying silk Sandy Dawson SC, most recently assisting the ABC to fight off the Australian Federal Police, and is contemplating a defamation lawsuit.

Lucas Stapleton Johnson has employed Sue Chrysanthou, better known as Geoffrey Rush’s barrister.

So far, all that they’ve been arguing about is who wanted those sentences placed in the heritage report.

And that key question – were the Sullivans actually claiming that it was the Ainsworths trespassing on their property?

Lawyers for Lucas Stapleton Johnson say that’s not the case.

“Our client inferred that trespassers were entering the property by means of or via the next door neighbours’ properties and that a fence or barrier was needed between the property,” they wrote.

Ainsworth licking its wounds after poor financial year

It wasn’t a good financial year for Ainsworth Game Technology, but that wasn’t wholly unexpected.

Casino Aus reported that in April, Lawrence Levy was appointed as the new Ainsworth chief executive officer after the company wanted to remain fresh and competition, achieve its strategies and become a leading provider of innovative gaming technology to the global market once more.

A month later, the company issued its forecast for the final 2019 numbers, where it expected profits to be slashed by more than $3 million, which pushed its shares down nearly 10 per cent.

The gloomy forecast was attributed to market pressure and a delay in securing approvals for new pokies products.

Sales were also down in New South Wales, contributing to a $2 million value reduction of shares in its online social casino business.

This pushed the company down on its Australian and digital assets.

Further, a Wilson’s analyst said the negative report was a result of five years of a “perennial forecast downgrade mode” and saw no ability for the company to reverse the trend.

Besides restricted market opportunities, Ainsworth products are not resonating with buyers.

Manufacturer started from humble beginnings

Ainsworth Game Technology was founded in 1995 by Len Ainsworth to manufacture and supply gaming solutions.

Starting with its signature Ambassador gaming machine, it offered superior graphics and a range of pokies for Aussie players.

As the Ambassador was upgraded through the years, Ainsworth expanded its market around the world.

It was known for its powerful gaming processors, updated technology and consistently upgraded models.

Profits were always on the rise, especially after launching its A600 product in 2015.

And with expanded services – such as assembly, testing and field help – the company grew to nearly 500 employees and sales to 50 countries.

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