Take It To The MaxBet, Flutter Buys Controlling Stake In Serbian Operator

Following recent big moves in the Central and Eastern European market (CEE) by Entain and Betsson, Irish-origin heavy-hitters Flutter Entertainment has acquired a controlling 51 percent stake in top Serbian Omnichannel MaxBet for €141 million (£122.57m).

And the Paddy Power and FanDuel prime mover has optioned the possibility of buying the remaining 49 percent of MaxBet by the end of the decade.

MaxBet has been active in the supercharged Serbian online market–annual growth rate 25 percent–for five-years.

The Serbian company had fully regulated reported revenue of €145 million in 2022 (£126.05m), 44 percent of it from online operations. Its Adjusted EBITDA was clocked at €32 million (£27.81m).

Flutter’s new foray into the CEE market follows Entain’s purchase of Poland’s premier gambling operator STS earlier this month and Betsson’s decision to launch a new Rysk online casino in Serbia.

“I am excited to announce the addition of MaxBet to the Flutter portfolio,” affirmed Flutter Chief Executive Peter Jackson.

“This acquisition continues our progress against the strategic priorities we have set for our International Division: to buy and build podium positions in regulated markets.

“We believe MaxBet is an excellent opportunity to replicate the success we have achieved in markets like Georgia, India and Italy by acquiring a strong brand in a podium position, where we see a compelling opportunity to combine that extensive local expertise with the power of the Flutter Edge to accelerate and transform growth.”

Serbia’s iGaming market was valued at €700 million in 2022 (£608.52m), and has an approximate online penetration of 35 percent.

The nation has been working hard to shed its “bad-boy” image since the break-up and wars of the ex-Yugoslavia and is now hoping to join the European Union.

The dynamics of the market in the Balkans region suggest a preference for Omnichannel operators due to the region’s cash-driven economies and the emphasis on retail outlets.

MaxBet has a 20 percent share of Serbia’s online market and operates over 400 retail outlets across four markets, with an average of 95,000 online players each month. The company employs some 2,400 people.

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