High-Flying Flutter Finalizes Tombola

Fast on the heels of buying Italian lotto giant Sisal, high-flying Flutter Entertainment--the world’s biggest iGaming betting group—today confirmed that it has finalized its £402 million acquisition of online bingo group Tombola (US$545.9m/€481.7m).

“Flutter is pleased to announce that it has received all necessary regulatory confirmations with respect to the acquisition of Tombola. The group completed the acquisition yesterday,” the company said in a statement, released January 11, 2022.

As previously reported in iGaming Future, Tombola, founded by CEO Phil Cronin in 1999 in Sunderland, North-east England, is a company long admired by Flutter “for its product expertise, highly recreational customer base and focus on sustainable play”.

Tombola has deep ties to the UK’s traditional bingo business and, crucially, has long been at the fore of the progressive safe gaming movement.

For example, Tombola was the first major UK operator to introduce mandatory staking and deposit limits.

“The brand aligns closely with Flutter’s safer gambling strategy [which is] a key area of focus for us,” Flutter’s Chief Executive Peter Jackson said when he first announced the acquisition.

Tombola is the largest online bingo operator in the UK and is also the number one bingo operator in Spain and Italy, two countries that comprise around 16 per cent of its market.

Its acquisition has been fully funded through Flutter’s current cash and debt facilities.

“I am excited to combine Flutter’s digital marketing expertise with Tombola’s operational capabilities within the UK & Ireland division,” said Jackson.

Equally attractively, Tombola–which has an average of 400,000 monthly players across its gamut of online games–has one of the few, and much-coveted, operating licences in the newly regulated Dutch online gaming sphere.

It generated £120 million of revenue (US$161.1m/€142.5m) and £9.4 million in net profit (US$12.62m/€11.16m) in its 2019-2020 financial year, ending April 30.

And it joins Dublin-based, FTSE-100 Flutter’s stable of other winning brands, among them: Betfair, FanDuel and Paddy Power.

The closure of the Flutter-Tombola merger follows Flutter’s disclosure to acquire Italian lotto and online gaming operator Sisal–one of the principal contenders to capture the new licence to run the British National Lottery–for £1.62 billion (US$2.2bn/€1.94bn).

This purchase is expected to complete Q2 this year.

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