FTSE100 gaming giant Flutter Entertainment, now the world’s largest online betting group, more than doubled its revenue to £4.4bn (US$6.13bn/€5.09bn) in 2020, compared to 2019, according to the company’s just-published preliminary results.
This follows its successful merger with Canada’s The Stars Group (TSG) in May last year — and the fortuitous impact of headline online verticals, such as PokerStars and Sky Bet, in offsetting Covid-19 induced loss of income.
“2020 was an historic year for the Group as [amid Covid-19] we completed our merger with TSG, commenced the integration of our two businesses and increased our ownership of FanDuel in the US,” said Flutter CEO Peter Jackson.
Despite the disrupted sporting calendar, and closure of traditional bricks-and-mortar bookies for one-third of the year, which hit its Paddy Power Betfair brand hard, with a 41 per cent drop in profits to £176m (US$245.48m/€203.95m), Flutter achieved a 64 per cent increase in sports betting revenues across all verticals to £2.7bn (US$3.76bn/€3.12bn), compared to £1.6bn (US$2.23bn/€1.85bn) in 2019.
Flutter’s SportsBet AUS, meanwhile, kept its spot as Australia’s top bookie, attracted over 675,000 new punters and doubled its operating profit to £288m (US$401.69m/€333.74m); while the successful integration of PokerStars helped the group’s revamped online division record a profit of £498m (US$694.58m/€577.09m).
Big results were also recorded by Flutter’s business in the United States, with revenue growing by over 80 per cent to £695m (US$969.35m/€805.41m) in 2020.
Within the US division—embracing the Betfair Casino, FanDuel, Fox Bet, PokerStars and TVG brands–sportsbook revenue grew to £458m (US$638.84m/€530.76m) and gaming revenue nearly tripled to £237m (US$330.58m/€274.64m).
Buoyed by the TSG merger, and its buy-out of minority FanDuel shareholders, Flutter CEO Jackson reaffirmed the company’s core fiscal strategy.
“The strategy within our International division to attain global scale and diversification was greatly accelerated by the merger,” he said.
“We have now sharpened our investment focus within PokerStars, identified key target markets and tailored plans for our brands and products.
“Having attained a leadership position in the US, our strategy now is to continue to grow it through further investment and leveraging the strong set of assets that we have.
“Ultimately, we believe that the online gaming sector is similar to other large digital markets, whereby the largest player achieves superior economics through operational leverage, creating a virtuous circle for future investment [and] growth.”
After adjusting earnings for deprecation and amortisation, Flutter posted an operating profit of £676m (US$942.97/€783.36m), more than double 2019’s total.
But after net interest payments and additional special costs of £565m (US$788.14m/€654.82m) to acquire TSG, pre-tax profit was listed as just £1m (US$1.39m/€1.15m) for the year, resulting in a net paper loss of £34.7m (US$48.41m/€40.22m) after income tax.