Flutter backs strategy to navigate 2019 complexities 

Publishing its full-year 2019 results, the governance of FTSE100 Flutter Entertainment Plc has detailed confidence in the firm’s future growth prospects after closing a year of regulatory adjustments and sustainability challenges.  

Citing strong international expansions, Flutter achieved record revenues of £2.14 billion, up 14% against corresponding FY2018’s £1.81 billion – a tough comparative period featuring World Cup trading.

Flutter governance underlined its record revenue achievement as a testament to the firm’s guiding  ‘four-pillar growth strategy’, in which the firm seeks to ‘maximise UK profitability’ whilst establishing ‘podium positions’ within new markets.  

Despite maintaining revenue growth, Flutter’s FY2019 corporate EBITDA results declined 15% to £385 million (FY2018: £451m), as FTSE betting group absorbed £107 million in incremental taxes and regulatory charges.

Updating investors, Flutter Group CEO Peter Jackson commented: “The Group’s four-pillar strategy that we laid out last year remains in place and good progress has been made against each pillar during 2019. In our core markets, we remain strongly positioned. Internationally we have made progress in improving the Betfair proposition and have added to our podium positions with the acquisition of Adjarabet. In the US, our business goes from strength to strength.”

A breakdown of segments saw Paddy Power Betfair’s (PPB) UK online division maintain 6% growth to £1 billion (FY2018: £950m), navigating a tough regulatory backdrop in which its assets have been supported by improved products, customer retention and high coverage marketing campaigns.

Internationally, Flutter’s Sportsbet Australia unit maintained its ‘podium position’ by recording revenue growth of 14% to £446 million (FY2018: £400m), offsetting incremental tax increases across several Australian states. 

Elsewhere, governance details strong US progress as its new FanDuel sportsbook records revenues of £325 million to complete its first year in operations. It said that FanDuel has taken an ‘online share’ of 44% within US regulated states as growth saw the division record an underlying EBITDA loss of £40 million.

Looking to the year ahead, Peter Jackson noted that Flutter will have to navigate further regulatory challenges within its UK and Irish home markets.

“On January 14th, the UK Gambling Commission announced that it would introduce a ban on gambling by credit card from 14th April this year,” he said. “In our submission to the UK Gambling Commission on credit cards, we had acknowledged that there was a need for some change in this area and we will be in a position to implement the required changes on schedule.” 

“In addition, the UK Government has announced that it will review the 2005 Gambling Act in the months ahead and we are hopeful that the emphasis of future UK regulation will be on player protection with a clear focus on affordability. In Ireland, we remain supportive of the Government’s work on the Gambling Control Bill which seeks, among other things, to establish a dedicated regulator for the gambling sector in Ireland.” 

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