Flutter brands FanDuel its hyper-growth child as costly UK headwinds mount
Flutter Entertainment Plc has secured a ‘positive start to year trading’ as the FTSE100 betting group expands its recreational player base to ‘+8.8 million active monthly players (AMPS)’ across its global brand portfolio mitigating UK and Euro market headwinds.
Publishing its Q1 trading update (period ending 31 March), Flutter registered group revenues of £1.56 billion, up 6% on comparative Q1 2021 results of £1.48 billion.
Topline growth was attributed to ‘excellent US execution’ as the FanDuel unit recorded revenue growth of 45% to £430 million (Q1_2021: £288m).
Group CEO Peter Jackson disclosed that FanDuel had surpassed all trading expectations following successful launches in the states of New York and Louisiana “with the US unit now accounting for over half of all stakes of Flutter Group” – Q1 period US wagering £5.7 billion.
“In the US, FanDuel delivered another excellent performance with 2.4m customers and revenue of £429m ($574m),” Jackson remarked on US results.
“We remained the number one US sportsbook with a 37% online sports betting share. We acquired over 1.3 million new customers in the quarter and similar to the trends seen in Q1 2021, some of our key promotional mechanics led to reduced market share particularly around the SuperBowl.”
FanDuel’s hyper-growth helped offset tough home market UK-&-Ireland conditions, which saw Flutter register a 20% downturn in online revenues to £453 million (Q1_2021: £568m).
A breakdown of home market impacts saw Flutter’s UK online portfolio absorb £30 million in incremental costs related to safer gambling measures introduced over the past 12-months of trading.
Further burdens saw Flutter’s flagship UK-&-Ireland sportsbook brands (Betfair and Sky Bet) register a 32% decline in revenue matched against favourable 2021 comparatives.
Despite Q1 trading delivering few home market comforts, Flutter was positive of a 15% increase in AMPS to 3.6 million – figures that will be bolstered by the addition of Tombola UK.
“We continue to sharpen our sports product with the launch of ‘Buildabet‘ and ‘Acca Assist’ in SkyBet. On the gaming side, Sky Vegas launched ‘The Vault’ and we continue to see good recreational player growth with gaming AMPs up 9% on a pro forma basis,” Jackson noted on UK&IRE performance.
“We believe that our increased focus on product and efficiency will set the division up well for the future.”
Elsewhere, Flutter continues to benefit from the ‘growth momentum’ of its Sportsbet Australia unit, which registered an 8% increase in revenues to £291 million.
Sportsbet AUS continues to benefit from ‘structural improvements in margin driven by our in-house pricing capabilities’, as Flutter proclaims the brand as Australia’s leading mass-market sportsbook proposition.
Closing its update, Flutter disclosed disrupted trading for its PokerStars International unit that registered a 5% revenue decline to £327 million.
As communicated to shareholders, PokerStars performance reflected the unit’s temporary exit from the Netherlands, tax changes in Germany and full exit from Russia
Jackson concluded: “Outside of the US, our business performed well, adapting to the evolving regulatory and trading environment and reflecting the benefits of our global diversification. In the UK and Ireland, we launched several new products in the quarter.
“I look forward to the imminent release of the UK Government’s White Paper on its review of the Gambling Act. In Australia, Sportsbet delivered good growth from ongoing customer-driven momentum, with excellent retention of players acquired in 2021. Our International business benefitted from strong performance in focus markets and we hope to complete the Sisal acquisition in Q3.
“With our enlarged recreational customer base, winning position in the US and ongoing focus on sustainable growth, our business remains well placed for the future.”