FanDuel growth

Flutter revenue up 37% in 2021, earnings down 11% as UK iGaming returns to pre-pandemic levels

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Irish bookmaking heavyweight Flutter Entertainment has shared its preliminary results for 2021. The company posted a reported group revenue up 37% to £6 billion ($8 billion) from fiscal year 2020, while reported group EBITDA decreased 6% to £723 million ($965.6 million).

2021 was another strong year for the group as we made good progress against our strategic objectives and grew our recreational customer base to over 7.6 million customers,” said CEO Peter Jackson. 

The company —which owns brands such as FanDuel, PokerStars, Paddy Power, Betfair, FOX Bet— claims its FanDuel brand maintained a #1 position last year “due to product leadership,” reporting a 40% online sportsbook market share in the fourth-quarter. Revenue grew 113% to £1.4 billion ($1.9 billion), while the business delivered a positive contribution of $14 million. FanDuel remains “on track” to deliver positive EBITDA in 2023.

In the UK and Ireland, Flutter maintained a leading position with a 29% market share, while its Australia online market share increased 50% since 2019. On a group-wide scope, reported revenue benefited from the May 2020 combination with The Stars Group, while EBITDA decreased amid increasing US investment and international regulatory impacts. PokerStars stabilized at lower profit levels with reduced regulatory risk, and sees clear strategy for growth in select markets leveraging local and global scale, bolstered by December's announcement of Italian operator Sisal acquisition, set to be completed by Q2, 2022.

In a new update, the company announced trading for the first 7 weeks of 2022 has been “in line with expectations,” with group revenue up 2% year on year. Assuming a normal run of sports results, Flutter expects revenue growth to accelerate as 2022 progresses, reflecting phasing of sports margin comparables and safer gambling measures taken in 2021.

“Overall, I am pleased with the progress we have made during 2021 and believe Flutter is exceptionally well-positioned for future growth,” added Jackson. The CEO said he was “pleased” with FanDuel’s progress on its path towards profitability, with the sportsbook having delivered a positive contribution for the first time, “a significant milestone” for the brand.

Despite the optimism shown by Flutter officials, the company’s shares dropped 10% on Tuesday as the betting firm posted an 11% drop in 2021 earnings as easing Covid-19 lockdowns lowered demand, bringing a UK online gambling boom to an end, according to Reuters. Gambling patterns in the main market of the UK have now returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The company cut its full-year core earnings guidance to between £1.24 billion ($1.66 billion) and £1.28 billion ($1.7 billion) in November after a run of adverse sporting events results. Adjusted EBITDA came in at £1.24 billion ($1.6 billion), 11% lower than a record £1.4 billion posted in 2020.

Along with its preliminary results for 2021, the company debuted its new sustainability initiative, the Positive Impact Plan, which will see Flutter “set a positive agenda for future change,” according to Jackson.

“Through this strategy, we will build on the significant progress already made in areas such as safer gambling and measure our performance against defined goals to demonstrate how we are responsible leaders in our industry,” the CEO said.