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Paddy Power, Betfred pull new products after warning

Bookmakers Paddy Power and Betfred have pulled new retail products following a warning from the Gambling Commission and both operators could yet face regulatory action.

A third bookmaker, also poised to launch a new product as reported in the media, has also been warned.

This week saw the introduction of a reduction to £2 from £100 of maximum stakes on FOBTs, with the regulator concerned that the new products “undermine” the changes made.

The Commission said it may also investigate key senior staff at bookmakers responsible for bringing those products to market.

The announcement follows a letter from the Commission’s chief executive Neil McArthur to bookmakers warning the industry against any attempts to circumvent the FOBT stake cut and reminding them of their responsibilities to ensure their consumers are protected. 

Richard Watson, executive director for enforcement, said: “We have been absolutely clear with operators about our expectations to act responsibly following the stake cut implementation this week. We have told operators to take down new products which undermine the changes, and we will investigate any other products that are not within the spirit and intention of the new rules.’’
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Paddy Power Betfair bullish on US prospects in Q1 trading update

Betting and gaming operator group Paddy Power Betfair, parent company of the FanDuel Group, has posted a Q1 update featuring strong year-on-year growth, fueled by solid performance in a number of its key markets. The US came in for high praise from CEO Peter Jackson who cited FanDuel’s leading position in New Jersey among other stateside highlights.

Group-wise, total revenue in the quarter (unaudited) was $625m, up 17 per cent against the same period in 2018. The firm pointed to “excellent growth” in Australia, the US and across its European business, with Sportsbet, FanDuel and the recently acquired Adjarabet all credited.

Gaming performed particularly well, jumping 26 per cent year on year, to $174m, although this is barely a quarter of overall group revenue, with betting remaining dominant.

Focusing on America, Jackson noted: “In the US, FanDuel Group is making huge progress, with our unique proposition of brand, product offering, existing fantasy customer base, US market experience and global sports betting expertise driving a Q1 New Jersey sports betting market share of 50%.

“In the US, FanDuel remains well positioned to generate good returns on ongoing sports betting investment and for the rest of the group we remain on track to meet our full year profit expectations despite the adverse sports results in Q1. We remain excited about the growth opportunities that lie ahead for the group.”

Putting that into figures, Jackson added: “US revenue increased 47% with good underlying growth in our non-sportsbook businesses (up 12%), supplemented by $24m of sports betting net revenue. Betfair Casino growth (up 83%) has accelerated due to sportsbook cross-sell and as a result, our New Jersey casino market share increased to 14% in Q1 2019 from a steady 11% over the previous two years.

“Total sports betting stakes in Q1 were $598m on which we generated gross revenue of $33m, more than double the revenue generated in Q4 2018. Across the first quarter, FanDuel was the number one brand in New Jersey with 50% share of market revenues. In addition, we launched our retail sportsbook in Pennsylvania in March, with online expected to follow in the coming months.”
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Paddy Power Betfair secures £250m loan facility

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Paddy Power Betfair has agreed an additional £250m loan facility, the bookmaker announced on Monday.

The company said the additional term loan facility, which will run for an initial period of 18 months with an option to extend it by a further 12, provided it with "further strategic financial flexibility".

The latest agreement takes Paddy Power's total available committed bank loan facilities to £700m, as it already has a £450m five-year revolving credit facility in place.

In a statement, Paddy Power confirmed there would be "no material change to the group’s effective cost of debt" as a result of this new facility

It continued: "The group’s balance sheet remains strong and we continue to target a medium-term leverage range of between 1x and 2x net debt to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation."

Earlier this month, Paddy Power said like-for-like first-quarter revenues had risen 17% to £478m, while total revenues in the US jumped 47% to £78m. The FTSE 100 firm was one of the first bookmakers to enter the US market after a federal ban on sports betting was lifted a year ago, and operates under the FanDuel brand. Paddy Power said it was continuing to see "good returns" on its US investment.
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Paddy Power Betfair shareholders back ‘Flutter Entertainment’ rebrand

Paddy Power Betfair shareholders have backed the group’s proposition to rebrand as Flutter Entertainments, as confirmed as part of an annual general meeting for the operator.

The Paddy Power Betfair chairman, Gary McGann, has confirmed that a 99.8 per cent majority of shareholders voting by proxy backed the move to rebrand the group, as it seeks to reflect the group’s growing brand portfolio.

The notice of the annual general meeting for Paddy Power Betfair notes: “In Resolution 12, shareholders are being asked to pass a special resolution authorising the Company to change its name to Flutter Entertainment plc and amending the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company to reflect such change.

“We believe that the corporate name of the Group should be reflective of the broader business and not just specific brands operated by the Group. Therefore, we consider that this is the correct decision in the context of the Group operating a growing number of diverse brands and operations.”

The group has strengthened its global portfolio in recent months via a merger and acquisition drive. In February of this year, the group acquired a 51 per cent stake in Georgian operator Adjarabet for an initial cash consideration totalling £101m. While in May 2018, Paddy Power Betfair agreed to merge its Betfair U.S. division with fantasy sports operator FanDuel.

Paddy Power Betfair has previously stressed that its 2019 strategy will involve targeting a number of additional organic M&A opportunities across the world.
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Paddy Power Betfair begins life as Flutter Entertainment

The governance of FTSE100 gambling group Paddy Power Betfair Plc has confirmed that it has officially sanctioned the firm’s corporate rebrand to ‘Flutter Entertainment Plc’.

The Flutter Entertainment rebrand was approved outright (99%) by company shareholders at the firm’s 15 May 2019 AGM.

As previously communicated, the FTSE betting group undertakes the rebrand to ‘better reflect its broader business’ within a changing global gambling sector.

Undertaking significant M&A investments, with the aim to boost the betting group’s global profile, during the past year Paddy Power Betfair has added US DFS operator FanDuel and Georgian operator Adjarabet to its portfolio of assets.

The company’s executive team has supported the rebrand, stating that Flutter Entertainment will accommodate the firm’s flagship brands Paddy Power and Betfair with its new market assets of FanDuel and Adjarabet, marking a new era for the UK betting group.

The corporate rebrand is implemented effective immediately, with Flutter Entertainment Plc trading under the ticker symbol of ‘FLTR’ on its shared placement on the London FTSE and Euronext Dublin exchanges.
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Paddy Power breaks with marketing norms to sponsor Huddersfield Town

Paddy Power marketing has broken with tradition after announcing that it has become the official shirt sponsor of Huddersfield Town FC for the upcoming 2019/20 Championship football season.

The partnership marks the first time that the Irish legacy bookmaker will appear on an English football shirt, with Paddy Power marketing announcing that it has secured ‘the most lucrative sponsorship deal outside of the Premier League’.

The Huddersfield Town sponsorship marks a significant U-turn for Paddy Power with regards to football marketing, as the bookmaker has previously stated that English football sponsorships hold little value with regards to long term investments.

Updating the market, Paddy Power’s Brand Marketing Director Michelle Spillane said: “We are excited to announce that we are Huddersfield Town’s shirt sponsor this season. They’re a club which, first and foremost, value their fans and know what it means to be a football supporter. We’re confident this deal will bring some bite and bark to The Terriers’ upcoming season.”

Having suffered relegation to the Championship last campaign, Huddersfield has taken a step in the right direction to reclaiming a place in the Premier League by signing with the Irish bookmakers.

Huddersfield Town Commercial Director Sean Jarvis commented: “The front-of-shirt sponsorship is very important to the Club and it was vital that we stayed patient to get the right commercial deal. We did that and it’s paid huge dividends through this new relationship with one of the most modern-thinking, pro-active businesses in Paddy Power.”

Fans of the West Yorkshire side won’t have to wait long to see their new strip, with the club announcing the home kit will be revealed on Wednesday 17th July.
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Paddy Power brokers first shirt sponsorship deal with Huddersfield Town

Irreverent bookmaker Paddy Power has made its first foray into the domain of shirt sponsorship with Huddersfield Town for the 2019/20 season.

The deal spans the home, away and third kit with designs set to be unveiled this Wednesday (17 July).

Explaining the decision to back Huddersfield Town, Paddy Power’s brand marketing director Michelle Spillane commented: “They’re a club which, first and foremost, value their fans and know what it means to be a football supporter. We’re confident this deal will bring some bite and bark to The Terriers’ upcoming season.”

Huddersfield Town commercial director Sean Jarvis added: “The front-of-shirt sponsorship is very important to the club and it was vital that we stayed patient to get the right commercial deal. We did that and it’s paid huge dividends through this new relationship with one of the most modern-thinking, pro-active businesses in Paddy Power.

“This represents the largest shirt sponsorship deal for Huddersfield Town outside the Premier League.”

The tie-up marks a surprisingly traditional form of promotional activity for a bookmaker better known for masterminding headline-grabbing stunts, including drafting Eric Cantona to offer Brits a customized ‘Brexit Bunker’.
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