Thursday, May 30, 2024

Flutter Entertainment’s roots in Ireland, but gambling firm’s future is in the United States

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Having grown out of the Paddy Power bookmaker business in Ireland, Dublin-based Flutter Entertainment’s future is very firmly in the United States.

This is clear from it’s recent 10k filing — the American equivalent of an annual report. While Irish revenues (Paddy Power, Sky Betting and Gaming, PokerStars and other brands) rose by a healthy 8 per cent to $305 million, in the US, its income was $4.4 billion, driven by its FanDuel subsidiary. This was more than double the level of 2021, showing the huge growth trajectory at play in the US.

On the flip side, the US subsidiary has recorded huge losses over the past three years, as Flutter invests heavily to capture market share there, with the market being deregulated following a legal ruling in 2018. It was $264 million in the red last year, down from a loss of $429 million in 2022 and $768 million the year before.

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By contrast, Flutter made a profit of $144 million from its Irish operations last year, albeit that was less than half the $298 million figure recorded in 2022.

The focus on the US will only grow from here, which is why Flutter has decided to seek shareholder approval at its annual general meeting in Dublin on May 1st to move its main listing to New York. If approved, the switch would take effect on May 31st.

Shareholders will be hoping that Flutter’s US operations hit the profit jackpot soon, so dividend payments can resume. The gambling company hasn’t paid a dividend since May 2020 and has no immediate plans to do so.

Instead, the focus of its capital allocation strategy is to invest in organic growth in the US and core markets, and then towards merger and acquisition opportunities internationally.

Flutter’s Irish shareholders, meanwhile, will be hoping that they don’t encounter the problems that many CRH investors based here seemed to experience when it made the transition to New York last year and cancelled its Dublin listing, with them being paid in dollars, not euro and having US taxes deducted, leaving them needing to seek a refund from the Internal Revenue Service.

What odds on Flutter making a better fist of its transition for investors based in Ireland?

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