Company planning to merge with owner of Leeds-based Sky Bet delivers 'resilient' results

The company behind Paddy Power and Betfair has delivered an unexpectedly resilient performance as sports leagues were cancelled across the world, hitting a major revenue stream.

Flutter Entertainment has delivered a first quarter trading update.

Flutter Entertainment boss Peter Jackson said that his company was lifted by decisions by horse-racing authorities in the US and Australia to allow races to go ahead.

Flutter’s revenues were up by 16% overall to £547 million in the first three months of the year. Revenue from sports betting rose by 13%, though before March 15 it was on track to grow by 30%, the company said.

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Mr Jackson said: “The group performed very well in the period prior to the disruption to sporting events in mid-March. We delivered strong customer growth across each of our brands and benefited from favourable sports results across our sportsbooks.

“Following the widespread cancellation of sporting events, group revenues have been more resilient than we initially expected, helped by the continuation of horse racing in Australia and the US gaming continues to perform well across the group.”

Mr Jackson said that Flutter’s planned combination with the Stars Group, which will make it the world’s largest online betting site, “remains compelling”.

“While the current disruption is truly exceptional, it underlines the importance of product and geographic diversification,” he said.

Last month, the Competition and Markets Authority cleared the merger between gambling companies Flutter and Stars.

The companies are two of the main online betting brands in the UK, with a combined revenue of £1.5 billion. Flutter owns Paddy Power and Betfair, and Stars owns Leeds-based Sky Bet.

The proposed transaction remains subject to approval by Flutter shareholders at its extraordinary general meeting on April 21 2020 and by The Stars Group shareholders on April 24 2020.

It also remains conditional on approval from a small number of other regulatory bodies, some of whom have indicated that their usual time frames may be delayed by the current COVID-19 crisis.

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