Ireland-based sports betting giant Flutter Entertainment has gotten even bigger this week. Flutter Entertainment already owned two notable sports companies, FanDuel and Paddy Power Betfair. With their most recent acquisition, Flutter Entertainment now stands to become the top sports wagering company in the world.
On Wednesday, Flutter Entertainment announced their purchase of The Stars Group. The deal cost Flutter a hefty $6 billion, but the total value of their company is now worth in excess of $11 billion. Considering that the two sports gambling entities combined for more than $4.1 billion in revenue last year, this investment is sure to pay dividends in the long term.
Flutter Entertainment was already huge, but now they are adding both Sky Bet and PokerStars, two major sports companies currently owned by the Stars Group. In addition, this will also connect Fox Sports to FanDuel. Fox owns a small percentage of the Stars Group and launched Fox Bet last month, their own version of a sports wagering app.
While both Flutter Entertainment (Ireland) and the Stars Group (Canada) are both based outside of the U.S., a strengthened Flutter is now in perfect position to crush the legal sports betting market in the states. Nevada is currently the top state for sports betting in the U.S., but they are quickly losing ground to New Jersey on the east coast.
The state of New Jersey has seen more sports bets placed than Nevada in the months of May, July, and August this year. Considering that New Jersey dwarfs Nevada in population size and that neighboring Pennsylvania’s legal sports betting market is also exploding, it is only a matter of time before Nevada falls behind for good.
This matters for Flutter because FanDuel is the top sportsbook in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Despite being intertwined, both Fox Bet and FanDuel will remain separate so that they can benefit from already having strong, individual brands. Chief Executives for FanDuel and Fox Sports (Matt King and Eric Shanks respectively) have indicated that the two will target different portions of the legal sports betting market. FanDuel will focus on serious sports bettors and fans, while Fox Bet will approach casual gamblers.
While the deal is not yet finalized, it is projected to be finished late next year. Shareholders for both companies must give their approval for the acquisition, which won’t happen until the second quarter of 2020. In addition, U.K. regulators are likely to take a closer look at the deal considering that the new Flutter Entertainment will control upwards of 40% of the total market share.
As a final note, the merger gives Fox the option to purchase a significant share of the FanDuel Group. This amounts to an 18.5% ownership stake that would begin in 2021. Fox already owns around 5% of the Stars Group, so this would give them an important role in the new and improved Flutter Entertainment.