Flutter Entertainment confirmed a “positive start to the year’s trading” as the betting group expands its recreational player base to “+8.8 million monthly active players” across its global brand portfolio, mitigating the UK’s tough times and the European market.

In publishing its Q1 (period ending March 31) business update, Flutter reported revenue of £1.56 billion, 6% higher than Q1 2021 comparative results of £1.48 billion.

The growth was attributed to “excellent US execution” as the FanDuel unit saw revenue growth of 45% to £430 million.

Group CEO Peter Jackson revealed that FanDuel has exceeded all commercial expectations following successful launches in the states of New York and Louisiana – “with the American unit now accounting for more than half of all Flutter Group bets”, as US market stakes totaled £5.7 billion.

“In the US, FanDuel delivered another outstanding performance with 2.4 million customers and revenue of £429 million ($574 million),” Jackson commented on the US results.

Paddy Power owner Flutter has firepower to win big in US, says CEO Peter Jackson - Independent.ie
Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter

“We remain the number one bookmaker in the US with a 37% share of online sports betting. We acquired over 1.3 million new customers in the quarter and, similar to trends seen in Q1 2021, some of our key promotional mechanisms have led to reduced market share, particularly around the SuperBowl”.

FanDuel‘s hyper growth helped offset tough market conditions in Ireland and the UK, which saw Flutter post a 20% drop in online revenue to £453m.

A break in betting market impact saw Flutter’s UK online wallet absorb £30m in incremental costs related to safer gaming measures introduced over the last 12 months of trading.

Additional burdens have seen Ireland’s and UK’s top sportsbook brands, Betfair and Sky Bet, report a 32% decline in revenue versus favorable 2021 benchmarks.

While Q1 trading provided few comforts, Flutter saw a positive 15% increase to 3.6 million.

“We continue to sharpen our sports product with the launch of ‘Buildabet’ and ‘Acca Assist’ on SkyBet.” On the gaming side, Sky Vegas launched ‘The Vault’ and we continue to see good growth in recreational players with gaming AMPs up 9% on a pro forma basis,” Jackson noted of the UK and Ireland performance.

“We believe that our increased focus on product and efficiency will well prepare the division for the future.”

Elsewhere, Flutter continues to benefit from the ‘growth boost’ of its Sportsbet Australia unit, which has seen an 8% increase in revenue to £291m.

Sportsbet AUS continues to benefit from ‘structural improvements to the margin driven by our in-house pricing capabilities’ as Flutter proclaims the brand as the leading sports betting proposition in the Australian market.

Closing his update, Flutter disclosed the interruption of trading for his unit PokerStars International which saw a 5% drop in revenue to £327 million.

As communicated to shareholders, PokerStars’ performance reflected the unit’s temporary departure from the Netherlands, tax changes in Germany and the total departure from Russia.

Jackson concluded, “Outside the US, our businesses performed well, adapting to the evolving regulatory and business environment and reflecting the benefits of our global diversification. In the UK and Ireland, we launched several new products in the quarter.”

“I look forward to the UK government’s imminent release on their review of the Gambling Act. In Australia, Sportsbet has delivered good growth from continued customer-driven momentum, with excellent retention of acquired players in 2021.”

“Our international business benefited from strong performance in focus markets and we expect to complete the acquisition of Sisal in the third quarter. With our expanded recreational customer base, winning position in the US and continued focus on sustainable growth, our business remains well positioned for the future,” concluded Jackson.