Betting group Flutter Entertainment has announced significant revenue and profit drops for the 2019 year, but has reiterated its commitment to safer gambling.
The group announced a 15% drop in earnings to £385 million for 2019, and a fall in before-tax profits of 38% to £136 million. But according to Flutter governance, this is the result of a number of significant changes to regulation and tax rules, along with the further development of its growing stake in the US sports betting market.
Flutter is facing a significant year in 2020 as they await regulatory approval for their merger with the Stars Group, which owns Sky Betting and Gaming. The merger, which they hope will go through in the second or third quarter of the year could create the world’s biggest gambling Group.
Speaking about the 2019 results, Peter Jackson, the Chief Executive at Flutter, said that it had been a very significant year, which had included the merger announcement and growth in the US. It had also seen regulatory challenges in the UK, where the reduction in the maximum stakes on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) had cost the company’s retail department an estimated £30 million.
But Jackson emphasised that the drive to provide a more responsible and safe gambling product was more important than short term financial results:
“To better protect potentially vulnerable customers and to put our business on a more sustainable footing, it is clear that we must do more in this area both as an operator and as an industry.
Jackson emphasised that Flutter had increased its responsible gambling team three-fold during the last 18 months. He also said that there had been an increase of 84% in the number of Flutter customers setting deposit limits, and a 56% increase in the Group’s real-time interaction with their customers. And he urged other companies to focus more on this area to encourage what he described as ‘a race to the top’ in responsible gambling operation.