Flutter Bolsters Portfolio With £1.62Bn Sisal Acquisition

Flutter Entertainment Plc, owners of Sportsbet, paid $3.00 billion to acquire the Italian gambling giant known simply as Sisal.

They say the rich get richer and this is the case with Flutter Entertainment. The London Stock Exchange-listed gambling behemoth bought Sisal this week for £1.62 billion ($3 billion).

Sisal is a leading betting, gaming, and lottery operator with its headquarters in Milan, Italy. Sisal makes a lot of money, which is why Flutter swept in for the company. Latest financial figures show Sisal made £211 million ($391.21 million) in the 12-months to December 2021. Some 58% of that sum stemmed from its busy online casino. Retail shops and lottery sales make up the rest.

There are not many Australians who know about Sisal, but they are massive in Italy. Approximately 90% of the company’s revenue generates in Italy. Turkey and Morocco make up the bulk of the remaining revenue.

Flutter Acquisition Delights Sisal CEO

Francesco Durante is the Sisal Chief Executive. Durante is looking forward to working with Peter Jackson in addition to his Flutter team.

“Over the last five years, thanks to CVC’s support, we have successfully transformed Sisal into a leading digital and international gaming company. Through our commitment to digital innovation, international expansion, and safer gambling, we have achieved a leadership position in Italy’s online gaming market and developed our global footprint by winning lottery tenders in Morocco and Turkey. We are delighted to join Flutter and are convinced that through its scale and operational capabilities, we will be able to further strengthen our leadership in the markets we operate in. I look forward to working with Peter and the team on the next chapter of Sisal history.”

Peter Jackson, Flutter Chief Executive, is the Peter Durante mentioned. Jackson welcomed Sisal to the Flutter family.

“I am delighted to add Sisal, Italy’s leading gaming brand, to the Group as we look to attain a gold medal position in the Italian market. For some time we have wanted to pursue this market opportunity via an omni-channel strategy and this acquisition will ideally position us to do so. Sisal has grown into online presence significantly in recent years, aided by its propriety platform and commitment to innovation., I’m excited to see how Flutter ca complement these capabilities through our scale, differentiated products and operational capabilities. We look forward to welcoming Francesco and the rest of the Sisal team to Flutter in 2022.”

Purchase Expands Flutter’s Footprint

The Italian gambling market is the second-largest in Europe behind the United Kingdom. However, it falls way behind both the UK and closer to home here in Australia. Indeed, Flutter Entertainment Plc owns and operates Sportsbet, a company with more than 1.25 million customers.

The Italian market features heavy regulation, especially in relation to advertising. Italian law prevents gambling companies from advertising gambling products to Italian residents. Sisal makes vast sums of money despite this.

Regulated markets make up more than 90% of Flutter’s revenue. The company is committed to increasing this figure to 100%. That fact raises questions about the Turkey part of Sisal because Turkey is a grey market at best.

Regulator Slaps Crown With $1 Million Fine

Flutter is enjoying positive news but former sports betting partner Crown Resorts received a $1 million fine this week. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) levied a $1 million fine on the troubled casino operator.

The fine relates to Crown Melbourne’s non-compliance with its Internal Control Statements with respect to junkets and premium players. Those events took place in 2015 and 2016.

Steve McCann, the new Crown Resorts CEO, confirmed the fine.

“Crown will consider the findings of the VCGLR carefully, with a view to continuing to advance its reform agenda and taking into consideration all available learnings. Crown was the first Australian casino group to announce the cessation of dealings with junkets. The announcement today from the VCGLR is a reflection of past practices which no longer occur at Crown.”