Paddy Power Betfair revealed this week that it plans to change its name to flutter as it delivered its 2018 financial results. Pre-tax profits fell 11% to £219 million and it made a significant loss on FanDuel Sportsbook in the US as the subsidiary is investing in new customer acquisition. Sales rose 9% to £1.9bn, but underlying was EBITDA down 5% at £451 million due to investment in the US. However, chief executive Peter Jackson is confident that this investment will pay huge dividends in the long-term, arguing that the US sports betting market opening up is the most important development in the industry’s history, The firm will ask shareholders to change its name to Flutter Entertainment at its annual general meeting in May to reflect its diverse nature. It now owns six online businesses in Europe, the US and Australia, along with 626 betting shops in the UK and Ireland. Chief executive Peter Jackson said: ‘It's a historical name we've owned for a long time. We don't intend to use it for our customers and we didn't have to spend any money acquiring it or the domain, which should be good news for shareholders.”
888 has purchased challenger brand Bet Bright in a £15 million deal. The operator said the deal would support the long-term development of 888 Sport, allowing it to “fully leverage” marketing and analytics capabilities. Integration of the Bet Bright platform will begin soon and the firm will then “begin a phased and market-by-market rollout of its proprietary sportsbook solution”. “The BetBright sportsbook has been developed by a fantastic team and is a high quality and scalable platform. Our new colleagues joining from BetBright will significantly strengthen 888's sports betting expertise and industry know-how,” said Itai Pazner, 888’s chief executive. “This acquisition of a high-quality and scalable sportsbook is an exciting milestone for 888. With 888Sport becoming an increasingly established and popular worldwide sports betting destination, we believe it is the right time to take ownership of our full sports betting proposition.”
Bet365 has set up a US headquarters in New Jersey as it plans to take on the likes of FanDuel, DraftKings and William Hill in the burgeoning market. The British firm has taken on a 19,000 sq ft office in Township, New Jersey, close to the Pennsylvania border. That leaves it well placed to take on arguably the two most important states in the current market. Last year it signed a deal with Hard Rock to offer sports betting in Atlantic City.
William Hill has a new hub in Malta after purchasing online bookmaker Mr Green and it has made several managerial changes there. Per Norman, group chief executive at Mr Green, is stepping down from that role, but will take on an advisory role as chairman of GLHF.gg, an esports company. William Hill’s international managing director, Patrick Jonke, will take on the new role of Mr Green Malta chief executive and he will lead the team at the Malta hub. Jesper Kärrbrink, former Mr Green Ltd chief executive, is moving back to Sweden, where he will join up with games studio Green Jade Games. “We are making a small number of senior changes, but otherwise we aim to allow Mr Green to continue to do what it does best and grow internationally, said Ulrik Bengtsson, William Hill’s chief digital officer. “We are very pleased that the Group will continue to benefit from the experience of Per Norman and Jesper Kärrbrink in exciting joint ventures in esports and game development.”