Shares in Paddy Power Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment increased 8% to £132.70 on Friday amid hopes that its imminent Q3 results will exceed expectations. It represented the firm’s biggest daily rise since April, and its share price has now doubled since the stock market crash earlier this year.
It made Flutter the best performing UK blue chip of the day. Much of the excitement surrounds the firm’s prospects in the US, where it owns FanDuel and FOX Bet. Yet the actual uplift in Q3 is expected to come from its core UK business and from Australia.
Bank of America and Barclays both published positive broker notes. Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC Holdings has already unveiled strong Q3 figures, leading to expectations that Flutter will follow suit.
More than £200 million has already been wagered on the outcome of the upcoming US presidential election at the Betfair exchange. It said the market could ultimately reach £400 million or £500 million by the time that Americans go to the polls on Tuesday. The election has already generated more match bets than the last Grand National, World Cup final and Super Bowl combined.
“This event has captured the public’s attention like no other and it’s telling that more money has been bet on Donald Trump securing a second term than any of the world’s biggest sporting events,” said spokesman Sam Rosbottom. “However, the odds suggest Joe Biden has the upper hand and one political bettor certainly agrees, to the tune of half a million pounds.”
Head of racing PR Barry Orr added: “This is the most that has ever been matched in Betfair's 20-year history. It’s something that's going to continue to grow bigger and bigger when you think of the last record that was set by the previous US general election [in 2016]. This is more than this year's Super Bowl, the 2019 Grand National, Mayweather vs McGregor and the 2018 World Cup final combined.”
Ladbrokes and Coral will disappear from racecourse rings in the UK and Ireland after parent company GVC Holdings decided to sell its 106 pitches to a rival. It will sell 85 pitches in the UK and 21 in Ireland to John Hooper, who trades under the name Sid Hooper on the course.
He also bought William Hill’s 82 pitches when the firm left the ring in a similar move back in 2018. GVC’s trading director Tom Ritzema said the decision had “not been taken lightly”.
He added: “A number of factors combined to lead us to conclude that a presence in the racecourse betting ring is no longer a strategic imperative for our two UK brands. The volume of business taken through the racecourse pitches is minuscule, compared to the volumes generated in our off-course retail and digital businesses, and we no longer use the operation to hedge into the racecourse betting ring.
“The volume of business taken through the racecourse pitches is minuscule, compared to the volumes generated in our off-course retail and digital businesses, and we no longer use the operation to hedge into the racecourse betting ring. The current situation with Covid-19, and racing behind closed doors, expedited the decision but was not one of the factors behind it.”
The UK government has seen tax receipts from the gambling industry decline by 8% so far this year, according to an update from HMRC. The Treasury has thus far received £1.34 billion from the sector, which is down 8% on the same period last year. Analysts at UK Addiction & Treatment cited the economic impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic for the decline.
“The figures in today’s report were, overall, unsurprising and expected,” said UKAT head of treatment, Nuno Albuquerque. “Of course income from Machine Game Duty and Bingo Duty would have taken a hit, as the places where people would have engaged with this type of activity were forced to close.
“But what has come out of this is a clear message that as a society, we are gaming far more than we used to, and this societal behavioural change is now lining HMRC’s pocket. People will deal with the coronavirus crisis in different ways. It’s important to remember that too much of anything can be detrimental, especially if it starts to negatively impact on your day to day life.”