Flutter to buy UK online bingo operator Tombola

Flutter will expand its presence in the online bingo vertical.
Flutter will expand its presence in the online bingo vertical.

The gaming giant Flutter will buy Tombola to expand in the bingo vertical. It also gains access to the Netherlands.

UK.- Flutter Entertainment has announced that it will buy the British online bingo operator Tombola for an enterprise value of £402m. It will pay the full consideration in cash upon completion and take direct charge of Tombola.

Flutter said the addition of Tombola offered strategic benefits, expanding its reach in the bingo vertical where it has had a weaker presence. 

It also highlighted Tombola’s engaged player base and responsibility measures. It said that customers tended to remain with the brand for a long time and that Tombola was the first operator to introduce staking and deposit limits.

Tombola launched in the UK 16 years ago and now has more than 700 employees in offices in Sunderland and Gibraltar. It averages around 400,000 monthly players, and in its 2019-20 financial year, generated £120m in revenue, and £9.4m in net profit.

It still generates over 80 per cent of its revenue in the UK. Most of the remaining revenue comes from Italy and Spain, although Tombola is also one of just ten operators that gained Dutch online gaming licences in order to launch when the country’s new regulated market went live on October 2. 

Flutter itself has said that its own block on Dutch customers following the launch of the regulated market will cost it £50m. Several major operators have implemented such blocks after the Dutch regulator KSA said it would take action against any unlicensed operators that didn’t actively block players. The regulator has since selected 25 sites to monitor for potential infringements. 

Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson said. “Tombola is a business we have long admired for its product expertise, highly recreational customer base and focus on sustainable play. The brand aligns closely with Flutter’s safer gambling strategy, a key area of focus for us. 

“I am excited to combine Flutter’s digital marketing expertise with Tombola’s operational capabilities within the UK and Ireland division.”

Jackson praised Tombola’s founder and chief executive Phil Cronin. He said: “As the time comes for Phil to hand over the reins, I would like to thank him for building the success story that the business is today, and I look forward to welcoming the Tombola team to Flutter and growing a sustainable business for the future together.”

The deal is conditional on merger control clearance by the UK Competition and Markets Authority and is expected to complete in Q1 2022.

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