19 August 2021
By Roger Jones
When it comes to gambling industry giants, Flutter is most definitely up there after recording record profits over the last 12 months. With various furlough schemes, small businesses being forced to close and redundancies happening throughout 2020 you would be forgiven for thinking that pastimes like betting would also be suffering. However, it seems that potential money worries haven’t put people off of gambling as Flutter has released some pretty impressive figures for the first half of 2021.
Flutter describes itself as a global sports betting, gaming and entertainment provider. Although you might wonder who they are and think that you have never heard of them, you can guarantee that you will have heard of some of their brands. They’re the holding company for a number of big-name betting brands including Paddy Power, PokerStars and Sky Bet – household names when it comes to betting entertainment throughout Ireland and the UK.
There is no denying that lockdown has helped many online companies increase their presence and their online customer base and the gambling industry is certainly no exception. Although 2020 was a good year for Flutter and the gambling industry in general, the start of 2021 shows no signs of being any slower; in fact quite the opposite. In the first 6 months of 2020 Flutter made £24 million in profits, which was a record at the time for the company. This gave the company a turnover of £1.1 billion in 2021 so far, tripling profits compared to last year.
Why Is Online Gambling Doing So Well?
You might be forgiven for thinking that with so much financial uncertainty hanging over people’s heads that gambling would be something that they wish to go easy on. However, the results that Flutter recently revealed aren’t exclusive to that brand of betting – online casinos, bet makers and slot machine providers have noticed an uplift in custom across the board.
A big part of that will be the fact that people had their choices reduced in 2020. As lockdowns were announced across various countries and people learnt to live with varying degrees of restrictions, the online sector soared as people had little choice but to turn to the internet for what they needed. Of course, a large part of this was shopping and essentials but a big chunk also came down to entertainment.
Shares in video-conferencing software providers such as Zoom soared as people started to use the internet to socialise with friends and network with people within business. For many people, it became a norm to spend an evening with friends on video calls rather than at a bar or restaurant.
This meant that the option to visit places like land-based casinos also became restricted and as such, people turned to virtual options. Of course, with people being encouraged to use online services it was down to online casinos and gambling companies to step up their advertising game and make sure they reached this new group of potential customers.
Flutter has a massive range of brand names under their belt and when you consider just how familiar many of these brand names are, it will come as no surprise that they have done so well profit-wise over recent months. For example, Betfair is one of their offerings of casino sites in Ireland and Paddy Power has a massive advertising presence throughout the UK.
Is Everyone Happy?
Gambling companies doing well is always a tricky subject when it comes to gambling commissions and those that try to protect people from gambling addiction. The Gambling Commission are well on the case and have urged betting companies to be extra vigilant when it comes to looking out for vulnerable customers and making sure they protect those that place bets with them. There has been some criticism over the amount of advertising Flutter companies have done throughout big events such as the Euro 2020 football tournament, however with their customer base now up by over 44% to 3.3 million active customers in the UK and Ireland.
Of course, land-based casinos and betting shops are now back open so we may see things start to return to slightly lower levels of profits for the rest of 2021 but no doubt Flutter are thrilled with how their financial year has looked so far.