Flutter shares surged 14pc today, making the parent company of Paddy Power the biggest gainer on both the London and Dublin stock exchanges after interim results cemented its Fanduel unit’s dominance in the US.
Its shares closed in Dublin at €127 each, still however well below their 12-month high.
Despite a drop in overall earnings and declining revenues in the UK and Ireland, the scale of the US unit’s growth was the big story for the six months to the end of June.
Revenues had been hit by safer gambling initiatives in the UK and a decline in online betting from the Covid lockdowns.
“Fanduel is fundamentally reshaping the group,” chief executive Peter Jackson told reporters.
Legal gambling in the US remains relatively immature versus the UK and Ireland but Fanduel’s half-year revenue grew 50pc to £1.1bn (€1.3bn) and overtook Flutter’s traditional core, its UK and Ireland division, for the first time.
The US business also delivered a quarterly profit, a first for any operator in the American market, and is on track for full-year profitability in 2023 unless capital investment is accelerated by the extension of betting law to new states, the company said.
Flutter’s market share in the 15 US states where Fanduel can operate increased to 51pc in the second quarter – making it the market leader by a large margin.
Closer to home, Paddy Power closed five of its Irish shops but opened 15 new UK outlets in the period.
It will continue to monitor conditions in both retail markets with closures or openings potentially in the works depending on conditions on the ground.
Irish city centre retail trading and footfall have recovered more slowly post Covid than the UK, management said.
There was “no discernible signs of a consumer slowdown” at present, Flutter said.
The company said it expects to monitor key spending indicators given the “uncertain” macroeconomic outlook.
However, online betting has now reverted back to historic levels from those lockdown era highs, the company said.
Management said it was not seeing any evidence that the inflationary squeeze on household spending is affecting the business.
In Ireland and the UK as a whole the company said that the first-half performance slowed as a result of the introduction of the UK’s safer gambling initiatives.
Assuming normalised sports results, Flutter expects full-year earnings to be in line with market expectations.
“We expanded our recreational customer base by over one million players in the half and increased the proportion of customers using safer gambling tools to over one third,” said Mr Jackson.
“We are particularly pleased with momentum in the US where we extended our leadership in online sports betting with Fanduel claiming a 51pc share of the market and number one position in 13 of 15 states, helping contribute to positive earnings in the second quarter.”