Could Flutter Run the National Lottery?

Flutter already own Betfair, Paddy Power and SkyBet but could they one day run the UK Lottery? That could be the case after they purchased the Italian company Sisal.

A deal has been agreed with the private equity group CVC Partners. The £1.6 billion deal will see them expand into the lottery business. Sisal currently run the SuperEnalotto lottery in Italy, as well as others in Turkey and Morocco.

Peter Jackson is the chief executive of Flutter and is delighted with the deal. He believes that the purchase of Sisal will give Flutter “a gold medal position” in Italy. The country has the second-largest regulated gambling market in all of Europe, only behind the UK.

The Covid-19 pan demic hasn’t been all bad news for Sisal. With betting shops and casinos forced to close, more people began betting online. That saw Sisal increase their online gambling revenues by 20%.

What would be the icing on the cake for Flutter would be if Sisal won the race to be awarded the next 10-year licence to run the National Lottery. Sisal are one of four firms in the running and a decision isn’t far away. It’s already been delayed due to the pandemic, but February 2022 is when the UK Gambling Commission are due to announce their decision. The license won’t start until 2024 with current holders Camelot hopeful of continuing to run the lottery.

They’re the only company who have ever held the license since the National Lottery began in 1994. Also in the running are Sazka from the Czech Republic (who have set up the UK business Allwyn) and media tycoon Richard Desmond, who already has ownership of the Health Lottery.

Even though Sisal is bidding for the license, Flutter did not mention the UK Lottery when announcing news of their latest acquisition. According to The Guardian, the bid has not been factored into their plans. The takeover of Sisal isn’t due to be completed until April, two months after the UK Gambling Commission announcement.

Flutter isn’t in the good books of the Gambling Commission at present. They are still investigating a complaint that Flutter offered free spins to recovering gambling addicts. Camelot are the favourites to win the new license with Sazka seen as their main rival.

The first half of the financial year to 30 September saw sales reach £3.9 billion, an increase of 2.7% from the same period last year. The amount returned to good causes also increased. It went up by 2.4% to £884.5 million.