One of the UK’s largest gambling operators, Flutter Entertainment, is set to lose £80 million following the cancellation of major sporting events due to coronavirus, including football and horse racing.
The spread of coronavirus has forced all elite sporting events to be postponed until further notice or play behind closed down to limit the spread amongst spectators. This decision was designed to reduce the further spread amongst elite athletes contracting the disease which so far has registered Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea’s Callum Hudson Odoi.
The result of very limited sports betting means that Flutter Entertainment, which owns Betfair and Paddy Power, are expecting losses of £80 million, which could rise to £110 million.
The Cheltenham Racing Festival went ahead last week despite coronavirus concerns. Some sporting events, including horse racing, continue to operate behind closed doors and without spectators. However, if horse racing in Ireland, Scotland and Australia is cancelled, and its UK and Ireland stores are closed, this could cost Flutter Entertainment an extra £30million incrementally per month.
Chief Executive Peter Jackson commented: “Our focus, first and foremost, is on protecting the welfare of our employees and our customers and we will leave nothing to chance in this regard.
‘While our near-term profitability will be impacted by the essential measures being taken globally, the Board will remain focused on protecting shareholder value and managing the business through these turbulent times.’
Seasoned gamblers may turn their attention to non-sporting related gambling including the use of bingo, slot gaming.
Paddy Power may decide to shift players to their more game-based platform which includes Paddy Power Vegas and Live Casino.
Many competitors in the industry including Coral, Ladbrokes and 888.com are trying to recover profits by promoting casino games, offering more incentives and casino bonuses to new and existing players – especially if people are likely be cooped up at home and have more free time.
In addition to the cancellation of sporting events, many gambling firms have also been hurt in recent months by new regulations, including the £2 maximum stake limit on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), gaming duty increases, and the incoming ban on gambling with credit cards.