Featured in this article:
  • Safer gambling hits Flutter and 888 UK revenues
  • Both firms unworried about revenue decline
  • US firms may soon feel same pressure to implement further safety measures

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Safer gambling initiatives may cost money up front, but they are a worthwhile investment

Safer gambling initiatives in the UK have resulted in two of the world’s biggest sports betting and online casino companies posting revenues just four percent lower than six months ago.

UK gambling companies have been implementing new safer gambling initiatives this year, ahead of long-awaited reforms to gaming laws.

According to the Financial Times, Flutter (FLTR) and 888 – two big players in the European betting industry and which have both muscled into American gaming in recent years – posted revenue falls in the six months to June 30.

For Flutter, which owns FanDuel, Paddy Power, Sky Bet and Betfair, saw UK revenues fall four percent over six months, compared to the same period in 2021. 888, meanwhile, said its half-year revenues were down 25 percent.

The falls in revenues are both being attributed to efforts to tackle problem gambling. The UK is undergoing a review of its gaming laws, and sportsbooks and online casinos have sought to acts ahead of publication on issues around problem gambling, addiction and player safety.

Safer Gambling Flutter

Flutter hopes its safer gambling initiatives will help players stay within their limits

Is This Bad For The Industry?

The balance between industry freedom and the rights to player safety is a difficult one to manage. Gambling companies across the world have a responsibility to help protect their players from issues of problem gaming and addiction – but the argument remains ‘how far does this responsibility go?’.

In the UK, charities and support groups have been calling on the government for years to improve its player safety measures in the gambling sector. In the US, individual states decide to what extent firms must provide player protection.

Seeing drops in revenues due to the implementation of player protection measures could be interpreted as alarming for the sector’s financial security. However, both Flutter and 888 have “shrugged off” the revenue falls, insisting that efforts to improve player welfare is better for the industry as a whole.

And experts tend to agree. Creating a product that seeks to tackle problem gaming from the outset is likely to be much more lucrative for firms, and engaging for fans, over the long-term.

Spending on player protection can rightly be considered an investment for the future security of gambling companies, as they are more likely to protect their customer base.

Boost In The US

Meanwhile, Flutter’s group revenues for the first half of 2022 were up 11 percent to nearly $4.1bn, thanks in part to the success of FanDuel.

“The US is on a real growth trajectory but the rest of the world is still growing very nicely,” said Peter Jackson, Flutter’s chief executive.

Analysts Davy Research predict Flutter’s US growth could be as much as 25 percent higher than forecast for this year, with more and more states opening their borders to online gambling.

It is reported safer gambling measures in the UK cost Flutter $57.8m (£48m), as the group limited online slot machine stakes to $12 (£10) and introduced mandatory deposit limits to all players under the age of 25. 888 have done the same.

888 has made tentative steps into America, launching an online casino in New Jersey. It also recently bought William Hill’s UK operations off Caesars for $4bn.

Itai Pazner, 888’s chief executive, said the fall in revenue this first half-year “primarily reflects market conditions in the UK”, rather than further afield.

“However, we believe the proactive actions we have taken to increase player protections and drive higher standards of player safety have put the group in an even stronger position for the future,” added Pazner.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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