Paddy Power Betfair revenues jump 17% in first quarter

Bookmaker’s online performance hit by unfavourable sports results in UK and Ireland

Revenues at bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair rose by 17 per cent in the first quarter of its financial year, on the back of "excellent" growth in both Australia and the United States. However, its online performance was affected by unfavourable sports results in Britain and Ireland.

Revenues rose by 17 per cent to £478 million (€557 million) in the three months to March 31st, 2019. Online revenues increased by 4 per cent to £228 million (€266 million), with Adjarabet, a Georgian online betting company in which it acquired a controlling stake in February of this year, contributing five percentage points to growth in the quarter.

When this is excluded however, online revenue declined by 1 per cent, with sports growth adversely affected by unfavourable sports results, primarily February racing and March football.

Paddy Power Betfair said that revenues were also adversely affected by the temporary suspension of British horseracing fixtures in February (due to equine flu) which negated the benefit of soft comparatives from weather-related horseracing cancellations in the prior year.


Underlying momentum

On the retail front, revenues were down by 2 per cent to £77 million (€90 million), with 2 per cent machine gaming growth offset by a 5 per cent decrease in sports revenues.

Chief executive Peter Jackson said that "underlying momentum" remains good for the group, with 22 per cent growth in average daily actives, pointing to revenue growth of 20 per cent in Australia, thanks to ongoing investment in customer value and the recent tax increases which are strengthening Sportsbet's competitive positioning.

In the US, Mr Jackson said that FanDuel, which it acquired last year, is making “huge progress”, giving it a New Jersey sports betting market share of 50 per cent in the first quarter.

Looking ahead, Mr Jackson said that trading in April has been in line with expectations.

“In the US, FanDuel remains well positioned to generate good returns on ongoing sports betting investment and for rest of the group we remain on track to meet our full year profit expectations despite the adverse sports results in Q1. We remain excited about the growth opportunities that lie ahead for the group.”

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times