Flutter and Fox in phased closure of joint sports betting business

Closing down sign
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Flutter Entertainment and the Fox Corporation are to commence a phased closure of the pair’s joint sports betting business, almost four years after the entity first came to market.

The decision to close the FOX Bet platform is to be undertaken over the course of the next month, with a phasing out of operations to begin today (Monday 31 July) and last under August 31, 2023.

As a result, Flutter, which operated FOX Bet as part of the Stars Group, will retain ownership of PokerStars, in addition to one of the leading lights of the US’ sports betting space in FanDuel.

FOX will hold the right for all future usage of the FOX and FOX Bet brands, including FOX Bet Super 6, and intends to launch a new game associated with the latter later this summer.

Furthermore, the New York-headquartered media conglomerate will also continue to hold its option to acquire 18.6 per cent of FanDuel, which would complement the 2.5 per cent stake in Flutter that is currently held.

In September 2019, New Jersey was the first step in a FOX Bet journey that represented the first time that a US sports media organisation’s brand was serving as the face of a real money sportsbook.

The entity is to replace the Betstars portal in the Garden State as part of a commercial arrangement that was scheduled to be in place for a 25 year time frame.

At the time, Robin Chhabra, the then CEO of Fox Bet who currently occupied a similar position at Tekkorp Capital, hailed the introduction as “a game changer” that would deliver an experience “found nowhere else in the United States”.

In addition, Rafi Ashkenazi, current Executive Chair of Hard Rock Digital and past Stars Group CEO, stated that the strategic partnership “uniquely positions us to build a leading betting business in the US” and that it represented “one of the most exciting long-term growth opportunities for our company”.

Earlier in the year, Flutter revealed that the US continued to be the dominant geographical location for the group through the year’s first quarter, with further inroads seeing revenue rising 54 per cent to £2.41m (£1.56m).

The US saw revenue surge 112 per cent to close at £908m (2022: £429m), with sports and gaming up 116 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively, at constant currency.

This performance was said to have been pushed along by launches across Ohio and Massachusetts, which drove a 20 per cent player increase and led to “number one positions in both markets”.

Chief Executive Peter Jackson also reemphasised pleasure at the “overwhelming support among our shareholders” for an additional listing of Flutter in the US, the benefits of which, he noted, will “position the group well for its next phase of growth”.