Betting giant Flutter could swap London listing for New York

Betting giant cheerleads for US listing: Flutter could swap London for New York amid American betting boom

Gambling giant Flutter Entertainment has laid the foundations to swap London for New York, marking a fresh blow for the stock exchange this week.

The FTSE 100 firm, which owns brands Paddy Power and Betfair, said that it will pursue a secondary listing in the US as its American brand, Fan Duel, continues to rake in the cash.

Fan Duel is now its biggest business, making up about 33 per cent of the group’s revenue as Stateside betting continues to boom.

On song: Gambling giant Flutter, which owns Paddy Power and Betfair, said it will pursue a secondary listing in the US as its American brand, FanDuel, continues to rake in the cash

Flutter, which also owns brands Sky Betting & Gaming and Poker Stars, claims the secondary listing on top of its primary London one would allow it ‘to pursue, as a second step, a primary US listing – one of the criteria for access to important US indices’.

Although Flutter will need to get 75 per cent of shareholder approval before it can push forward with a dual listing, it does raise question marks for the future of the UK-listed company. 

Last summer, FTSE 100 plumbing products giant Ferguson ditched London as its primary listing in favour of New York after it sold its UK business to US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

The Dublin-based Flutter had previously toyed with an initial public offering for Fan Duel in 2021, but this was paused following a legal dispute with Fox Corporation, which holds an option to buy a stake in Fan Duel.

But now Flutter has said the main goal for dual listing was about boosting its profile across the Atlantic, attracting talent and opening itself up to a new pool of investors – something that has been dubbed as a no-brainer by analysts.

Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said a dual listing ‘makes a great deal of sense for Flutter’.

‘While the overall listing structure of the group is yet to be determined, it’s clear that Flutter is turning half an eye away from the UK,’ she said adding that impending regulation in the UK and Ireland was likely to be a key driver.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates, explained the US has become an increasingly important market for big gambling companies as rules in the UK tighten.

The Government has yet to publish its already delayed gambling white paper that could introduce strict affordability criteria for punters and curbs on online gambling.

By contrast, the US gambling market has flourished since a supreme court decision in 2018 struck down federal laws that blocked gambling on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states.

This decision gave the states the green light to legalise betting on sports, and opened the revenue streams for companies like Flutter to cash in.

Flutter has projected the US gambling market will be worth £33billion by the end of the decade.

Like Flutter, Entain, the firm behind Ladbrokes and Coral, has made moves in the US, with its 50/50 joint venture with MGM Resorts International, a US gaming brand offering online sports, casino and poker.

The pandemic also acted as a catalyst for growth as states became more inclined to legalise betting, opening up paths for taxation and new ways to fill the empty public coffers.

It is understood Flutter plans to engage with shareholders about the US listing ahead of the annual shareholder meeting in April, with a view to making it happen by the end of the year.

Flutter Entertainment reiterated that it had no plans to move operations away from the UK and Ireland, and that management would not be shifting to the US.