Flutter Acquires Italian Online Gambling, Sportsbook, Lottery Giant Sisal in $2.2bn Deal

  • Flutter has hoped to enter Europe’s second-biggest regulated market “for some time”
  • The Sisal brand includes sportsbook Totalcalcio, totalizer Totip, lottery SuperEnalotto
  • Flutter said the purchase comes with a “significant online customer base” of 300,000
  • The Italian online market entry follows Flutter’s UK expansion via its Tombola purchase
Flutter online logo under a microscope
Flutter has confirmed its £1.62bn ($2.2bn) acquisition of Sisal, an Italian gambling operator that comes with a sportsbook and the SuperEnalotto lottery. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Leading Italian omnichannel brand

Flutter Entertainment’s longtime pursuit of an Italian omnichannel brand has finally borne fruit. The UK-based iGaming giant announced its £1.62bn ($2.2bn) takeover of gambling operator Sisal on Thursday this week.

Flutter, the owner of FanDuel and Paddy Power among other brands, took to Twitter to confirm the buyout from CVC Capital Partners Fund VI:

According to a statement, the deal will likely close in Q2 2021, but no doubt Christmas has come early for Flutter who affirmed it had hoped to enter Europe’s second-biggest regulated market “for some time.”

Unwrapping the diversified Sisal portfolio brings Flutter an array of goodies, including sportsbook Totalcalcio, gaming totalizer Totip, and an entry into the lottery market via SuperEnalotto.

Opportunities amid restrictions

Flutter stated that the deal offered a “significant advantage due to advertising restrictions, with retail providing a competitive moat and an enabler of growth.”

Italy banned gambling advertising in 2018, but its advertising and communications regulator, Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCOM), permits the Italian media to report information on odds of winning a game, jackpot odds, bonuses on offer, and minimum bet sizes. AGCOM also permits land-based gambling operators to display branding in shop windows, on products, and on in-store marketing, provided it does not include inducements to gamble.

According to Flutter’s Twitter post, the Sisal purchase comes with a “significant online customer base” of 300,000. FanDuel’s parent brand sees this as an opportunity for additional market share, as retail customers move over to online.

Wins and blunders

The takeover marks a productive final quarter for Flutter’s diversification strategy. In November, the operator announced the purchase of UK-based online bingo operator Tombola for around £402m ($543m), effectively expanding its online gaming reach in the UK once the deal closes in Q1 2022.

offering free spins to self-excluded gamblers

The UK-based brand has, however, also recently drawn some negative press. In November, Flutter-owned Sky Betting and Gaming committed a major blunder by offering free spins to self-excluded gamblers via its Sky Vegas online casino brand amid Safer Gambling Week in the UK. A VSO News opinion piece questioned whether an apology for the blunder by the CEO of UK Flutter was enough.

Despite drawing fire for its marketing efforts, Flutter is wrapping up 2021 on a positive note, stating the Sisal deal has landed it “a leading omnichannel asset at a compelling valuation.”

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