Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Flutter Entertainment’s acquisition of Tombola, a leading UK online bingo firm, for £402 million marks a significant move, adding to Flutter’s portfolio and meeting the company’s safer gambling strategy.

Short Summary:

  • Flutter acquires Tombola in a £402m cash-only deal.
  • Phil Cronin, the founder of Tombola, will exit post-acquisition.
  • The acquisition supports Flutter’s strategic goals, enhancing their presence in the UK market.

Flutter Acquires Tombola in a £402 Million Deal: A Strategic Expansion

Flutter Entertainment plc, renowned as the owner of Paddy Power and Betfair, has significantly bolstered its online gaming portfolio by acquiring Tombola, one of the UK’s preeminent online bingo operators, in a deal valued at £402 million. This strategic acquisition is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2022, pending regulatory approvals from the UK Competition and Markets Authority.

Tombola, which is headquartered in Sunderland with additional operations in Gibraltar, has been a notable player in the online bingo sector for 16 years. The company boasts a strong, engaged player base, with over 400,000 active users each month and 700 employees. Tombola’s revenue has seen a consistent growth trajectory, with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% over the past five years, achieving £164 million in revenue and £38.5 million in EBITDA for the financial year ending April 2021.

Strategic Relevance

The acquisition aligns perfectly with Flutter’s broader strategic objectives, particularly its commitment to safer gambling practices and expanding in targeted verticals. Flutter CEO Peter Jackson highlights that “Tombola is a business we have long admired for its product expertise, highly recreational customer base, and focus on sustainable play.”

“The brand aligns closely with Flutter’s safer gambling strategy, a key area of focus for us. I am excited to combine Flutter’s digital marketing expertise with Tombola’s operational capabilities within the UK and Ireland division.” – Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter Entertainment

Notably, Tombola was the first major UK-focused operator to introduce both mandatory staking and deposit limits, reflecting its commitment to responsible gambling. A staggering 80% of its revenue is derived from the UK market, with the remaining 16% coming from Italy and Spain.

Enhancing the Product Portfolio

With this acquisition, Flutter strategically diversifies its product offerings. The inclusion of Tombola enhances Flutter’s position in a previously under-represented product vertical. The company anticipates that Tombola’s sustainable and engaged player base will be instrumental in driving long-term growth.

Moreover, Tombola’s robust player protection measures exemplify the kind of responsible gambling initiatives Flutter aims to emphasise. Jackson adds,

“As the time comes for Phil to hand over the reins, I would like to thank him for building the success story that the business is today, and I look forward to welcoming the Tombola team to Flutter and growing a sustainable business for the future together.”

The deal holds promising prospects for synergy, allowing Flutter to leverage its superior digital marketing expertise alongside Tombola’s operational strengths within the UK and Ireland division.

Leadership Transition

Phil Cronin, who founded Tombola 16 years ago, will be stepping back from the day-to-day operations post-acquisition. Cronin’s leadership has been pivotal in growing Tombola into a market leader with significant emphasis on sustainability and player engagement.

“I am thrilled to see Tombola join forces with Flutter, a company that shares our values and approach to business. This marks an exciting new chapter for Tombola, and I am confident that our team will continue to thrive under Flutter’s umbrella.” – Phil Cronin, Founder of Tombola

As Cronin steps down, the integration of Tombola into Flutter’s operations is expected to bring new dynamism and growth opportunities, consolidating Flutter’s presence in the online bingo market.

Financial Implications and Future Projections

Financially, the acquisition is noteworthy. The all-cash transaction of £402 million will provide an immediate boost to Flutter’s earnings, considering Tombola’s strong financial performance. With a pro forma revenue of £164 million and EBITDA of £38.5 million in its last financial year, Tombola is not only a strategic asset but also a financially lucrative addition to Flutter.

Analysts predict the transaction will have several ripple effects on Flutter’s overall market position. The immediate inclusion of Tombola’s extensive and engaged user base signifies a potential surge in market share within the UK, Italy, and Spain.

Moreover, the acquisition comes on the heels of Flutter’s recent announcement to acquire Italy’s Sisal for €1.91 billion (£1.62 billion/$2.20 billion), anticipated to close in Q2 2022. These consecutive acquisitions underline Flutter’s aggressive expansion strategy and its intent to solidify its dominance in the European online gaming market.

Regulatory and Market Musings

The completion of this acquisition is contingent upon securing merger control clearance from the UK Competition and Markets Authority. However, given the complimentary nature of Tombola to Flutter’s existing portfolio, regulatory bodies are expected to view the deal favourably.

Moreover, Tombola’s recent foray into the newly regulated Dutch market and its membership in the Netherlands Online Gambling Association demonstrate its ongoing commitment to sustainability and responsible gambling. These factors further enhance its attractiveness as a strategic acquisition for Flutter.

In September, Tombola launched in the Netherlands, obtaining one of only ten online gaming licences awarded upon the market’s opening. This venture further exemplifies Tombola’s scope for growth and the potential it holds as a part of Flutter’s portfolio.


The acquisition of Tombola by Flutter Entertainment is more than just a significant financial transaction; it’s a strategic alignment that promises to deliver substantial growth and operational synergy. By integrating Tombola, Flutter is set to enhance its product offerings, reinforce its customer base, and solidify its commitment to responsible gambling.

As Flutter prepares to finalise this acquisition in early 2022, the market eagerly watches how this merger will shape the future trajectory of both companies. For more detailed insights and ongoing updates, visit

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