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Betclic owner FL forecasts “solid” betting growth after strong 2022

| By Robert Fletcher
Media and betting business FL Entertainment expects the “solid” trends that drove growth in its online sports betting and gaming arm to continue in 2023, following a strong performance over the past 12 months.
Entain HMRC

In a trading update, the group said that its entire business – spanning online sports betting, gaming and content production and distribution – enjoyed strong momentum.

Focusing on betting and gaming, FL said this area was driven by the appeal of Betclic’s digital platform, including during the 2022 Fifa World Cup at the end of the year where the brand registered high double-digit growth in stakes versus the 2020 European Championships in the previous year.

FL also noted that during 2022, unique active players across betting and gaming increased considerably compared to 2021. 

In terms of content production and distribution, FL reported a 25% rise in the number of hours its content catalogue compared to 2021, while it also completed a total of 12 bolt-on acquisitions of production companies.

Having gone public in July, FL Entertainment is the new name for the combined business created via a merger with special-purpose acquisition company Pegasus Entrepreneurial Acquisition Company Europe.

The merger agreement covered all Betclic Everest subsidiaries, including Bet-at-home, and also featured television production business Banijay, which first merged with Betclic to create FL Entertainment before being combined with Pegasus. However, the media division of the business, including production company Banijay, is much larger.

Now as a listed entity, FL said it is constantly reviewing capital markets opportunities that contribute to the diversification of its sources of funding, strengthen its capital structure and provide balance sheet flexibility for the execution of its strategy.

In this context, FL said that it is currently assessing a potential convertible bond financing, subject to market conditions.

FL Entertainment also said it intends to expand its free float and stock liquidity over time, which could include orderly sell-downs by some shareholders as the first lock-up expired earlier this month.

Bet-at-home difficulties

However, it was not all good news for FL in 2022, with the business having carried out the significant winding down of the company’s activities in certain regions for the Bet-at-home brand, most notably in Austria. 

In October 2021, the business lost a legal battle against a consortium of players in Austria who sought compensation from unlicensed operators. Following this, Bet-at-home announced it would be exiting the market, as well as winding down the Maltese company set up to target it.

In July, Bet-at-home announced that it had “surrendered” its GB licence, and would be permanently withdrawing from the market – this occurred in the wake of the operator’s licence suspension by the Gambling Commission for suspected anti-money laundering and social responsibility failings.

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