Gambling conglomerate’s takeover of Sisal may provide sparkle after a poor year, but online casinos and the lotto don’t mix

An absence of deal-making is one reason why Flutter Entertainment, the £20bn gambling conglomerate that encompasses Paddy Power, Betfair, Sky Bet, PokerStars and more, has been one of the worst share price performers in the FTSE 100 index this year. The stock is down by a quarter.

Investors had expected the liberalising US market, where Flutter looks well-placed with its FanDuel operation, to deliver the adrenaline rush of highly priced consolidation, but it never quite happened. Two US firms made tentative offers for Entain, the Ladbrokes and Coral operator that is also big stateside, but both pulled back. It may be that the leading global players will have to compete harder with each other in the US, which is a less exciting short-term investment prospect (though probably a better one for American punters).

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