Flutter-Stars Group Merger Means Its Business As Usual For FanDuel, Fox Bet In NJ

Written By Martin Derbyshire on October 4, 2019

Imagine if the top-grossing sportsbook app in the state teamed up with a competitor that many thought would eventually grow into its biggest rival.

Well, that’s almost exactly what happened this week.

FanDuel Sportsbook and Fox Bet will continue to operate as separate entities in the emerging NJ sports betting market even though both products’ parent companies announced plans to merge.

And at least for the time being, it’s business as usual for both sportsbook apps.

But the long-term result of this merger is that two of New Jersey’s biggest sportsbook brands along with several online casinos and poker sites will soon be under one umbrella.

Flutter, Stars Group merger in a nutshell

Essentially, Flutter Entertainment, formerly Paddy Power Betfair, agreed to buy The Stars Group (TSG) on Wednesday in a $6 billion deal. The deal is expected to close in 2020.

Stars Group, of course, is the company behind PokerStars. Back in May, it partnered with broadcasting giant Fox to launch the Fox Bet-branded NJ online sportsbook.

Fox Bet, the rebranded BetStars app, launched in NJ last month just ahead of the start of the NFL season. Pundits expected it to challenge FanDuel for the state’s sports betting crown thanks to its position as an NFL broadcast partner.

But how does FanDuel tie into all of this?

Well, the former Paddy Power Betfair merged with fantasy sports giant FanDuel back in May 2018, before the launch of legal NJ sports betting. The company has since taken on the FanDuel name for its US operations.

And it has done well for itself, becoming the top-grossing online sports betting operation in NJ. Plus, it is definitively NJ’s top retail sports betting operation at the Meadowlands.

The largest online gambling operator in the world

Flutter and Stars Group posted combined annual revenues of $4.7 billion last year. That makes the merged company the biggest online gambling and sports betting operator on the planet.

The merged company will call Dublin, Ireland, home and maintain its listing on the London Stock Exchange, like Flutter. Flutter shareholders will own almost 55% of the company with The Stars Group shareholders owning the remaining 45%.

What the deal means for NJ online gambling

All of this is to simply say that Flutter and The Stars Group becoming one company means a huge swath of NJ online gambling is now under one umbrella.

Besides their respective sports betting brands, both companies operate other online sites in NJ including PokerStars NJ, PokerStars Casino, and Betfair Casino.

It appears all the merged company’s online gambling products will continue to operate as normal until further notice.

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Committed to both NJ sportsbook brands

At the very least, Flutter CEO Peter Jackson said the company remains committed to both the higher-grossing Fox Bet and FanDuel brands following the merger:

“The combination represents a great opportunity to deliver a step change in our presence in international markets and ensure we are ideally positioned to take advantage of the exciting opportunity in the US through a media relationship with Fox Sports as well as our development of US sports betting through Flutter’s FanDuel and TSG’s Fox Bet brands. We are committed to these two high quality brands to drive the growth of the Combined Group in the US.”

That said, FanDuel and Fox Bet will move onto a single operating platform. It is not known which platform will be the chosen one. And both brands will continue to exist and serve the New Jersey and Pennsylvania online gambling markets they do now.

This means FanDuel will continue to dominate in NJ and grow in PA alongside its future sister site, Fox Bet.

And both brands will also grow larger in the US.

The combined company has already secured sports betting access in as many as 24 states, thanks to deals with Boyd Gaming and Penn National Gaming.

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Martin Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than 10 years of experience reporting on the online poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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