Flutter Entertainment takes over £250m in bets during the Cheltenham Festival
One of the largest UK betting groups, Flutter Entertainment, reports that bettors across its popular UK betting sites have wagered over £250m throughout the Cheltenham Festival. The Festival is one of the biggest horse-racing events in the UK and across the world, and generally sees an increase in betting, and attracts even people who do not bet on a regular basis. It appears that this year has been no different, with the company behind UK betting sites such as Sky Betting & Gaming, Betfair, and Paddy Power seeing a large increase in activity over the four days of the event.
In total, the group reports to processing over 37 million bets in the period 14th – 17th March 2023, when the festival took place. According to the group, a very important contributing factor to the successful period for the company was the fact that St Patrick’s Day, 17th March, coincided with the most exciting day of the festival and Friday’s much anticipated Gold Cup. This meant that already popular UK bookmaker Paddy Power attracted even more customers than usual and enjoyed increased attention and custom due to its well-respected branding and memorable mascots traditionally associations with good luck and fortune.
Flutter Entertainment points out that the Festival, which always offers good fun and exciting times to fans of horse racing, did not fail to deliver this year and surpassed bettors’ most optimistic expectations of dramatic events. What Flutter termed “a trifecta of racing treats” comprised of a win for Honeysuckle in the Mares’ Hurdle (last one for trainer Henry DeBromhead and Rachel Blackmore), a “piece of cake” Champion Hurdle victory for Constitution Hill, and Galopin Des Champs delighting fans with a beautiful victory and claiming the Gold Cup. Naturally, all UK betting sites under the Flutter Entertainment umbrella offered a variety of markets and options for all these events and customers were keen to try their luck and bet on their favourite horses.
Flutter reports that the dramatic events had a large effect on the operations (and atmosphere) behind the scenes, describing the event as “nail-biting from a bookmaking perspective”. This was due to 5 favourites claiming victories in the races on Tuesday, providing great returns and winnings for a lot of customers. On the other hand, Thursday and Friday saw more underdogs winning races, which helped Flutter’s UK betting sites balance the books and “finish in the black”.
Discussing the Cheltenham Festival, Flutter’s Chief Trading Officer Dom Crosthwaite said:
“It was another memorable Cheltenham, and it was pleasing this year to see the Festival’s mass market appeal mirror the recreational nature of our customer base. We delivered a great customer proposition for our flagship brands, with a series of recent product upgrades and marketing campaigns driving strong staking levels of well over £250m. This was all made possible by our talented colleagues in Flutter UK&I, who worked incredibly well to seamlessly manage over 37m online bets across the week.”
However, Flutter and its UK betting sites point out that some challenges were also present during the week. One of these was the unlikely combination of wins by Envoi Allen, Sire Du Berlais, and Stage Star. Flutter Group estimates that its UK betting sites suffered the loss of an 8-figure sum when customers of the Group cashed out the bets they placed on these three horses. Luckily for the company, other popular favourites such as Mighty Potter and Shishikin lost in the same races, which helped the company recover some costs. Another unfortunate losing horse was customer favourite A Plus Tard with the jockey being Rachel Blackmore, one of the newest sports ambassadors for UK bookmaker Betfair. Despite the general consensus and public backing, A Plus Tard failed to secure a second Gold Cup in a row.
Flutter Group also revealed that the Cheltenham Festival was a very successful event for some of the casual, recreational bettors who usually only bet during big events. For example, two low-stake customers scooped £100k and £200k on Tuesday and Wednesday through a free ITV7 bets, which is a competition ran and sponsored by UK betting site Sky Betting & Gaming. Further to this, a Paddy Power bettor in Kildare, Ireland, cleared €75,000 after making a €0.20 ‘Lucky 63’ bet. In the bet, the customer picked 7 winning horses in order to secure the prize.
While fans of the Festival will be sad that they have to wait a whole year for it now, we are approaching a number of exciting horse-racing and sporting events to choose from.