FDJ, France’s lottery operator, secures the rights to operate the Irish National Lottery.

Posted on: July 28, 2023, 07:46h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2023, 07:46h.

The Irish Lottery is getting a new operator and it won’t be Allwyn. Outbidding the global lottery operator that recently took over the UK’s National Lottery is Française des Jeux (FDJ).

A lottery player browses options with the Irish Lottery
A lottery player browses options with the Irish Lottery. France’s lottery operator FDJ is taking over the operations through an acquisition. (Image: RollingNews.ie)

During the presentation of its financial health report for the first half of the year, the French group announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI). The FDJ will acquire the entire capital of the company, which is valued at €350 million (US$384.26 million).

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) announced the sale of its majority stake in PLI in March. This came after an unsuccessful attempt to retain operation of the UK’s National Lottery, which was awarded to Allwyn.

FDJ Beats Allwyn

PLI, which holds the exclusive rights to operate the Irish National Lottery until 2034, has shareholders including OTPP, the Irish Post (An Post), and the pension fund associated with An Post (An Post Pension Fund). Similar to its French counterpart, PLI offers draw and scratch-off games, with the majority of bets being made at physical points of sale (85%), while digital bets account for 15% of the total. The group is also a member of the Euromillions community.

The PLI team looks forward to partnering with FDJ for an even better performing Irish National Lottery and contributing to FDJ’s international expansion in the lottery industry,

FDJ highlighted in a press release that PLI achieved a turnover of €140 million (US$153.7 million) in 2022, resulting in an EBITDA margin of 24%, which is similar to FDJ’s performance. As a result, the French operator expects to increase its annual performance by 5% this year.

Last year, PLI distributed 65% of its €399 million (US$438 million) in gross gaming revenue (GGR) to charities, providing approximately €260 million (US$285.45 million) to over 4,000 entities.

Through this acquisition, FDJ is affirming its desire to expand internationally. This is the first time the company has taken control of a foreign lottery. CEO Stéphane Pallez stated in the press release, “This acquisition is perfectly in line with our international development strategy and our core business. FDJ is thus continuing its development, while remaining committed to its recreational, responsible, and redistributive gaming model.”

Big Names Lose Out

The acquisition does not change the ownership structure of the lottery – it is still owned by Ireland, and the Regulator of the National Lottery continues to regulate it. The purchase only grants FDJ the rights to operate the Irish Lottery, as agreed upon by PLI and Ireland in 2014.

The transaction is expected to be finalized before the end of the year, pending approval from the Irish National Lottery regulator. Allwyn, International Game Technology, and Australia’s Lottery Corp also submitted bids for PLI, but there is no indication that any of them have contested the results.

FDJ continues to experience success with its operations, with growth in both gross gaming revenue (GGR) and turnover. For the first half of the year, GGR increased by 2.4%, reaching €3.3 billion (US$3.6 billion), while turnover increased by 6.3%, reaching €1.3 billion (US$1.42 billion). Digital stakes saw a significant increase of 13.3%, now accounting for 13% of the total. Purchases at physical points of sale also increased by 3.2%. As a result, FDJ recorded a net profit of €181 million (US$198.72 million), marking a 13.5% increase.

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