France’s Lottery Operator FDJ Wins Rights to Irish Lottery

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Posted on: July 28, 2023, 07:46h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2023, 08:54h.

The Irish Lottery is getting a new operator and it won’t be Allwyn. Beating out 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 the signing of an agreement for the acquisition of Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI). FDJ will acquire the entire capital of the company, valued at €350 million (US$384.26 million).

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) announced that it would sell its majority stake in PLI this past March. It followed a failed attempt to retain the operation of the National Lottery in the UK, which went to Allwyn.

FDJ Beats Allwyn

PLI, which holds the exclusive rights to operate the Irish National Lottery until 2034, counts among its shareholders the OTPP, the Irish Post (An Post), and the pension fund associated with the latter (An Post Pension Fund). Like its French counterpart, PLI offers draw and scratch-off games, the vast majority of which bets are made at points of sale (85%), while digital bets represent 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,” said PLI Managing Director Andrew Algeo.

FDJ highlighted in a press release that, for 2022, PLI achieved a turnover of €140 million (US$153.7 million). That resulted in an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) margin of 24%, similar to what FDJ has experienced. As a result, the French operator expects to add 5% to its annual performance this year.

Last year, PLI redistributed 65% of its €399 million (US$438 million) in gross gaming revenue (GGR) to charities. It reportedly gave about €260 million (US$285.45 million) to over 4,000 entities, amounting to almost €260 million.

CEO Stéphane Pallez added 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 faithful to its recreational, responsible and redistributive gaming model.”

Big Names Lose Out

The acquisition doesn’t change the ownership structure of the lottery – Ireland still owns it and the Regulator of the National Lottery still regulates it. The purchase only gives FDJ the rights to operate the Irish Lottery according to the agreement PLI struck with Ireland in 2014.

The transaction is expected to be finalized before the end of the year, following approval by the Irish National Lottery regulator. In addition to Allwyn, International Game Technology, and Australia’s Lottery Corp had bid for PLI. There’s no indication that any have mounted a challenge to the results.

FDJ continues to find more success with its operations, both in terms of GGR and turnover. For the first half of the year, the former was €3.3 billion (US$3.6 billion), a 2.4% increase. The latter was €1.3 billion (US$1.42 billion), an increase of 6.3%.

Driven by sports betting and the lottery, digital stakes posted a marked increase (13.3%) and now represent 13% of the total. Purchases at points of sale also increased, adding 3.2%. As a result, FDJ recorded a net profit of €181 million (US$198.72 million), up 13.5%.

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