Sunderland firm Tombola sold to gambling giant in £400m deal

Sunderland online gambling firm Tombola has been sold to the owners of Paddy Power and Betfair in a deal worth more than £400m.

Flutter Entertainment said the deal was expected to be completed early next year, subject to approval from competition authorities.

It is paying £402m in cash for the business, which employs more than 700 people in Sunderland and Gibraltar and is known for its sponsorship of the ITV programme I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

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Tombola – which was founded by Phil Cronin in 2006 – recently completed a move to a new headquarters in Sunderland and has around 400,000 monthly players on its online bingo and slot machine games.

In its latest accounts, the company announced revenues of £120.1m and and an operating profit of £12m.

Flutter – which owns the Paddy Power and Betfred bookmaker chains and also operates the Poker Stars brand – said the deal to buy Tombola would enhance its position in online gambling.

Chief executive Peter Jackson said: As the world’s leading online gambling operator, Flutter is delighted to add Tombola, the UK’s premier bingo brand to the group. Tombola is a business we have long admired for its product expertise, highly recreational customer base and focus on sustainable play.

“The brand aligns closely with Flutter’s safer gambling strategy, a key area of focus for us. I am excited to combine Flutter’s digital marketing expertise with Tombola’s operational capabilities within the UK & Ireland division.

“As the time comes for Phil to hand over the reins, I would like to thank him for building the success story that the business is today, and I look forward to welcoming the Tombola team to Flutter and growing a sustainable business for the future together.”

Chronicle Live – Sunderland