Flutter Entertainment Rewards Staff with £14m Covid-19 Bonus
Flutter Entertainment, whose brands include Paddy Power, Sky Bet and Betfair, has rewarded staff with a bonus totalling £14m. Members of staff will receive £1,000 each in recognition of their work during the Covid-19 crisis.
Online gambling operator Flutter Entertainment will reward employees with a £1,000 windfall to thank them for their work during the coronavirus. The reward, which will in the form of company shares, will be given to the company’s 14,000 employees.
Explaining the company’s decision to award shares rather than cash, Flutter Entertainments CEO Peter Jackson said that staff were “bookmakers at heart” for staying with the FTSE 100 listed operator throughout the pandemic.
While some companies, particularly those operating retail operations, have struggled during the Covid-19 crisis, Flutter Entertainment has performed remarkably. The FTSE 100 between 7 June 2020 to 26 February 2021 went from 7331.9 to 6483.4, a drop of 11.6%, whereas Flutter shares in that time went from 5803.1 to 13820.0, an increase of 138.1%.
Jackson confirmed that employees who have not been able to work due to the enforced closure of non-essential shops had been paid in full during the pandemic. The company also state that they had not taken advantage of the national furlough scheme, which would have seen the government paying 80% of wages.
Flutter also revealed that they had donated the money they received under the government’s business rates tax relief which was introduced to help businesses during the pandemic. The company donated £4.8m to Made By Sport’s Clubs in Crisis’ campaign under the Cash4Clubs initiative.
The Cash4Clubs fund directly supports grassroots community sports clubs and organisations that work with young people and help with life skills such as communication, building teamwork and discipline. They also help provide employment opportunities to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
Research conducted by Made By Sport showed that 40% of local community sports clubs were either in debt or barely breaking even before the coronavirus outbreak. Most clubs operate on less than £10,000, and 50% of the people working in these clubs are volunteers. With the impact of Covid-19, they estimate that 25% of community clubs may never re-open after the pandemic.
The campaign offers grants of £2,021 to clubs that meet specific criteria.
Jackson said of the campaign: “Lack of funding is not a new issue for community clubs which is why we originally set up our Cash4Clubs programme,”
“But now help is needed more than ever and working with Made by Sport to provide a fund for ‘Clubs in Crisis’ is a great way for us to pass the benefit of business rates relief straight into the communities where that funding is most needed,” Jackson added.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, the CEO was asked what he felt would be the impact on sport if a ban on gambling advertisements was introduced as part of the government’s review of existing regulations. Jackson replied by stating that except for horseracing, he didn’t feel sport, in general, would be severely affected in the long run. Saying:
If gambling is not allowed to continue its association with sports because that’s what the government decides. I think there would need to be a good transition period.– Peter Jackson, Flutter Entertainment CEO
“I don’t think that the switch would be an easy one because the gambling industry is a source of revenue for the sector.
“A lot of these sports are saying: ‘Now’s a really difficult time for us because we’ve lost all gate receipts, so please don’t make life harder for us.’
“But as we’ve all shown over the last 12 months, people are very adaptable, and sports could get there with enough notice,” he added.