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Flutter shares among the fallers as gamblers ride winning streak

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By Padraic Halpin

DUBLIN (Reuters) -Paddy Power, Betfair and Fanduel owner Flutter Entertainment cut its full year profit guidance on Tuesday, sending its shares sharply lower after gamblers enjoyed a winning streak in October.

The world's largest online betting group said it expects full-year adjusted EBITDA of between 1.24 billion pounds and 1.28 billion pounds compared to the 1.27 to 1.37 billion range it forecast in August.

Bookmakers generally suffer when favourites win and Chief Executive Peter Jackson said this happened across the board last month, including Liverpool's Premier League hammering of Manchester United and world boxing heavyweight champion Tyson Fury's latest victory.

The run hit EBITDA by around 60 million pounds and Jackson said Flutter avoided another "bloodbath" overnight when short-priced favourite Incentivise came second in the Melbourne Cup horse race.

"It's what happens, occasionally you have a run of bad luck and it's not unhelpful for our punters that they get to see a winning streak," Jackson told reporters.

Flutter shares were 7.8% lower at 152.50 euros by 0835 GMT.

Flutter also said on Tuesday that its temporary withdrawal from the Dutch market is expected to cost it 10 million pounds this year. New rules introduced there require gambling operators to apply for a new licence to offer online services.

The suspension will cost a further 40 million pounds in 2022, assuming it recommences trading in the third quarter.

AMERICAN EXPANSION

Flutter said on Tuesday that its 2021 third quarter revenue increased by 12% year-on-year on a constant currency basis, driven by a 13% rise in average monthly players and a strong performance in Australia and the United States.

Revenue in the UK and Ireland fell 5%, which Flutter said in part reflected a busier period in the same time last year when a number of sporting fixtures were rearranged due to COVID-19.

The 85% growth in revenue in its market leading U.S. FanDuel compared to a surge of 159% in the first half as the Dublin-based group said it remained disciplined about chasing customers among a step-up in competition.

It added that FanDuel is now regularly experiencing staking levels on American Football Sundays that match its 2021 SuperBowl performance as gambling continues to takes off rapidly in the U.S. after a ban was lifted on sports betting in 2018.

Flutter, which said in August that it expected to turn a profit in the U.S. in 2023, expects to make an EBITDA loss of 250 million pounds to 275 million pounds there this year versus a previous estimate of 225 to 275 million pounds.

Jackson also said Flutter is not bidding for sports website The Athletic.

(Reporting by Padraic HalpinEditing by Keith Weir)

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