Europe’s largest online bingo platform, Tombola, has raised alarm bells as it faces the potential loss of 250 jobs. This predicament follows a takeover by the renowned betting conglomerate, Flutter. Individuals privy to the matter have disclosed that management at Tombola, headquartered in Sunderland, recently informed staff about the looming job cuts, primarily affecting members of the customer experience team. Tombola, a company with a workforce of 700 in the UK, organized a meeting for the affected employees last Friday.
Flutter’s Commitment to Redeployment
Flutter, the global betting giant, which acquired Tombola for £402 million in late 2021, has pledged to explore opportunities for redeployment within Tombola and across the group. Specifically, Tombola’s chat moderators, integral to the customer experience team, have been notified of an impending reduction in roles from 250 to just over 100. Other segments of the customer experience team, encompassing customer support and “safeplay” advisers, have also been cautioned that their positions may be in jeopardy.
Efficiency Drive and Eliminating Duplication
According to an insider familiar with Flutter’s strategy, the job cuts aim to enhance efficiency and eliminate any redundancy in customer support roles, particularly in comparison to other Flutter subsidiaries like Paddy Power and Sky Bet.
Tombola’s Response and Regulatory Climate
Tombola issued a statement acknowledging that it had “communicated a number of proposed changes to our customer service teams following an extensive operational review.” The company highlighted its commitment to offering opportunities for staff redeployment within the business but added that these changes might inevitably lead to redundancies.
These potential job cuts occur in the backdrop of early indications of a slowdown in the UK online betting sector, driven by impending regulatory reforms. The UK government has announced plans to address problem gambling, including financial affordability checks for certain customers and stake limits on online slots. With ongoing consultations on the horizon, the future of the industry remains uncertain. Some major players in the market, like 888 and Entain, have already reported adverse effects on their operations due to these regulatory reforms.
Analysts eagerly await Flutter’s third-quarter results, expected in early November, to gauge the impact on UK revenues. Despite the challenges, some experts, such as those at Jefferies, anticipate continued momentum for Flutter’s UK sales. In the previous year, Tombola posted sales of £117 million and a pre-tax profit of £25 million. In the first half of this year, Flutter’s UK and Ireland division, which includes Tombola, reported £396 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, showing growth from the previous year.