Betting is illegal in Saudi Arabia, but betting on Saudi football isn’t as long as you do it in another country. Which is why Flutter Entertainment, owner of Betfair, Sky Bet, Paddy Power and similar platforms in Australia and the US is “looking at ways of enhancing their offering considering the influx of players this season”. Those players don’t include Messi, although his flirtation with Al-Hilal’s $400 million offer didn’t hurt the profile of football in the desert. They do include N’Golo Kante, Ruben Neves and Jordan Henderson, who all followed Christiano Ronaldo east in June. It’s not clear how Flutter will enhance its Saudi offering but its CEO, Peter Jackson, sounds fired up by gambling’s wilder frontiers. “We’re only into 20 per cent of the markets in which we’d like to take podium positions,” he tells The Times. “So there are lots of places we can go after.” Iran, anyone? Flutter announced earnings of £49 million in the US after losing nearly three times as much last year, and wants a listing in New York.
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