Sunderland MP vows to hold new Tombola owners to Sunderland jobs pledge after £400million-plus sale

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A Sunderland MP has given a cautious welcome to the £400million-plus sale of city on-line bingo giant Tombola.

And Julie Elliott vowed to hold the firm’s new owners to a promise to protect jobs on Wearside.

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The owner of Paddy Power and Betfair said it had "long admired" the online bingo firm as it unveiled the all-cash agreement.

Based across sites in Sunderland and Gibraltar, Tombola has more than 700 employees and around 400,000 average monthly users.

Around 600 workers are employed at the firm’s new Tombola House campus in the former Bonded Warehouse at Sunderland Fish Quay.

A Flutter spokesperson said yesterday the takeover was unlikely to impact job numbers on Wearside.

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Julie Elliott, whose Sunderland Central constituency covers the firm’s base, gave a qualified thumbs-up to the takeover: “I cautiously welcome the news that Flutter have announced they are to purchase Tombola, and that they have given a commitment to retain jobs in Sunderland,” she said.

Tombola employs around 600 people in SunderlandTombola employs around 600 people in Sunderland
Tombola employs around 600 people in Sunderland
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And she said she would be asking the company to confirm its commitment to Sunderland: “I will be seeking assurances from Flutter about Tombola’s presence in Sunderland,

and I will stay in regular contact with Tombola’s new owners so that we can work together to make sure the city benefits from this new acquisition,” she said.

“Sunderland is a great city to invest in, and this is proved by a number of big recent announcements, from investment in green energy, to the growth of the film industry.

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Sunderland Central MP Julie ElliottSunderland Central MP Julie Elliott
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott

"I do hope that this new acquisition is another announcement to be celebrated.”

Tombola's founder and chief executive Phil Cronin, who set up the firm 16 years ago, will leave the business after the acquisition, and Ms Elliott said she hoped it would not be his last contribution to the city.

"The Cronin family have been in business in the city for more than 150 years, contributing hugely to the local economy, providing jobs, careers and opportunities for local people,” she said.

"I must thank Phil Cronin for his work in Sunderland. I am sure that he will continue to be involved in the life of our city.”

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