By Elizabeth Anderson Friday, 16 November 2012

Paddy Power's online gamble pays out

The Irish bookmaker reports another strong set of results and plans to open 45 new UK betting shops this year.

In a competitive gambling sector, Paddy Power has stayed ahead of its rivals by grabbing a large chunk of the mobile market – and the Irish bookie is cashing in. Revenues were up 23% in the three and a half months to mid-November compared to the same time a year ago and like-for-like UK high street sales were up 5%.

It’s another strong set of results for Paddy Power, which is shortlisted for MT’s Britain’s Most Admired Companies award 2012 following an upbeat few years for the recession-beating international company.

The Australian market has shown how fruitful the online business can be. In Australia, Paddy Power’s biggest online market after it bought Sportsbet two years ago, turnover rose by a quarter and mobile phone bets accounted for 27% of total wagers made. The boost helped balance a weaker UK market, which has suffered from race cancellations due to wet weather and strict betting rules during the Olympics. But it wasn’t all bad news. When punters did make sporting bets, the odds frequently landed in Paddy Power’s favour, pushing its sports book up 12%.

Despite the online focus, Paddy Power is still spotting potential in the UK high street. The company is opening 45 new betting shops across the country by the end of the year – 10 more than previously planned – as it looks to tempt gamblers from the likes of Ladbrokes and William Hill. Whether or not they will be welcomed is another question -critics say Britain’s high streets are in danger of being swamped by betting shops.

Paddy Power reported a 21% jump in half year profits to 68.7 million euros (£54.5m) in the six months to August. This was mainly due to an aggressive marketing strategy during the Euro 2012 football games. 

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