Belfast Telegraph

Online betting adds to bookmaker's profits surge

By Graeme Evans

Paddy Power increased its annual profits by 16% today as it vowed to ensure it is within the "big-get-bigger" category of bookmakers.

The Dublin-based firm, which has doubled its UK estate to 165 shops in the last two years, said it was a period of "game-changing" developments for the industry, particularly in online betting and new markets.

Paddy Power boosted its number of online customers in the UK by 50% to 710,043 and said profits from internet betting lifted 29% to £61.9m, despite investment costs and less favourable results. Almost half of its online sportsbook customers used smartphones to place their bets last month. Across the group, Paddy Power took £3.8bn of wagers last year, an increase of 19% on the World Cup year in 2010, while pre-tax profits were up to £101m.

Chief executive Patrick Kennedy said that with only 9% of the £238bn global gambling market currently online, there was significant scope for continued strong market growth.

He said that scale will be a pre-requisite to take advantage of the opportunities:

"We are determined that Paddy Power will be in the 'big-get-bigger' segment of operators."