Paddy Power chief won’t back gambling ad ban for Irish sport
Paddy Power Betfair will abide by whatever laws are in place, but its chief executive has suggested that the Irish president's recent call for gambling advertising to be banned in sport in the Republic is not necessarily the right thing to do.
"If I had my way, I wouldn't have advertising or any access to gambling platforms in sport at all," said President Michael D Higgins last month.
"We've been a very good supporter of responsible gambling in Ireland," said Paddy Power Betfair boss Peter Jackson.
"We would like to see some progress made on the Gambling Control Bill. We will operate within the framework that's put in place - that countries and politicians decide."
The bill is still being drafted by the Republic's department of justice, although proposals were laid down in 2013.
The bill will propose a new and comprehensive framework for the regulation and licensing of gambling in Ireland. A new regulatory body would also be established under the plans.
Last month, Italy approved a ban on gambling advertising that comes into effect next year.
"Some countries chose to put in place very restrictive legislation," said Mr Jackson.
"We've just seen that in Italy, where advertising is effectively going to be banned. I'm not sure that necessarily is the right answer," he added.
Mr Jackson was speaking as Paddy Power Betfair published its first-half results.
The World Cup helped to lift profits for the period, but its shares slumped as much as 7.1% as it predicted that its underlying, full-year earnings will be hit by additional taxes in Australia and the inclusion of losses from its recently acquired US-based FanDuel sports business.
Its first-half revenue rose 7% in constant currency terms to £867m, while its pre-tax profit was 4% higher at £106m.
The group said that the World Cup accounted for £23m of its total first-half revenue. But the group's total revenue from the World Cup was £45m.