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Paddy Power takes in €2.2 billion worth of bets in six months

The bookmaker’s Irish shops take in €483m worth of bets in the first six months of 2011 but more and more punters are using their smartphones to make a bet.

Image: Photocall Ireland

IRISH BOOKMAKER PADDY Power has reported a profit before tax of €56.8m for the first six months of 2011.

The group took in €2.225 billion worth of bets across Ireland, the UK and Australia between January 1 and June 30 this year. That is an 18 per cent increase on the amounts staked during the same period in 2010.

People in Ireland bet €483m in Paddy Power shops across the country, while more was staked across online and telephone services.

Including the company’s UK business, there was €771m staked online in the six months to 30 June and another €152m bet over the telephone.

This has been a great first half for Paddy Power,” said CEO Patrick Kennedy. “The excellent performance of the online division and the success of our mobile offering stand out.  We have continued to experience strong growth in the UK retail market and our Australian business has progressed well.  Conditions in Ireland remain tough but our business is well positioned; we therefore remain confident in the prospects for the group in 2011 and beyond.”

A right bashing

Earnings per share rose 18 per cent to 97.1c. For these figures, Paddy Power did not include data on the World Cup comparative in 2010 or “adverse sporting results”.

These sporting results did not balance out as expected, said the company.

Instead, Paddy Power claimed it received a “right bashing” at Cheltenham this year, which depressed retail results. This was offset somewhat by “favourable results” in football which boosted online wins.

The sportsbook gross win percentage, however, was still about 0.4-0.5 per cent below expectations because of the UEFA Champions League Final money-back special, a “bruising” at Royal Ascot and some “adverse results” in Australia.

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Mobile business “stands out”

The group recorded an overall operating profit of €56.2m for the six months from January to June, up 14 per cent on the same period last year. Of this, 81 per cent came from online activities and 73 per cent from international business as conditions in Ireland remain “tough”.

Paddy Power said its online division saw “very strong growth” with the number of active customers up 48 per cent. A “rapidly growing” mobile market has seen the mobile sportsbook turnover rise a massive 279 per cent. Customers continue to use their smartphones to place bets and 22 per cent of all bets staked were done so through mobile devices.

Operating profit in the Irish retail operations fell 44 per cent to €5.1m but Paddy Power said this was due to “adverse sports results” as like-for-like bets staked were only down 1 per cent. Paddy Power operates almost 200 shops across Ireland and a further 92 in the UK.

The board decided to pay an interim dividend of 30c per share, an increase of 20 per cent on last year.

Paddy Power shares were trading down slightly at €35.20 at 8.36am.

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