|Traded as||ISEQ: PLS|
|Key people||Nigel Northridge, Chairman
Patrick Kennedy, CEO
|Revenue||€ 653.8 million (2012)|
|Operating income||€ 136.0 million (2012)|
|Net income||€ 121.0 million (2012)|
Paddy Power is an Irish bookmaker. Offline it conducts business through a chain of licensed betting shops in Ireland and the United Kingdom, and by operating Ireland's largest telephone betting service. Online it offers sports betting, online poker, online bingo, online casino games, and spread betting. The company is listed on the Irish and UK stock exchanges.
Paddy Power was founded in 1988 by the merger of the 40 shops of three Irish bookmakers: Stewart Kenny, David Power, and John Corcoran. Stewart Kenny had sold Kenny O'Reilly bookmakers to Coral in 1986 and then opened 10 shops of his own by 1988; he was the CEO of Paddy Power till 2002. John Corcoran's shops had traded as Patrick Corcoran. David Power was a son of Richard Power and one of several inheritors trading under the Richard Power name. The Power name was considered the strongest brand among the merged shops, while the "Paddy" name and green colouring emphasised the chain's Irishness at a time when the fragmented Irish industry was facing competition from British betting chains entering the market in response to changes in the Irish tax code. David Power's son, whose name happens to be Paddy Power (b. 1974/5), is a marketing spokesman for the company.
Paddy Power had an aggressive expansion strategy involving opening prominent shops in most Irish towns, rather than side-streets previously favoured. The firm's novelty bets broadened its media coverage beyond the horseracing news. Its share of the Irish off-course betting market grew from 8% in 1988 to 33% in 2001. Power Lesiure, parent company of Paddy Power PLC, listed on the London Stock Exchange in December 2000 to fund a UK expansion.
At the end of 2005 Paddy Power operated 195 outlets (150 in Ireland and 45 in the UK). The total number of employees was 1,374. On 27 May 2008, it acquired Northern Ireland independent bookmaker McGranaghan Racing, bringing Paddy Power's shop count to 191 in Ireland.
The bookmaker is known for offering odds on controversial markets in order to garner publicity, e.g., in November 2008, 16–1 was laid that U.S. President Barack Obama 'would not finish' his first term (this was widely interpreted as his odds of assassination).
After English Premier League new boys Stoke City lost their opening game of the 2008–09 season 3–1 to Bolton Wanderers, Paddy Power controversially paid out on bets on them being relegated. When the club finished in mid-table at the end of the season the company took out a full page advert in The Sentinel apologising to the club and its supporters.
In December 2007, Paddy Power began offering online bingo games. The original "Paddy Power Bingo" used Parlay's bingo software. In 2009, Paddy Power moved their bingo operations from Parlay to Playtech's Virtue Fusion software platform.
In July 2010, the company took the unusual step of refunding bets placed on Felipe Massa to win the 2010 Germany Grand Prix, following the notorious "team orders" incident, which led to Fernando Alonso being allowed to win the race, despite Massa's clear lead.
In October 2011, the company paid out early on New Zealand winning the world cup, four days before the final against France on 23 October 2011. The company boss said: 'New Zealand have left all of their opposition so far feeling black and blue and it's inevitable us bookies will be taking a hammering from them on Sunday too - so punters might as well collect now.' The All Blacks were Paddy Power's 4/6 tournament favourites and were 1/9 odds on to win with France 13/2.
On 14 May 2010, Paddy Power acquired a majority stake in Australian bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au. Paddy Power was placed 6th in the 2011 Management Today "Britain's most admired companies" list.
Paddypowerpoker.com was launched in February 2005. The site allows players to play a number of variations of the game and sponsors the Irish Poker Open, the Irish Winter Festival of Poker and the Irish Student Masters of Poker. In March 2007 Paddy Power Poker became part of the Ipoker network.
Paddy Power has drawn criticism in the past for offering controversial markets such as odds on the first species to be driven to extinction by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, on an assassination of U.S. President Barack Obama, and on the potential extinction of the polar bear.
Paddy Power's advertising campaigns have also been criticised. One showed sight-impaired footballers kicking a cat, for which the Advertising Standards Authority received 400 complaints. Another involved Imogen Thomas alongside a tagline using a double-entendre.
Paddy Power has also been criticised for not paying out on bets with large odds. In 2009, when Shane Lowry won the Irish Open, it stated that it would not pay out on the 3000/1 odds which had initially been offered and instead reached 'an arrangement' with those involved.
Paddy Power also received hundreds of complaints in February 2012 when the company released an advertising campaign to spot "the stallions from the mares" by placing transgender women in the crowds at the Cheltenham Festival. The ASA are currently investigating the advert, which was subsequently pulled off the UK airwaves. The following month, Paddy Power released a controversial YouTube advert depicting a middle-aged man shooting tranquiliser darts at chavs at a horse racing ground and featuring a tagline stating that people can "enjoy a chav-free Cheltenham". This was inspired by a comment from a user on Paddy Power's Facebook page stating, "Hope the chavs don't ruin Cheltenham like they did Ascot", referring to a brawl on Ladies' Day 2011.
Further criticism was aimed at the Irish firm in March 2012 when, in the buildup to the Cheltenham Festival, it added a 'jockey' to the famous hill carving of a white horse in Uffington, Oxfordshire.
During a UEFA Euro 2012 match between Denmark and Portugal on 13 June 2012, Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner celebrated his second goal by lowering his shorts and lifting his shirt to reveal a pair of Paddy Power underpants, to the disgust of the national team's sponsor Ladbrokes and tournament organisers UEFA. Bendtner was fined €100,000 by UEFA and banned for one game. He later described his actions as being regrettable and not premeditated. Paddy Power paid the €100,000 fine on Bendtner's behalf and gave away thousands of replica underwear to fans of their Facebook page.
In early March 2014, 5,525 complaints, the most ever in history, were made to the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) via an online petition launched for Paddy Power to pull an offer for betting on the outcome of the South African trial of Oscar Pistorius for murder of his girlfriend. On 19 March 2014, the ASA upheld all 5,525 complaints that the advertisement was insensitive, made light of disability, made light of the death of a woman, made light of a murder trial, and brought advertising itself into disrepute. The advert was discussed on an episode of The Last Leg, where Adam Hills made an impassioned speech condemning it.
Prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Paddy Power posted a photo on its Twitter account, sourced from Reddit, allegedly showing an overhead view of a Brazilian rainforest with the message "C'MON ENGLAND PP" spelled out by the former locations of trees that had been cut down. Following major criticisms over the ad from users, it was revealed on 8 June 2014 that the images were fake, and actually part of a campaign by Paddy Power to promote its anti-deforestation charity effort. The company stated that "we knew we’d drop off a fair few Christmas card lists yesterday, but we couldn’t resist a bit of fake twitter mischief to highlight an important issue to football fans as our World Cup warm-up. At least it gave people something to get animated about during last night’s England-Honduras bore fest."
- Preliminary Results 2012
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