Mobile betting boom rewards Paddy Power

PADDY Power has cashed in on a rise in people making wagers on mobiles and tablets, the Irish bookmaker revealed yesterday, as it posted a 15 per cent rise in annual profits.

Although much of the industry has seen increasing profits from digital betting, Paddy Power has benefited more than most. Online accounts for around three-quarters of its profits, the company said. Mobile betting is now around a third of that, having risen 185 per cent in the last year.

“For a long time we have invested in technology and looking at trends, and we outrank the industry in terms of that,” chief financial officer Cormac McCarthy told City A.M..

“It means we have something to offer younger adopters as well,” he added, pointing out that a big push in attracting customers via Facebook and Twitter had paid off. The bookie said it had seen the number of people it engages with on social media increase twelve-fold last year.

Paddy Power saw a 25 per cent rise in amounts staked last year, and revenues increased 31 per cent, partly due to sporting upsets such as Chelsea’s Champions League victory.

Profit before tax rose to €139.2m (£120m), while active customers were up 44 per cent to 1.6m – double the level of a year ago.

Although much of the growth was in digital, the company’s retail operation remains strong. McCarthy said Paddy Power had opened 44 high street locations last year and was planning the same again in 2013.

Shares, which are trading at all-time highs, rose 4.4 per cent.