Business News

Winner: Paddy Power keeps boosting revenues, innovating and making friends around the world

Paddy Power is becoming something of a unique presence in the online gambling world. Its closest competitor would be William Hill but it shuns the bust ups that Hills always seems to find itself getting into.

Bet365 would probably be a good comparison if the Stoke-based operator did not rely on unregulated markets in Asia for a massive amount of its business.

Year after year, the revenues keep going up while everyone else seems to have some sort of blip due to markets regulating or mergers or sales.

During the first half of 2012 active customers were up 41 per cent from 2011 to 1.2m. That sort of growth has continued throughout the year. It is testament to the team in place at Paddy Power that it shrugged off the departure of COO Breon Corcoran to Betfair and kept on producing results.

Christopher Coyne was promoted from head of gaming to look after the operation of and has powered on, adding to the team in order to keep on innovating and to keep on pulling away from the pack.

Throughout the year, every single vertical has delivered more than 20 per cent growth. Online revenues are likely to be up around 30 per cent by year-end. Everyone knows about the Paddy Power sportsbook but the company is delivering those sort of figures from its online casinos, its bingo, poker and even in its shops and across its telephone lines.

Coyne’s successor as head of gaming, Isaac Ward, is set to deliver the best set of P&L results for Paddy Power’s online gaming operations in its history. Net revenues are set to top Eu100m for the first time.

Its mobile operations have really taken off. In October, mobile turnover accounted for 27 per cent of total online sportsbook stakes in Australia, while in gaming mobile gross win contributed 28 per cent of Paddy Power Casino and 25 per cent of Paddy Power Games.

Paddy Power has always been ahead of the pack with its mobile operations and continues to look for new avenues of growth. This year it launched the Roller casino app for iPhone and iPad. The brand launched into the App Store in October 2012 (as a real money Casino) and is now bringing in new customer volumes and generating new revenues to the PLC. Its BetDash app for Facebook looks pretty good too - it could well be ahead of the pack in bringing sports betting to the social world but excuse us if we reserve judgement on that one, it’s early days.

While other operators struggle to get games live, Paddy Power keeps building the number of games on its games tab and on mobile. It was the first OpenBet customer to integrate via IGT’s rgs Casino for mobile platform and is in the process of adding Net Entertainment’s games. It is even set for 20 to 25 per cent bingo growth in a UK market that is growing at half or less than half of that rate.

Everyone loves a cheeky chappie and Paddy Power has achieved a lot of this through a marketing message that manages to create a consistent personality and message before you even get to talking about its innovative stunts. The company is perhaps the only sports betting operator to have a real personality.

There will surely come a point when Paddy Power’s UK and Irish growth will slow but it rarely puts a foot wrong when opening new frontiers either. Its Australian growth is outstripping its growth at home and few should bet against it doing a similar job in the US.

It has engaged with US legislators in a manner that many European companies have failed to do thus far. It has received initial approval by Nevada regulators and it will surely not be long before it announces a B2B agreement with an Atlantic City casino, where it will soon be able to offer sports betting and internet gambling.

Paddy Power’s North American president Eamonn Toland has assisted legislators with crafting legislation that makes it more comfortable for European suppliers to work with ailing Atlantic City casinos. He is making powerful friends all over the US.

All this has been achieved with a focus aimed solely on regulated markets, almost making a mockery of others concerns about tax and scale and everything else. Paddy Power likes to work with governments rather than against them. Its work in the US and its relationships with France’s PMU and Canada’s British Columbia Lottery Corporation are proof positive of that. While it is happy to enrage the Advertising Standards Authority on the basis that all publicity is good publicity, it has an amazingly clean corporate image for a gambling company.

Paddy Power was one of our first winners in 2010 and is the first company to score a double. Few would bet against them making it a hat trick.

This is the third article of a six-part series chronicling 2012’s winners and losers in online gaming. The first featured winner Amaya Gaming Group and can be found here. The first loser was the federal online gaming lobby.