Business Irish

Monday 24 July 2017

Paddy Power co-founder urges Irish government to ban 'crack cocaine of gambling'

Paddy Power
Paddy Power
Independent.ie Business Desk

Independent.ie Business Desk

The co-founder of betting giant Paddy Power urged the Government not to legalise a terminal that would allow gamblers to bet £100 (€120) every 20 seconds.

Stewart Kenny, who set up the business in the late 80s, described the fixed-odds terminals (FOBTs) as the "crack cocaine" of gambling, according to a report in The Times.

In a submission to the Government back in 2009, during the debate over whether or not to legalise them here, Mr Kenny said the FOBTs were "particularly enticing" to younger gamblers in disadvantaged areas.

The former betting boss also criticised the British government over their fascination with the tax take from the machines, saying: "they are as addicted to the tax revenue as vulnerable customers are to losing money in them".

FOBTs are extremely popular in the UK netting total revenue of £1.75bn there last year.

The Times reports that in the submission Mr Kenny described how dangerous the machines were, using close calls and bright colours to entice players to gamble more.

Mr Kenny resigned from the board of the newly-merged Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) back in August after spending 28 years with the company.

PPB began trading in February following the €8bn merger of the two companies.

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