It could be 'Viva Las Vegas' for Paddy Power
PADDY Power is unlikely to know until the New Year whether it's been successful in a bid to secure a licence to supply and operate mobile betting equipment in the US state of Nevada -- the home of gambling epicentre Las Vegas.
The betting group's chief executive, Patrick Kennedy, told the Irish Independent yesterday that there had been an initial expectation that Paddy Power's application could have been heard this month by the Nevada Gaming Commission, but it won't now be ruled upon until early next year.
If successful, Paddy Power would be the first European company to be licensed to offer online gaming services in Nevada. A recent law change in the state now permits mobile gambling to be undertaken in hotel rooms and non-gaming areas of Nevada casinos.
But Paddy Power, which recently appointed Eamonn Toland as head of its US business, will be keenly anticipating likely changes over the next year or two at a federal level in the United States, with an expectation that some form of legalised internet poker will be permitted in the country. It's currently illegal.
Mr Kennedy was speaking as Paddy Power released an interim management statement covering trading from the beginning of July to mid-November.
The company has continued to see a surge of activity at its paddypower.com website, with the amounts staked on sporting events via the site having risen 31pc in the period. Revenues from games offered through the site, such as blackjack and bingo, jumped 33pc. In Australia, online turnover rose 23pc, compared to a 7pc rise in the first half of 2011.
The use of Paddy Power's mobile portal has also increased substantially, while the company announced the acquisition of Bulgaria-based software development firm Cayetano.
Paddy Power is now expecting earnings per share in the current financial year to rise by between 15pc and 20pc.
But the group's retail business in Ireland has continued to suffer. Although the number of bets placed by punters has risen, the value of amounts staked by them fell 6pc in the period to the middle of this month. In the UK, the amounts staked on sporting bets rose by 8pc.
Mr Kennedy said that he expects Ireland's qualification this week for Euro 2012 should result in some additional volume at the Irish chain.