Monday 23 October 2017

Better luck next time...but it's just business as usual for the bookmakers

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

YOU win some, you lose some. That was essentially the message from Patrick Kennedy as he told investors that a string of sports results just hadn't gone its way since July.

With the gross win having fallen below what the group expected, the gambling boss said it was nothing new for a bookies.

"This is business as usual for a bookmaker," he said.

"We've been here before, we'll be here again. Our longer-serving directors tell us they haven't seen as poor a run since 1980.

"If our experience is anything to go by, results rarely go consistently against us for long and this is purely the random walk of sports results."

"The difference between Fiorente and Red Cadeaux is very many millions," he said, referring to the impact on the business as Fiorente saw off Red Cadeaux to win the Melbourne Cup this month.

"The gap between them was half a head. We'd be having a very different trading statement had Red Cadeaux got up. That's what happens in this game."

So the nub of the question comes down to its core operations. Mr Kennedy points out that Paddy Power's mobile arm is an increasingly important part of its business, while its retail arm has also been doing better. Its internet business accounts for about 75pc of its profits. The company signed a deal with Facebook a few months ago to offer games over the social media platform.

It had already tested the service in the UK and is launching it more generally. The company is also about to launch new games for computer tablet devices.

Mr Kennedy also said that notwithstanding the recent poor run of results, he remains comfortable with the longer-term margin predictions that he and management have given investors.

But he also said that Paddy Power would not immediately be entering the newly legalised New Jersey gambling market.

He said that the business-to-business market there appeared to be highly competitive but that the company would continue to explore opportunities in the US.

Irish Independent

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