Friday 19 January 2018

Paddy Power eyes expansion into US

Paddy Power Betfair’s CEO Breon Corcoran
Paddy Power Betfair’s CEO Breon Corcoran

Padraic Halpin

Paddy Power Betfair is interested in expanding further into the United States amid intense competition in Europe that could see smaller rivals either join forces or "wither on the vine," its chief executive said on Wednesday.

The Dublin-based group already runs the leading horse racing television and betting network in the US and operates an online casino business in New Jersey.

Last week it bought US fantasy sports company DRAFT in a $48m deal.

The fantasy sports market is worth an estimated $300m according to Paddy Power Betfair - it offers gambling firms the chance to compete in the US where sports betting is largely illegal.

"I think that market has yet to open up properly. I would hope we could do more there, it's a question of legislation and opportunity. There is a lot of appetite to do more if the right thing comes up at the right price," CEO Breon Corcoran told reporters.

Earlier this month Paddy Power Betfair expressed cautious about growth in its main European market citing "pretty extreme" competition.

The market has intensified as firms seek to offset higher taxes and tighter regulation with increased revenues, leading to a flurry of mergers including the £6bn tie-up between online betting exchange Betfair and Paddy Power. It is hard to see competition abating but growing revenue sensibly and enhancing profitability over the medium term was the right thing to do, Mr Corcoran said.

He said his group was "cautious but guardedly optimistic."

Competition is from big, well-run operators as well as those "desperate to get bigger", Mr Corcoran said, leading to inflated advertising costs and promotional activity he sees ultimately hurting smaller rivals. (Reuters)

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