Paddy Power to move into Italy

BOOKMAKER Paddy Power is to take a punt on Italy as it seeks to crack Europe's biggest gambling market.

It has taken the first step on a planned €6m expansion into the country.

Chairman Nigel Northridge said betting revenue grew at its operations in Ireland, Britain and Australia in the first four months of this year.

Total net revenues in the four months ended April 30 was up 28pc, driven by a 31pc increase in online business and 26pc in its shops.

At its annual general meeting, chief executive Patrick Kennedy said the group launched its Italian website this week.

The amounts staked by Paddy Power customers in the first four months of this year increased by 16pc.

All of its businesses have grown this year, with the exception of its Irish bookmaker shops, where he amounts staked by customers fell by 4pc.