Paddy Power History and Expansion
Paddy Power is an Ireland-based gaming company that offers sports betting, casino games, bingo, and poker through its website. The company also operates roughly 350 physical betting shops throughout Ireland and the UK. Today, it's the largest bookmaker in Ireland and the sixth-largest gaming company in the UK.
Our readers from the United States may not have heard much about Paddy Power, but it's very popular in other parts of the world. With its unique betting markets, constant innovation, and quality customer support, Paddy Power has established itself as one of the big players in the European gaming market.
Paddy Power was founded in 1988 when three Irish bookmakers decided to combine resources. Stewart Kenny, David Power, and John Corcoran joined forces and combined their 40 physical betting shops to create the Paddy Power brand.
From the beginning, Paddy Power did things a little differently than other bookmakers. One thing they did well was treat customers like gold. The founders didn't want Paddy Power to act like the other bookmakers at the time who booked bets, paid out winners, and churned through customers like cattle.
The founders treated every single customer as a valuable patron. Paddy Power accomplished this by offering top-notch customer service, providing entertainment at its shops, and creating an inviting atmosphere in which customers felt welcome. This approach differed from other bookmakers at the time, and it was the key to their popularity of the fledgling enterprise.
Paddy Power also stood out for sticking to its Irish roots. At the time, a number of UK bookmakers were making inroads in Ireland. These British bookmakers were fine places to bet, but they didn't have that local touch that Paddy Power offered. This alone made Paddy Power very popular among the locals.
Not content with stagnating, the group pursued a strategy of aggressive expansion. They opened new betting shops in towns across the country. These shops were strategically placed in prominent parts of town rather than on out-of-the-way side streets like most bookmakers at the time.
When you did business with Paddy Power, you didn't slink off to some seedy part of town and place your bets like some kind of degenerate. You visited the town square and proudly placed your bets in a clean and welcoming environment staffed by friendly employees. This is what distinguished Paddy Power from the other local bookmakers of the time.
Paddy Power Goes Online
By 2000, Paddy Power was already a successful betting company in Ireland. However, they weren't even close to finished with their work. The company purchased PaddyPower.com in 2000 and set up shop as a global online bookmaker.
Their online operations would eventually surpass and then eclipse their brick-and-mortar shops. Eventually, PaddyPower.com grew to become one of the largest online bookmakers in all of Europe. They accomplished this by bringing to the internet their same commitment to entertainment and customer service.
For example, Paddy Power doesn't cancel bets that turn out poorly for the company. There was a time in 2011 in which Paddy Power allowed customers to combine a short-term promo with a wager on the Champion League finals. This promo ended up unexpectedly costing Paddy Power €3,000,000. Instead of cancelling the bet like many bookmakers would have done, Paddy Power paid up. That's the kind of thing that endears customers to a company.
From 2000 on to today, Paddy Power's online operations have continued to expand and grow. The website now turns over upwards of €4 billion worth of wagers every year and sees revenue topping €400 million. This places Paddy Power firmly in the top tier of online bookmakers.
Some of Paddy Power's online success can also be attributed to the group's willingness to constantly innovate. They are always adding new features, hosting interesting wagers, and coming up with clever marketing campaigns.
Paddy Power was one of the first websites to go mobile, and it was the first of any bookmaker to get an app released on the official Apple app store. They later added live streaming of sports events to their mobile apps. Today, mobile betting accounts for 45% of their online revenue.
Expanding Into New Markets
The people behind Paddy Power are an ambitious lot. Ever since the founding, Paddy Power has sought to expand into new markets. In 2004, Paddy Power expanded into skill games and casino games. The next year, they added online poker and the year after that, they added online bingo. Paddy Power now has a full complement of games all under one roof.
Paddy Power has also expanded internationally. In 2009, they bought a 51% stake in the Australian bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au. In 2010, they bought out the rest of the company. This gave Paddy Power control over the largest online bookmaker in Australia.
In 2009, Paddy Power started outsourcing its technology to other countries. They entered a software-licensing agreement with betting organizations based out of France and Canada that year.
Paddy Power is a Little Different
PaddyPower.com has always displayed a knack for marketing. They've been known to host controversial wagers such as whether or not the President of the United States would finish his term. They have aired controversial TV commercials. Some people condemned Paddy Power, but the company was able to brand itself as a little different than all the other online bookmakers.
More recently, Paddy Power offered a line on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. This move earned them thousands of complaints, and the UK's Advertising Standards Authority actually forced Paddy Power to cancel the bet. Controversial? Yes. Brilliant marketing gimmick? Yes again.
Paddy Power's commercials have also been investigated by the UK's ASA and at least one of them was pulled off the air. Each of the following two ads were either yanked off the air or banned from even airing in the first place.
Exhibit A: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XZ5MOB3nww
Exhibit B: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvq-uO-XgjM
What's funny is Paddy Power seems to take pride in its controversial ads. On their official YouTube page, the video description of the "Stallions and Mares" ad brags about being yanked off the air within 4 days, and they call it a record.
Controversial or not, these are the kinds of things that make Paddy Power unique. The company has fun with its fans and has a talent for marketing to its demographic. All indications point to Paddy Power being a formidable force in the gambling business for a long time to come.
Author: Wesley Burns
Updated: March 2015
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