Paddy Power was founded in Dublin, Ireland in 1988, and since then has established itself as one of the leading betting companies in the world. From the very beginning, this was a company that adopted a different approach to gambling. They helped to bring gambling out of the back streets and into the main-stream, and have become one of the most influential betting companies in the world. So what is the secret to their success? How has a relatively small Irish bookmakers transformed into one of the most popular and successful gambling companies in the world? Let’s take a look at how Paddy Power has beaten the odds to become one of the biggest and most famous bookies of all-time.
In the Beginning
The company came into being in ’88 when three Irish bookmakers – Stewart Kenny, David Power and John Corcoran – merged their 40 betting shops under the name Paddy Power. There never was a ‘Paddy’ Power originally, the first name was chosen to highlight the Irish-ness of the brand. However, David Power’s son is named Paddy, and today he is the face of the brand as its marketing manager. At that time a number of UK bookies were making inroads to the Irish market, so Paddy Power deliberately played up the fact that it was local brand. Another strategy of the group was to maintain a very visible presence in as many Irish towns as possible. For that reason they did not hide their shops down back-streets, as was the tradition with bookmakers, but instead sought prime locations on the main streets of the towns. From the very beginning, Paddy Power made an aggressive assault on the market, a policy they would continue with to this day.
Between 1988 and 2001 Paddy Power’s share of the Irish market grew from just 8% to 33%, an incredible success story. By the end of 2005 there were 195 shops in the group. In a reversal of previous trends, the Irish company now extended into Britain, with 45 of their shops located in the UK. By this stage Paddy Power was building more of an online presence, and diversifying away from offering only sports betting. They launched their website in 2000, and in 2003 added an online casino and games to their site, with Poker following the next year. In 2007 online Bingo was added to the mix. By 2010 Paddy Power had a strong online presence in Australia, and the profits of their online business far outstripped that of their land based shops.
First Mobile App
In 2011 Paddy Power became the first online betting site to launch a mobile app, demonstrating once again their innovative approach to business. By 2014 they had opened their 500th shop, and the online business was flourishing. A 2016 merger with betting exchange giant Betfair created major waves in the industry, as Paddy Power continued to go from strength to strength. Of course today there are a lot more online competitors than was the case when Paddy Power first launched their website. New companies like Rizk and Casumo are changing the way we view online casinos, with the latter even having a whole fansite dedicated to its brand. However, despite the massive number of competing betting sites around, Paddy Power has held onto its position as one of the dominant names in the industry, thanks in no small part to its boundary-pushing marketing.
Paddy Power is now a by-word for innovative and risky marketing. They have carried out a large number of widely publicised stunts, some of which have bordered on being outright offensive. For example, they have taken odds on Barack Obama’s presidency ending early, and on species of animals becoming extinct. The company has also used the strategy of paying out early to gain maximum coverage, such as paying out on Stoke getting relegated from the EPL in 2008, after they had played just one game. Stoke went on to finish mid-table, prompting Paddy Power to take a full page ad in The Sentinel to apologise to the club and its supporters. They also paid out early on Hilary Clinton winning the US election versus Donald Trump in 2016, which obviously proved to be mistaken. Even in cases such as these, though, Paddy Power calculates that the publicity will more than compensate for the loss of revenue. It is this kind of audacious marketing which has enabled Paddy Power to stay at the top of the game, and at the tip of people’s tongues when they think of betting sites. Other companies have often tried to imitate the cheeky tone of Paddy’s advertising, but few have succeeded, and Paddy Power is still king of marketing today.