Paddy Power profits boosted by mobile phone bets

Paddy Power
Image caption Paddy Power has been boosted by online betting

A big rise in online betting via mobile phones has helped Paddy Power to reported a 16% rise annual profits.

The bookmaker, which makes most of its profits in the UK, said pre-tax profits for the year to 31 December 2011 rose to 121.2m euros ($159.5m; £100.9m).

Paddy Power expanded its High Street network, opening 41 outlets in the UK last year to bring its total to 165.

Online revenue increased by 26%, driven by a 225% rise in turnover from betting on mobile phones to 366m euros.

The company said that last month 49% of its online sports betting customers used their mobile phone to place bets.

Online betting accounts for 79% of Paddy Power's profits and the company said it had increased the number of UK online customers by 50% to 710,043.

"Our class leading mobile product, married to the strength of our brand and strong value offering has driven acquisition and retention, leading to 1.1 million active customers online," said chief executive Patrick Kennedy.

UK shops

Paddy Power has also seen a big rise in the number of UK betting shops.

The company now has 165 shops in the UK and says it plans to open a further 35 to 40 each year.

In its results, the firm criticised the government-commissioned Portas review of the High Street which may make it more difficult to open new betting shops.

"We would be disappointed if job creation on the High Street would be hampered by the introduction of anti-competitive policies without a proper body of evidence," it said.

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