Paddy Power boosted half-year profits by 12% today as a surge in online bets helped it overcome a dismal Cheltenham festival for bookmakers.
The Dublin-based group, which has 228 shops in the UK but generates over three-quarters of its profits from the internet, said almost two-thirds of its online sportsbook customers now place bets via mobile devices.
Profits reached 77 million euros (£66.2 million) in the six months to June 30, despite a Cheltenham to forget for Irish bookies after a third of the races were won by the favourite and, for the first time, the majoritry won by Irish-trained horses.
Recent sporting results have also gone against the company in recent weeks but it said it remained on track for profits growth over the full year.
The amount staked by customers in its UK shops jumped by 16% to 302 million euros (£259.7 million) in the half year, resulting in profits growth of 3% to 7.8 million euros (£6.7 million). This was despite the impact of a new gaming machine tax regime, which Paddy Power said cost it 900,000 euros (£774,000).
It opened 19 shops in the UK over the period, but with less than 3% of the market it said it plans to open at least 40 shops annually.
Online profits increased by 19% to 57.5 million euros (£49.5 million), with the number of active customers of 1.4 million up 23% in the period.