Gambling Goes Mobile

Gambling Goes Mobile

by Caleb James on 31 Mar, 2012

Gone are the days when gambling was a purely ‘dogs and races’ activity that took place in a local betting shop. Today, betting is an international multi-million pound industry no longer confined to the daytime opening hours of the betting shop. Deregulation under the last Labour government in the UK allowed gambling to become a 24/7 activity that can take place online, via a mobile phone or through digital television. Tessa Jowell, the Minister for Culture at the time acknowledged that the betting laws dating back to the 1960s were no longer relevant and did not take into account that gambling was seen as a leisure activity.

Moreover, the range of betting activity has also grown. Punters can now place bets on all sorts of things such as: will it snow on Christmas Day; the winner of X-Factor; to the more traditional football results. Gambling companies have had to adapt quickly to this change in customer demand by investing in technology and moving staff recruitment away from betting shops to call centres and skilled IT jobs.

Paddy Power, one of the main gambling chains in the UK has been rewarded with its IT investment. The company has seen a 16% rise in profit, mainly through betting via mobile phones, and in no small part following guidance from specialist employee roles such as those working in IT business analyst jobs. Online betting accounts for 79% of Paddy Power’s £100.9 million pre tax profit in 2011. The company witnesses a 26% increase in online betting driven by a 225% increase in mobile phone betting. In December alone, Paddy Power reported that 49% of its sports bets took place via a mobile.

“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.

Paddy Power has already moved into the French, Australian and Canadian markets and plans to open branches in Italy prior to the Euro 2012 tournament. In particular, the company is keen to exploit their online betting expertise in Italy. Finance director Jack Massey said: “Italy is overall the largest betting market in Europe when you combine online and retail and it’s actually relatively small at this point in terms of an online market. We feel there’s good potential to flow into the online market from retail.”

The European Championships coupled with the Olympics could mean that Paddy Power looks set to have another record breaking year.

About the Author

Caleb James

Caleb James is a financial advisor and journalist, who contributes regularly to financial blogs and industry publications.