PADDY Power saw profits slump 20 per cent in the first half of the year as football and racing punters took the Irish bookmaker to the cleaners.
The Dublin-based group said pre-tax profits fell to 61.8 million euros (£49.2m) in the six months to June 30 because favourites won Premier League football matches in January and March, while racing punters backed winners at the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot.
Revenues slipped seven per cent to 396.5 million euros (£315.7m), compared to a year ago.
But the group, which has 305 shops in the UK, said it had a good World Cup, which saw it add 148,000 online customers and attract 198 million euros (£158m) in stakes, 130 per cent up on the 2010 tournament.
It also boosted its number of online customers by a quarter to 1.8 million, and saw stakes on its digital platforms rise 22 per cent to 1.4 billion euros (£1.1bn).
Paddy Power said football punters had “dream weekends” in January and March when favourite teams in the Premier League won 64 per cent of their games, compared to 53 per cent on average.
Paddy Power chief executive Patrick Kennedy said yesterday: “The second half has started well with good stakes growth and a rebound in sports results.”