July 8, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Is Paddy Power, the biggest bookmaker in Ireland, preparing to enter the U.S. market? An article appearing in yesterday’s Irish Examiner newspaper suggested that is the case.
A current political movement in the U.S. to fully legalize and regulate online gambling and betting — led by Democratic Congressman Barney Frank — would enable overseas operators like Paddy Power to legally expand there. And Paddy Power executives are understandably eager to enter this enormous market; company officials discussed this possibility during the company’s annual general meeting earlier this summer, reports the Irish Examiner.
It would mark the latest installment of an ambitious international expansion by Paddy Power. The company recently entered the quickly growing Australian market by buying a 51% stake in Sportsbet, a leading Australian online betting company. (Paddy Power retains the option of buying it outright in the next several years, according to the article.)
Its interest in the U.S. can also perhaps be seen in the fact that Paddy Power opened a book on the issue of online gambling legalization in the U.S. earlier this year. “A spokesperson for the company said yesterday that while stakes punted began at an average of €10-€20; last week they suddenly shot up in value to around €500,” writes Geoff Percival in the article.
“The company began offering odds of 6/4 in favour of Mr Frank being successful in lifting the ban before 2011, but has since cut them to 4/5, as a result of the sudden upsurge in interest,” Percival adds.