Paddy Power has seemingly achieved the impossible. As of 2017, the betting company is a permanent fixture on any High-Street in the UK and Ireland, a goliath in the online punting sphere, and present as an app on every sport-loving punter’s smart device.
But, how did this publicity-savvy company get started from its lowly beginnings, what helped mark it out amongst a field littered with canny bookies. And more importantly, how can Paddy Power lend an edge to your game as the summer sporting season cracks on?
Where Did It All Start?
It may surprise some punters that a company with such a strong brand identity was not formed from a single chain, but was in fact born out of one of the powerful forces in Europe: a bunch of Irishmen putting their heads together.
The company was founded in 1988 after three Irish bookies chose to join their houses and pool the resources of their forty collective stores and years of experience. Their now famous name was also almost an afterthought, drawing inspiration from the ‘Richard Power’ name that was the strongest established brand in the Dublin from the group. Possibly seeing problems marketing on that name in UK setting, the group settled on replacing Dick with ‘Paddy’ to put their Irish heritage front and centre.
And they got off to a flying start.
From their founding, Paddy Power took a bolshie approach to fronting their stores – installing their houses in prominent places in town centres rather than tucking themselves away in back-streets. Branding and marking was bright, vibrant, and emphasised the fun element of events and cultivating a sense of playfulness. It wasn’t long before the group saw its market-share rise to 150 stores in Ireland and 45 in the UK in 2005. By 2011 the group had moved to being the biggest bookmaker throughout the entirety of the EU with €444m in income.
The key to this success was a willingness to take a progressive approach to the business and grab attention with eye-catching publicity and a bend-over-backwards willingness to give punters the best values on their stakes. This led to Paddy Power becoming one of the first companies to allow punters to ‘cash-out’ of bets that look like they’re about to go south and diversify their offerings by covering more unconventional markets such as eSports. It was also one of the first bookies to bring in a diversified range of political punts – which admittedly came back to bite them on the arse in the annus horribilis that was 2016.
However, as online gambling grew in popularity…the company suffered.
Seeing losses in their bricks and mortar stores soon caused the company to fall back on an earlier experiment with online punting – becoming the first online bookie to publish an app in the Apple Store. The online revenue stream proved to be a huge draw for the company, and it is currently working with over five-million punters worldwide. Making the most of a good thing, PP carried out a merger with its rival Betfair in 2015, earning a controlling 52% share in the process.
This recent partnership with Betfair and willingness to embrace change has perfectly positioned Paddy Power to help weather any future downturns and continue to cement its position as the de facto online bookies that offer great value, competitive offers and more than a little bit of craic.
What Do They Currently Have On Offer?
It should come as no surprise that Paddy Power’s site is a smorgasbord of deals and opportunities for punters looking to get their feet wet – but what are the best areas of the site to settle on?
We have picked out some areas that are worth your attention and what you can expect to find:
PP will not only cover most major tournaments but often go out of their way to make sure that it’s interesting for you to put a punt of games with them. The most popular matches and events will be front-and-centre at the top of any page or menu bar. Selecting the current ‘specials’ page will give you a one-stop-shop for punting on the event and allow you to see the key stats on the team, place your bets directly through your basket and provide convenient embedded links from reliable sites that can be a useful source of tips
If you’re looking to squeeze a little extra value from your sports bets, In-Play can be a useful tool in your arsenal. Selecting this option will allow you to place your punts while a game is still running – letting you put your in-depth knowledge of an event to invaluable use. While this can be a little risky, being able to assess a team or player’s form on the fly can provide you with a quick-and-easy way to separate yourself from the average punter.
If you’re new to the site or just a seasoned punter looking to mitigate your losses – PP’s ‘Cash Out’ option lets you place punts that have a guaranteed return that will see money back to your wallet. This is often described as an ‘emergency parachute’ and, while it can provide you with insurance if your punt goes south, Cash Out options often do not offer odds as strong as a standard bet and should be used strategically or as training wheels until you have your standardised system and strategies in place.
What Has Marked Them Out As A Brand To Follow?
It is by no accident that Paddy Power have positioned themselves near the top of the table for punting in such a short time.
Here are some of the key reasons why.
Paddy Power has often been described as marketing itself a little too effectively and often finds itself pushing the boundaries of good taste. Papers and billboards have seen the company throw up adverts featuring the last supper imagined as a game on a roulette table, adding a jockey to the back of a prehistoric hill-figure of horse, and installing a wax figure of Fergie outside old Trafford with an ‘In case of emergency – break glass’ sticker on the front, following a string of losses. All these schemes are run by the company’s ‘Mischief Champion’ to help cultivate awareness of their brand, build familiarity with the company and mark them out from the rest of bookies cluttering the stage. And, after a recent stunt saw a 110ft statue of Theresa May sticking the fingers up to Europe was erected on the Dover Coast, they have undoubtedly succeeded.
Aside from controversy, Paddy Power has helped set out its stall through the sheer number of bargains offered on a weekly, if not daily basis. These generally fall into two streams and aim to attract first-time punters and offer special offers that reward continued loyalty or tempt lapsed members back to the fold. While these tend to spike around key punting periods like the Grand National, World Cup or Six Nations, the company has been known to offer eye-watering deals when the going is a little quiet to help make up numbers. Currently this involves a £10 risk free first bet for first time customers and a ‘promotions page’ that offers a rake of daily deals available to loyalty club members, or VIPP club members, that can be used tactically can help you cultivate your edge.