Paddy Power to Close a Number Handful of Sportsbooks as Bettors Move Online

Paddy Power’s land-based sports betting operations are shrinking. As more bettors choose online platforms for placing wagers, the Flutter Entertainment-owned company will shutter at least 13 shops in Ireland.

Paddy Power
Paddy Power
A Paddy Power retail shop. The sports betting operator is closing a number of them in Ireland as more bettors move online. (Image: The Telegraph)

The Times reports that sports bettors have grown more accustomed to online betting in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, Paddy Power determined that its retail footprint in Ireland was larger than the market could handle.

The decision also comes as the relationship between sports and sports betting grows weaker because of regulatory intervention. Last November, Paddy Power announced that it would cut ties as an official sponsor with RTE, Ireland’s national TV and radio broadcaster, at the end of this year.

More Cuts Coming

Paddy Power may reduce its land-based operations even further going forward. As the company continues to see weak results from its shops, it indicated that it would monitor another 50. If revenue at these locations doesn’t improve, Flutter may eliminate them as well.

Most of the properties that are underperforming are in or around Dublin. In Ireland, the company currently owns between 250 and 300 retail betting shops.

Paddy Power hinted a couple of weeks ago that it would consider making changes. It said at the time that its retail business has shrunk by at least 25% since the pandemic, and doubted that it would recover.

Pat Hand, Paddy Power’s chief financial officer for retail in Ireland and the UK, said that considering the migration of users to online gambling, he did not believe it was possible to return to the business levels of 2019. He also said that the retail business had contracted between 25% and 30%, although the company still has vacancies like most of the retail and hotel sector.

The closures will help Paddy Power refine its land-based operations. It should also, hopefully, keep it from having to respond to trivial complaints. Recently, an employee complained about not being able to work overtime after the UK lifted the first lockdown in 2020.

Logically, overtime is not a guarantee, nor is it an entitlement. However, the closure of the shops will enable Paddy Power to potentially avoid a similar grilling in the future.

Paddy Power Calls Out UEFA

Paddy Power recently took a jab at UEFA in a show of support for women’s sports. The bookmaker protests against the small stadiums where the women have to play during the European Championship in England.

With a large inflatable green arrow entirely in the color style of Paddy Power, the company makes it clear what it thinks of UEFA’s decision. On the big green arrow is the text “Anyone seen a stadium big enough for a Euro’s game?”

The arrow points to the nearby Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City plays its home games, in the background. However, the Belgian and Icelandic women played in the training stadium of Manchester City, which is minute compared to the 55,097-capacity Etihad Stadium.

Icelandic captain Gunnarsdóttir, who played in the match where Paddy Power took the playful action, has openly expressed her disappointment with UEFA’s choice of stadium.

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