From their ingenious coverage of the FA Cup on social media to the incredibly successful #SaveOurShirts campaign clogging up our news feeds, Paddy Power is a betting brand that is everywhere at the moment. Managing to bat off fierce competition from the ever-growing number of betting sites entering the market, Paddy Power is slowly becoming the betting brand of choice.
And, according to Peter Jackson, chief executive of Flutter Entertainment (the umbrella firm that owns Paddy Power and Betfair), this is all down to their approach to responsible gambling. Being insistent on pushing messages about safe gambling, Paddy Power has broken the mould, being just as passionate about promoting safe gambling as making money from its punters.
However, this is certainly a strategic move, with Flutter Entertainment bosses believing responsible gambling to be key to its survival.
Save our Shirts campaign
This was the inspiration behind the Save Our Shirts campaign, a marketing drive that is focused on ‘unsponsoring’ football teams. Believing there to be too many betting sites sponsoring football shirts, Paddy Power are actively taking away the temptation to bet. Responding to claims that there has been a huge increase in betting advertising in the sport, Paddy Power have successfully removed sponsorship details from various shirts belonging to football teams. These include Motherwell, Huddersfield Town, Newport County and Southend.
Having combatted some big changes in the industry, Paddy Power are one of the leading bookmakers that has taken things such as increased taxation and stricter betting limits in its stride, changing with the times and thriving as a result.
Responsible gambling = increased revenue
While Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) were down for the year for the group, Flutter Entertainment were proud to report an 18% increase in revenue. This is something they largely put down to their insistence on being a responsible gambling brand, with such a stance only encouraging more, safe bettors using their sites.
This is in addition to their latest American venture, enjoying a 150% increase in revenue with their sub-brand; FanDuel. Sportingbet in Australia is also proving to be a lucrative part of the Flutter betting portfolio.
Thoughts from the Execs
Talking about the brand’s new approach and 8% increase in website traffic, Peter Jackson said:
“It’s important to acknowledge the important changes we’ve made around responsible gambling. We’ve made these because they’re the right thing to do and we’re doing it all around the world.
“We’ve made the changes around whistle-to-whistle advertising because we wanted to do that – no one has forced us to do that. The top five operators decided that’s the right thing to do. We have to acknowledge that the industry needs to take steps to allow our businesses to remain sustainable.”
He added: “In racing we have a symbiotic relationship which necessitates the need for the industry to take a forward-thinking approach. The things we’re doing around advertising and the work we’re doing in our approach to responsible gambling and reducing the exposure of problem gamblers to betting are all important steps and are the right thing to do for the business.”
Paddy Power join a wider initiative to stamp out problem gambling
Though Paddy Power and its associated brands are doing some great things to limit problem gambling, they are not the only betting providers operating in an ethical fashion.
Just last month, Paddy Power owners joined forces with William Hill, Ladbrokes Coral Skybet and Bet 365, together pledging £30m to address problem gambling. Having faced a great deal of criticism from a number of safe gambling charities, the businesses will now fund treatment for addicts.
They will issue this money through a voluntary levy, pumping 0.1-1% of their company profits into the initiative. Showing an unprecedented level of commitment, this is a move that both industry figureheads and gamblers have welcomed.
Marc Etches, chief executive of charity GambleAware, told the BBC: "We welcome this initiative by the leading operators as it's essential there is sufficient funding to provide for treatment and support for both problem gamblers and for those who are 'at risk' - particularly the young and vulnerable.
"Customers should be able to gamble in a safe environment, where help and advice is readily available at the point of need.
"It is vital that we work closely with the commission, government and other organisations to ensure that operators continue to focus on making gambling products safer, and that treatment and support is properly funded alongside other initiatives including the Safer Gambling campaign, Bet Regret."
On the precipice of an epidemic
So, why are gambling brands showing such a change of heart?
Well, over the course of the last 5 years or so, the number of gambling addicts seeking help has spiked. According to recent statistics from The Gambling Commission, there are close to 450,000 gambling addicts with ‘serious issues’ in the UK. But, if you add on those deemed a risk of becoming addicted, this number soars to an eye-watering 2 million. Of them, it is estimated that around 55,000 are between 11 and 16 years old.
This is why betting brands really have no choice but to step in, giving back to the community that they have earnt so much money from.
Aside from the big-name brands, we are also seeing new, independent betting sites start out with responsible gambling as a priority, experiencing a huge shift in focus for the gambling industry as a whole.
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