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Interview - Paddy Power


Interview: Paddy Power, CEO Paddy Power - 8th August 2011

Paddy Power Casino website

 


Media Man interviews one of the world's most successful gaming and gambling entrepreneurs

How, when and where was Paddy Power established?

In the mid 1980's the Irish betting market changed dramatically. Betting tax was reduced which caused an influx of UK operators to the market. The existing Irish bookies were really struggling to compete with the big UK firms with their brand new modern shop fit. Three of these Irish bookies got together to set up an Irish betting brand to compete with the big guys. They were John Corcoran of Patrick Corcoran bookmakers, Stewart Kenny of Kenny O'Reilly bookmakers and David Power of Richard Power bookmakers. They pooled their shops, took the best 40, rebranded as Paddy Power (the Power name was long established and highly respected in the betting industry, and Paddy was Irish!).

What year was the company established?

1988.

What was the first product / service the company offered, and how many wagering offerings does the company offer today?

It was predominantly racing on offer at that stage and at the very beginning turnover would have been well over 90% racing. Now there are thousands of different betting opportunities ranging from all sports to gaming, to politics, to current affairs and anything else you can possibly think of!

What's the company motto or prime values?

Fun, Fair, Friendly. That's the motto we live by. Everything we do needs to tick these three boxes.

When and why did Paddy Power decide that going online was to be a big part of the business model?

In 2000 we launched on line as we saw the potential. Not only that, we invested very heavily from the start in technology, and still do. We consider ourselves to be a technology company and this leaves us in a strong position to grow into the future. We were the first betting company in the world to have an iphone and ipad app in the Apple app store and have just launched our blackberry app. Smartphone betting is, we believe, a game changer. We're investing very heavily in this area now and the response from customers is astonishing.

What's some of the main reasons punters sometimes switch over to Paddy after having tried other gambling firms?

Our brand is strong because we care about it and invest in it. Our customers experience has to be top notch, from the usability of our site to the sophistication of the transaction to the entertainment value to the monetary value. We offer great value to customers and despite what some of our competitors seem to think, punters are not stupid and know a good deal when they see one! It's an incredibly competitive market place and there are very few barriers on-line so companies that don't look after their customers will lose them very quickly. Thankfully many of them seem to have come to us.

What online security measures does Paddy Power take?

How do we store your information? Paddy Power is acutely aware of the potential of online fraud and identity theft, and as such we have implemented features to protect your information. Any documents which you send us are stored on a secure server which is not connected to the internet. All of our systems are protected by a network firewall, which provides us with an extra layer of protection against any unauthorised attempts to access our network.

How do we protect your information? Every transaction made with Paddy Power can be made with the utmost confidence. All transactions made with us are encrypted using 128 bit SSL encryption. This means that every piece of information you enter will be garbled so that, in the unlikely event that it does fall into the wrong hands, any information you've entered will be unreadable. Please note that only the pages where data is exchanged between the customer and Paddy Power are encrypted. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the most widely used security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remains private. SSL is an industry standard and is used by millions of websites in the protection of their online transactions with their customers. Thawte is an industry leader in SSL certificate provision, and provide the SSL certification for Paddy Power's payment system. When SSL encryption is active, a padlock will appear somewhere on your browser (usually in the bottom right hand corner or on the right hand side of the address bar).

PCI Compliance and Data Protection
Every now and then Paddy Power uses fancy terminology to describe processes that we go through to keep your data safe. The mandate for PCI standards applies to all organisations that store, process or transmit credit card data. Protecting customer information and maintaining an excellent reputation are two of its most important values. To this end, Paddy Power regularly has an independent PCI certification company audit our systems. Paddy Power is PCI compliant, meaning that our systems have been independently certified as safe. Data protection is about your fundamental right to privacy. Paddy Power recognises, respects, adheres to and values that right and we will ensure that the data that you provide us with, is safe. We don't share data with any third party for marketing purposes (the only time we'll share any information with another party is for online verification/operative reasons) and we don't 'buy' external lists of e-mail addresses for the purposes of e-mail spam marketing.

Credit card verification
Once we receive your card details, we will carry out a check of your card with our credit card checking facility. This ensures that the number you entered actually corresponds to a real credit card number and is not one that has been made up. We also do random security checks on a continuous basis to ensure that a card is not being fraudulently used. This verification of your details is carried out either over a secure line or using a secure File Transfer Protocol (sFTP). Card data is, at no time, sent over the internet during the validation process nor does the bank give out any details to us over the phone or through sFTP, we simply state what information we have and they will let us know if it is correct or not. Incorrect details associated with your card will result in your account being suspended for security reasons.

Added Security
If you are logged into your account for thirty minutes without using it the system will automatically log you out for security reasons. We recommend that you change your password every four to six months. Your password should be unique (a mixture of numbers, letters and characters) and known only to you. We also recommend that you run regular scans of your PC to ensure that it is protected from the latest viruses to ensure that your Paddy Power account cannot become vulnerable that way.

How many bricks and mortar / shopfront betting shops does Paddy Power have in the UK?

141

What's been the companies top 5 milestones since opening their doors?

It's very difficult to narrow many down as things change and move on so much that we don't spend any time reminiscing and patting ourselves on the back. But these spring to mind:

5. The introduction of screens to betting shops was a huge sea change at the time (mid 1990s). This was our first foray into the exciting world of technology!
4. The launch of paddypower.com.
3. Our UK retail expansion.
2. Our partnership with PMU in France
1. Our acquisition of Sportsbet


What's the biggest challenges the company has overcome in recent years?

The pace of our growth has made Paddy Power a very exciting and fast moving place to work. We have to work hard to maintain our creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and brand values as we grow. To give an idea of the scale of our growth, since 2008 an extra 500 people now work in our head office alone, another 500 on top will be working in head office by 2013.

The company has done some very out there, dynamic and controversial campaigns over the years. How does the company decide who far to push the envelope in media campaigns?

We don't go out to create controversy but we do aim to entertain and push boundaries. Why bother creating an ad that people won't remember? The whole point of advertising is to get across your brand values - are we boring? No. Are we afraid to ruffle feathers? No. Are we edgy? Yes. Are we happy to take the mickey out of ourselves? Yes. Do we want to make people smile? Yes.

What's been your favorite Paddy Power TV or internet video advertisement that got banned?

I love all of our TV ads so far, the current one which stars Prince Harry's girlfriend. is a good old fashioned mickey take out of people who take themselves way too seriously. Our first TV campaign with Carlton Palmer in the bath was funny too. But the cat kicking blind football match takes the biscuit. We got a great reaction to it and contrary to popular belief, and despite the fact that it was the most complained about ad in the UK, it actually wasn't banned - so there fun police, put that in your pipe and smoke it!

What other regions other than the U.K has the company targeted as new areas for growth?

Any market where betting is legal and regulated is a potential target for us. So far we have partnered with the PMU in France and have very successfully entered the Australian market through acquisition of Sportsbet and IAS.

Who is your favorite sports team, and do you never bet on them?

I'm a big rugby fan and support Leinster. I always back them to cover the handicap - even when I don't think it's value!

What do you do when you have time to relax away from work?

If I'm not hanging out with the family, I'm usually watching and betting on sport!

What's your personal motto?

The good guys always get out!

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