Gambling sharks’ pandemic payday: Paddy Power owner raked in £15million a DAY as punters got bored at home during coronavirus lockdown
- Paddypower revealed punters lost £15million a day from July to September
- The figure was nearly a third higher than it was before the Covid-19 pandemic
- Raised fears that the boredom of spending more time at home was driving vulnerable gamblers to lose more than they can afford
Britain’s biggest gambling company was accused of ‘draining the pockets of the vulnerable’ as it revealed its punters lost £15 million a day between July and September.
Flutter – which runs the Paddy Power, Betfair and SkyBet websites – said the figure was nearly a third higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Overall the FTSE 100 company recorded more than £1.3 billion of global revenue between July and September.
The figures raised fears that the boredom of spending more time at home was driving vulnerable gamblers to lose more than they can afford.
Flutter – which runs the Paddy Power, Betfair and SkyBet websites – said the figure was nearly a third higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic
YouGov research published last month found that one in five problem gamblers in the UK spent more to ‘relieve boredom’ in the first lockdown. And the number of addicts telling the Gordon Moody charity helpline they felt suicidal quadrupled.
The Daily Mail has been calling for greater protection for addicts with its Stop the Gambling Predators campaign.
Gambling stocks fell this week when US drug company Pfizer announced successful vaccine results, because the news means punters will be at home less.
SNP MP Ronnie Cowan, vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling, said: ‘Gambling companies are draining the pockets of the vulnerable with high-stakes games online. Covid has left society at its most vulnerable, and these figures reflect the fact that thousands of people have racked up massive debts and psychological problems because of gambling.’
Matt Zarb-Cousin, from campaign group Clean Up Gambling, said: ‘There is mounting evidence that the big winners from the coronavirus pandemic have been online gambling companies. More lockdowns mean bigger profits and more gambling harm, which is why the government should commence its review as soon as possible.’
Flutter said the number of customers on its websites grew by more than 40 per cent globally. Paddy Power took a third more money in the UK and Ireland than last year, and SkyBet’s revenues were up by a quarter.
Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson, who has earned £3.7 million in the past two years, said: ‘Flutter’s performance exceeded our expectations.’
Flutter chief executive Peter Jackson (pictured), who has earned £3.7 million in the past two years, said: ‘Flutter’s performance exceeded our expectations’
It came as a senior official suggested the long-awaited shake-up of Britain’s gambling laws may be delayed until next year.
The Government is under pressure to curb advertising, prevent punters spending more than they can afford online and protect the 55,000 children suffering from addiction.
Mr Jackson told Racing Post that a review of gambling laws was ‘badly needed’. He said: ‘The rules for gambling in this country have not kept pace with how society has been changed by technology. Nothing should be off the table in trying to deliver change that genuinely helps those who need it.’
Flutter said: ‘Throughout the pandemic the wellbeing of our customers and our people has been our absolute priority.
‘We have been mindful that customers may be experiencing additional economic pressures and were quick to increase our safer gambling measures to enhance our player protection.’