Punters get one up on Paddy

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Paddy Power saw profits slump 20 per cent in the first half of the year as football and racing punters took the Irish bookmaker to the cleaners.

The Dublin-based group said pre-tax profits fell to 61.8 million euros (£49.2m) in the six months to June 30 because favourites won Premier League matches in January and March, while racing punters backed winners at the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot.

Revenues slipped 7 per cent to 396.5 million euros (£315.7m), compared to a year ago.

But the group, which has 305 shops in the UK, said it had a good World Cup, which saw it add 148,000 online customers and attract 198 million euros (£158m) in stakes, 130 per cent up on the 2010 tournament.

It also boosted its number of online customers by a quarter to 1.8 million, and saw stakes on its digital platforms rise 22 per cent to 1.4 billion euros (£1.1 bn).

Paddy Power said in January and March favourite teams in the Premier League won 64 per cent of their games, compared to 53 per cent on average.