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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 10:28 GMT
Paddy Power eyes new businesses
Paddy Power shop
The chain has over 200 bookies outlets in the UK and Ireland
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has said it may buy new online and offline gambling businesses to help boost growth.

It also announced that 2006 pre-tax profit rose 52% to 47.6m euros (32.5m; $62.5m) from a year earlier as the football World Cup attracted punters.

Paddy Power said that the total amount of money gambled in 2006 grew by 31% to 1.8bn euros, and it had seen a 70% jump in the amount being bet on its website.

The company has 160 bookmaker's shops in the Irish Republic and 58 in the UK.

UK possibilities

Chief executive Patrick Kenny said that while the main focus to date had been growing the company from within, the firm was now eyeing possible acquisitions.

"I don't want to be too specific, but we could expand more aggressively in the UK by acquisition, we could expand more aggressively online by acquisition," Mr Kenny said.

Looking ahead, Paddy Power said that when the implementation of the UK Gambling Act 2005 is completed later this year, its shops will be able to open later and offer higher payout gaming machines.

Paddy Power added that because it had never targeted gamblers in the US, it had not been hit by a change in US law which essentially made online gaming illegal.


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