Not everyone was all smiles after Euro 2012, but one online sports book is beaming with pride after the tournament allowed it to gain footing in the Italian online betting market last June. Paddy Power is known in the industry for its audacious marketing exploits, but they’ve also been regarded for knowing what they’re doing, as evidenced by their current status as one of the biggest bookmakers in Europe.
Last June – only a month after it launched in Italy – Paddy Poker took the bold step of ramping up its customer database just days before Euro 2012, offering Italians an alternative opportunity for online betting, something the country’s three biggest operators – Lottomatica, Sisal, and Snai – wasn’t able to capitalize on. And when Italy made it to the finals of Euro 2012 against Spain, Paddy Poker was there to accommodate all the online Italian bettors who backed their national team in defeat against the hands of eventual champion, Spain.
The results of Euro 2012 allowed the Irish sports book to become more recognized in the Italian online betting market, something that it hopes to capitalize on considering that the aforementioned three local operators concentrate most of their business on the retail market. Paddy Power communications chief Alessandro Allara told Reuters that opportunity for the Irish sports book to become a player in the Italian betting market is in the online market. “Our opportunity is dramatically bigger online because those companies are not using their power in retail to reinforce their positions online, or they are not interested in it,” he said.
As such, Paddy Power is making the strategic decision to forego setting up retail outlets in the country, arguing that the market is already saturated with the presence of Lottomatica, Sisal, and Snai. “The three biggest Italian companies have 80 percent of the retail market but only 40 percent of the online market,” Allara explains.
Despite having been in the country for a little over two months, Paddy Power has had relative success, earning €3.6 million in bets in its first full month of operation, a number that represents a 4.2% share in the country’s online betting market. That number may still be small, but it really is an impressive showing considering that Sisal and Snai isn’t too far ahead in the market shares, accounting for only double the number of Paddy’s first month performance.
Paddy Power’s managing director in Italy, Giovanna D’Esposito, is confident that the 4.2% share will increase to 6% by the end of the year and to hit at least 10% in two years. “Over a two-year horizon we hope to have a top five position in the online market, but I think we can do better than that,” D’Esposito said, as quoted in an interview with Reuters.