Last updated January 27th, 2022
Paddy Power is no longer recommended and we have updated our review to reflect that fact. Go to our home page and choose a top online bookmaker from our recommendations there. Paddy Power have been known to limit the stakes of sports bettors very quickly. They appear only to accommodate losers and quickly discourage punters who get a few winners. On a business level, our experience is that they have been dishonest. There are safer options.
Paddy Power Bookmaker may have started out in Ireland but it is now known across the world. The bookie is a public company that is listed on the LSE and it has bought into companies on a global scale. The firm has over three hundred betting outlets across Ireland and Great Britain. When it comes to sports betting they are one of the biggest, but not one of the best, online bookies. An indicator of that fact is the total wagers placed with them in 2021 was close to £8billion. The firm covers all sports but is also well-known for its annoying novelty bets and its headline-grabbing PR stunts. The money-back specials are another form of punter-friendly marketing that it uses as a loss-leader. The firm was formed in 1988 when three Irish high street firms merged. It has since established itself in the UK but the company has signaled its intention to conquer markets further afield by investing in betting companies in the USA, France and Australia. This is a disappointing place to bet, with a big brand name but quite unimpressive website.
OPINION: Paddy Power Bookmaker has a very average website with a poor online casino and bingo offering. We have done a fair bit of sports betting with this firm and are seriously unimpressed. They limit stakes quickly and only want mall punters who lose all the time. The site is quite unwieldy to navigate and can be slow. Payouts are slower than their competitors. In short: Avoid.
Paddy Power Bookmaker: Historical Review
It has been established that Paddy Power Bookmaker is the biggest in its trade in Ireland. It is also an undisputed fact that they are one of the biggest in the UK market.
But what is different about this firm is its sense of humour. Honest, they are not just a bunch of stuffed shirt accountants masquerading as bookies. No, they are a bunch of clowns masquerading as a betting company. I mean check out their past:
1988: Paddy Power Bookie set out to be a different type of firm. They wanted to introduce a light-hearted touch to everything they did. They also made a commitment to give the best customer care and help available, but that’s the boring bit. They saw betting as part of the entertainment industry and they have not lost that ethos yet.
1993: If there is a home for every Irish bookmaker outside the mother country then it has to be a little bit of parkland they call Cheltenham racecourse. This year St Patrick’s Day was celebrated during the world’s biggest jumps meeting. In a blind fit of foolish over-exuberance, they offered to double the odds on any victorious horse trained in Ireland. There was a so-called certainty in the last, the Irish-trained Heist. The bookie was besieged with bets because punters were not getting the correct odds of 9/4 but the doubled odds of 9/2. Heist looked all over the winner until the Irish-trained 16/1 shot Rhythm Section came from the clouds to nail him in the shadow of the post. Ireland’s cheekiest bookmaking outfit were happy to cough up 32/1 about the winner. After all he had prevented them from falling victim to a much bigger Heist.
1999: We all know there no such thing as a certainty. Nothing has won until it has passed the post and weighed in. Tell that to the Paddies. In this year they must have been on the Guinness a bit too early at Cheltenham because they paid out on odds-on Istabraq the day BEFORE he won the Champion Hurdle. They got it right that time and their favourite backers could watch the race without sweating over the result. They were not going to be so lucky in 2009.
2000: How did they celebrate the birth of their online betting site in 2000? What famous hero did they get to cut the ribbon and burst out of the cake? The superstar they chose was poor old scapegoat Nick Leeson, the rogue trader who lost his shirt and sank a venerable bank that everyone has forgotten the name of. Maybe they were hoping all their online punters would lose as big as Naughty Nick. Or maybe they were just having a laugh. Last laugh was on them. Their shiny new website crashed on the day.
2002: Paddy Power Bookmaker does like to take a poke at authority. I mean if this firm was a schoolboy it would be sitting at the back of class not listening to the teacher and throwing its rubber at the girls. And so we get to a record the Paddies should be proud of, that of the most unpopular advert every created. It depicted two old ladies crossing that famous Abbey Road zebra crossing as a big car bears down on them. Each little old lady had betting odds attached to her. The advert was banned but those shrewd little kids at PP got a bang for their marketing buck there.
2003: This is a famous gaff. And we all love it when a bookie gets it so wrong. In this year the cheek bit back. They just can’t resist paying out early on a result. Maybe they are just kind people who should be in a nunnery or maybe they are ruthlessly seeking media publicity for an early payout. You decide. Anyway, this major mistake concerned the Premier League Title. Those nice men at PP coughed up months early on Arsenal only for Manchester United to just pip them at the end.
2006: One punter got the better of them in a big way this year. They gave odds of 125/1 that Liverpool’s Alonso would score a goal from his own half of the pitch. After paying out their punter £25,000 it transpired the man who had requested the strange bet had dreamt the goal. I am sure they closed his account after that.
2006: The Irish betting company felt they weren’t making a big enough splash so the latest wacky idea was to sponsor a strip poker tournament. It was hosted in central London and is now in the Guinness book of World Records as the biggest strip poker tournament ever. There’s a claim to fame nobody will be bothering to beat in a hurry.
2008: They still can’t get enough of paying out early on ‘certainties’, even after the nailed-on Arsenal team had cost them dear. This year Paddy Power Bookmaker paid on Barack Obama as a leadership nominee and Boris Johnson as Mayor of London months early. A cynic might ask exactly how much money they took on such esoteric events. It’s hardly the Grand National. They did not get it all right though. They showed their political naivety when paying out on the Lisbon Treaty Yes vote, when the answer was No. There’s another fiver they lost.
2009: Secretly this firm must want to rule the world and a good place to start is surely Down Under. The firm bought all 100% of Aussie bookmaker Sportsbet. In all they have spent one hundred million dollars on the deal. They bought over half of that firm in 2009 but after a year of growth and profits in 2010 at the Northern territory based outfit, they took up the option to buy the other 49%. They also bought a huge Aussie bookie called IASbet, so in the blink of an eye they were the biggest non-state betting firm in Australia.
In August 2009, the firm made its biggest bloomer. Tiger Woods (yes he plays golf too) went into the final round of the USPGA with a seemingly unassailable lead. He was a massive odds-on shot being 4 shots ahead of the field. He simply could not get beat. So, naturally they paid him out as a winner. But naughty Tiger had not read the script and blew the tournament, costing those premature boys at PP a cool seven figures.
2011: The outfit once again demonstrated its desire to broaden its business spectrum. It bought a small, but growing, mobile and online games company called Cayetano. In one move the progressive company could provide its platforms with unique games to serve its player base. Cayetano is Isle of Man based with a strong team of software developers in Bulgaria.
The 2010 financial results were a record and the 2011 accounts saw an 18% rise on that to €122 million in pure profit. Paddy Power Bookmaker opened over forty betting shops in the United Kingdom during 2011, to take them within sight of the 200 outlets mark. But 80% of that profit figure was down to internet bets and activity via their mobile app. Interestingly they also revealed well over a million active internet clients. Obviously registered accounts will be many times that but it is nevertheless an impressive figure.
Also in 2011 they paid out early on the winners of the Rugby World Cup. Imperious New Zealand were up against a French team deemed lucky to be there, having lost to Tonga and New Zealand itself in the group stages. It looked a safe thing to garner some publicity by paying out on a Kiwi tournament victory before the day of the match, after all NZ were 1/10 to win the match. In the end the All Blacks did win but by a single nervous point, and the French missed a penalty.
One year on and they orchestrated a Euro 2012 stunt that got maximum publicity around the globe. It was a masterstroke of gorilla marketing when Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner showed underpants that had the bookie’s brand name emblazoned across them. He pulled the prank during a Group stage match in the Euro finals for his country against Portugal. Bentner’s national side lost the game and the Arsenal player was then banned for one match and fined €100,000. The incident, as well as resulting furore, was global news. Obviously th firm picked up the footballer’s bill, and it was a gift at the price.
In July 2012 the betting chain garnered some more valuable publicity when it was the subject of Channel 4’s Undercover Boss program where a director went back to the shop floor pretending to be an unemployed man undertaking retraining in a new industry. It was not far from the truth. Possibly the biggest revelation to viewers was that the director’s knowledge of his own industry was close to zero. He could not even correctly state the odds of 8/11 to a dial-a-bet telephone customer saying the punter had odds of ‘eight over eleven.’ The phrase blind leading the blind came to mind. Strangely, at the program’s ‘reveal’ he did not conclude that director training courses needed to be instituted. I suppose we can forgive this ignorance as the director was one of the number crunchers chosen for his anonymity. As with many of these episodes, it was apparent all the staff knew what was happening (the TV cameras being the clue!) and just went along with the charade. Either way it did the Paddy Power Bookie no harm at all and was a bit of a publicity coup really.
In March 2013 Kate Middleton, who dedicated her early years to achieving the aim of marrying one certain Prince William (she even swapped university and course to this end. Dare we call her a stalker?), was doing a walkabout with her fawning public when she appeared to let slip the gender of her impending baby, due several months later.
It seemed she was about to use the word daughter, but she stopped herself from completing the sentence. With her history, nobody can guess at the motives of her slip of the tongue, but it certainly had an immediate impact on the betting markets.
All firms slashed the odds on the baby’s gender being female, but one firm decided to pay out early on the offspring being a girl. When the child arrived in July 2013 it was in fact a boy. It initially seemed to be a slip up by the girls, I mean boys, at Paddy Power – but boy they got some publicity, so as always they had the last laugh.
In March 2014 they made the headlines again when they offered odds on the famous Oscar Pistorius trial. They started a market on whether or not the Paralympic athlete would be acquitted of murdering his girlfriend Reeve Steenkamp. What caused the fuss was their advert in a national newspaper promoting the betting market and subsequently the Advertising Standards Authority banned it. Paddy Power bookmaker refused to apologise, but it was yet another media coup.
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So I joined up after their rather juvenile wall-to-wall advertising on TV. Had a couple of winners on the horse racing that was televised on ITV. Then someone behind the scenes must have noticed and they immediately restricted my bet sizes so I could only get a few pounds on. To be honest, it is nuts and a disgrace. How can a firm be licensed as a bookmaker and then offend its customers by stopping them betting after they fluke some wins? Paddy Power is supposedly a huge, financially sound organisation, yet they won't take a few bets from a recreational punter like me who got a bit lucky. Total joke, bordering on corrupt.
I joined this bookie on Grand National day. Their site was nice & fast, unlike some other firms I tried that day. I like that they get the football markets live very quickly after an odds update. However they were really slow to repay me my winnings and asked for a ton of ID and paperwork - a very long-winded process. It ruined the fact I had had some winners. By the end I just wished I had never joined.
I am not sure I admire the way they go about garnering publicity at the expense of others, but I do have an account with them and it's a nice site to use.
I think the major firms are all using the same software, so Paddy Power is similar but just as good as say Ladbrokes. But I get the sense this outfit rest on their laurels. Customer service fairly uneducated, disinterested and unhelpful. Overall, not the best experience I have had with a bookmaker.