Paddy Power calls for tighter global gambling regulations

Paddy Power-Betfair has called for tighter global regulations for the gambling industry as online betting becomes more prevalent.

Speaking after the group's agm - at which shareholders rubber-stamped the planned change in holding company name to Flutter - chief executive Peter Jackson said the group is working with peer companies in the UK on putting forward "a package of measures" to meet reputational challenges.

He said the company is also "looking forward" to the introduction of the proposed new gambling regulator here, which will have powers to impose fines and issue licences to betting companies.

Paddy Power-Betfair expects to take a £20m revenue hit from this year's doubling in tax on Irish-based betting companies; and a £30m hit from slashed maximum stake amounts for in-shop betting machines in the UK.

"Regulatory changes in the industry are helpful. It's a $450bn global industry, 11% of which is online. In time, I can see half our industry being online, but for that to happen regulation needs to happen in many markets around the world," Mr Jackson said.

"Regulation, as America showed a year ago by repealing [its blanket ban on sports betting], can be very helpful," he said.

Mr Jackson said the group will continue to seek growth opportunities in emerging and core markets.

"Our preference would be to grow organic positions in these markets if we can, but if we find opportunties that clear our hurdles - from a regulatory perspective - we'd want to look at those very seriously."

"In all markets there always remains a long tail of small competitors. The question is whether the distraction is worth it. Between Ireland and Georgia there are a lot of regulated markets in Europe that we don't have podium positions in; and we're ambitious," he said.

Meanwhile, UK rival William Hill said its annual revenues jumped 2%, boosted by its acquisition of Swedish online casino site Mr Green and its US sports betting business.

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