Paddy Power Founder Claims Gambling has Become New Cigarettes

The former CEO of Paddy Power and co-founder of Paddy Power has claimed that gambling has become the new cigarettes. He has urged the Irish government to introduce more regulations.

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Paddy Power Ex-Boss Compares Gambling to Smoking © Pixabay.

Stewart Kenny, the former CEO and co-founder of well-known bookmaker Paddy Power, has called on the Irish government to introduce legislation regarding gambling products and said the industry was similar to that of the tobacco industry.

Kenny, in an interview, claimed he left the bookmaker he helped to curate after he felt frustrated by the lack of concern shown towards problem gambling. He believes new wave technology and easy access to the internet through mobile devices will facilitate a new generation that is more susceptible to gambling harms.

The former Paddy Power CEO said: “The internet was the explosion, it brought [gambling] into everybody’s pocket. In fairness to the industry, we didn’t realise how much it would take over people’s lives.

“I must take responsibility for some of the developments, I was part of it, and I have deep regrets that I was not more proactive. I resigned [in 2016] because they refused to do anything really meaningful on gambling addiction,” he added.

Two areas Kenny highlighted was the ability for companies to cross-sell their products. For example, encouraging a sports betting fan to try a casino product that some players find more addictive and is a vertical that generates more income for the operators. He also highlighted the dangers of quick-play slot games, which are the online equivalent of land-based fixed-odds betting terminals.

Saying:” “Games that are repeated very quickly have a much greater propensity to addiction. So, the quicker you can repeat the dose, the more addictive it is.

“I don’t want my grandchildren to be opening a betting account now because of the luring in from sports betting to casino.

“It is, in my view, the greatest challenge in gambling addiction that is out there, and that needs to stop,” he added.

He urged the government to take the same proactive action they did against the tobacco industry when the harms of the industry were known.

Saying: “The gambling industry has become the new cigarettes. What they found in cigarettes was that it doesn’t matter how much the companies told you they weren’t encouraging young people, the government had to move in to legislate, and we need the government to legislate now.”

In other Paddy Power news, the company seem to be going on a media offensive themselves, forming an unlikely alliance with Virgin Media Ireland by releasing a sitcom.

Aired last month, the four-episode series The VAR Room took a tongue-in-cheek of the ongoings at Stockley Park, the office responsible for VAR decisions in the Premier League.

The bookmaker hired some famous names for the show, including former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg and former Tottenham and Manchester United star Teddy Sheringham. Paul Ince, who, like Sherringham, played for England, also features in the 23-minute shows.

A Paddy Power spokesperson said: “The shambles at Stockley Park last season gave our brilliantly talented writers enough creative ideas to fuel an entire sitcom series, which Virgin Media and Amazon Prime wanted a piece of too. “We have long been renowned at Paddy Power for our content – and we really feel we’ve raised the bar with The VAR Room, which we hope is our first sitcom series of many from our team.”

The Var Room will also be available on Amazon Prime at a later date and is also now available via the company’s YouTube channel. However, you will need to log in due to the age-restricted nature of the content.

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