Flutter leads tributes to Paddy Power co-founder David Power

David Power was CEO of Paddy Power from 1988 to 2002.
David Power was CEO of Paddy Power from 1988 to 2002.

David Power has died at the age of 77.

Ireland.- David Power, co-founder of the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, has died at the age of 77. Flutter Entertainment, which now owns the brand, said Power died peacefully on July 8 surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren.

The Power family’s involvement in the gambling sector goes way back to Tramore Racecourse in Ireland in 1895. David Power oversaw a major expansion by partnering with Stewart Kenny and John Corcoran in 1988, paving the way for the creation of Flutter Entertainment as an international gambling giant.

Kenny had sold Kenny O’Reilly Bookmakers to Coral in 1986 and gone on to open 10 new shops. These were merged with Corcoran’s and the Power family’s betting shops to create a chain of 40 retail outlets that were all rebranded as Paddy Power, taking the name of David’s son, who remains a marketing spokesman for the brand.

David Power served as CEO of Paddy Power from 1988 to 2002, overseeing a rapid expansion, both in retail in the UK and into online betting and online casino. Paddy Power was listed on the Irish and London Stock Exchanges in 2000, and Power remained on the board until 2013.

Flutter wrote in a tribute: “Born into what is now a bookmaking dynasty in 1947, David was always destined to be a bookie, moulded by a long lineage of odds compilers that stretches back all the way to Tramore racecourse in 1895. His mother is believed to have been the first woman to hold a betting license while the family’s successful on-course operation, named after his grandfather, Richard Power, was a mainstay at tracks until David’s fitting retirement after the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Flutter’s ability to offer hundreds of markets, price complex outcomes, and manage risk effectively stems directly from this ingrained family expertise.

“However, David was never content with simply running the family business and demonstrated his strong entrepreneurial flair as one of three visionary founders of this company. Joining forces with Stewart Kenny and John Corcoran, the trio merged their retail shops in 1988 to compete with new British entrants arriving on Irish highstreets. To show they were truly up for the fight, they decided on a name that was uniquely Irish, but also conveyed strength and pride – Paddy Power.”

Paddy Power’s expansion and the creation of Flutter Entertainment

In 2016, Paddy Power merged with Betfair. The combined company bought US-facing FanDuel in 2018 and rebranded as Flutter Entertainment in 2019, shortly before a merger with The Stars Group, owner of PokerStars and SkyBet. Further acquisitions included Tombola and Sisal in Italy. Earlier this year, Flutter relocated its main listing to New York. While Paddy Power is no longer the company name, it remains a major brand.

Flutter said: “Having established Paddy Power as a strong retail bookmaker in the 90s, David will also be remembered as a great moderniser of our industry. He was an influential voice in Paddy Power’s decision to embrace the power of the internet, kickstarting a prolonged period of growth that saw the company list on both the Irish and London Stock Exchanges in 2000; become the first bookmaker on the Apple app store in 2010; and ultimately merge with Betfair in 2016, creating a true leader whose success would allow Flutter to acquire more great businesses and expand aggressively in the US and across the world. David was immensely proud that his plucky Irish business, with its 40 shops initially, paved the way for Flutter to become the global leader in online sports betting and igaming it is today.

“As both a sharp bettor and an accomplished chartered accountant, David always had invaluable insights and challenging questions for successive management teams as a supportive shareholder, whether with regard to performance, product or, usually, our pricing. While he formally left the Paddy Power board in 2013, he always maintained a strong presence around the business.”

This month, Flutter Entertainment announced the appointment of Christine McCarthy and Robert Bennett to its board of directors. McCarthy will join the Audit Committee from July 30, while Bennett will serve on the Risk and Sustainability Committee.

Last month, Flutter Entertainment named Mark Shaw as its director of global payments strategy. Shaw joins from Spotify, where he served as director of global payments for the music streaming provider. There he redeveloped Spotify’s payment frameworks to enable more user choice across its 160 markets.

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