Co-Founder of Paddy Power Brands Gambling a “Major Social Problem”

Stuart Kenny co-founded Paddy Power over 30 years ago and likes nothing more than having the odd bet. After making his first successful bet on Nixon resigning in 1974 he admits he still enjoys a flutter now and again.

“So Far Behind”

However, in an interview for Irelands Prime Time, Mr. Kenny is concerned the Irish gambling industry is “so far behind in regulating the gambling industry that there is no protection for the young and vulnerable”. He cited governments over the last two decades had failed to protect the vulnerable and been totally negligent in regard to regulation within the gambling industry.

Resigned in 2016

With a career spanning four decades, Mr. Kenny resigned from Paddy Power in 2016 because “they refused to do anything meaningful on gambling addiction.”Since the inception of the Internet and later smartphone technology, gambling has a far greater reach, in turn, gambling has gone from a pastime to a “major social problem”.During his time with Paddy Power, he saw growth in the UK, European and Australian markets and admits the birth of the internet increased Paddy Powers’ growth, however, he was concerned about the immediate access to many people who may become addicted to gambling, vulnerable or underage. He described smartphones and the Internet have made gambling easily accessible and this ‘explosion’ he predicted would be so devastating.At the time they didn’t know just how much of an influence the internet would have on people’s lives.He said, “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”.

Targeting a Younger Audience

A particular concern was raised at betting companies targeting younger adults under the age of 25. They are able to download apps to place Acca bets on football matches but could easily be lured into playing highly addictive casino games.In recent years the gambling industry as a whole has applied a great deal of time and effort introducing dedicated teams for safer gambling. Alongside this are many online gambling tools now available to players who feel their gambling may become out of control including betting limits, self-exclusion, and the banning of credit cards for online betting.He said, “The advent of online gambling, has created the “perfect environment” for people to indulge in gambling addiction.”

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