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Paddy Power co-founder David Power dies aged 77, leaving global legacy

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David Power, who has died at the age of 77, helped to lay the foundations for what would eventually become the biggest online gambling company in the world.

He could never have imagined back in 1988 when he, Stewart Kenny and John Corcoran merged their Irish betting chains to create the Paddy Power brand, initially with 40 outlets.

The success of the business would make them fortunes worth hundreds of millions of euro each.

His roots in the gambling business go back more than a century.

His grandfather, Richard Power, was working in a drapery shop in Tramore, Co Waterford in 1896 as a boy. Sometimes he would be despatched to place bets for his employers at illegal bookies.

Legend goes that one day he was at the Tramore races when he should have been working. But instead of continuing his job at the drapery shop, he started taking bets at the races.

When he died, he left the business to his son, Paddy. But Paddy died prematurely, leaving the business to his wife, Bunty and his 16-year-old son, David.

The betting venture would eventually form one of the core building blocks of the Paddy Power chain.

And while Paddy Power floated on the stock market in 2000, it was still relatively small fry. By 2003, it had about 150 outlets in Ireland, but just three in the UK.

Yet the chain had attracted international attention with its no-holds-barred Ryanair-style advertising, including ads that if they were run now would undoubtedly draw significantly more opprobrium.

The chain had already made its three co-founders wealthy. It would eventually help them join the leagues of Ireland’s super-rich, as its online business took off, it merged with Betfair, and established a presence in markets such as Australia. David Power’s interest in the business was reckoned to be worth about €400m just a few years ago.

David Power’s son, Paddy, also joined the gambling business virtually straight out of college. Responsible for some of those adverts that raised the group’s profile, he joined Paddy Power in 1996 as an odds compiler. His brother Willie was at that stage a partner in their father’s on-course bookmakers, Richard Power. David Power retired from that business in 2018 following the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

He had kept working even after a medical emergency in December 2013, when he was admitted to the Beacon Clinic in Dublin after feeling chest pain and lightheaded. He woke up on a hospital bed later that night with a flurry of activity around him. His heart had stopped and been restarted. While he said in 2014 that he had given up smoking his pipe and cut down on his alcohol intake, he kept working.

And not only was he a bookmaker at heart, but also a racehorse owner. He had a number of very successful runners in his stables over the years.

Married to Sabena, David Power lived in Rathgar, Dublin, and had four children. His two sons, and also Tessa, an artist, and Shani, who trained and practiced as a solicitor but moved to Scotland and now works as a financial controller.

With Paddy Power now trading under the Flutter Entertainment umbrella, the group has become a driving force in global online gambling. Its FanDuel subsidiary in the United States is a leader in sportsbetting there. Flutter has recently secured a primary listing on the New York Stock Exchange and moved its operational headquarters to New York.

And all of it started with a clutch of 40 betting shops in Ireland.

Source. https://www.independent.ie/

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