Paddy Power ready to blow €4m on Hurricane Fly deal

Paddy Power, in one of its typical stunts, has promised to refund all losing bets in the Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham next Tuesday if the 2-1 favourite Hurricane Fly romps home.

The move at the festival's big race could cost the bookie €4m (£3.5m). "Nobody else would consider that form of lunacy," says its chief executive, Patrick Kennedy.

He was talking as the bookie with the eye for publicity reported another strong year, with profits up 15 per cent to a record €139m. That was on a 31 per cent rise in revenues to €654m, a number that it admits was flattered by the recent rise in the euro against the pound.

The rise of mobile-phone betting has helped the number of online customers to grow by 44 per cent to 1.6 million.

Mr Kennedy said: "The adoption of mobile across our markets, combined with our e-commerce capabilities, technology and brand, means we now have nearly twice as many active online customers than we had in 2010."

Its shares rose 2.8p to 66.9p.

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