Paddy Power ShopPaddy Power’s business will be given a Christmas jolt later today when the British Labour Party leader mounts an attack on betting shops in general and on fixed odds betting terminals in particular.

These have grown in importance to British betting shops over recent years.

The terminals have never been allowed in Ireland and were formally banned in new betting legislation introduced earlier this year.

They have been popular within Britain though, with an average of almost four machines per shop.  They have come under increasing pressure lately with media attention focused on their addictive nature, a claim strenuously denied by the betting industry.

Ed Milliband will propose legislation today which will restrict the number of betting shops permitted within English towns and potentially bring an outright ban on the terminals.

Powers and other betting companies have been hit in the latter half of the year by a run of results which chief executive Patrick Kennedy described as the worst in over 30 years with more favourites winning in the main betting sports of soccer and horse racing.

The threat to the expansion and range of products offered in betting shops would have been a hammer blow as little as ten years ago though the vast majority of betting now takes place online and via mobile phones.

Over 75 per cent of Powers profits come through online and mobile channels and that grew by 15% in the first half of this year, versus a growth of only five per cent in betting shop activity.

Powers’ half year profits to the end of June were a little over €75 million.