February 13, 2009 (InfoPowa News) — Two prominent U.K.-Irish bookies took different routes in the prevailing economic climes this week, with Paddy Power expanding, and William Hill closing retail betting operations.

Paddy Power expanded into the Scottish retail market with the opening
of its first licensed betting office (LBO) in Glasgow, the first of
three planned openings in the city. The Irish bookmaker has announced
that intends to open more than 80 shops across Scotland and the
northwest of England by 2011 to grow its total U.K. estate to at least
150 shops, creating more than 400 new jobs in the process.

Paddy Power CEO, Patrick Kennedy, said: “Scottish punters have
already experienced significant exposure to the unique brand offering
of Paddy Power through our phone and online betting services. This move
to ground and complement our brand with a bricks and mortar presence is
very exciting.”

In contrast, William Hill plans to close 14 shops in the Irish Republic
next month, with the loss of 53 jobs, reports the Irish Times.

The U.K. bookmaker blamed the economic downturn, the Irish government’s
proposal to double betting turnover tax to 2 percent from next May, and
the “restriction on introducing innovative and profitable products into
Irish shops”, according to the paper. The comment on innovation likely
refers to Irish law not permitting bookmakers to the advantage of
fixed-odds betting terminals in shops.

On a more cheerful Will Hill note, the group has announced the launch of its new online casino design, bonuses and promotions.

Company spokesmen emphasized that the new online casino is equipped to
suit the needs of all casino players, even novices. Beginners will find
everything they need in order to learn how to play casino games such as
online blackjack or roulette and practice them in casino fun mode to
enhance their skills.

Advanced graphics and user-friendly infrastructure are key elements in
the makeover, and the result can be viewed at