DAVID POWER, Ireland’s leading on-course bookmaker, is retiring next month following 50 years in business.
The 71-year-old is the chairman of Richard Power Bookmakers and a founding shareholder of Paddy Power. Holder of prime betting ring pitches at all the major tracks in Ireland and a handful of top British racecourses, he plans to retire on March 16th, Cheltenham Gold Cup day.
The on-course operation will be wound down this year, allowing for all ante-post bets to be settled, and the pitches are likely to be sold.
Power’s son Willie, who manages the on-course business, said: “David has always had an active role in the business and he has decided to retire following Cheltenham. This decision has enabled us to review the business in what is a changed trading environment and it represents a natural opportunity to wind down Richard Power Bookmakers. It’s the right time for the right decision.”
Explaining why the business is not being sold, he said: “It was discussed at length, but the decision not to sell was made on the basis of client confidentiality. Richard Power’s private client business was built on the basis of confidentiality and consequently attracted many high-profile clients both domestically and internationally. Any sale would involve disclosing the client list, essentially breaching confidentiality and this we felt would be a violation of trust built over decades.”
Richard Power Bookmakers was established by David’s grandfather in 1895 in Waterford. Richard Power bet on racetracks in both Ireland and the UK and also established a chain of shops throughout Ireland.
Having qualified as a chartered accountant, David joined the business in 1970, working on the racecourse and overseeing the running of the betting shops. In 1988, David merged his business with Stewart Keny’s Kenny O’Reilly chain and P. Corcoran Bookmakers, owned by John Corcoran. The new business was named Paddy Power Bookmakers and, now known as Paddy Power Betfair, has a market value of well over €10 billion.
David Power maintained the Richard Power on-course service and private client service. The company has seven staff, all of whom were informed this week of the plan to close the business.
The Power family has enjoyed great success on the racecourse in recent years, most notably with the Eddie Lynam-trained sprinters Sole Power and Slade Power.
David and his wife Sabena have supported Slade Power at stud and will have 10 horses in training this year. Willie Power sits on the board of Naas Racecourse and is backing the track’s quest to achieve ‘premier’ status.
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