Paddy Power was founded on the merger, which took place in 1988, of three existing Irish high street bookmakers, Kenny O'Reilly Bookmakers (in which Stewart Kenny, Chairman, Paddy Power plc was a partner), P. Corcoran Bookmakers, owned by John Corcoran, a non-executive director of Paddy Power plc and a significant proportion of the betting shops trading as Richard Power, owned by David Power, non-executive director, Paddy Power plc. Since this time, Paddy Power has grown primarily through organic growth to be the largest bookmaker today through 140 outlets in the Republic of Ireland. A further 20 outlets have been gained in the UK.
In 1988, Paddy Power had just 8% of the Irish off course betting market. This grew to approximately 33% in 2001. The company's telephone betting service, Paddy Power Dial-a-bet was launched in 1996 and the online betting site, paddypower.com followed in 2000. The shares of the company were listed on the London and Irish Stock Exchanges in December 2000. Paddy Power has now commenced an expansion programme into the UK through licensed betting offices, telephone and online channels.