Boylesports, headquarted in Dundalk, have announced they have acquired all 33 of William Hill shops in Northern Ireland and a further two on the Isle of Man – bringing its number of retail betting outlets on the island of Ireland to 298 and 317 across Ireland and the UK.
The company plans to grow its UK retail network to 100 shops by the end of the year. The new acquisitions multiply Boylesports’ number of shops in Northern Ireland to 39, up from just six with it’s entire UK operation now standing at 58.
“Boylesports is delighted to realise its long-held ambition to develop a meaningful retail presence across Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man,” Boylesports Chief Executive Conor Gray said.
“Indeed, John Boyle opened the first ever BoyleSports in Markethill, Co Armagh, Northern Ireland in 1982, so increasing our presence in Northern Ireland many years later is significant on many fronts. This acquisition complements our existing retail network in Northern Ireland and our retail network in the Republic of Ireland while also representing a significant step in our long-stated ambition to develop our retail footprint across the UK.”
Boylesports say a 30 period of operational transition will not occur, allowing William Hill to engage with its 200 employees in the 41 stores.
The William Hill purchases follow the company’s first foray into the UK market last summer when Boylesports purchased midlands based bookmaker Wilf Gilbert. 13 stores were acquired in Solihull, Rowley Regis, Coseley, Cradley Heath, Dudley, Gornal Wood, Coventry (3), Balsall Heath, Netherton, Studley, and Smethwick.
Gray also said that Boylesports ‘expect to participate in forced consolidation to some degree’, referring to the Government’s increase in betting duty leading some independent bookmakers to go out of business.
“The Government’s 2018 decision to impose a 100pc increase in betting duty has, as predicted by all Irish bookmakers, led to dramatic consolidation of the industry, with previously thriving betting companies now permanently closing their doors,” he said.
“Although BoyleSports expects some participation in that forced consolidation to some degree, the increase in betting duty has meant that the focus of future expansion and investment will be outside the Republic of Ireland.”
In Budget 2019, Minister Pascal Donohoe raised gambling duty from 1% of turnover to 2%, a move that was met with dismay in the gambling industry.