BoyleSports takes bet on William Hill shops in North

Daniel Fowler
January 13, 2020

This has been the biggest purchase by BoyleSports to date and makes the company the largest betting store operator in Ireland.

This brings the total number of BoyleSports shops in Northern Ireland to 39. The recent acquisition will significantly reinforce the foothold of the independent bookmaker in Northern Ireland where tough licencing conditions make it hard to open up from scratch betting shops.

BoyleSports, originally from Dundalk, Ireland, has been on the acquisition trail for many years. The previous max stake was £100 ($130), with the machines generating significant revenue for the betting shops as a result.

The Irish brand's United Kingdom expansion began in 2019 when it purchased a small network of independent sportsbooks in the English Midlands.

William Hill PLC (LON:WMH) said underlying profits for 2019 will be ahead of market expectations after a bunch of sports results went in its favour in December and with strong early growth at its U.S. business.

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BoyleSports Chief Executive Conor Gray underlined the buyout of William Hill's NI retail portfolio as an important strategic step: "BoyleSports is delighted to realise its long-held ambition to develop a meaningful retail presence across Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man", he said.

William Hill has entered multiple states since a federal ban on sports betting was annulled in the spring of 2018, seeking to cement itself as one of the leaders in the provision of wagering products in the nascent USA market.

Company officials are satisfied with the "good progress" made in view of the challenging regulatory environment it has been operating in.

The acquisition of the new Northern Ireland outlets is immediate, but BoyleSports will take over operational duties at the new outlets from next month. Although British betting laws do not apply on the Northern Irish market, local operators have moved to voluntarily reduce the stakes on gambling machines to match the restrictions imposed elsewhere in the United Kingdom, which explains the decision of William Hill to leave that market.

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