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Ireland’s biggest independent bookmaker, BoyleSports, has continued to expand in its home market with its acquisition of the BruceBetting online operation in February. BruceBetting.com will cease accepting bets on the 10th June but will remain open for withdrawals for a further month afterwards.
Boyles acquired 18 betting shops from Brucebetting in November last year covering the counties of Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare and Westmeath as it continued the ongoing expansion of it’s retail estate.
At its zenith, BruceBetting had over 60 retail units but the collapse of the Celtic Tiger economy in 2007 saw the portfolio shrink to only 18 shops by 2019 as the firm struggled to compete given rising costs in the industry. More recently a doubling of gambling duty in Ireland from 1pc to 2pc in 2018 had a devastating effect on independent bookmakers in the country. Combined with the insatiable appetite of Irish behemoths Paddy Power, and BoyleSports for expansion, many independent bookies like BruceBetting will continue to be taken over.
Conor Gray, CEO of BoyleSports, has overseen the growth of Irish operations to over 290 betting shops in addition to recent expansion into England with the purchase of Wilf Gilbert’s 13 betting shops in the Midlands. Gray reports to founder of the business, John Boyle, who is now chairman.
Both men see the synergy between retail growth and the growth of digital services with each sector feeding the other, and it is likely that BoyleSports will be adding more betting shops into its extensive portfolio once the market returns to stability. Although the business will undoubtedly continue to seize opportunities in Ireland, Boylesports is also eager to continue the acquisition of more independent bookies in northern England. Although some would argue that the English market is saturated and less profitable than previously with the Gambling Commission’s measures, such as reduction of the limit on FOBT’s for example, BoyleSports believes that there is still money to be made.