BoyleSports Takes Over William Hill’s Northern Ireland Portfolio

  • Irish sportsbook to own 33 William Hill shops in Northern Ireland, two in Isle of Man
  • BoyleSports will have operation control 30 days after acquisition is made final
  • CEO sees takeover as a significant strategic step in company's UK market expansion plans
BoyleSports’s latest acquisition sees it take over William Hill’s retail portfolio in Northern Ireland, along with two shops in the Isle of Man. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Further expansion for the Irish sportsbook

Irish sportsbook BoyleSports will be significantly expanding its presence in the Northern Ireland market, following its agreement to take over all William Hill retail shops in the region.

The acquisition of 33 William Hill betting shops means BoyleSports will own 39 retail outlets in Northern Ireland and a total of 298 betting shops on the island.

BoyleSports will also be acquiring the two William Hill betting shops operating in the Isle of Man. 

the deal is worth between €12m ($13.34m) and €18m ($20m).

William Hill is already working with the management of BoyleSports to begin the transfer process of the shops and their 220 staff members. BoyleSports will have operational control 30 days after the acquisition date, with the company retaining its position as the second-biggest retail sportsbook provider in Ireland. 

The financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. The Sunday Times estimates the deal is worth between €12m ($13.34m) and €18m ($20m).

Acquisition follows William Hill restructuring

William Hill is currently undergoing a significant restructuring of its retail betting operations. The operator was required to take action due to more than 700 William Hill betting shops being forced to close in 2019. About 4,500 staff members were let go.

The closures occurred mainly because the betting shops were no longer financially viable after the UK government brought in a max stake of £2 ($2.60) for fixed-odds betting terminals. The previous max stake was £100 ($130), with the machines generating significant revenue for the betting shops as a result.

A vital strategic step

BoyleSports regards its William Hill takeover as an opportunity to gain a proper foothold and make significant progress in the UK betting market.

Chief executive Conor Gray said the latest acquisition is a vital strategic step for the company to “realize its long-held ambition to develop a meaningful retail presence across Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.” He added that it will complement BoyleSport’s current retail presence in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

100 betting shops across the UK by the end of 2020

The Irish brand’s UK expansion began in 2019 when it purchased a small network of independent sportsbooks in the English Midlands. BoyleSports plans to have 100 betting shops across the UK by the end of 2020.

Gray also said BoyleSports will be focusing on future investment and expansion outside of Ireland, following the Irish government’s decision to increase the betting duty on operators.

Improvements for William Hill

William Hill has bounced back somewhat from its extensive betting shop closures in the early half of 2019. It now says that company profits for 2019 are expected to surpass previous expectations.

Sporting results that proved favorable to the sportsbook in December saw the retail division’s figures boosted along with the total group returns. Operating profits for the year are estimated to have been between £143m ($186m) and £148m ($192m). 

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