Ireland’s BoyleSports to buy remaining Tully Bookmakers venues

BoyleSports will add ten more betting shops to its portfolio.
BoyleSports will add ten more betting shops to its portfolio.

BoyleSports will cement its position as the biggest independent bookmaker in Ireland.

Ireland.- BoyleSports is to buy the independent bookmaker Tully Bookmakers‘ ten remaining retail betting venues. The transaction will take the bookmaker’s portfolio of retail betting shops in Ireland and Northern Ireland to 268, further cementing its dominance in the sector.

The move comes after BoyleSports began a transition from paper-based to digital betting shop displays through integration of the Racing Post’s Digital Betting Shop Display (BSD) at its Drogheda venue in July.

According to the Racing Post, Tully Bookmakers decided to sell its remaining outlets due to falling profits exacerbated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the introduction of Ireland’s 2 per cent betting tax in 2018. The company began reducing its portfolio of 37 high street shops in 2015, selling 10 of them to BoyleSports initially.

Smaller bookmakers struggle

The company’s owner, Paul Tully, said: “It comes with mixed emotions but the final chapter has been written. I thought it was time to get out. Neither myself nor my brother has any family interested in carrying on in the business, so we decided to take the plunge and jump.”

Sharon Byrne, chair of the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA), said the sale demonstrated the difficulties faced by independent bookmakers in Ireland, which were only able to resume business after the last Covid-19 lockdown on June 29.

She said: “It’s a sign of how difficult it is for the smaller operators out there who are trying to survive. I wish BoyleSports well with their new shops. It’s very difficult for the smaller operators and consumer confidence just hasn’t come back yet since COVID. Placing bets and then leaving is the new normal. People aren’t ready to be hanging around the shops.”

BoyleSports also has a large presence in the UK and has expressed continued interest in buying William Hill’s betting shops, which 888 acquired from Caesars Entertainment in September.

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