BoyleSports to Gamble on UK Retail Sector Despite FOBT Changes

Leading Irish bookmaker BoyleSports is preparing to enter the UK retail betting market despite impending changes to fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) regulations.


BoyleSports is looking to enter the UK retail betting market despite looming FOBT changes. (Image: Talk of the Town)

Following reports by local media outlets, BoyleSports confirmed that it was poised to make a bid for a rival operator’s chain of UK betting shops. At present, the company is ranked among the top three high street betting brands in Ireland.

Despite already having a presence in the UK via its online site, BoyleSports isn’t active on the streets of England, Wales or Scotland. In a bid to stay competitive, the Irish operator wants to have at least one retail deal secured in the UK by early 2019.

Crossing the Irish Sea

Although full details of the negotiations haven’t been disclosed, a representative for BoyleSports told iGamingBusiness that it was in “advanced talks” with a number of “groups in the UK.”

If all goes according to plan, the new deal will supplement BoyleSports’ 250 Irish stores and give it a presence in one of the most live betting markets in the world. What’s more, the move will make up for a missed opportunity when it unsuccessfully tried to buy 300 Ladbrokes Coral stores in 2016.

With the UK set to reduce the maximum bet on FOBTs in April 2019, the timing of BoyleSports’ move will be seen as a gamble.

Worthwhile Bet for BoyleSports

Prior news of his company’s UK retail ambitions coming to light, CEO Conor Gray told that live betting translates well into online earning potential.

“It is still an ambition because our data, our history, will tell you if you have a retail presence, it will help your digital business, and vice versa,” Gray told the Irish newspaper.

Even though UK bookmakers are set to endure potentially significant losses when FOBT stakes are cut from £100 to £2, the upside for BoyleSports is greater exposure in the UK. Even with tighter controls in the retail sector and increased remote betting duty, business is still booming for operators active in the online space.

According to the UK Gambling Commission’s most recent report, gross gambling yield (GGY) topped £14.4 billion between 2017 and 2018. For a company that warned its staff of potential job losses back in October, that’s an opportunity deemed too lucrative to miss out on.

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