BoyleSports, Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker, is reported “to be in a sales process”, evaluating its business options ahead of the regulatory shake-up of Ireland’s gambling market.
This weekend the Irish Independent reported that Dundalk-based BoyleSports is viewed as an “attractive acquisition target” by “market sources”.
Founded in 1982 by entrepreneur John Boyle, BoyleSports is Ireland’s second-largest betting group operating 350 betting shops and a workforce of 2,500 employees.
The potential sale of BoyleSports will surprise industry observers, as the company has been without a Chief Executive since February following the departure of Mark Kemp who joined DAZN as CEO of the sports entertainment group’s new betting division.
Since 2019, BoyleSports has moved to expand its business beyond Irish shores, beginning by acquiring independent bookmakers in the Midland and North to launch its retail business in the UK.
Further international projects, see the Irish betting group plan to launch a Kenyan and South African gambling subsidiary by 2023 whilst examining new entries into the online gambling markets of the Netherlands and Canada.
At home, BoyleSports observes the final developments of the Dáil agreeing on the terms of the ‘Gambling Regulation Bill’ required to update Irish gambling laws and marketplace rules since The Betting Act 1926.
This Summer, Ireland’s coalition government agreed on the appointment of Anne Marie Caulfield as the first Chief Executive of The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, who will oversee final regulatory procedures, expected to be finalised by the Autumn.
However, Irish parties are yet to agree on outstanding legislation related to advertising rules and a set % mandatory contribution that licensed operators must pay to a “social impact fund” on problem gambling harms.
Since 2008, consecutive governments have been criticised for their inability to reform the nation’s laws despite bi-partisan support, as Ireland is the only EU member state to have no regulatory framework for online gambling.
Responding to the article, BoyleSports stated that its focus is on the continued development of its retail and online business.
Light on the financial details, the article cited Entain Plc as a likely interested party to acquire BoyleSports. A buyout of would help the FTSE100 firm advance in Ireland against main rival Flutter Entertainment the owner of Paddy Power, Ireland’s largest gambling operator.