BoyleSports acquires William Hill stores in Northern Ireland

Darnell Taylor
January 13, 2020

United Kingdom gambling operator William Hill is set to beat analysts' estimates for annual profit, despite heavy regulatory pressure in domestic and global markets, the company said in its latest trading update.

BoyleSports is estimated to have charged between £ 10 m and £ 15 m for William Hill's 33 betting shops across Northern Ireland as well as two shops in the Isle of Man.

Experts said the £13.6bn merger of casino firms Eldorado and Caesars in the U.S. could open up further opportunities for United Kingdom bookies such as William Hill, which are hoping to break into the country's newly legalised sports betting market.

Whilst William Hill reduces its retail exposure, Irish counterpart BoyleSports has viewed FOBTs highstreet disruptions as the flawless storm in which to launch its United Kingdom profile.

At present, BoyleSports operates 259 shops in the Republic of Ireland and six outlets in Northern Ireland. Bruce has previously warned about the implications of the increased betting tax.

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The Irish brand's United Kingdom expansion began in 2019 when it purchased a small network of independent sportsbooks in the English Midlands. 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.

Chief executive Conor Gray said the deal had realised BoyleSports' long-held ambition of developing "a meaningful retail presence across Northern Ireland". The gambling operator used to rely heavily on revenue from its retail operations, but was seeking to improve its digital arm's performance and expand its regulated United States sports betting presence to offset the losses it has and would suffer from the clampdown of FOBTs.

British bookmaker William Hill Plc WMH.L on Monday forecast annual profit ahead of analysts' estimates, powered by favourable sporting results in December, and said it expects its US business to break-even for the year.

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

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