Boylesports acquires Wilf Gilbert betting shops and enters UK retail market

boylesports uk market

Ireland's second largest betting firm Boylesports have entered the UK retail market following the acquisition of 13 betting shops from Midlands-based bookmaker Wilf Gilbert.

The Irish operator have expressed their interests in entering the UK market for around a decade and now have the opportunity with over a dozen premises although the company have no plans to stop there.

Chief Executive Connor Gray said:​

With the purchase of the Wilf Gilbert group of shops we have realised our long-term goal to bring to the UK retail betting public the same quality of service and shops that BoyleSports’ Irish retail customers have enjoyed for years. Of course our ambition does not end with this group of shops. We are looking for other opportunities to grow our estate and hope to add more stores over the summer months and beyond.

In 2016, Boylesports put forward a £100 million offer to acquire 350 shops from Ladbrokes Coral, only to be outbid by Betfred and Stan James. 

Boylesports enter the UK market at a time when many bookmakers have been forced to close their doors due to tough government regulations, specifically, FOBT's stake reduction to just £2. Unfazed by the current situation of the retail market, the recent acquisition of 13 locations is what the Irish bookmaker now hopes to be the start of a rapid expansion in UK, with plans to open 100 betting shops by the end of 2019.

FOBT's are not a presence in Irish bookmakers and Boylesports believe that their ability to thrive without them will help them in the UK market.

Regarding FOBT's, Connor Gray said:

"The FOBT stake-reduction legislation will radically change the UK's retail betting environment."

"As a company that has never operated FOBTs we hope to help drive that change by transforming each of the shops within this group into world-class betting lounges with a wide variety of betting available on state-of-the-art screens and interactive terminals, with comfortable furniture, free refreshments and access to free wifi, that will provide a safe, regulated and enjoyable experience for both existing and new UK betting customers."

Their presence on the high street will undoubtedly give more exposure to their website from which they hope to grow their customer base as a result.

Boylesports was founded in 1982 and launched online in 2007. The operator runs a number of betting offers for customers with the majority being focused around horse racing which are popular among matched bettors.