BoyleSports Snaps Up William Hill's Irish Estate

By Martin Green12 January 2020
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BoyleSports Snaps Up William Hill's Irish Estate

BoyleSports has snapped up the William Hill estate of 33 betting shops in Northern Ireland in a deal worth between £12 million and £15 million. It makes BoyleSports the largest bookmaker on the island of Ireland, ahead of Paddy Power, with 298 shops. It is 38 years since founder John Boyle opened his first shop in Northern Ireland. Conor Gray, his son-in-law and chief executive at the firm, said: “BoyleSports are delighted to realise its long-held ambition to develop a meaningful retail presence across Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. This acquisition complements our existing retail network in Northern Ireland and our retail network in the Republic of Ireland while also representing a significant step in our long-stated ambition to develop our retail footprint across the UK.”

The FA has backed down and decided against renewing a controversial deal that allowed Bet365 to live stream FA Cup matches. The bookmaker has long been offering live streaming to punters that wager £5 or more on a match. Yet it became a hot topic during the recent FA Cup third round, when some games were only available to watch for customers of Bet365 and not for TV viewers. Sports Minister Nigel Adams said: “The gambling landscape has changed since this deal was signed in early 2017. All sports bodies need to be mindful of the impact that problem gambling can have on the most vulnerable. We are very angry as a Government as well with this arrangement.” The FA said it would review the media sales process for the 2024-25 season onwards, but Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan has hinted that she would like the FA to see if there was any way to terminate the deal early.

Betway has received a slap on the wrist after breaching advertising rules by using West Ham star Declan Rice in a YouTube ad. Betway sponsors the Hammers and Rice is one of their most important players, but Rice is under 25 and he should not have been used to promote gambling. The Advertising Standards Authority said the ad must not be shown again and warned the firm about its conduct. A Betway spokesman said: “Although the prank was genuinely intended as a stunt for content purposes rather than an advert, Betway fully accept the ASA ruling and have already removed the video.”

Paddy Power has been announced as the sponsor of the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, which takes place on Sunday, February 2. The move has allowed the prize purse to increase by €25,000 to €250,000 for the prestigious Grade 1 chase, which takes place over 3 miles. Patrick Desmond, racing director for Paddy Power Betfair, added: "This is the third year of the Dublin Racing Festival and it has now established itself as the definitive pre-Cheltenham race meeting. It's quality over quantity and with the Irish being so dominant at Cheltenham – and Aintree – the past few years this year’s renewal is a massive draw.” Parent company Flutter Entertainment has signed a commercial rights deal with Arena Racing Company, The Racing Partnership and At The Races to broadcast horse racing.

Shares in 888 dipped 1.7% this week despite the firm enjoying a record December. It said it is now confident of meeting its full-year target of reaching adjusted EBITDA of $85 million thanks to its strong second-half performance. Income continued to increase in the UK, its biggest market, thanks to its “sustained focus on engaging with and entertaining recreational customers”. “The group has delivered solid progress in the second half of the financial year underpinned by continued momentum in casino and sport,” said 888 chief executive Itai Pazner. “We are very encouraged by the growth in new customers during 2019 with a record of more than one million new customers signing up to 888's brands during the year.”