BoyleSports, Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker, has entered the UK retail market with the purchase of Midlands bookmaker Wilf Gilbert.
The transaction will see BoyleSports acquire the 13 Wilf Gilbert stores at Solihull, Rowley Regis, Coseley, Cradley Heath, Dudley, Gornal Wood, Coventry (3), Balsall Heath, Netherton, Studley, and Smethwick.
The acquisition marks the beginning of a rapid expansion plan in the UK retail market. BoyleSports is already in active negotiations with a number of other bookmaking chains and is inviting other regional bookmakers interested in discussing a sale to get in touch.
BoyleSports recently secured a retail gaming license in the UK to complement its existing online gaming license and to facilitate its retail move.
BoyleSports will invest significantly to give the shops best-in-class screens and facilities.
Conor Gray, chief executive of BoyleSports 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.”
“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. The shops will have comfortable furniture, free refreshments and access to free Wi-Fi, and will provide a safe, regulated and enjoyable experience for both existing and new UK betting customers.”
“As we enter into this new jurisdiction we would like to take this opportunity to put on record our sincere thanks to Graham Gilbert, his sons Graham and Tom and the staff at Wilf Gilbert. They have been great to work with and we look forward to carrying on the excellent work that Graham and his team have delivered over numerous decades.”
Graham Gilbert, the outgoing owner manager of Wilf Gilbert said: “When it came to looking for a new owner who would take charge of a business which has been in our family for generations we looked for a company that would invest to secure the future of our staff and to ensure our loyal customers receive the best possible service. We are confident that we have found that company in BoyleSports. Knowing what BoyleSports has achieved in the very competitive Irish market I feel they have the potential to transform retail betting in the UK.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for their many years of loyal service and to assure our customers that they could not be in better hands.”