BoyleSports has confirmed it is seeking to establish a UK retail presence in the first quarter of 2019, expanding its network of 250 Irish betting offices.
The bookmaker will look to complement its UK igaming license with a high-street portfolio, acquired from rival operators.
“BoyleSports can confirm that it is in advanced talks with a number of groups in the UK with a view to having a high-street presence in the first quarter of 2019,” said Boylesports spokesman Lawrence Lyons.
The announcement may come as a surprise to the company’s Irish workforce, who in October received a letter from BoyleSports management stating it would take steps to “safeguard our business,” following betting tax increase proposals.
The doubling of tax to two percent in the Irish Budget 2019 caused BoyleSports to caution staff what impact “this poorly-considered policy will have on the sector, our business, us and our families.”
The expansion discussions, reportedly set to be concluded by March, also follow warnings by William Hill of 900 UK retail closures as new £2 FOBT restrictions come into effect in April, with Paddy Power Betfair predicting a 2.6 percent downturn in group revenue.
However, BoyleSports has been poised to enter the UK market for a number of years, with 2016 seeing the firm lose out to rival Betfred in a bid to acquire 300 betting shops relinquished through the Ladbrokes and Coral merger.
“If you have a retail presence, it will help your digital business,” said CEO Conor Gray in April. “We have an ambition to be in the UK.”