I recently wrote a piece on the difficulties facing the Irish operation of Ladbroke’s Bookmakers which entered a period of examinership a number of weeks back. It is believed part of this strategy is in an attempt to renegotiate rates paid to shop landlords, many of which were established during the Celtic Tiger years at premium prices.
This story has taken a twist however. The Irish Times reports that Boylesports have now entered the fray and are attempting to take over Ladbrokes Operations in Ireland. Should Boylesports be successful they will become the largest bookmaker chain in Ireland and save many of the shops and jobs threatened by Ladbrokes’ current difficulties. The bid is subject to approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
The landscape of Irish bookmakers is changing quite rapidly in recent times. The market is becoming far more concentrated. Independent turf accountants are becoming few and far between. Celtic Bookmakers was taken over in 2011, while Hacketts Bookmakers reduced the number of shops it operates in early 2014, which some closures and others taken over by Paddy Power.
The Ladbrokes/Boylesports case will be one to watch closely.