After losing a job as a bread delivery man, John Boyle started Boylesports in 1989. His timing was perfect. It positioned the company to capitalise on increased public interest in betting generally and on the explosion in online betting that was to follow soon after.
By 2004, Boylesports already had 77 betting shops and its internet business was booming. Since then, it has continued to expand, acquiring new shops and adding games, casino, poker, bingo and virtual racing to its online offering.
In 2011, Boylesports acquired 17 betting shops from Celtic Bookmakers and another 15 from William Hill – bringing its total to 182 shops and, at that time, making it the largest independent bookmaker in Ireland.
Boylesports is a significant sponsor of sporting events in both Ireland and the UK. In a move that helped it gain a foothold with UK football fans, the company sponsored Sunderland A.F.C. in the Premier League from 2007 through to 2011. It also served as the “official online gaming partner” for Aston Villa F.C. in the 2008/09 season, and for the Football Association of Ireland, from 2008 to 2013.
On the racing front, Boylesports has sponsored UK races at both Cheltenham and Newmarket. From 2011 to 2014, it served as the title sponsor for the opening day of the Leopardstown Festival. It also sponsors Boylesports.com Day at the Punchestown Festival and various greyhound races, at Dundalk International and the Coursing at Clonmel, Co Tipperary.
On the poker front, Boylesports has also been using sponsorships and events to make a name for itself. Since 2008, it has been responsible for organising the International Poker Open, which is the largest live poker event in Europe. The event, which is hosted in Dublin, typically attracts over 1,400 players, including the likes of Nicky Power, Padraig Parkinson and John O'Shea.