Boylesports owner John Boyle opens up to the Independent.ie about his battles with the booze and how it led to him creating Ireland’s largest chain of privately owned bookmakers.
From behind the wheel of a bread van to a Rolls Royce Phantom, life has been pretty good to the Boylesports owner, John Boyle, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing.
The owner of the largest collection of privately owned bookmakers in Ireland has opened his heart in a series of articles produced for the Independent.ie recently.
Boyle, 57, told the site that before he got into the gambling game he was suffering with a drink problem, when he lost his job at the age of 25 and had no means of supporting his wife and two children, with a third on its way.
Inspired by working at his fathers betting shop on weekends Boyle took the best punt of his life when he lent £6,000 from his father and bought his first shop. The Boylesports brand is now emblazoned across 194 Irish stores, in a wonderful rags to riches success story.
As a privately-owned company Boylesports financial details are kept in Boyle’s top draw, but it’s believed they are turning over sales of €1bn a year. In fact things are so good that Boyle has agreed to pay out a bonus for the first time in seven years.
Boyle was also recently in the news for purchasing his own headquarters in Dundalk, revealing plans to purchase more of the retail space that he is currently leasing, and taking the Boylesports brand into the UK.
Not bad for a man who once battled borderline depression for seven years as he began building his empire, who also revealed that he tried to buy the Tote when it came up for bidding back in 2005.
Betfred eventually won that little tussle, but Boyle told the Independent.ie that, ‘”We had three banks willing to lend us €400m. All I can say is thank God it collapsed. At the time we were interested and serious. I was over there for six months, with the returns of what they got over the next four or five years. We most definitely wouldn’t have been able to make it.”