The founder and chief executive of Dundalk-based bookmaker Boylesports, John Boyle, says he is retiring from his role as boss of the firm he set up more than 25 years ago, because he 'doesn't want to die with his boots on'.
Mr Boyle (61) has announced plans to step down later this year to become chairman of the company, which has 231 stores nationwide.
He told the Argus: 'I don't want to die with my boots on so It was always my intention to step back at some stage. We have a great senior management team at BoyleSports and an ambitious five-year plan for them to get their teeth into so there's never been a better time for me to hand over the reins'.
Debt-free and expanding, Boylesports now owns over 200 shops in Ireland and employs 1600 people between the impressive headquarters set-up and the betting outlets.
In 25 years, the former bread van driver Mr Boyle has gone from one shop in Markethill in Armagh to becoming a major and growing player in the betting sector, both physically and online, here and abroad, real and virtual.
Betting chain BoyleSports announced earlier this year they would spend €250,000 on rebranding the nine shops it bought from rival Bambury Bookmakers.
The independent bookie, which now controls one-in-four betting shops in Ireland after its deal with rival Bambury was approved by the competition watchdog earlier this year, aims to have the shops rebranded and refurbished within a fortnight. In an interview with the Argus in 2015, he said: 'This business is changing. I think retail will always have a life, but people are playing online now, people have their mobiles and bet using them. We are no different from any other business and technology is changing everything. We have to look at the trends, what's the biggest growth areas'.
Boylesports have around a 24% share of the market in Ireland.