Boylesport take lease on Browne's bookmakers

One of the top Independent bookies lease family premises

Dónal Nolan

The rising cost of TV licensing was a key factor in the decision of a famous Listowel bookmaking family to lease their William Street premises to Boylesport.

Eric Browne of Browne's Bookmakers in Listowel told The Kerryman this week that the decision had not been taken lightly, in a 'sad but proud' moment for the family.

Alongside son Berkie, Eric built one of the strongest independent bookmaking operations in Munster - on the foundations of a family tradition in the business stretching back to his great-grandfather.

The father-son duo opened the William Street bookies 25 years ago in the Browne family home.

Given the long-standing family bookmaking tradition the Boylesport lease has proved a sad decision. But it was a proud moment too given the recognition by a major company in the strong performance of the family firm over many years.

Boylesport's move is also against the background of bye-laws prohibiting the opening of any new bookmaking shops in Listowel, finally giving them a foothold in the race-mad town.

Coming in the run-up to Cheltenham it made for a busy week of it in the Browne household. "We're keeping the building as it's the family home and we'll still be working away at meetings just without the shop.

"The licensing of TV rights and all that was just getting too costly altogether and that played a big part in our decision to lease. Berkie and I opened the shop 25 years ago. Berkie is the fifth generation of Browne bookmaker after my great-grandfather Percy; grandfather Paddy, my father Berkie and myself," Eric said.