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888.com going strong despite declining bingo and poker verticals

Mon, Mar 18, 12:47pm by Staff Writer

Online casino 888.com has reported strong casino revenue to counter its declining bingo and poker verticals.

According to Casino Beats, the operator has reported an eight per cent decline for 2018 to $479.3 million, after posting $486.6 million in 2017.

Detailing growth across several markets, underpinned by a strong casino and sports based performance, 888’s launch of ‘Orbit’, which it calls a “new cutting edge web-based casino platform”, in addition to representing the company’s “most exciting casino product innovation of recent years.”

The UK introduction of Orbit saw higher conversion rates, increases in the number of games played by customers and uplifts in new players acquired.

888.com’s casino delivered an eight per cent increase to $317.6 million, as well as a 16 per cent jump in active players. Excluding the UK, casino revenue has increased by 17 per cent.

888.com withdrew from Poland and Australia among other markets, which made it a challenging year for the operator.

They did launch an expanded European interstate network, that saw poker revenues dip 37 per cent to $49 million, with active players dropping eight per cent.

Despite profit dropping nearly $30 million on the product in the past 12 months, it “remains committed to the poker market and confident of its long-term opportunities.”

The group’s bingo offering is predominately focused on the UK market, but was also challenged in 2018.

In 2017, bingo brought in $39.3 million for 888.com, whereas in 2018 that figure dropped to $32.4 million.

Last year’s FIFA World Cup provided the bookie with a strong windfall, with effective marketing investment and a number of events for customers to bet on across the football markets drove strong sports-based results.

A six per cent increase in sports betting spend followed, with the figure of $80.3 million up on $75.5 million from a year ago.

There was also a 21 per cent increase in first time deposits and excluding the UK, these percentages are nudged further still to 18 and 28 per cent.

CEO happy with strategic progress

The chief executive officer of 888.com Itai Pazner took the reigns of the company from Itai Freiberger and said, “in my first report as CEO, I am delighted to update 888’s stakeholders on the significant strategic progress made by the group during 2018, since the start of 2019.

“Amongst other initiatives, we have continued our geographic expansion by obtaining important new licenses, launched our most significant product innovation in recent years in the form of Orbit and a new casino format,” Mr Pazner said.

“We have also announced three new acquisitions including delivering on our long-stated ambition to add proprietary sports betting technology to 888,” he said.

“Despite headwinds in some areas of the business, the financial performance in 2018 was resilient and we achieved a record EBITDA outcome for the year.”

Mr Pazner said this growth could be attributed to expansion into regulated markets, primarily in Europe, as well as continuing the momentum on casino and sport.

In its report, 888 also touched on a number of strategic manoeuvres it made during the year, primarily the development of its US market.

The company acquired 53 per cent interest in the All American Poker Network for $28.5 million. They also launched 888 New Jersey and sponsorship of the New York Jets NFL franchise.

New licenses were also obtained in Sweden and Malta at the end of 2018, with Portugal another new market they will be venturing into in the near future.

Pazner added that, “in the UK, we are encouraged by the improving trends we began to witness in the latter stages of 2018, and the board is pleased to report that these have continued during the first quarter of the current financial year.”


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