888 profits rise as focus shifts from UK to US

By Harrison Sayers

888 Holdings profits have risen, with US opportunities and less of a dependency on the UK targeted for future growth.

The online gaming operator has released its half-year report for the six months ended 30 June 2018, revealing a turnaround in pre-tax profit from a $17m loss in 2017 to a $60.1m gain in 2018.

As a result, adjusted profit before tax also increased by 13% to $42.5m, with adjusted EBITDA increasing by 10% to $52.4m.

However, revenues only increased by 1%, a 5% decline at constant currency, as 888’s B2B business declined by 4% to $26.5m, and B2C revenues increased 2% to $246.7m.

Sport and casino revenues rose by 34% and 24% excluding the UK, growing 11% and 10% overall, with bingo falling by 11% to $17.6m, reflecting “heightened regulatory scrutiny in the UK."

Itai Frieberger, CEO of 888, commented: “We have maintained strong momentum in Casino and Sport particularly in continental European markets. In the UK, we are pleased to report that since the period end we have started to see positive trends in revenue.”

Declining bingo revenues and faster sports revenue growth in Italy and Spain are not the only reasons 888 is now looking to further diversify away from the UK market.

888 will build a new data farm in Ireland and acquire a Malta gaming licence to continue to serve European markets in case a “hard Brexit” challenges Gibraltar’s right to rely on EU freedom of services.

The repeal of PASPA also presented opportunities for 888 to broaden its horizons, launching 888Sport in New Jersey, extending an interstate poker network – a two-year extension with the Delaware Lottery – and extending a contract with Kambi to include the US market.

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