Although online bookmaker and casino operator 888 faced a sharp fall in UK revenue as the firm faced a regulatory crackdown on the sector, the total revenue have risen thanks to other regulated markets and US opportunities.
The online gaming operator has released a half-year report for the six-month period ending on 30 June and revealed a significant change in numbers.
888 posted a pre-tax profit of $60.1 million compared with a $17.3 million loss in the same period in 2017. Adjusted profit before tax also increased by 13% to $42.5 million with adjusted EBIDTA increasing by 10% to $52.4 million.
ItaiFrieberger, CEO of 888, commented the release of the half-year report.
“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.”
Revenue was up by 5% to $283.9 million driven by growth in Spain and Italy. Sport revenue increased 34% and casino revenue increased by 24% excluding the UK.
Looking it all together, sport and casino revenue increased by 11% and 10%, respectively, while bingo revenue decreased by 11% to $17.6 million due to the regulatory “scrutiny” in the UK. This all comes a year after Gambling Commission decided to fine 888 with a record $10 million for “serious failings” in its handling the vulnerable customers.
Due to the technical failure in 888’s system, over 7,000 customers who have self-excluded from their platform were still able to access their accounts and deposit more than $4 million which went undetected for 13 months. Safeguarding customers is not optional for Gambling Commission and 888 had to put their protection of customers in order. They are working on their anti-money laundering processes and increasing customer due diligence and protection.
“These actions are not only the right thing to do but also position the group for long-term development and with a clear competitive advantage in what remains the world’s largest regulated online gaming market.”
Revenue from the UK now represents only 32% of total revenue, down from 39%.
When the Supreme Court Stroke down the 30-year PASPA law that limited sports betting, 888 saw its opportunity to expand. The 888 holdings launched 888Sport in New Jersey and extended an interstate poker network with an extension deal with Delaware Lottery and a contract with Kambi to include the US market.
The company also built a new data farm in Ireland and acquired a Malta gaming licence in order to continue to serve European markets just in case of “hard brexit”.
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