It has been a great year for 888 so far, breaking the $100m quarterly revenue barrier for first time. There are various reasons behind the record revenues of US$103m in Q1 2013; casino revenues rose to 13% mostly due to the launch of slots in Italy and Poker revenues climbed 15% to $24m.
London-listed 888 Holdings Plc´s CEO Brian Mattingley is obviously delighted by Q1 results. “Our excellent product offering, supported by our constantly innovative marketing and CRM capabilities, has helped us to deliver consistent growth and has positioned us well to take advantage of positive regulatory developments.” Says Mattingley. There was also an official statement from 888 which said “Our performance continues to be led by our core casino and poker products and we are continuing to experience increases in customer deposits, bets and first time depositors.”
888 is already looking for future growth in new markets such as USA, Italy and Spain. London-listed company was granted a license by Nevada Gaming Control Board last month via its deal with Las Vegas casino Treasure Island. “In Nevada we are awaiting final sign-off by the gaming control board on our software,” 888 CEO Brian Mattingley told Reuters on Tuesday, adding that its online poker product should be live by the third quarter and should start to see the full effects of more open U.S. markets from 2015.
Now, 888 has its eye on New Jersey, another state where a ban on Internet betting is being lifted. Although it is not as big as Nevada´s Las Vegas, New Jersey´s Atlantic City is another center for land-based American gambling. “I am optimistic that New Jersey might clear the way for both online casino and poker games when detailed legislation is finalized, rather than limiting it to poker as is the case in Nevada. I imagine we will start to see some really influential numbers to our business from 2015,” Says 888 CEO, adding that next year would involve a lot of marketing spending as companies jostle for position in the United States.
The prospects for a return to the United States helped drive a doubling in 888’s share price since the middle of 2012 and the company is now worth almost 600 million pounds.
Casino and sports betting is another battleground where 888 is gaining a lot of territory lately. Business in Italy had been boosted after the government allowed companies to offer online slot machine products and this has been one of the reasons behind the record revenue in Q1 2013. Online slot machine products are highly popular with gamblers playing Internet casino games. Spain is also expected to follow Italy and lift the ban on slots – effectively the online version of “one-arm bandit” arcade games.
In an analyst conference call 888 CEO said “There is an opportunity for the firm to become a “more serious player” in sports betting by moving into territories where sports betting is dominant in the online gambling business, namely Spain and Italy”. Before entering these new markets, 888 is looking to replace supplier for its sportsbook. In a statement, 888 said a deal with a new supplier for its sportsbook was “imminent”. 888´s sportbook is currently provided by Blue Square Bet whose assets and customer database bought by Betfair for £5m earlier this month. The company plans to offer online sports betting in both Italy and Spain by the summer.