888 flexes tech and product muscle as company upgrades all 2020 forecasts 

Reporting growth across all core metrics and strong progress on its year objectives, 888 Holdings has upgraded its full-year 2020 earnings to be ‘significantly ahead of its prior expectations’. 

Publishing its 2020 interim results (period ending 30 June), 888 has recorded a 37% increase in group revenues to $379 million (H12019: $277m) which the company stated was largely driven by the strong growth of its B2C verticals.

A breakdown of business segments saw 888 report combined B2C revenues of $361 million, up 38% on corresponding 2019’s $262 million. 888 highlighted a strong take-up of its online casino offering during H1 trading, which increased by 48% to $260 million (H12019: $175m). 

Further revenue highlights also saw 888 reports strong engagement with its new online poker platform, which reported a 56% increase in revenues to $36 million (H1 2019: $23m), reflecting a 103% increase in first-time depositors (FTDs) during the period.

Of note, 888 stated that its B2C growth was generated as the company implemented new player safety algorithms during a COVID-19 disrupted period which monitor player engagements with its games and services. 

Furthermore, 888 has maintained its core corporate objective of sustaining growth across regulated and taxed markets, in which the company generated 73% of group revenue during the interim period. 

Despite COVID-19 creating an ‘unprecedented environment’ for sports trading, 888 stated that it was able to mitigate wagering impacts as its 888Sports division saw revenues decline by just 1% to £44 million (H12019: US$44.5 million) – with the unit delivering a performance ‘above management expectations’.

As a result of its regulated markets casino and poker growth, 888 noted that operating expenses increased by a significant 36% to $95 million, with the company underlining that it had paid combined gaming duties of $70 million.

Despite absorbing higher operational costs, 888 delivered an adjusted H1 EBITDA of $70 million, up 56% on 2019’s $45 million. Closing its H1 accounts, 888 declared a 130% increase in corporate profits to $51 million (H12019: $22m). 

Upgrading its 2020 earnings forecast, 888 governance underlined that the firm’s end of year performance will be driven by the full launch of its new poker client across all regulated markets and the launch of its proprietary sportsbook within the UK and Sweden, boosted by the return of sports.   

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, commented: “888 has performed very well throughout the first half of 2020 with robust year-on-year growth in revenue and Adjusted EBITDA of 37% and 56% respectively. 

“This outcome reflects the Group’s continued strong levels of customer acquisition, general consumer trends towards increased use of online services especially during the COVID-19 lockdown period and 888’s relentless focus on product leadership. 

“888 is looking forward to delivering further product enhancements including the launch of our proprietary sportsbook in the UK early next year. In addition, we are continuing to invest in safe gambling tools and will begin the roll-out of a new customer-centric safe gambling feature called the ‘Control Centre’ later this year that will offer customers an improved interface to help them understand better their gambling behaviour.”

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