Regulated and taxed market growth fuels 888 Q1 uptake

888 Holdings has underlined its confidence in delivering on its 2021 financial expectations and corporate objectives, following a strong opening to its full-year trading.   

Publishing its trading results for Q1 2021, 888 registered a substantial increase in revenue driven chiefly by expansion in regulated markets and growth across all core product channels. 

The group reported an overall revenue increase of 56%, rising to $272.5 million in comparison to the previous year’s Q1 figure of $164.6 million, of which 76% was driven by growth in regulated markets, particularly in the UK, Italy, Spain, Romania and Portugal.

Expansion in these regulated and taxed sectors was chiefly driven by B2C operations, which experienced a 57% increase to $262.8 million, led by a 68% growth in revenue for the firms’ casino division to $195.2 million.

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, said: “The strong momentum in 2020 has continued into the first quarter of 2021, with a new all-time-high for FTDs and revenues, although year-on-year trends were partly inflated by the disruption to sporting events at the end of the prior year period, and increased demand for digital entertainment during this period across our main markets.”

888 has also attributed its Q1 success to offering a ‘differentiated product range,’ particularly regarding its sportsbook platform, which saw a 53% increase in earnings to $41.6 million following the ‘successful deployment’ in regulated markets.

The success of 888 Casino in the quarter has been heavily influenced, the operator stated, by major content launches including a number of Playtech titles, an expansion of its live dealer range and releases from 888’s Section 8 in-house studio, which launched popular titles such as Mad Max Fury Road.

Additionally, the group’s 888 Poker brand expanded by 10% to generate earnings of $14.7 million – largely attributed to the Poker8 product and ‘Made to Play marketing campaign – whilst bingo takings grew by 8% to $11.4 million.

“Our differentiated products and our data-driven marketing continued to underpin strong progress, supported by a favourable industry backdrop,” Pazner added.

“We are particularly pleased with the strong performance of our new proprietary 888sport platform, which is already servicing the majority of bets while maintaining strong customer service levels and highly effective risk management and trading.”

Success for the casino, bingo and poker offerings has also been attributed to the group’s continued product investment as well as development of artificial intelligence, which the operator largely credits for creating ‘an enhanced personalised experience’ to Bingo players. 

This enhanced product range also contributed to a betting net win margin of 8%, an increase in the 2020 stat of 6.8%, although 888 also stated that this should be considered in combination with favourable sporting results. 

Furthermore, stakes increased by 38%, but the firm continued to emphasise its responsible betting commitments by maintaining investment in player safeguarding initiatives as well as products from the Control Centre, its safer gambling suite.

Pazner concluded: “We remain very pleased with the strong momentum in the business and the continued positive customer reaction to our suite of new products and innovations. 

“As a result, and underpinned by the Group’s strengths as a product-centric, responsible, and diversified operator, the Board believes that 888 has an outstanding platform to deliver continued strategic progress during 2021 and beyond.”

Although reporting a successful first quarter, 888 anticipates a ‘tougher comparative period’ impacting year-on-year trends for the remainder of 2021, notably predicted regulatory and compliance changes, as well as the effect of the reopening of retail and leisure venues across various regulated markets.

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