Solid half year progress for


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

300 percent upswing in H1 earnings reported

Latest results from the Gibraltar-based online gambling group 888 Holdings plc once again show the resilience of major companies in the industry, expanding operations in new markets and recovering well from the impact of the US market closure last year.

The company has reported growth of nearly 300 percent in earnings from continued operations as it successfully refocused the business following the Amercian debacle triggered by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act last October.

Pretax profit from continued operations for the six months to end June totaled US$19 million compared with US$5 million the previous year. The numbers were significantly higher than those forecast by broker Numis Securities of US$16.4 million.

Net gaming revenue from continuing operations increased by 24 percent to US$97 million from US$78 million the year before.

"These results prove clearly that, in spite of the signing into law of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act in October last year, which saw the business lose the majority of our 26 million registered customers and 55 percent of our revenues, the turnaround we had begun to achieve at the full year has been successful," said chief executive Gigi Levy in releasing the latest numbers.

Levy added that the second half has 'started strongly' with record turnover in July, which is traditionally one of the seasonally weakest months of the year.

"This start to the second half, the continuous growth in bingo, our strategic partnership deals, current trading and our clear business strategy makes us confident of delivering further growth in 2007," he said.

888 said it has activated more marketing campaigns outside the US than ever before, with a wider strategic focus than previously on key local target markets, including its sponsorships of Sevilla and the World Snooker Championship.

The company said the success of these sponsorship activities has been demonstrated in a recent survey showing to have the highest level of brand awareness of any gaming and betting website in the UK.

888 has also moved into white-labelling through strategic partnerships. The first, announced in February, was with Riley's snooker halls in the UK (see previous InfoPowa reports).

In tandem with its results, the company announced an new deal with Tower Torneos, one of the biggest gaming operators in Latin America.

Plans for the second half include additional games with a focus on local games, a content delivery platform which will provide its active customers with premium content free of charge and at least one additional channel to market on top of internet, mobile and aircraft passenger-entertainment (for non-real-money games) which has already been launched, upgraded casino and poker versions in all languages and the introduction of 888's first non-English Bingo offering.

The company remains on track to deliver its first sports betting proposition in Italy and continues to work on introducing sports betting in additional markets.

"Given the good start to Q3, the continuous growth in Bingo, our strategic partnership deals, current trading and our clear business strategy, we remain confident of delivering further growth in 2007," said Levy.

The Gibraltar-based firm said it was in talks with US authorities over possible retrospective prosecution (see previous InfoPowa reports), but it was too early to predict the outcome.

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