888 Holdings reports record profits

Business News

888 Holdings generated record underlying earnings last year, despite higher taxes and stricter regulations denting its performance in its core UK market.

The UK government has introduced tighter policies over the past year or so as it looks to crack down on underage gambling, money laundering and the exploitation of problem gamblers.

888 said it implemented “sweeping changes” in a bid to comply with the new regulations, while it also agreed to a self-imposed advertising watershed along with other bookmakers.

As a result, revenue in the UK, its second-largest market behind Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA), fell 16% in 2018.

Overall, group revenue fell 2% to US$529.9mln in the 12 months ended 30 December (2017: £541.8mln).

But adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) increased 6% year-on-year to US$107.1mln (2017: £100.7mln), boosted by strong showings in EMEA and Spain, and a successful football World Cup.

“Despite headwinds in some areas of the business, the financial performance in 2018 was resilient and we achieved a record EBITDA outcome for the year,” said chief executive Itai Pazner.

“The group achieved continued growth across several regulated markets, primarily in Continental Europe, underpinned by good momentum in Casino and Sport.”

“The positive momentum at the end of 2018 has continued into the first quarter of 2019 with average daily revenue in 2019 to date up 10% compared to Q4 2018 reflecting improvements across major KPIs.

“In the UK, we are encouraged by the improving trends we began to witness in the latter stages of 2018 and the board is pleased to report that these have continued during the first quarter of the current financial year.”