888 set to hit 2019 targets after strong finish to year
888 Holdings has said it is on track to achieve adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in line with expectations for 2019, after the online gaming operator was boosted by a record revenue performance in December.
Although the operator did not publish any figures, it said in a post-close trading update that its performance during the 12 months to 31 December, 2019 was underpinned by ongoing success with its Orbit casino platform and further growth in sports betting.
In terms of casino, 888 said though poker remained challenging over the past year, it was pleased with the first-phase roll out of its new Poker 8 poker platform in the second half of the year.
888 plans to add a number of new product features to the platform in 2020, as well as rolling out the final-phase platform across all poker markets.
Focusing on geographical performance, 888 said that it continued to increase revenue in the UK as a result of efforts to engage with recreational customers. In Italy, 888 saw further growth during the second half of the year, primarily due to the continued success of its casino business.
For the Spanish market, 888 noted that the launch of competitors' shared poker liquidity networks between Spain, Portugal and France impacted revenue in the country. However the operator said it was encouraged by the early performance of its shared liquidity network between Portugal and Spain, which launched in July.
In addition, 888 highlighted continued progress in the Swedish and Romanian regulated markets throughout the past year, resulting in the percentage of revenue generated from regulated markets increasing year-on-year.
“The group has delivered solid progress in the second half of the financial year underpinned by continued momentum in casino and sport,” 888 chief executive Itai Pazner said. “We are very encouraged by the growth in new customers during 2019 with a record of more than one million new customers signing up to 888's brands during the year.”
Following the acquisition of Irish sports betting operator Betbright in March, Pazner added that the operator will continue to invest to support its long-term growth plans.
“The post-merger integration plan is progressing in line with expectations and 888 remains on track to launch its first proprietary sport product during the first half of 2020,” he said. “New product development has remained a key focus and competitive advantage for 888 and the success of our Orbit platform across multiple regulated markets during 2019 has been a major achievement for the group.
“We have delivered a strong recovery in our UK business underpinned by a clear and unwavering focus on entertaining recreational customers in a safe and secure environment. Continuous investment in further enhancing responsible gaming processes and tools across all markets will remain a key focus for the group.
“888 has entered 2020 with good momentum across several regulated European markets and, underpinned by further investment in our team, marketing and product development, we remain focused on achieving further progress in the US.”