Sport and casino performance drives 888 revenue growth

4 June 2019

Online gaming operator 888 has cited the performance of both its sports betting and casino operations as the key drivers behind a 6% year-on-year increase in revenue during the first 15 weeks of the year.

Revenue was up 6% on a like-for-like basis and constant currency for the period from January 1 to May 18 this year, adjusted for the migration of Cashcade Bingo from its bingo platform and the acquisition of both Costa bingo and AAPN. In terms of reported results, revenue climbed 2% year-on-year.

The operator did not provide any revenue figures in the trading update, which has been issued ahead of its Capital Markets Day today (June 4).

Revenue was boosted both by increased marketing investment and the launch of 888’s new Orbit Casino platform, which it said together have helped to drive new customer acquisition up 20% year-on-year.

Sports betting revenue was up 29% rise on a like-for-like basis in the period, with casino revenue also climbing 13%. In contrast, like-for-like poker revenue dipped 28%, while bingo revenue remained flat year-on-year.

888 noted particular success in the UK, where total revenue increased by 18% on a like-for-like basis and 8% on a reported basis. The operator has said this is in line with its UK customer focus, with the majority of UK revenue generated by recreational customers.

Taking into account this performance, the 888 board has said it is confident that the operator will achieve full-year results in line with initial expectations.

888 CEO, Itai Pazner, added: “888 has enjoyed a solid start to the year with strong momentum in casino and sport across a number of the Group’s major regulated markets. Whilst poker has remained challenging, we were pleased to see an improving revenue trend in Q1 2019 against Q4 2018.

“In addition, we are very encouraged by a 20% increase in first time depositors across the group’s B2C business in the period; this reflects 888's outstanding marketing capabilities and is a key indicator of our growth prospects.

“As a diversified operator that owns its own technology, the board continues to believe that 888 has a unique platform to deliver continued growth in the dynamic global online gaming industry.”

However, analysts at Regulus have taken a bleaker view of the update, saying the mid-single digit top-line growth is “hardly an encouraging performance for a business with global reach”, adding that this points to continued market share losses.

Regulus added that the operator’s UK growth comes amid “very easy competition” and that success in the UK is the main reason behind its overall revenue increase, thus suggesting “a mixed and lacklustre performance in markets which should be growing more strongly”.

The trading update comes after 888 in March reported record EBITDA for the 12 months to December 31, 2018, despite seeing revenue slip 2% year-on-year to $540.6m (£426.5m/€479.7m).