Increased revenue despite disruption
Gambling giant 888 Holdings PLC has announced a surprising boost to its revenue despite predicting a severe disruption in March. The company expected to lose a significant chunk of income when sports shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The company attributes the good news to more people taking up online gambling during the lockdown and a rise in poker players joining the site.
Daily revenue 34% higher
In a Friday pre-close trading update, 888 reported that its average daily revenue from January 1 to June 23 was 34% higher than in 2019. Chief executive officer Itai Pazner credits some of his company’s success to the recent restarts of Germany’s Bundesliga and the UK Premier League.
“We have seen a better-than-expected customer reaction to the gradual return of sports events during recent weeks and, during June so far, our sport revenue run-rate has been ahead of June 2019,” Pazner said.
safe and entertaining destination for recreational poker players”
888 has also seen a jump in online poker traffic during the worldwide lockdowns. Pazner viewed this as a “particularly encouraging performance” for its poker offering, which he described as a “safe and entertaining destination for recreational poker players.”
Mood has improved
This latest statement is a marked change in tone for the company after forecasting in March that it expected a profit slump because of the cancellation of sporting events. The sports betting vertical accounted for 16% of 888’s profits in 2019. The company warned of losses in the “high single-digit millions of dollars” despite ending last year with momentum.
Shares in 888 Holdings on Friday morning jumped by 13% to 171p ($2.11). The company is listed on the FTSE 250 index.
well-placed to push down on the marketing accelerator and take the lead”
Analysts at Peel Hunt also seemed positive about the news, crediting 888 as “well-placed to push down on the marketing accelerator and take the lead.”
On the future of online gambling it added: “Lockdown has been negative for gambling revenue overall, but it has clearly accelerated the lane change to online.”