‘Product leadership strategy’ in regulated markets key to 888 success

888 Holdings has published its full results for the year ending 31 December, reporting strong growth driven by success in regulated markets and a varied product range.

The FTSE250 group’s overall revenue increased to $849.7 million, up 52% from the 2019 figure of $560.3 million. In addition, the firm reported adjusted EBITDA of $155.6 million – or 18.3% – up from the previous year’s $92.1 million.

According to the group, revenue from regulated markets was a prime driver behind growth in 2020, with earnings from such markets representing 73% of total revenue, an increase of 58%.

Italy, the US and the UK were specifically highlighted as contributing to the operator’s 2020 success. It recorded a 43% increase in customers in Italy, driving its growth in the Italian market by 69%, which the operator attributes to ‘the strength of the 888 brand and the success of its differentiated products’. 

Meanwhile, ‘strong acquisition trends across all product verticals’ supported an expansion in the British market, with a 63% growth in UK revenues outlined.

Despite recording positive results for 2020, the group acknowledges that challenges lie ahead, with regulatory and compliance changes expected to provide strong headwinds to the operator’s 2021 revenue predictions of $70-100 million.

Of 888’s four primary offerings, casino proved to be the most lucrative product. It generated revenue of $586, representing a 63% expansion from 2019, whilst sportsbook accounted for £122 million of its overall earnings, an yearly increase of 35.7%.

Bingo and Poker, meanwhile, accumulated revenues of $63.1 million and $42.3 million, an annual growth of 47.8% and 9.9% respectively.

Positive trading in the increasingly regulated US market also contributed to the group’s successful trading year, with the firm expanding its presence to seven regulated states, whilst investment in New Jersey in particular was underlined as being key to its 71% revenue growth in the sector.

“2020 was a landmark year for 888, with our team navigating the many challenges presented by a global pandemic to deliver record financial results, and significant progress against our strategic priorities,” said Itai Pazner, CEO of 888.

“Our product-leadership strategy delivered outstanding results in 2020, with the launch of our ground-breaking Control Centre, our first ever in-house sportsbook, and a totally new poker platform.”

888 emphasised the significance of its ‘Safer, Better, Stronger’ initiative, launching its Control Centre to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for safer-gambling tools, continually developing its customer-monitoring Observer technology and utilising social media, TV and print channels to distribute its ‘too much is too much’ responsible betting campaign.

Pazner remarked: “Our focus on delivering safe, intuitive, content-rich and entertaining products is helping us to deliver a differentiated customer experience and supporting our market share gains in key regulated markets.”

The expansion of the operator’s sportsbook offering saw it launch across multiple markets, enabling the group ‘to control all aspects of the sports betting proposition’ as well as ‘innovate and deploy product-centric features’.

Furthermore, ‘content rich and entertaining products’ were identified as playing a central role in the group’s success in the regulated markets, particularly Poker8, which supported 48% revenue growth throughout the year.

“We welcomed a record number of new members to our brands, nearly one and a half million, with our differentiated products and our big data supporting highly effective marketing,” the CEO concluded.

“We are pleased with our continued progress in the U.S., and with three new states set to launch in 2021, we are poised to see the scale benefits of our investments here. We enter 2021 with strong momentum, with a record level of customers, and with a positive reaction to our suite of new products and innovations.”

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