888 Holdings Continues To Grow As They Prepare For William Hill Deal


888 Holdings plc (LSE: 888), a leading online betting and gaming company, recently announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2021.

In details, the group revenue increased of 15% to $980.1m, with double-digit B2C growth in most of its core and growth markets. Revenue from regulated and taxed markets represented 74% out of total revenue with 17% growth from these markets. The company declared no final dividend, as they prepare for the pending William Hill transaction, with no change to the group’s dividend policy. 

Revenue from the Americas grew by 33.7% to $125.6m as many American gambling sites are featuring 888 in its listings.

The acquisition of the non-US assets of William Hill is expected to complete in Q2 2022. The deal would deliver meaningful scale benefits, as well as building leading positions in some of its high priority markets, underpinned by a portfolio of brands with the introduction of William Hill and Mr Green, an online casino operator, licensed and regulated in the United Kingdom. 

Revenue from ‘core’ markets (UK; Italy; Spain) were up 18%, from ‘growth’ markets were up 26%, including growth in Canada, Romania, and Ireland. 

888 also launched 888sport in Germany on a local licence, powered by its in-house sportsbook platform, and was awarded a licence in Virginia and Ontario. The company launched World Series of Poker in Pennsylvania and over 870 new casino games during 2021, bringing the current library to approximately 3,000 games. 

The proposed acquisition of William Hill, which will almost triple the size of the business, is expected to deliver returns, including substantial synergies while the announced sale of its bingo business is enabling the company to increase the focus on core growth opportunities. 

Led by Itai Pazner, CEO, 888 is one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming companies developing technology and products that provide fair and safe online betting and gaming entertainment to customers around the world. The Group is structured into two lines of business: B2C, under the 888 brands, and B2B, conducted through Dragonfish, which provides partners a platform through which to establish an online gaming presence and monetize their own brands in a safe and responsible way.

The company plans to launch in several new markets during 2022, including Ontario, 3-4 additional states with SI Sportsbook, and potentially relaunching in the Netherlands on a locally regulated basis. It also expects to launch poker on a B2B basis in Michigan pending regulatory approval. 

In the CEO business review, Pazner underlined the framework to deliver long-term growth via a new strategy built around 3 areas, focusing on key markets, investing in sustainable competitive advantage, and engaging in mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

The core markets are UK, Italy and Spain while growth markets typically regulating or newly-regulated markets that have attractive long-term growth potential. In addition, the nascent US online betting and gaming market presents a significant long-term strategic opportunity for 888, leveraging technology and operating capabilities in partnership with American Sports Illustrated brand through SI Sportsbook. Finally, the company aims to expand across long-term investment markets by investing to build leading market positions, through either M&A or partnerships and collaborations. Outside of these markets, 888’s global capabilities and multi-jurisdictional licences enable the company to serve customers from over 100 additional countries, in a compliant and low-risk way. 

The sustainable competitive advantages is built around its core capabilities, such as product and content leadership, world class brands, and by delivering a quality customer experience. 

888 has a systematic approach to M&A activity, focusing its efforts on continuing to assess a range of potential expansion opportunities, across both established and emerging markets.

The sale of its bingo business for up to $50m to a division of Broadway Gaming was made to increase focus on its core growth strategy including US expansion.