888 plots new expansion as revenue jumps

ONLINE gambling company 888 yesterday said it would expand further into Europe as it unveiled annual revenues that jumped by a quarter.

The group, which counts the UK as its largest market, said it would focus on growing in newly-regulated countries such as Spain and Denmark, after beginning operations in Italy last August.

888 posted annual pre-tax profits that were down 14 per cent to $13m (£8.14m) on revenues that grew 26 per cent to $331.1m. Ebitda almost doubled to $55.6m.

It paid out $7.3m in gaming taxes and duties, but can expect to pay more from 2014 due to the crackdown on gambling tax outlined in last week’s Budget.

Last week George Osborne announced that bets will be taxed by place of consumption rather than the location of the gambling company, many of which are held offshore.

888 will therefore be subject to an expected 15 per cent tax rate that it has so far managed to avoid. The group said its casino division accounted for $148m, or 45 per cent of revenues, with poker generating $60.6m and bingo contributing $54m in financial 2011.

888’s largest market is the UK, where it generated $153m last year, or 46 per cent of total revenues, which stood at $331m.

The group also confirmed Brian Mattingley will permanently assume the role of chief executive after holding the position on an interim basis for the last year.

Its shares climbed six per cent to 63p.