Spanish poker boom has 888 looking flush

DESPITE economic woe in Spain and Italy, online poker is proving more popular than ever, internet gambling firm 888 Holdings said yesterday.

The company said that better trading in the countries, as well as a boom in mobile gambling, had led to a 13 per cent rise in annual revenues to $376m (£239m).

Unlike many other London-listed online gambling firms, 888 has performed well in newly-regulated European markets. Spain, which introduced a regulated system last year, has seen online poker prove far more popular than most industry observers expected.

“Our success in Spain and Italy shows that we have the right product and technology led marketing to make significant inroads into new markets, and we will look to repeat that success in other regulating territories,” 888 chief executive Brian Mattingley said yesterday. “We are experiencing a significant increase in customer recruitment and revenue from mobile platforms and, given our focus and commitment to investment in mobile, see this is as just the beginning of an increasing trend.”

888 said most of the growth was driven by increasing revenues from poker, which were up 32 per cent in the final quarter of last year.

Casino revenue rose by around six per cent, while bingo fell 11 per cent due to “challenging and competitive market conditions”.