Wednesday 1 September 2021 10:54 am

Betting boom: Gambling giant 888 UK revenues surge over 50 per cent

Online gambling giant 888 has enjoyed an upbeat first half of the year as its total revenue has jumped 39 per cent, hinting that the lockdown betting boom is here to stay.

The company pulled in $528.4m in the six months to 30 June, up from $379.1m in the first half of 2020 – carried heavily by its betting division.

888 also posted over 50 per cent growth in its UK revenues, while its global betting revenue surged 71 per cent in the period, reaping the rewards of easing restrictions and more financial freedom for its consumers.

Shares were up 3.97 per cent to 423.8p per share in its afternoon trading.

However, the company noted that revenues throughout July and August began to slow down, as the reopening of retail and leisure venues drew its customers away from its platforms.

Gross profits hit $352.4m in the period, surging 40 per cent on the $250.9m it pulled in during the same period a year prior.

The group reaped the rewards of a lockdown betting and gaming boom, which saw freshly homebound consumers looking for entertainment while social activities were severely restricted.

“The strong momentum from 2020 continued into the first half of 2021, with growth driven primarily by regulated markets, where we believe ongoing market share gains continue to reflect our product-leadership strategy,” CEO Itai Pazner said in a statement.

“We made significant strategic progress in the first half, securing a long-term strategic partnership with Sports Illustrated to strengthen our position in the US.”

The combination of sturdy revenue and gross profits have secured an extra $34m in net cash, 48 per cent more than the betting giant held last year.

Growth was also recorded in the company’s basic share earnings, which rose 11 per cent to 13.7 cents a share.

The CEO added that “the group remains well positioned to deliver further strategic progress during 2021 and beyond.”

‘Record highs’

Equity analyst at investment research firm Edison Group, Richard Sloss, praised the “extremely impressive” results, as both revenue and profit both hit “record highs”.

“Gambling companies for the most part performed well during the pandemic and that momentum has continued for 888 as restrictions have eased.”

The company’s upbeat financials stretched across the majority of its key markets, Sloss said, with over 80 per cent growth in Italy and total new customer growth of 11 per cent.

“Most notably it has entered into a strategic partnership with Sports Illustrated in the US, with SI Sportsbook due to go live in Colorado this month, with further launches planned in the coming months.

“Partnering with such an iconic brand in one of the world’s largest markets, combined with its impressive set of financials, leaves the company and its stakeholders in great shape for the remainder of the year.”

Following the record results, 888 has emerged as a “safe bet” for investors, according Begbies Traynor’s Julie Palmer.

“With restrictions being all but lifted, the odds may not be in favour of online gambling companies compared to last year’s winning streak.

“However, with the fact that major sporting events are being staged once again, 888’s continual development of products to attract new revenue streams and a looming wager on expanding into the US market, the company may well be playing its cards just right for future growth.”