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888 Focuses on New Markets in 2022
- March 10, 2022 By Riley Wilson -
888 Holdings tripled profit last year but withheld its final dividend as it homed in on the acquisition of William Hill’s non-US business. The company is also creating headwinds to grow even more in the new year.
Average daily revenues throughout January and February have continued to grow compared to the final quarter of 2021. However, this represented a double-digit decline relative to the same time a year ago.
The board said that this was in line with expectations and they are now planning to launch in several new markets this year.
The online operator hopes to build on its name recognition in Germany, the Netherlands, and Ontario. They also anticipate a slowdown of their existing business in mature markets such as the UK in 2022.
In the Netherlands, 888 blocked all customers in the market as it opened last year, following a last-minute change to rules. The operator said it expects to be able to relaunch in the market in the second half of 2022. Meanwhile, in Ontario, the business has already received a license. This allows the group to operate when the province’s igaming market opens on April 4th.
These new markets may help to offset stalled growth or declines in the more mature UK market. The UK market alone made up around 40% of 888’s 2021 revenue. After a particularly strong first half of the year in the UK, revenue was down 20% in H2 compared to H1.
Chief financial officer Yariv Dafna noted that changes to responsible gambling policy were a factor in declining UK revenue in the second half of 2020. He is referring to events that ultimately led to 888 receiving a £9.4m fine from the Gambling Commission.
The company recorded double-digit growth in most of its core and growth markets. The firm registered strong growth in Canada, Romania, and Ireland.
With the intended acquisition of William Hill, the company says it is expected to scale at a rapid rate. However, the investors were informed that no dividend will be paid due to the capital requirements of the transaction.