888 mindful of potential headwinds after raising earnings expectation

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888 Holdings anticipates that adjusted EBITDA for the year will be “significantly ahead” of prior expectations, however the group is mindful of potential mitigating circumstances despite the encouraging momentum.

The online gaming and entertainment solutions provider asserts that the previous priority of preventing gambling-related harm remains a key priority, with proactive communication ongoing with customers via its observer monitoring system.

As announced in the group’s trading update dated March 24, 2020, 888 states that it “traded well” during the first quarter of 2020. The board updates that this has continued beyond the period, despite some moderation to revenue growth in recent weeks. Average daily revenue in the year to date has been 34 per cent higher than the prior year. 

This is said to reflect the firm’s increased levels of customer acquisition during the second half of 2019 across several regulated markets. In addition, 888 has benefited from the structural shift towards online services.

Despite the momentum, the company is mindful of possible headwinds in the second half of the year including the potential for a period of prolonged global macro-economic uncertainty that could impact consumer spending. 

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, explained: “We are pleased with 888’s trading during the year to date which has resulted in the board now anticipating that adjusted EBITDA for 2020 will be significantly ahead of its prior expectations. This performance builds on 888’s strong customer acquisition during 2019 and our continued focus during recent years on entertaining a greater number of recreational customers.

“We have delivered a particularly encouraging performance in Poker which reflects the strength of our product and ongoing focus on providing a safe and entertaining destination for recreational poker players. 

“Whilst sport has been impacted during the year to date by the cancellation of events, we have seen a better than expected customer reaction to the gradual return of sports events during recent weeks and, during June so far, our sport revenue run-rate has been ahead of June 2019.

“Our global teams have demonstrated fantastic flexibility and commitment as they have had to adapt to new ways of working over recent months. I am pleased to report that we are now in the early phases of enabling some of our teams to return to our offices whilst continuing to ensure that we prioritise their well-being and follow all relevant guidelines.

“888 is well positioned to continue to benefit from a potential long-term shift towards online services that we have seen accelerate across several consumer industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain vigilant about our responsibilities to protect customers and prevent gambling-related harm. 

“We continue to take a number of proactive measures to communicate with players about safe gambling and invest in our products and technology to ensure that we always deliver a fun and, above all, safe place to play.”