888 exceeds board expectations as it eyes continued strategic progress

A strong product-leadership strategy, long-term positive customer acquisition trends, and continued expansion in regulated markets have been praised by 888 as key factors to a 56 per cent Q1 revenue increase to $272.5m (2020: $164.6m).

B2C revenue increased 67 per cent year-on-year to finish at $262.8m (2020: $156.9m), with casino up 80 per cent to $195.2m (2020: $108.7m) driven by increased investment, ongoing development of its artificial intelligence driven personalisation, and continued expansion of content.

The group’s sports segment rose 63 per cent to $41.6m (2020: $25.5m), reflecting a combination of favourable sporting results and a structural improvement in win margin due to the enhanced product and promotional capabilities.

Poker revenue increased 13 per cent to $14.7m (2020: $13m), which 888 says is due to strong customer reaction to the Poker8 product and sustained successful market. 

Revenue in the group’s bingo division reached $11.4m, representing a 16 per cent YoY uptick from $9.8m, supported by a new improved home page, and AI features delivering an enhanced personalised experience to players.

Revenue from 888’s B2B division increased by 20 per cent to $9.7m, with both bingo and US operational segments delivering growth.

Furthermore, the gambling operator also reported a 27 per cent rise in average daily first time depositors, and an 18 per cent increase in funded active players.

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, commented: “The strong momentum in 2020 has continued into the first quarter of 2021, with a new all-time-high for FTDs and revenues, although year-on-year trends were partly inflated by the disruption to sporting events at the end of the prior year period, and increased demand for digital entertainment during this period across our main markets.

“Our differentiated products and our data-driven marketing continued to underpin strong progress, supported by a favourable industry backdrop. We are particularly pleased with the strong performance of our new proprietary 888sport platform, which is already servicing the majority of bets while maintaining strong customer service levels and highly effective risk management and trading.  

“We are excited about the US, where we plan to roll out sports into further states in the next few months, and launch our upgraded poker platform into further states in partnership with Caesars and their leading and hugely popular WSOP brand.”

With its first quarter performance exceeding board expectations, the operator does warn that year-on-year trends during the remainder of 2021 will be impacted by a tougher comparative period, the expected impact of regulatory and compliance changes, and the impact of the reopening of retail and leisure venues.

The group adds that it continues to increase investment in product and marketing to support its long-term growth plans, and as a result, the board expects adjusted EBITDA for the full year to be broadly consistent with the prior year, despite a rise in expenditure to support its US B2C expansion.

“We remain very pleased with the strong momentum in the business and the continued positive customer reaction to our suite of new products and innovations,” Pazner added. 

“As a result, and underpinned by the group’s strengths as a product-centric, responsible, and diversified operator, the board believes that 888 has an outstanding platform to deliver continued strategic progress during 2021 and beyond.”