888 has detailed “excellent progress” with the first phase of its William Hill integration, with the purchase praised as forming “very strong foundations” to support the group’s “ambitious” expansion aspirations.

This comes as the firm details struggles through a first half of the year that saw revenue drop 13 per cent to £332.1m (2021: £380.9m), driven by plunging B2C and UK income.

The latter witnessed a 25 per cent downfall through the period, reflecting the implementation of more stringent safer gambling policies and in line with the wider market trends, with the prior period having also benefited from digital entertainment migration during COVID related restrictions. Dutch cessation also caused a three per cent drop.

However, B2B revenue rose 7.8 per cent to £15m (2021: £13.9m), following the launch of World Series of Poker in Pennsylvania in July 2021 and Michigan in March 2022, which was partially offset by market driven declines in the bingo business. 

Furthermore, H1 also witnessed profit before tax drop 66 per cent to £14.4m (2021: £41.9m), with adjusted EBITDA down 29 per cent to £50m (2021: £70.3m).

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, commented: “The combination with William Hill, which we completed soon after the period end, transformed the group and creates very strong foundations to support our ambitious growth plans. 

“This combination of two exceptional and complementary businesses creates one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming groups with superior scale, leading front-end and back-end technology, increased diversification across products, markets and channels, and a world class team.”

On a geographical basis, the UK maintained its leading position despite an aforementioned 25 per cent revenue decline to £120.8m (2021: £160.4), closely followed by the company’s EMEA division which tracked a five per cent downfall to £112.9m (2021: £119.5m) driven by a Dutch cessation.

Elsewhere, Italy also dropped five per cent to £46.5m (2021: £49m), with the American down one percentage point to £46.6m (2021:£46.9m) and the rest of the world up five per cent to £5.3m (2021: £5.1m). 

“The group’s financial performance in the period primarily reflects market conditions in the UK,” Pazner added. 

“However, we believe the proactive actions we have taken to increase player protections and drive higher standards of player safety have put the group in an even stronger position for the future. In the second half of 2022, our main focus is on integration, delivering on our synergy plans, and driving higher profitability across the business. 

“This focus on integration, execution and de-leverage will unlock the huge potential from the enlarged business. These actions will position us to take advantage of significant growth opportunities ahead of us, as we leverage our leading technologies to create a best-in-class global betting and gaming platform, and our portfolio of world class brands, to grow market share and profitability in some of the most attractive markets in the world.”