Euro 2016 boosts 888 revenues

Online gaming firm 888 Holdings has said Euro 2016 and further expansion into the continent helped it post record revenue for the first half of the year.

Portugal celebrate with the trophy after winning the UEFA Euro 2016. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

The company, which recently pulled out of a joint bid with Rank Group for rival William Hill, said revenue rose 19 per cent to £200m in the period, with pre-tax profits climbing 39 per cent to £21.2m.

It said it would continue “appraising strategic M&A opportunities” as it looks for further opportunities to expand. The group hailed a successful Euro 2016, adding that it benefited from launches in Spain, Denmark and Italy.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Itai Frieberger, chief executive of 888, said: “This strong outcome was driven by outstanding momentum at 888Casino and 888Sport. Trading in the third quarter has started well.”

However, the Gibraltar-based firm added that it is “exposed to political and regulatory risk as regards Brexit”.

“At this point the position of Gibraltar, driving the ability of the group to continue to rely on the EU principles that are a major part of the group’s regulatory strategy regarding substantial EU markets, remains unclear.

“The group continues to monitor this political risk and is engaged with the government of Gibraltar and Gibraltar online gaming industry bodies in managing the group’s response to this process.”

The company said casino revenue increased by 31 per cent, while revenue from sport increased 63 per cent.

Mr Frieberger said: “In line with our strategic focus we have made further excellent progress developing 888 in regulated markets and have grown regulated revenue by 29 per cent against the prior year, reflecting strong performances in the UK, Spain and Italy as well as 888’s recent successful launch in Denmark.”

William Hill rejected a £3.6bn three-way merger offer from Rank and 888 in August, saying that the offer “substantially undervalues” the high street bookmaker.

William Hill is a major employer in Yorkshire. The company employs 1,300 people in Leeds alone.