888 announces a trading update for the three months ended 31 March 2021 (Q1 2021).
The first quarter performance was ahead of board expectations, with continued strong momentum across the business, and favourable exchange rate movements. For the remainder of 2021, year-on-year trends will be impacted by a tougher comparative period, the previously disclosed expected impact of regulatory and compliance changes, and the impact of the reopening of retail and leisure venues across our markets. The Group 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 increased investment in US B2C expansion.
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."
"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. And 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," stated the excecutive.
888casino continued to achieve strong growth, driven by the success of the Group's investment in its casino product over recent years, ongoing development of its artificial intelligence (AI) driven personalisation, and continued expansion of its content. Major new content launches in the period included a suite of games from Playtech, including further expansion of 888's live dealer range. 888's proprietary in-house content studio, Section 8, continued to deliver top quality exclusive new
games, with Mad Max Fury Road launching in February and quickly becoming a top 20 performing game.
The majority of 888sport volumes were successfully migrated to its in-house platform, with almost no interruption to customers. 888sport stakes increased by 38%, with the enhanced customer proposition also supporting record levels of FTDs.
The betting net win margin was 8.0%, compared to 6.8% in the prior year, reflecting a combination of favourable sporting results and a structural improvement in win margin due to the enhanced product and promotional capabilities of our in-house platform.
Poker revenues increased by 10%, and were consistent with the fourth quarter of 2020, with ongoing strong customer reaction to the award-winning Poker8 product, and sustained successful marketing with the "Made to Play" marketing campaign.
Bingo revenues increased by 8%, with growth 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% to $9.7 million, with both Bingo and U.S. operational segments delivering growth.