Trading update

888 posts 14% growth to record $972M revenue in 2021, now targets Q2 2022 for William Hill takeover

Itai Pazner, 888 CEO.
United Kingdom
Reading time 2:43 min

Gambling business 888 has posted a record year with revenue growth of 14% in 2021 to $972 million, the 888casino and 888poker parent company announced on Tuesday, as part of a post-close trading update.

During full year 2021, ended December 31, revenue grew driven by a continued expansion in regulated markets, which contributed 74% of revenue: the company posted strong performances in the UK, Italy, Romania and Portugal, partially offset by a decline in Germany.

Meanwhile, B2C revenue increased 15% from the prior year to $934 million, led by casino (+24%). In comparison, sports only grew 4%, reflecting “the greater impact of regulatory changes on the business,” such as an exit from the Netherlands market.

For the fourth quarter, 888 Holdings posted revenue of $214 million. While the figure was down 16% from Q4 2020 ($255 million), the decrease fell within board expectations, reflecting a strong comparative period, plus the impact of previously announced regulatory changes, including the exit from the Netherlands.

The Gibraltar-based company also lists among highlights for Q4 the launch of sports wagering product SI Sportsbook in Colorado. Despite positive initial progress upon launch, the success of the sportsbook was offset at a revenue level by upfront investment in promotions to drive customer activity.

"2021 was a year of outstanding strategic progress for 888 as we announced the transformational acquisition of William Hill International, and reached an agreement to sell our bingo business to increase our focus on our B2C and US growth plans, as we continue to execute our plan to build a global online betting and gaming leader,” said Itai Pazner, CEO.

The company issued an update on the William Hill International acquisition, affirming intentions of completing the deal in Q2 2022. On the strategic partnership with Sports Illustrated for the SI Sportsbook, which uses 888’s in-house platform, the company said it expects “further states” to launch in 2022.

The strategic sale of B2C and B2B bingo business for up to $50 million is also listed among 2022 highlights, as it is expected to allow 888 to increase the focus “on core B2C platform and US growth strategies.” According to a press update, the transaction is expected to complete in H1 2022.

The last fiscal year also saw the company launching its 888sport product in Germany under a local license in Q3, which was also remarked on by Pazner in his balance of the period. The company has also been able to post a robust balance sheet with cash and cash equivalents and continued strong cash generation during the 12-month period.

“I am pleased to report another year of record revenues alongside these important strategic milestones, delivering double-digit revenue growth despite a very tough comparative period,” added the CEO. “This performance reflects the continued success of our data-driven investments and execution against our product-leadership focus that delivers ongoing improvements in the usability, quality and safety of our sports betting and gaming products."

The highlight development for 888 last year was the agreement to purchase William Hill’s non-US assets from Caesars Entertainment for $2.9 billion. The acquisition is set to diversify the company’s sources of revenue and will provide 888 with William Hill’s estimated 1,400 UK betting shops.

This transaction will create one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming groups with superior scale, leading technology, increased diversification, and a platform for strong growth, supported by a portfolio of iconic brands,” Pazner said in November last year

Following the completion of this acquisition, 888 would become the third-largest gambling operator in the UK, after Flutter Entertainment and Entain.

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