evy said in a conference call to analysts yesterday morning: “We have worked on this [market] for some time now. It includes a big JV with Endemol, which we think is going to be very material, it includes two B2B deals, one with Bwin, another with Microgame. Together these two control 50%, or a bit more, of the poker market, and we have a few more deals in the pipeline.”
Market conditions in France however meant that “for the time being, this [market] is not going to be a focus for us.” He explained: “When you look at France, that is probably a very bad combination for us. It is only sports and poker. In sports, our offering is not really relevant at this time. With poker, we have not yet entered the market, we want to see how it works out. The taxes are high so the ecosystem is under pressure, there is no casino, no bingo, we did not find any significant local partners we are happy to work with and to share upside and risk with.”
In the conference call, Levy added that 888 was “constantly reviewing” its position in the US and admitted that he had been in talks with the Department of Justice.
On his group’s strategic positioning in the country, where Barney Frank’s federal bill to regulate egaming passed out of Committee last week, Levy said 888 was “encouraged by the recent positive development in the United States” and that it continued to talk with potential B2B partners.
“There have been more than 10 partners we are in discussions with. To the best of my knowledge, other than our deal with Harrah’s there has not been another deal with a significant American player signed by anyone else yet. “