888 to launch Africa-facing joint venture

| By Robert Fletcher
Online gaming operator 888 has recruited five industry veterans to form a new joint venture and support the business with its expansion into Africa.

The 888Africa joint venture will operate 888 brands in online betting and gaming markets across select regulated markets across Africa. 888 has invested in a minority stake in the venture, with the option to increase this to take control and ultimately own up to 100% of 888Africa.

The quintet that will lead the new venture include Christopher Coyne, the former chief marketing officer and chief customer officer at the Stars Group; Andrew Lee, former managing director of sportsbook of the Stars Group and current Chairman of Voxbet; and Alex Rutherford, former chief product officer at Editec Online.

Ian Marmion, former sportsbook trading director at The Stars Group, and Helen Scott-Allen, former chief financial officer of Premier Bet, will also join the venture.

888Africa will pay a brand licence fee to use and operate 888’s online betting and gaming brands in certain regulated markets in Africa. The brands will operate via a third-party technology platform, with products and content designed for the local preferences of the African market. 

Initial plans are for 888Africa to launch in four markets across the continent during 2022, subject to licensing.

“We are very excited to establish 888Africa alongside such an impressive roster of industry talent,” 888 chief executive Itai Pazner said. “The new JV will launch 888’s world-class online betting and gaming brands to millions of new customers in the exciting and fast-growing African online market. 

“The structure of this deal enables the group to invest in a strong business with high growth ambitions, without distracting focus from our core business and key strategic markets. We look forward to being a part of 888Africa’s journey as it grows its footprint and increases brand awareness, while also offering potentially significant long-term opportunities for the Group in the future.”

Coyne, who will serve as chief executive of 888Africa, added: “With our team of experienced professionals and significant knowledge of the African markets, it is our ambition to build the business towards market-leading positions in selected regulated markets across the region.

“Partnering with 888 will give us access to a world-class brand, as well as a broad team of experts to support our growth plans, further enhancing our confidence in our future prospects.”

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