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888 on track to hit 2018 targets as UK performance improves

| By iGB Editorial Team
Operator expects to meet full-year EBITDA expectations as a result of improved performance in UK market in H2

London-listed 888 Holdings said today (December 19) that it expects full-year earnings before tax and deductions to meet management expectations.

This, it said, was down to positive trends in the operator's UK business, in a trading update ahead of the close of the operator’s financial year on December 31. Investors responded positively, with the company’s share price trading up 6.88% at 181.70 pence per share at 10:47AM.

The company's chief executive Itai Frieberger (pictured) said that an improved UK performance in the early weeks of the second half of 2018 had continued throughout the reporting period. 

Looking beyond the UK, 888 said that it had maintained momentum in its casino and sports operations across continental Europe. Orbit, the operator’s new casino platform, launched in May and has been subsequently rolled out across multiple jurisdictions, while the new Poker 8 platform is due to begin its phased roll-out in the coming weeks.

Frieberger also hailed “significant operational progress” in the US market.

The operator highlighted its recent roll-out of sports betting in New Jersey and said that the acquisition of the remaining 53% interest in the All American Poker Network (AAPN) would serve as “an important strategic milestone for 888 that will facilitate the group's future growth strategy in the US”. The AAPN is part of the only interstate poker network in the US, giving players in Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada the opportunity to play against one another.

In its results for the first half of 2018, 888’s UK revenue slumped by 18% to $86.5m (£68.4m/€75.8m). The operator noted that revenue had been negatively impacted by efforts to “align with the stricter regulatory environment across the market”. Friebeger suggested at the time that early H2 performance suggested the operator had halted this downward slide.

“During the period 888 has delivered continued progress against its strategic objectives,” Frieberger said. “The group has continued to focus on driving growth in regulated markets, enhancing compliance, and delivering exciting product innovation.

“Underpinned by the strength of the group's technology as well as our fantastic team and diversification across products and regulated markets, the board remains excited by 888's long-term growth prospects.”

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