Regulated market growth drives H1 revenue and profit up at 888

| By Robert Fletcher
Online betting and gaming operator 888 put a year-on-year increase in revenue and profit during the first half of its financial year down to continued growth within regulated markets around the world.
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Revenue for the six months to 30 June amounted to $528.4m (£384.4m/€447.9m), up 39.4% from $379.1m in the corresponding period last year.

B2C revenue was up 40.9% year-on-year to $509.1m, with double-digit growth across all major regulated markets. B2C gaming revenue increased by 35.2% to $428.8m and B2C betting revenue 82.3% to $80.3m. 

888 also saw B2B revenue climb 8.3% from $17.8m in 2020 to $19.3m this year, with the operator putting this down to good progress within its bingo network.

Revenue generated in regulated and taxed markets in the first half represented 75% of total revenue in the period, up from 73%. This, the operator said, was in line with 888’s strategic focus.

In terms of geographical performance, the UK remained 888’s core market with $222.6m of all revenue in H1, up 56.4% on last year and representing 42.0% of all revenue generated in H1.

Revenue in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), excluding the UK and Italy, also climbed 9.4% to $165.8m, or 31.0% of overall revenue for the period, while Italy revenue was up by 81.6% to $67.9m, representing 13.0% of total revenue.

888’s operations in the US and Americas jumped 60.3% to $65.1, or 12.0% of all revenue in H1, but rest of world revenue slipped 5.4% to €7.0m, accounting for the other 1.0% of total revenue for the period.

Gaming taxes and duties were 44.4% higher at $100.5m and other costs related to sales climbed 28.8% to $75.5m, leaving a gross profit of $352.5m, up 40.4% year-on-year.

Marketing expenses increased 70.7% to $170.9m, while operating costs for H1 excluding amortisation, depreciation and share benefit charges edged up 4.2% to $84.1m. This meant adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased 38.9% to $97.4m.

After accounting for $18.1m in amortisation and depreciation costs, as well as $11.6m in exceptional item spend and $5.7m of share benefit charges, operating profit was $62.0m, up 14.7% year-on-year.

888 also noted $4.1m in finance expenses, which left a pre-tax profit of $57.9, up 13.8% on last year. After paying $7.2m in tax, 888 ended the half with a profit of $50.7m, an increase of 11.4% on last year.

“The strong momentum from 2020 continued into the first half of 2021, with growth driven primarily by regulated markets, where we believe ongoing market share gains continue to reflect our product-leadership strategy, highly effective data-driven marketing, and our excellent content,” 888 chief executive Itai Pazner said.

“We made significant strategic progress in the first half, securing a long-term strategic partnership with Sports Illustrated to strengthen our position in the US. 

“We also continued to execute our product leadership plan, delivering further improvements in the usability and quality of products across sports and gaming, all the while maintaining our persistent focus on delivering our safer gambling priorities.

“The board remains confident that, with 888’s advanced technology, products and diversification across markets, the group remains well positioned to deliver further strategic progress during 2021 and beyond.”

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