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888.COM OPTIMISTIC ON FUTURE GROWTH
Online gambling group 888 Holdings plc reported this week that the industry has been impacted by slowing economies and a drop in consumer spending during what it describes as the worst recession since World War II.
The group's second-quarter 2009 operating income fell 12 percent to $61 million from a year earlier, and the number of active casino and poker customers declined 8 percent to 180 000, the company informed in a statement. Both income and player numbers bottomed in the first quarter.
First-half sales, which are reported in dollars, were hurt by the strength of the dollar against the Euro and pound sterling this year, Levy said. At the end of the second half, the pound had slipped 17 percent against the dollar compared with the same period last year, and the Euro 11 percent.
Despite the gloomy news, CEO Gigi Levy remained optimistic, forecasting sales growth of 20 percent or more next year as consumer confidence returns.
Levy told Bloomberg business news: “We feel a lot more confident the industry’s going back to its normal growth trend, rather than continuing to be hurt by the recession. We’re looking at Q1 as the lowest point, and aiming to grow from there.”
Levy said that the group plans to set up operations for other businesses to offset its reduced revenues from online poker and casino activities hurt by the recession.
888's business-to-business division, Dragonfish, turned in a creditable performance, contributing a 42 percent increase in operating income to $24 million (2008: $17 million), ameliorating the drop in H2 operating income and confining it to a 13 percent decline to $118 million (H2 2008: $135 million).
In contrast, 888.com's business-to-consumer operations recorded a 21 percent decline in operating income on 2008, from $118 million to $94 million. A positive exception was the emerging offering division, where operating income rose 151 percent to $11 million (2008: $5 million).
Levy revealed that the group has 22 contracts with other businesses to set up online gambling operations, and is talking to television stations, media companies and state-owned lotteries about joint ventures. Online gambling, which once had an 85 percent-male customer base, is now increasingly used by women in the UK due to the growth of Internet bingo, Levy said.
The sports betting field will be seeing more of 888.com, it appeared from further Levy comments on the group's future plans, which include a more aggressive entry into football and more sports betting activity. The company will be pushing online bingo harder in Europe, and there are plans to launch a live dealer product later this (2009) year.
The 888.com CEO referred to the United States legal situation, pointing out that legally the Americans do not need to allow any European company to licence, although 888 would be keen to clinch deals with US licensed businesses as a provider of online gambling services and software.
However Levy continued that one of 888’s “key targets on the B2B side is making US deals” and that 888 hopes to sign deals with US companies that operate in Europe.
888 shares rose a few percentage points on the back of the statement. According to Bloomberg, the shares have dropped 14 percent so far this year, giving the company a market value of GBP 293.8 million.
Danske Spil Bingo Moves to Microgaming -
The national lottery of Denmark, Danske Spil, is live on the Microgaming Bingo Network. Danske Spil, the Danish national lottery, is live on the Microgaming Bingo Network following a change to its licence conditions.
Quickfire live on Strendus -
Quickfire powered by Microgaming is extending its reach in the LatAm region with the signing of Strendus. Strendus is the online division of Logrand Entertainment Group. The group comprises several companies that operate gaming and entertainment establishments in Mexico, running 14 land-based casinos in total.
Quickfire content live on BetatHome -
Online gaming and sports betting company bet-at-home was founded in 1999. Today the company has 4.8 million registered customers around the world, offering sports betting, casino, live casino, Vegas games, poker and virtual sports.
Microgaming has donated £30,000 between four charities -
Gift of Giving provides Microgamingís customers the opportunity to vote for one of several charities in their region. In lieu of Christmas gifts, £30,000 is split equally between four global regions: Isle of Man, UK and Europe, Africa, and Rest of the World.
Entertainment Betting Odds: 90th Academy Awards -
The Shape of Water leads Sundayís 90th Academy Awards (8 PM ET, ABC) with 13 Oscar nominations, but when it comes to Best Picture, this highly-acclaimed film is a +140 second-favorite behind Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at Ė115.
Fair Play Bets and QuickFire in Deal -
Fair Play Bets enjoys an unrivalled reputation for an outstanding player experience, with secure deposits and withdrawals, surprising casino bonuses and committed customer support. Fair Play Bets is licensed in UK, Malta and Curacao.
Cavaliers Aim to Take Down Wizards on 2/22/18 -
The Cleveland Cavaliers have looked like a different team since making their moves at the trade deadline. The Washington Wizards are up next for the Cavaliers, who will be at home after the All-Star break.
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