Thursday July 21,2011 : Assuming legalization, Gibraltar firm may partner with Caesars
 
The release of 888 Holdings' Q2 results this week was an occasion for management to respond to questions…and some of them produced interesting answers.
 
The Bloomberg business news service asked deputy chairman Brian Mattingley about the US market and the possible legalization of online poker, and Mattingley revealed that his company is in the “advanced stages” of talks with Caesars, the world’s biggest land casino company, about partnerships.
 
Mattingley was enthusiastic about a US-Nevada deal involving online poker, provided legalization initiatives at federal level come to fruition; Nevada has already passed a law tasking its gaming regulators with preparing online poker regulations, contingent on the pastime gaining federal approval.
 
“We would love to do it with them,” Mattingley told the news service, adding that 888 would decide whether to try for the Internet poker licence by “mid-autumn.”
 
U.K. gambling companies are looking to lock up deals in the U.S. as states including Nevada and California consider Internet gambling. The major Brit bookmaker William Hill plc agreed to buy three companies to offer sports bets, which are legal in Nevada. 888 was licensed by Nevada for software services after it signed an agreement in 2009 with the interactive division of Caesars.
 
Mattingley told Bloomberg that his company would consider debt funding if it needed the money to expand in the U.S. or Spain, which is now developing online gambling rules. At the moment, 888 has no need for such funding, he stressed. “It’s just we don’t want to miss no-brainer opportunities as they arise,” he added.
 
888 posted a solid set of results showing that poker sales increased 58 percent to $13 million. The company said its number of active 888 casino and 888 poker customers on June 30 was 342,000, more than double a year earlier.