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888 Announces Q3 2021 Trading Update

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888, one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming companies, has announced a trading update for the three months ended 30 September 2021 (Q3 2021). The Group’s Q3 2021 performance was in line with the Board’s expectations.

At the end of the Period and following policy changes published by the Dutch Gambling Authority (KSA), the Group took the decision to cease provision of services in the Netherlands from 1 October 2021. The Group continues to believe the Netherlands represents an attractive medium-term opportunity and intends to apply for a local licence in the coming months. Notwithstanding this unforeseen development within the Netherlands, the Board remains confident that the performance of the Group during the current year will be in line with its expectations.

Looking ahead, the timing of any licence award within the Netherlands remains unclear, but the Group aims to be operational within the country during the second half of 2022. This temporary closure is expected to negatively impact 2022 EBITDA, post certain mitigations at Group level, by approximately $10 million, with no change in the Group’s expectations for 2023 and beyond.

Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, said: “Q3 2021 was a period of outstanding strategic progress for 888. During the period we announced the transformational acquisition of William Hill International, successfully launched SI Sportsbook in the US, and began operating 888sport under a new licence in Germany as we continued to execute our plan to build a global online betting and gaming leader.

“Alongside these important strategic milestones, I am pleased with the Group’s continued positive trading, particularly as we lap very tough comparative periods. This performance reflects the continued success of our data-driven investments and execution against our product-leadership plan that delivers ongoing improvements in the usability, quality and safety of our sports betting and gaming products.

“Underpinned by our advanced technology, leading products, and strong brands, as well as the increased scale, talent and diversification that the Group will benefit from as a result of its combination with William Hill International, we have a very exciting platform for long-term growth.”

Business Review

Q3 2021 was a period of significant progress for 888. During the Period, the Group announced the transformational acquisition of William Hill International, which will significantly enhance the enlarged Group’s scale and create leading positions in several key regulated markets. In addition, the Group continued to deliver on its long-term growth strategy in the US market with the successful launch of SI Sportsbook in Colorado, utilising 888’s in-house sports betting platform for the first time in the US.

B2C

Gaming revenue growth of 11% was led by casino, reflecting the continuing success of the Group’s investment in enhancing the user experience through product and content leadership as well as AI-driven personalisation.

During the period, the Group launched more than 150 new casino games including several in-house developed games, which continue to resonate well with customers and provide a differentiated experience. Alongside expanding the range of content, the Group continues to improve the experience for customers using AI-driven recommendation engines and personalised offers, which it believes is leading to increased share of wallet, and therefore market share gains in several key regulated markets such as the UK, Italy, Spain and Romania.

Betting revenue declined 15% against Q3 2020 when the Group delivered a very strong performance that benefited from a condensed calendar of sporting events following Covid-related disruption, particularly within football across the Group’s UK and key European markets. Compared to Q3 2019, betting revenue increased 21%.

B2B

Revenue from 888’s B2B division increased 4% to $9.6 million, with both the bingo and US operational segments delivering moderate growth.

Industry News

Betsoft Gaming Signs Partnership Deal with Simsino

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Betsoft Gaming has signed a partnership deal with Simsino, iGG’s newly launched casino brand.

The MGA licenced casino – simsino.com – will host Betsoft’s portfolio of table games and award-winning slots. Latest releases Alkemor’s Elements and the anime themed Kensei Blades, alongside classic hits The Slotfather and Weekend in Vegas are already available to play.

In order to further enhance gameplay, Betsoft launched its first promotional product, Take the Prize, earlier this year. The promotional tool will significantly add to the overall player experience by offering a random fortune wheel with cash prizes or bonuses in any of Betsoft’s qualifying games throughout any promotion.

Simsino has been designed to appeal to a younger player base looking for exciting promotions and fast, immersive gameplay. A generous Welcome Bonus and a unique “Simsino Cashback” feature are available as part of the Simsino loyalty programme. Furthermore, the easy-to-navigate site offers a streamlined user experience to take players straight to the games and promotions they want.

Anna Mackney, Head of Account Management at Betsoft Gaming, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Simsino as they are a young and innovative brand. Betsoft has a diverse portfolio which appeals across many demographics and we anticipate a successful relationship with Simsino.”

John Foster, Head of Games & Aggregation Manager, iGG WhiteLabels, said: “Great content is a significant driver of customer traffic and so a provider of Betsoft’s calibre is essential for simsino.com and other iGG WhiteLabels. We look forward to seeing this partnership enhance players’ engagement with the brand.”

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Entain Appoints Rahul Welde as Independent Non-Executive Director

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Entain plc, the leading global sports betting, gaming and interactive entertainment group, announced the appointment of Rahul Welde as an independent Non-Executive Director. The appointment will take effect from 1 July 2022.

Rahul was most recently Executive Vice President of Global Digital Transformation at Unilever plc where he drove digital strategies for the Unilever brands. He is an Indian national and brings over 30 years’ experience in the global fast-moving consumer goods sector. On appointment, Rahul will become a member of the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Committee.

“On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to welcome Rahul to Entain. Rahul brings with him exceptional knowledge of customer experience excellence, ecommerce and digital transformation. I am confident that his skills and expertise will further enhance the Board’s ability to support and oversee the delivery of our strategy,” Barry Gibson, Chairman of Entain, said.

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Industry News

EM Group Joins Dutch Online Gambling Association

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The Dutch Online Gambling Association (NOGA) has welcomed EM Group as the newest member of the trade association.

The move comes as NOGA works to unite industry figures “under one flag” and to represent the industry’s collective interests as a whole.

The organisation has laid out some of its primary objectives, with two major goals being guarantees of consumer protection and the advocation of responsible gambling. NOGA hopes to achieve these through forging new partnerships and alliances with other key industry figures.

NOGA Director Peter-Paul de Goeij says the partnership has given NOGA a major boost, and that “EM Group also endorses NOGA’s core values ​​and objectives, and helps to achieve and defend them.”

He went on to describe how EM Group’s 15 years of international experience “is a great added value for us, and it also offers a wealth of additional expertise and experience that can only benefit the members of NOGA and the wider industry.”

EM Group MD Kees-Jan Avis said: “From EM Group we are very pleased to be part of the NOGA family.”

In describing NOGA and EM Group’s common goals, he said: “Think, for example, of the objectives and core values ​​with regard to the integrity and social responsibility of the sector.

“NOGA also endorses this and that is why we enter into the collaboration with great conviction and confidence. Our goal is to make a joint contribution to the online gambling market in the Netherlands and beyond.”

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