Amidst COVID, 888 reports casino and Poker growth for the year to date. However, they could incur losses if worldwide sports event postponement continues.

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Internationally renowned software developer and gambling operator 888 Holdings has reported an increase in its customer activity across Poker and casino services. The company was due to publish a full-year results announcement, but on the 23rd of March 2020 it announced that the full announcement would be delayed. Instead, it issued a trading update which detailed the rise in casino and Poker revenue.

FCA Requested Postponing Results Announcement

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requested that all listed businesses observe a moratorium on announcing their preliminary financial results through to the 31st of December 2019. The regulatory body requested that the moratorium last for a period of two weeks, explaining that the COVID-19 pandemic had led to unprecedented practical challenges for both businesses and auditors.

Issuing preliminary financial statements before audited results added unnecessary pressure, the FCA added. For its part, 888 Holdings it will confirm a new results announcement date in due course, pending further guidance from the FCA.

Overall Business in Line With Expectations

In its trading update, 888 said its overall business in the year to date had been good, and was in line with the expectations of the board. Average daily revenue has climbed by 18% since the same period in 2019, B2C daily deposits were up by 32%, and new customer acquisition across B2C business was 20% higher.

Casino and sports verticals’ average daily revenues are also up, by 24% in both cases. However, the company did warn that its sports betting business will probably suffer in the near future as the coronavirus outbreak forces the cancellation of most sporting events worldwide.

Casino and Poker Products Compensate

Despite the situation regarding the novel coronavirus, increased customer activity across 888’s Poker and casino products has been noted and could help compensate for sports betting business disruptions. With COVID-19 still spreading, the timeline of the pandemic is unknown and could continue to affect races, games and matches until September 2020, or even beyond that date. The pandemic has already shut down a large portion of the world, and several countries including the UK, China, New Zealand, and South Africa have cancelled all sports events and public gatherings, and are staying home to stop the spread of the disease. 

If sports continue to be affected on a long-term basis, 888 predicted that its group Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBIDTA) is likely to decline over the rest of the year. Since its bookmaker platforms accounted for 16% of 888 Holdings’ total group revenue in 2019, such a dip seems likely if sports events continue to be suspended.

Game Products Also Potentially Affected

Macro-economic uncertainty for a protracted period may ultimately affect even the casino and Poker products owned and operated by 888. The continued stress over what is going to happen next may cause its gaming product verticals to decline.

The stress and increased time spent at home, in self-isolation or social distancing, could also cause people to act out and engage in problem or irresponsible gambling more frequently. To help curtail this possibility, 888 said, it would continue offering cutting-edge tools to help gamblers manage their behavior.

These tools allow players to limit how much time and money they spend on a site. The corporation will offer clear explanations on its responsible gambling resources, and will also continue to use its state-of-the-art Observer software to scan player data and identify any concerning habits.

888 Remains Confident

Although these are indeed uncertain times, 888 Holdings remains quietly confident in its own abilities. The company lists the fact that it exists in the online space only, which can be accessed at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its diversified brand portfolio, as two of the reasons it feels it can meet and manage its current challenges.

In addition, the team has faith in its technology, employees and growing customer base. The next few months may be challenging, but the 888 board sees significant growth opportunities for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.

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