A record year for 888 Holdings could open up new opportunities in the US as the group’s chairman remains buoyant in the face of recent Wire Act issues.
Posting its 2018 fiscal report on March 12, the international gaming operator noted a significant jump in unadjusted pre-tax profits. Improving from $18.8 million to $108.7 million, the upswing was enough for 888 chairman Brian Mattingley to wax lyrical about the company’s current position.
“I am pleased to report on another year of progress for 888. During 2018, the Group continued to deliver against its strategic objectives with a firm focus on strengthening its position in regulated markets; developing new products and technologies; and continuous improvements in the areas of compliance and safe gambling,” Mattingley wrote on March 12.
Outlook Remains Positive Despite Potential Stumbling Blocks
Although pre-tax profits were up, group revenue actually fell by 2% during 2018. Contributing to this drop was increased regulatory costs in the UK as well as poor performances from the group’s bingo and poker portals.
Despite issues in certain areas, the key takeaway from the report is 888’s upbeat outlook for the US. Noting the positive impact of PASPA’s repeal, Mattingley believes his company is perfectly positioned to grow as regulation sweeps across the US.
Having already found a home in Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada prior to the advent of regulated sports betting, the operator is now making moves in the emerging sector. Indeed, with sports betting outperforming poker in 888’s European platform, it’s well-placed to capitalize on new opportunities in the US.
888 Innovations Can Improve US Online Gaming
However, like all operators active in the market, the new Wire Act opinion could stifle growth. While he stopped short of suggesting 888 would take legal action against the Department of Justice (DOJ), Mattingley’s comments suggest the company won’t go quietly into the night.
“In January 2019, post the period end, the US Department of Justice released an updated opinion regarding the interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961. This has created some uncertainty across the US market which may continue through a legal challenge to the new opinion,” the chairman continued.
As an operator, 888 has already taken advantage of the cross-promotional opportunities now available in the US. Just as rising tides benefit all ships, unique promotions in New Jersey have given casino players the ability to earn sports betting bonuses and vice versa.
These crossovers are common in Europe and crucial to the long-term success of US betting and gaming.
With 888 reporting a positive year in 2018, that should give it more money to invest in the US, something that will translate into more innovations and opportunities in all regulated markets.