888 revenues slip as bookmaker blames tightened gambling regulations

888 blames revenue fall on tightened gambling regulations in Britain as it shifts focus to a ‘more recreational player base’

  • Total revenue fell 7% to £449m in the third quarter 
  • 888 said average player spend has fallen 14% annually
  • Its boss said it remains confident of adjustment to its player base 

Bookmaker 888 has blamed new online safety regulations in Britain for a 7 per cent fall in revenues in its third quarter.

Total revenues fell to £449million, which the group also pinned on the closure of its Netherlands operations, as UK online income from its William Hill business fell 14 per cent to £125million.

Retail revenue from William Hill, the acquisition of which 888 completed in July, was the only business segment not to decline in the three months to 30 September after posting flat performance on the same time last year. 

888 completed the acquisition of William Hill in July 

William Hill’s international online revenues fell 12 per cent to £52million, while 888’s core business revenues fell 5 per cent to £148million.

888 shares fell 4 per cent to 86.55p in early trading, bringing year-to-date losses to 71.4 per cent.

In August, 888 blamed a sharp fall in first-half profits on heightened safety measures brought in by the UK Government, which led to a decline in Britons gambling online.

888 said it had seen a reduction in average spend per player, which was down 14 per cent year over year, following the introduction of ‘more stringent measures through Q3 and Q4 of the prior year’.

Boss Itai Pazner said on Tuesday that 888 has faced ‘continued pressure’ on UK online revenues ‘in light of the ongoing impact of the enhanced player safety measures’.

He told investors 888 is ‘changing the mix of our business to a lower spending, more recreational player base that gives us confidence in the long-term potential for our UK business’.

Elsewhere, retail revenues took a hit of £4million from three days of temporary closures, as the national mourning period after the Queen’s death also led to cancelations and postponement of key sporting fixtures.

Looking ahead, 888 expects fourth quarter revenues to be ‘similar’ to the same period last year, highlighting cost efficiency steps it has taken.

Pazner said: ‘Having completed our transformational combination with William Hill, I am pleased to report that during Q3 our teams continued to make rapid progress in integrating these two market-leading and highly complementary businesses.

‘This has enabled us to progress towards our new target operating model, while delivering a series of ‘quick win’ synergies, that will benefit our adjusted EBITDA margin for the second half of this year.

‘As we look forward, we remain focused primarily on successful integration, execution and de-leveraging in order to unlock the huge potential from our enlarged business.

‘We are building a stronger group that will leverage our leading technologies and portfolio of world-class brands to create a leading global betting and gaming company, with clear plans to grow market share and profitability in some of the most attractive markets in the world.’

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