888 Holdings announced on Wednesday that its pre-tax profit tripled on record revenue for the year 2021, as temporary closures of land-based venues resulted to an online gambling boom in its core and growth markets.
While land-based businesses took a huge hit because of the pandemic, lockdowns proved to be good for those operating online. In the first three months of the year, the UK was under strict coronavirus restrictions, as the Alpha variant that came from England threatened to devastate the health care system.
The London-listed company said revenue for the year ending December 31, 2021, was at an all-time high of US$980.1 million, up 15% on the previous year. That yielded profit before tax of $81.3 million, up 205 percent on the year prior. Annual revenue from those core markets, the UK, Italy, and Spain, rose 18% year-on-year, while growth markets including Canada, Ireland and Romania posted revenue up 26%.
Germany, which 888 considers a growth market, implemented a new gaming taxes and duties regime in July, while the company had to enforce safer gambling measures, particularly in the United Kingdom, to reduce the risk of potential harm to customers.
An online-only business entity, 888 was in a very good position to benefit from the trend towards new types of online entertainment by a housebound community.
CEO of 888 Itai Pazner said, "2021 was a very successful year for 888 as we continued to position the group to become a global leader in online betting and gaming. It was another record year from a financial perspective, and we have truly transformed the scale of the business over the past two years."
Pazner added, "We continued to leverage our competitive advantages around product leadership, brands, and customer excellence to improve the quality of products and the customer experience across sports and gaming, all the while maintaining our persistent focus on delivering our safer gambling priorities."
The company announced in December the sale of its bingo business to a unit of UK-based Broadway Gaming Group for $50 million so that it can focus on its core offerings and the US market.
Moving forward, 888 intends to carry the momentum seen in 2021 into the new year, by launching SI Sportsbook, which debuted in the US market in Colorado, in 3-4 addition states during 2022, and by launching World Series of Poker in Michigan upon regulatory approval.
888 Holdings is one of the world's best performing online gaming companies, which owns and operates some of the most exciting and trusted online casino, sport and poker brands in the market: 888casino, 888sport and 888poker.
The UK Gambling Commission reported the highest online slot yield in the history of UK happened on March, the last month of full-scale lockdown. Meanwhile, anti-gambling campaigners expressed their concern that the lockdown was creating the perfect opportunity for a rise in problem gambling.