Online gaming entertainment and solutions provider 888 has published its audited annual financial results for the year ended 31 December 2018, which include an update on US progress. In its report the group reported that revenue had decreased by 2% to $529.9m (2017: $541.8m). Adjusted EBITDA increased by 6% to $107.1m (2017: $100.7 m), while EBITDA for the period was $129.1m (2017: $41.2m).
Outlining 888’s US activities, Non-Executive Chairman Brian Mattingley told investors: “The regulatory environment in the US has continued to evolve. In September, we were delighted to launch 888sport in New Jersey, marking the first time 888 has offered sports betting in the US and paving the way for the group to expand its sports offer on a state-by-state basis as future regulation allows.”
On regulation, he cautioned: “Whilst the repeal of PASPA represents a positive and fundamental shift in the long-term outlook for the US market, 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. Despite this, the board believes that the group remains well-positioned for future growth in the developing US market.”
Mattingley added: “The group continues to explore M&A opportunities and partnerships that will create value for its stakeholders. In December 2018, we were pleased to announce the acquisition of the remaining 53% interest in the All American Poker Network (AAPN), a joint venture established in 2013. The acquisition represented an important strategic step towards 888 achieving its exciting long-term potential in the US market and we are confident that it will create additional value for our shareholders.”
On the American outlook, he commented: “Changes and developments to regulation will continue to play a major role in dictating the future dynamics and size of the global online gambling industry. Despite recent uncertainty arising from the US Department of Justice’s recently revised opinion to the Wire Act of 1961, the board believes that 888 remains well positioned and we will continue to invest to develop 888’s presence in the evolving US market. Whilst these investments will have an impact on group profitability in the coming year, the longer term growth potential for 888 in the US market, which retains the potential to become the largest in the world, remains significant.”