888 on track to beat investor expectations after positive H1 trading

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Online betting and gaming firm 888 has reported record first-half revenue and profit, allied to strong strategic progress in its half-yearly results for the six months ended 30 June 2021.

The company, which is scheduled to launch its SI Sportsbook in Colorado later this month with US media partner Sports Illustrated, saw group revenue ahead by 39% in the half to $528.4m (2020: $379.1m), with B2C up 40.9% to $509.1m (2020: $361.3m).

Adjusted EBITDA in H1 came in at $97.4m (H1 2020: $70.1m), with the adjusted EBITDA margin stable at 18.4% (H1 2020: 18.5%). 

CEO Itai Pazner commented: “The strong momentum from 2020 continued into the first half of 2021, with growth driven primarily by regulated markets, where we believe ongoing market share gains continue to reflect our product-leadership strategy, highly effective data-driven marketing, and our excellent content. 

“We made significant strategic progress in the first half, securing a long-term strategic partnership with Sports Illustrated to strengthen our position in the US. We also continued to execute our product leadership plan, delivering further improvements in the usability and quality of products across sports and gaming, all the while maintaining our persistent focus on delivering our safer gambling priorities. 

“The Board remains confident that, with 888’s advanced technology, products and diversification across markets, the group remains well positioned to deliver further strategic progress during 2021 and beyond.”

Among the operational and strategic H1 highlights was 888’s thriving long-term strategic partnership with Sports Illustrated which, said the firm, provides it with a platform for strong US growth alongside a high-volume and low-cost customer acquisition opportunity.

Elsewhere stateside, the company saw its B2B activity extended into Pennsylvania, supporting the expansion of the WSOP brand and powering the US market’s only interstate shared player liquidity poker network 

On current trading and the outlook, the firm noted that revenues throughout July and August had increased by mid-single digit percentage relative to the prior year period. The slowdown in the rate of growth reflected, it said, the impact of retail and leisure venues reopening across international markets, and the previously disclosed expected impact of regulatory and compliance changes. 

For the remainder of the year, the board added that it remains mindful of the tougher comparables in the fourth quarter, a period that enjoyed an exceptionally strong performance in both betting and gaming revenues during 2020. 

It concluded: “However, with 888’s product-leadership strategy, the board is confident that revenues and adjusted EBITDA in the full year will be slightly ahead of its prior expectations.”