888 Poker Shows Massive Growth

888 PokerThe world of poker might have been hit hard by the ‘Black Friday’ decision by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to close several poker websites down, but that hasn’t stopped certain companies from bucking the trend to record some recent impressive financial and customer figures.

For example, 888 Holdings – which operates poker website 888 Poker as part of the company’s operating subsidiary, Cassava Enterprises – have just announced excellent figures for their interim financial results during the second quarter of this year.

The Gibraltar-based 888 have seen an impressive 29% year-on-year rise in total revenue to a staggering $78.5 million (approximately £48.2 million/€54.5 million), with 888 Poker – one of the world’s biggest online poker sites – being credited as playing a major role in the increase.

Most notably, 888 have witnessed an incredible upsurge in poker players registered with the website following the launch of Poker 6 last June, with an astounding 90% active customers added – or about 231,000 – compared to this time last year.

Even more spectacular, however, is 888’s casino numbers, which show a 134% increase on the second quarter of last year at about 159,000 customers.

Business-to-consumer revenue hit the $13 million (£8 million/€9.03 million) mark to show a 58% leap compared to last year, while casino revenue also recorded strong figures by showing a 34% rise to $36 million (£22.1 million/€25 million).

888 deputy chairman Brian Mattingley said that since the launch of Poker 6, we have outperformed the industry, while we have also benefited from the Full Tilt [closure] and doubled our customer recruitment, to the point where 888 now enjoys “sixth position in the global liquidity rankings.

Those figures are truly astonishing, considering how badly impacted the poker industry was by the closure of poker websites such as Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker in the USA.

888 also pointed out that revenues have risen 4% quarter-on-quarter – mainly driven by strong casino and poker performance – while adding that they now have 9.6 million real-money customers, which amounts to a 21% year-on-year increase.

But there’s more, with 888 declaring that business-to-consumer revenue through June of this year has grown 29% compared to last year to reach $66.4 million (£40.8 million/€46.1 million), while their business-to-business ventures increased by 28% to $12.1 million (£7.44 million/€8.4 million) over the same period.

Mattingley said that this quarter has seen strong business-to-consumer performance 888, especially in poker and casino, before adding that, although happy with their excellent figures that provide the board with confidence of future growth, the second half of 2011 will be impacted by our need to invest in regulating markets as these open up for us.

He was, of course, referring to 888 having their licence approved by Italy’s state regulator, the Monopolies Autonomous Administration (AAMS).

This has allowed 888 to gain a presence in the Italian market after opening cash poker and casino operations on July 18, with Mattingley saying that we are now able to offer 888 and Dragonfish services to businesses (which includes games and technology, marketing, operations and ePayments) in Italy, although he stressed that business-to-consumer services will need [considerable] investment to ensure we achieve the required amount of presence.

Mattingley said that 888 will look at an aggressive marketing campaign there and will invest heavily in the Italian market to ensure we get a recognised position, while 888 finance director Aviad Kobrine added that 888’s investment in Spain and Italy will impact the bottom line by around $2 to $3 million.

Mattingley, though, also stated that,

despite the second half including the seasonally weaker summer trading period and after taking account of the increased cost of investment, we are confident, given the strength of current trading, that the company will report a financial performance for the full-year to December 31 marginally ahead of current market expectations.