Online betting giant 888 Holdings has hailed data-driven marketing as a significant factor in its “landmark year” which saw it add almost 1.5 million new customers and double its profits as the company cashed in on a surge in online gambling during global Covid-19 lockdowns.
Group revenue at the Gibraltar-based business, whose brands include 888casino, 888poker, 888sport, and Wink Bingo soared 52% to $849.7m (£607.6m) in the 12 months to December 31, up from $560.3m in the same period last year.
Adjusted pre-tax profit was up 218% year-on-year to $116m, with 58% growth in regulated markets, as customers gambled in their droves to ease the boredom of lockdown. UK revenues rocketed 63%, after 888 launched more than 700 new games in its casino business during 2020.
The results are likely to be a major concern for organisations which have to deal with problem gamblers, however, especially since the release of Gambling Commission figures last month that showed Covid restrictions towards the end of last year were accompanied by yet another a spike in online gambling.
The data revealed that the gross gambling yield among the biggest operators increased by 30% between November and December, and the total number of bets rose by 12% and the number of active players rose by 6% over the same period.
The Gambling Commission’s analysis also found the number of online slot bets rose to six billion and active accounts rose to three million in December – both records for online slots during the coronavirus pandemic period.
At the time, Commission said people were likely to be spending more time at home than usual and could be feeling vulnerable as a result of current coronavirus restrictions and their impact.
It warned: “Operators need to be mindful about the potential of some consumers to be increasing their spend on some of the more intensive products whilst at the same time still engaging in real event betting activity, which was not meaningfully available during the initial lockdown.”
Nevertheless, 888 Holdings is decidedly upbeat, having launched the first-ever in-house sports betting platform across multiple markets as well as its first mobile poker platform – Poker8 – which the group said had helped support 48% revenue growth in its poker division.
888 chief executive Itai Pazner said: “2020 was a landmark year for 888, with our team navigating the many challenges presented by a global pandemic to deliver record financial results, and significant progress against our strategic priorities.
“We welcomed a record number of new members to our brands, nearly one and a half million, with our differentiated products and our big data supporting highly effective marketing.
“We enter 2021 with strong momentum, with a record level of customers, and with a positive reaction to our suite of new products and innovations. As a result, as well as the group’s strengths as a product-centric, responsible, and diversified operator, the board believes that 888 has an outstanding platform to deliver continued strategic progress during 2021 and beyond.”
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