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888 posts 14% sales rise after online casino demand rises in lockdown

·2-min read

The online gambling firm 888 posted a jump in revenues for 2021 after getting a boost from higher online casino demand during the pandemic and changes to regulations in growing markets.

The company’s shares dipped slightly in early trading, as it also confirmed a slowdown in activity during the latest quarter.

The Gibraltar-based business said sales increased by 14% to 972 million US dollars (£714 million) during 2021 from a year earlier.

However, it achieved this growth despite a 16% fall in revenues over the final quarter of the year.

It said it lost steam against strong comparable figures after lockdown measures helped to buoy digital gaming and gambling activity.

Recent revenues have also been lifted by its expansion across the US, as a number of states continue to ease their gambling laws.

Last year, 888 also agreed to buy William Hill’s international arm in a £2.2 billion deal, giving the online firm its first high street betting shops.

The move, which will hand 888 control of around 1,400 William Hill branches in the UK, is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.

Itai Pazner, chief executive officer of 888, said: “2021 was a year of outstanding strategic progress for 888 as we announced the transformational acquisition of William Hill International, and reached an agreement to sell our bingo business to increase our focus on our business-to-consumer and US growth plans, as we continue to execute our plan to build a global online betting and gaming leader.

“I am pleased to report another year of record revenues alongside these important strategic milestones, delivering double-digit revenue growth despite a very tough comparative period.

“This performance reflects the continued success of our data-driven investments and execution against our product-leadership focus that delivers ongoing improvements in the usability, quality and safety of our sports betting and gaming products.”

Shares in the gambling firm slipped 2.2% lower to 262.4p on Tuesday morning.

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