Online gambling company 888 has posted strong results for the year as it eyes up expansion into the United States market.
The company issued an update in which it gave a good rundown of its financials in the second half of 2018. This comes as it renews its focus on the quality and continual development of its product range. After 888’s update went live, its shares rose by 7% as traders reacted to the news.
Company CEO Itai Frieberger said: “Underpinned by the strength of the group’s technology, as well as our fantastic team and diversification across products and regulated markets, the board remains excited by 888’s long-term growth prospects.”
Bouncing back from setbacks
888 made a lot of changes to the company throughout 2018. It was rocked by a significant fine for the authorities, worth almost £8m, in August 2017. It attempted to bounce back from this in 2018 and lay the foundations for a strong year and recover from the reputational damage this fine inflicted upon it.
The reason the UK Gambling Commission imposed this fine was because of its failure to stop those problem gamblers who partook in the 888 self-exclusion system from accessing other 888 gambling sites.
888 has different platforms for poker, sports betting, bingo and casino games. It was found that if a problem gambler excluded themselves from being able to play at one of these platforms, they were still able to play at the others.
Therefore, 888 began a complete overhaul of its systems and producers to ensure that everything is done in proper order.
Improvements throughout 2018
Throughout 2018, 888 took many proactive steps to improve its situation. Along with putting in place iron-clad systems to help problem gamblers, it set about planning for the future.
With Brexit being such an important issue and holding a license with the UK Gambling Commission, 888 began the process of obtaining a gambling license from the Malta Gambling Authority. This would ensure that they would still be licensed to operate in Europe even if the UK leaves the European Union. Currently, with its headquarters in Gibraltar, it is contemplating a move to Malta instead.
Another significant improvement 888 has made to date in 2018 was a new automatic authentication system. With security being such an important issue in this day and age as people become more protective about their data, this was seen as a hugely positive move by 888.
Traditionally, it could take days or even weeks for online gambling operators to verify the identity of their users. This was done either upon sign-up or when they were trying to make a withdrawal. This, of course, leads to delays and ultimately customer dissatisfaction.
Often, these complaints will be made far and wide and subsequently affect the reputation of the firm. Up to recently, there were few ways around this issue. The process would take an actual person to manually verify that the documents provided by the customer are in fact legitimate.
However, 888 has now enacted automatic procedures that can have this process completed in as little as minutes. It will also help reduce the number of human errors that ultimately lead to fraud occurring. It was another well-needed boost to its reputation.
Expansion in the US
With sports betting now legal in the United States and many states starting to embrace online gambling, it is a great opportunity for 888 to establish itself in this market. Other European companies such as William Hill have already gotten involved in the US market to much success to date and 888 will be looking to replicate this.
It has already begun a move into the US, partnering up with a number of casinos to provide their live dealer offerings through a partnership with a leader in the space, Evolution Gaming.
888 is are mainly focusing on New Jersey for the moment, offering three-card poker, baccarat, American roulette and blackjack.
This is also the first time Evolution Gaming is offering its services in New Jersey, so it is a fresh project for both parties.
Going forward, 888 will look to expand its presence in both New Jersey and in other states. Many states are in the process of legalizing online gambling, which will open up a lot of opportunities for 888 to quickly move to fill this new demand.