888 Holdings plc (LON:888), one of the world most popular online gaming entertainment and solutions providers, has provided the following pre-close trading update covering the period from 1 January to 23 June 2020.
Over recent months the Group has remained mindful of the ongoing uncertainty and restrictions facing many consumers across 888’s global markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 888 has continued to prioritise preventing gambling-related harm by proactively communicating with customers regarding safe gambling and leveraging its unique Observer monitoring system in order to protect customers and help them stay in control of their betting activity.
As announced in the Group’s trading update dated 24 March 2020, 888 traded well during the first quarter of 2020. The Board is pleased to confirm that 888 has continued to trade well since that date and despite some moderation to revenue growth in recent weeks, average daily revenue in the year to date has been 34% higher than the prior year. This performance reflects the Group’s increased levels of customer acquisition during the second half of 2019 across several regulated markets. In addition, the Group has benefited from the structural shift towards online services that has accelerated across several consumer-facing industries during recent months.
As a result of the Group’s trading during the year to date the Board now anticipates that 888 will achieve an adjusted EBITDA outcome for 2020 significantly ahead of its prior expectations.
Whilst the Group has encouraging momentum, the Board is mindful of possible headwinds in the second half of the year including the potential for a period of prolonged global macro-economic uncertainty that could impact consumers’ discretionary spending. Despite this, the Board remains confident that 888, underpinned by its unique technology and diversification across product verticals and geographic markets, remains well positioned to deliver further strategic progress in the second half of 2020 and beyond.
Itai Pazner, CEO of 888 commented: “We are pleased with 888’s trading during the year to date which has resulted in the Board now anticipating that adjusted EBITDA for 2020 will be significantly ahead of its prior expectations. This performance builds on 888’s strong customer acquisition during 2019 and our continued focus during recent years on entertaining a greater number of recreational customers.
We have delivered a particularly encouraging performance in Poker which reflects the strength of our product and ongoing focus on providing a safe and entertaining destination for recreational poker players. Whilst Sport has been impacted during the year to date by the cancellation of events, we have seen a better than expected customer reaction to the gradual return of sports events during recent weeks and, during June so far, our sport revenue run-rate has been ahead of June 2019.
Our global teams have demonstrated fantastic flexibility and commitment as they have had to adapt to new ways of working over recent months. I am pleased to report that we are now in the early phases of enabling some of our teams to return to our offices whilst continuing to ensure that we prioritise their well-being and follow all relevant guidelines.
888 Holdings is well positioned to continue to benefit from a potential long-term shift towards online services that we have seen accelerate across several consumer industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain vigilant about our responsibilities to protect customers and prevent gambling-related harm. We continue to take a number of proactive measures to communicate with players about safe gambling and invest in our products and technology to ensure that we always deliver a fun and, above all, safe place to play.”