Can 888 Continue to Grow in Markets Demanding More Compliance?Published December 22, 2017 by Lee R
Despite withdrawals from emerging markets, the head of 888 insists his company is robust.
Against the backdrop of what one might call a disruptive year, UK-listed iGaming operator 888 Holdings has issued an assurance to investors that a topsy-turvy 2017 will not impact full-year results.
An 888 trading update issued Thursday summarized that FY17’s adjusted earnings will fall “in line with market expectations,” as evinced by the stability of 888’s share price remaining at 277.5p to close Thursday’s trading to match the previous day’s closing level.
Evidence of Progress
More signs of ultimate robustness include “further progress in Casino, strong momentum with 888Sport, increased activity on mobile devices and continued expansion...most notably in Italy and Spain.”
888 CEO Itai Freiberger cited the company’s “firm focus on enhancing operational efficiencies” as evidence of overall organizational robustness.
Grounds for turbulence might otherwise be inferred from 888’s withdrawal from a full five markets in 2017, including emerging markets of Australia and Poland.
Increasing Regulation Focus
Freiberger characterized these moves from an organisational standpoint as a transition towards “increased regulatory focus, primarily in the UK,” where he claims 888 as an online gaming organisation has been “leading the way in terms of compliance and responsibility.”
Recent Bump in the Road
Some might not agree with that second statement, as the UKGC this year hit 888 with a record £7.8m fine in August for “technical failures” enabling thousands of self-excluded problem gamblers to continue gambling on 888 sites.
Righting the Ship
Freiberger did not skirt the issue, explaining that 888’s compliance and responsibility efforts in effect represent a process of “ongoing process of continuous improvement.” To illustrate, Freiberger pointed to the recent appointment of a new non-executive director Anne de Kerckhove from digital subscription studio CEO Iron to increase compliance through sitting on 888’s Gaming Compliance Committee among duties.
Increased Compliance Scrutiny
The compliance imperative looks to become more acute in 2018 as a result of multiple warnings issued to online operators over the past few months by not just the UKGC but other UK regulatory agencies such as the Competition and Markets Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority.
Freiberger Focuses on Growth
Besides the compliance issue, Freiberger overall characterised 888 as an “agile business “underpinned” by proprietary technology and core expertise in CRM, marketing and business analytics.
In the more stringent environments where 888 is throwing its eggs, effective compliance now becomes the direct key to further growth, and 888’s future fortunes constitute something of a rabbit test for the rest of the industry within UK and out.