888 Holdings posts modest 3Q growth; eyes bump in revenue with opening of US market

888-holdings-us-gamblingLondon-listed online betting firm 888 Holdings had a pretty decent third quarter of the year. The company didn’t exactly see a meteoric rise in revenues, but it also didn’t see a drastic drop. Instead, modest growth was the name of the game for 888 Holdings in 3Q, with group revenues rising two percent to $94 million. Taking into account all three quarters, 888 Holdings’ three-quarter total of $294 million also represented a six-percent improvement from its $278 million figure at the same time last year.

888’s casino revenue reported the biggest increase, accounting for $45 million in 3Q of 2013, 19 percent better than the $38 million number the company earned a year ago. On the other end of the string, the company’s poker revenues barely registered improved revenue numbers, accounting for only a 0.4 percent improvement to $22 million in 3Q of this year.

Despite the stagnant revenue from its poker offerings, 888 Holdings still saw a noticeable increase in active customers. According to the company, there are 14.9 million casino, poker and sport real money registered customer accounts as of September 30, 2013, a 19-percent improvement since September 30 of last year.

“I am pleased to report another strong performance with Group revenues up year on year primarily driven by Casino,” 888 CEO Brian Mattingley said. “We continue to build customer numbers and take market share, reflecting our strong product offer, excellent platforms and marketing systems.”

At the same time it posted its modest Q3 results, 888 Holdings is also looking forward to seeing a windfall of revenues come next year as a result of its return to the US market.

The company already has online gambling and poker operations set up in Nevada with the recent launch of WSOP.com. Add that to business partnerships in Delaware with Scientific Games and New Jersey with Wynn Interactive and it certainly looks like the company already has its feet on the ground as soon as both markets open up in the coming weeks and months.

With tax-hungry states finally relaxing their laws to take advantage of the revenue stream provided by online gambling, companies like 888 are finally getting a chance to set up in the US without fear of getting kicked out by the US government in the same vein the latter did back in 2006 when US Congress completely outlawed online gambling. But with markets like Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey preparing to welcome online gambling in their respective jurisdictions, the coming year should also give 888 Holdings a splash in meaningful revenues.

Mattingley also expressed optimism that the two biggest markets in the US – California and New York – would follow suit in the liberalization of online gambling, even with the difficulty of the regulatory process in both states. “California is the prize,” the 888 CEO said, as quoted by Reuters. “We are working flat out to identify some quality partners out there.”

It’s no secret that the US market offers plenty of opportunities for online gambling companies like 888 Holdings. At the most modest of expectations, the market has the potential to offset slowing growth in other markets for these companies. At the most ideal of scenarios, the US market could end up becoming a gold mine of revenue online betting firms itching to stake a piece of a market that’s considered the last frontier for online gambling.