BUSINESS

888 CEO says US ops will turn profit in 2014; ASA spanks 888 over ‘best’ claims

TAGs: 888 Holdings, Advertising Standards Authority, brian mattingley, PokerStars, rational entertainment enterprises

888-advertising-standards-authority888 Holdings CEO Brian Mattingley says his company’s US-facing B2B operations will turn a profit by the end of 2014. 888 is the only operator with a presence in all three US states currently offering some form of intrastate online gambling; providing the technical backbone of Caesars Interactive Entertainment’s WSOP.com site in both Nevada and New Jersey, running its own branded operation in New Jersey, and 888 is part of the consortium supplying technology to the Delaware Lottery’s online gambling product.

Mattingley told eGamingReview that 888’s B2B operations in the US would turn a profit in 2014, thanks in part to the structure of its New Jersey deals, which will have 888 enjoying revenue share income “from day one.” However, 888’s US-facing B2C channel isn’t expected to make a “meaningful contribution” to the company’s bottom line until 2015, due to Mattingley’s belief that 2014 will be “quite an immature year for New Jersey.” Immature? New Jersey? Well, it is Jon Stewart’s home state, so, yeah, we guess…

GOOD, BETTER, BUST
888 has the edge over PokerStars in New Jersey, as Wednesday came and went without any word from state gaming regulators as to the standing of Stars’ license application. But Stars’ parent company Rational Entertainment Enterprises recently got the better of 888 at the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Rational had challenged 888casino.com’s use of banner ads proclaiming the site offered “the best VIP program around” and “the best VIP promotions anywhere” and various other uses of the superlative adjective that Rational deemed “misleading” and unsubstantiated.

In response, 888’s parent company Cassava Enterprises admitted that their claims utilized “extremely broad language” but argued that the wording was “so effusive and hyperbolic that consumers would understand that the claims were subjective puffery which represented 888casino’s opinion about their offerings, rather than objective statements.” Cassava also accused Stars and other competitors of occasionally resorting to similar puffery.

But the ASA disagreed, ruling that 888’s claims might lead consumers to believe 888 had actually done some objectively comparative research to arrive at this conclusion. Since 888 didn’t appear to have actually conducted said research, the ASA ordered 888 to immediately cease all US-facing activities. KIDDING! KIDDING! In reality, the ASA ordered Cassava do their bestest to avoid making such unsupported claims in future.

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