888 launches Africa joint venture 888Africa

888 will initially have a minority stake in the venture.
888 will initially have a minority stake in the venture.

888Africa will be led by Christopher Coyne, formerly of Stars Group.

UK.- The FTSE 250 gambling company 888 Holdings has announced the launch of a joint venture to expand into Africa. It will begin with a minority stake in 888Africa venture but with the option to increase this up to 100 per cent.

Operating 888 online betting and gaming brands in regulated African markets, 888Africa will pay a licence fee to 888. The brands will be operated through a third-party technology platform, and products and content will be designed to meet local preferences. It plans to launch in four markets this year.

Christopher Coyne, formerly chief marketing officer and chief customer officer at the Stars Group, will be the chief executive of the venture. He’ll be supported by Andrew Lee, who was managing director of sportsbook at Stars Group and is now chairman of Voxbet, and Alex Rutherford, former chief product officer at Editec Online.

They’ll be joined by Ian Marmion, former Stars Group sportsbook trading director, and Helen Scott-Allen, who served as chief financial officer of Premier Bet.

888 chief executive Itai Pazner said: “We are very excited to establish 888Africa alongside such an impressive roster of industry talent. The new JV will launch 888’s world-class online betting and gaming brands to millions of new customers in the exciting and fast-growing African online market. 

“The structure of this deal enables the group to invest in a strong business with high growth ambitions, without distracting focus from our core business and key strategic markets. We look forward to being a part of 888Africa’s journey as it grows its footprint and increases brand awareness, while also offering potentially significant long-term opportunities for the group in the future.”

Coyne said: “With our team of experienced professionals and significant knowledge of the African markets, it is our ambition to build the business towards market-leading positions in selected regulated markets across the region.

“Partnering with 888 will give us access to a world-class brand, as well as a broad team of experts to support our growth plans, further enhancing our confidence in our future prospects.”

888 Holdings reported a 14 per cent increase in full-year revenue for 2021 despite a decline in the fourth quarter. The company’s revenue for the year ended December 31 rose to $972m, although Q4 revenue fell 16 per cent compared with 2020, when pandemic-related lockdowns drove online gaming and betting.

The company expects to complete its acquisition of William Hill’s non-US assets in the second quarter of the year.

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