888 reports H1 loss after UKGC fine

The online group reported its first half year results after it suffered a record fine by the UKGC for regulatory failings.

UK.- Online gaming group 888 Holdings revealed its H1 results, in which it suffered a pre-tax loss of US$17.3 million, considerably down from the US$27.8 million achieved during the same period in 2016. The fine imposed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) seems to deteriorate the company’s finances.

888 said that exceptional costs are to blame, as most of the numbers are related to potential VAT charged in germany and the cost of the fine issued last week by the UKGC, Telegraph reported. UKGC disclosed on its website that inadequacies were found in a investigation of 888’s self-exclusion procedures for customers and that “888 also failed to recognise visible signs of problem gambling behaviour displayed by an individual customer, which was so significant that it resulted in criminal activity.” The £7.8 million fine is a record number for the regulatory entity of the United Kingdom.

During that period, the company’s revenues increased 3 percent to US$270 million, and they were boosted by strong momentum in sports and poker, as well as its mobile division. Chief executive Itai Frieberger said: “This pleasing outcome was driven by continued growth in 888’s core Casino vertical, strong momentum in the fast-growing 888Sport and a good performance in Poker.”

“The global online gaming market is dynamic and will continue to grow driven by technology, regulatory and marketing developments. However, further regulation, such as the expansion of gaming duty on casino, poker and bingo free bets in the UK taking effect in the second half of 2017, will increase the cost base for operators in the UK. At the same time, enhanced regulation in the UK around areas such as television advertising and bonuses will impact overall UK market growth.”

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