- London Stock Exchange listed 888 Holdings is looking to expand their B2C US sports betting presence.
- 888 is already in New Jersey with their sports betting, poker and online casino platforms.
- They are also in a partnership with Caesars Entertainment to power the World Series of Poker online brand with their technology.
888 Holdings (LSE: 888) is a well known international gaming company with a significant presence in both the B2B and B2C markets. At this point, they have a limited US presence but that is about to change. The company is setting their sights on becoming a major player in the US, suggesting that 2021 represents the beginning of a ‘new era’.
To this point, 888 has focused primarily on the European market. As a result, they have only a minimal presence in the US gaming ecosystem but they definitely have a ‘foothold’. On the B2B side, they have a partnership with Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR) providing the technology underpinning the World Series of Poker (WSOP) online poker platform in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. 888 also powers the Caesars Entertainment owned Harrah’s and World Series of Poker Casino brands in New Jersey. The partnership deal was extended earlier this year for another five years and in the press release making the announcement SVP–Head of US Yaniv Sherman intimated at his company’s new priorities in the American market:
“Our partnership with Caesars has been powering the hugely popular WSOP brand online since 2013 and we are looking forward to continuing this relationship for many years to come.”
“We are also excited at the prospect of adding new states to our unique interstate poker network in 2021 and beyond, which we believe would drive a significant increase in liquidity for poker players on the 888 platform.”
“Our extended relationship will also enable 888 to gain a presence in new U.S states following the required regulatory approvals,which presents an important opportunity in our long-term development strategy for the U.S. market.”
They also have a B2C presence in New Jersey with sports betting, poker and online casino games.
888 LOOKING TO BECOME A MAJOR PLAYER IN THE US SPORTS BETTING MARKET
At 888’s Q4 earnings call held on March 18, the company filled in some of the details regarding their US plans. 888 is already licensed for sports betting in Colorado, Indiana and Iowa and they’re hoping to go live in all three states in the third quarter of 2021. Overall, 888 indicated that they expect to launch in ‘four or five states’ by the end of the year. They are also launching a new proprietary sports betting platform in the US. These comments are from 888 CEO Itai Pazner:
So we have acquired, at the end of last year, we announced that we acquired 3 additional licenses last year in Colorado, in Indiana and in Iowa. And we are planning to launch them, hopefully, all 3 of them this year. Also, when we launch our B2B products, we also have to go through a licensing process, certification process and therefore, we’re going to be busy.
And also overall, we’re going to launch about 4 or 5 states in the U.S. this year, which I think is very impressive, and we’re working on further market access deals in order to have more markets to launch into 2022 and 2023. At the end of the day, we want a good, wide footfall in order to be able to take a nice chunk of the American TAM and in order to do that, we need to have licenses either through B2C or through B2B.
Earlier in the call, Pazner suggested that 2021 is ‘a new beginning of an era in the US’ and teased some ‘other interesting developments’ that are potentially forthcoming:
And 2021 is what I call a new beginning of an era in the U.S., with our new platform, our new product licenses that we acquired and hopefully, some other interesting developments that will happen in the market.
They even devoted a slide from their PowerPoint presentation to US market strategy:
888 didn’t waste any time on the ‘external hires’. Earlier this week they hired John Atkinson to fill the newly created role of ‘Director of Business Development’ to further grow their US presence. Atkinson comes to 888 from Genius Sports Group where he most recently served as the company’s North American Senior Commercial Partnership manager.
At the time of publication, James Murphy has a long position in 888 and CZR.